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Driveways to mailboxes: Oft-overlooked items that drive curb appeal

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Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Wed Sep 17, 2014.

(BPT) - Selling or staying, it makes no difference – everyone wants a home that looks great from the curb. Curb appeal comes together when all the elements of a home’s facade are in good shape and working together. Driveways that are cracked or pitted with potholes, dingy front doors and other seemingly minor complaints like a shabby, scuffed mailbox, can all significantly detract from a home’s overall curb appeal.

Here is a handful of projects – many of them quick fixes – that can greatly enhance a home’s appearance.

* Repair or resurface your driveway.

For many homes, the driveway is one of the largest visual elements of the home’s overall curb appeal, ranking right up there with siding, the roof and the lawn. If winter was rough on your driveway, it’s time to think of making repairs. Concrete can crack and crumble, and asphalt develops potholes. Both can be repaired quickly and easily.

For any driveway repair, make sure the area to be repaired has been cleaned of debris and loose materials.  Cleaning with a hose or pressuring washing can improve the entire surface. For asphalt driveways, Sakrete U.S. Cold Patch is a ready-to-use recycled asphalt product that permanently patches potholes, cracks and other defects without the oily mess or bad smell of a conventional blacktop patch. Simply pour the product into the pothole and tamp it down. It is not oily or sticky, so you can even use your car to do the job – just drive tires over the patch to compress it.

Concrete driveways can develop different types of cracks:  very small and shallow resembling a dry river bed; cracks between 1/8 and 1/4 inch wide; and cracks wider and deeper than 1/4 inch. Your choice of repair method will depend on how you want the finished product to look and how much time you have to make the repair.   

Portland cement-based Sakete Top n Bond can be used to repair all three types of cracks, and will provide a finished look that most closely resembles the existing concrete driveway. For tiny cracks, simple coat the entire area with a thin layer of the patching material. Top n Bond easily fills cracks wider an deeper than 1/4 inch. You can also use it to repair areas where one slab of the driveway has sunk lower than the slab next to it. If appearance is less important, an even easier option for repairing cracks 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide is to use a tube product, like Sakrete Concrete & Mortar Repair, and apply it with a caulk gun.

Repairing damaged asphalt or concrete driveways not only improves its appearance, it can help extend its life, too.

* Put the shine on your mailbox

It sits at the end of your driveway and often plays a key role in helping guests find your house. But do you give your mailbox the attention – and the credit – it’s due? Little things can mean a lot when it comes to creating curb appeal. While a mailbox that looks good might not get much attention, one that’s ugly or shabby is sure to draw the kind of attention you don’t want.

If you live in a community that restricts what type of mailbox you can have, simply give your rusted, stained mailbox and the post it sits on a fresh coat of paint in its original color. If your community has no standards for mailboxes, you can swap out an ordinary looking box with something that compliments your exterior design. Does your home have a brick facade? Consider a mailbox set in or on a brick pillar. If your house features fieldstone accents, consider carrying that over to the mailbox with a small, stone-trimmed planting bed at its base.

* Lavish your front door with some TLC

The door is the point where your exterior design meets your interior décor. It’s also an element that significantly impacts how visitors view your home. Give yours a fresh coat of paint or stain, and don’t forget the trim around the door.

Next, consider lighting. Is the area around the door well lit? Good lighting is key not only for safety at night but also to enhance the appeal of the area. Consider sconces beside the door or an attractive overhead fixture if your door has an awning, porch or overhang. Ground lights can accent the effect, either illuminating the pathway that leads to the door or lighting up the door itself.

Finally, take a look at the door hardware. Is the handle or knob looking rusted and shabby? Replacing worn or dated door hardware is an easy, cost-effective way to improve the overall look of your entryway.

Anyone hoping to sell their home during warmer months can greatly enhance curb appeal by investing in these seemingly minor design elements. If you plan to stay in your house, boosting the curb appeal will make you feel even better about coming home every day to a fresh, appealing house.

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