Step-By-Step Exterior Home Renovation Guide

Guide To Preparing For An Exterior Home Renovation

Your home is a great way to show off your personality and represent yourself to your neighbors. An unattended and worn down house, or even one with a lawn that is not mowed or the paint shows chipping can give the wrong impression to the people surrounding you. Of course, life gets busy and we run behind with projects or forget to do things, but the fact of the matter is that people don’t often consider these factors when they look at your home.

A dilapidated exterior not only presents a negative visual to your home, but can also be the cause to other issues such as leaks, mold, mildew, and a decrease to the property value. It is for one of these causes, or perhaps a different reason, that you might be considering an exterior makeover to your home. The renovation can entail something as simple as new siding and paint, or a larger scale exterior home renovation. By following some of our simple tips below, you will be able to approach your exterior home services in a simple and workable manner.

Get To Know Your Neighborhood

Double-check and observe the area that you live in. The exterior renovation you have in mind can become an eyesore for a long time. These mistakes can be from overbuilding to using the wrong vinyl siding color. You should want your home to stand out because it looks phenomenal, rather than out of place. Keep this tip in mind for interior renovations as well. If you are still trying to figure out a concept for your remodel or renovation, don’t hesitate to talk and ask questions to a realtor or your neighbors. Walk or drive around the neighborhood as well for some inspiration. Your contractor can also be of great help with any choices you’re uncertain of, as they’ most likely have redone a rood or installed siding to a home in your area in the past.

Avoid Under Budgeting On Your Renovation

To avoid an uncompleted or a shamefully completed remodel, be sure your project is set at a realistic budget. While you are more than welcome to mix-and-match parts & paints and work between different estimates, you don’t want to end up with a home that looks unfinished or poorly performed. If the renovation that you want is outside your budget, give it some time. Make sure that the contractor you are working with provides a definite quote on all labor and parts prior to allowing any work to begin. If it turns out that you cannot afford the work being completed, you could hurt your credit rating or have a mad contractor on your hands.

Keep in mind, a contractor is hiring the labor and buying the materials for the work he is completing, which costs time and money. Lastly, there is no certainty that doing a renovation as a DIY (do it yourself) home project will be a cheaper or more affordable route. The cost you can end up incurring to purchase the correct materials, tools, and possible code violations can turn out to be just as much as hiring a professional contractor. Just imagine if you end up paying a contractor as well to come out and correct some of the mistakes you made!

All Projects Must Be Completed In and Up To Code

Just a few years ago, one of my neighbors decided to build a walk out deck to the lake behind his house. Within a few days into the project, a code compliance officer came to his house and informed him that the construction of his deck was not up to code. In addition, he did not have the permits that the town village required for the type of construction he was doing. The neighbor ended up having to scramble to get the necessary permits in order to prevent getting a large fine. A mistake, like my neighbor’s, could have easily been avoided by reaching out to a home inspector. A home inspector will tell you how to stay in code and the permits required by your village for the exterior home renovation you plan on completing. Certainly, the easiest way to avoid any issues is by hiring a professional that is trained and knowledgeable in regulations and permits.

Hire A Professional and Quality Home Exterior Contractor

If you are looking to use a professional residential renovation contractor, which is always recommend, be sure you are using someone that is competent. Yes, we all love to get a good deal and can be tempting to select someone off of Thumbtack or Craigslist for a very cheap price. For a larger scale job though (such as a roofing, siding or windows replacement) it is absolutely recommended that you have a contractor with real credentials. Ask the potential contractor about their experience, look at their online ratings and see if they are licensed for the work you are looking to get done.

A great way to find a quality contractor for your remodel is by using online resources, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Yelp. These websites can help you discover more about the potential contractors. Ask the contractor as many questions that you feel you need the answer to. I know many of us don’t want to feel like we are a bothersome by asking too many questions, but an exterior remodel can be costly and it would be much worse if you end up un-happy with the completed job due to not speaking up. When it comes to your exterior home renovation, you are the boss and the contractor is working for you, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask them all the questions about the project you feel is important.

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The Best Style Of Roofing Shingles For Your Home

Searching for the Best Roofing Shingles

Do you live in Illinois, or anywhere in the Midwest area? If so, then you are aware of how severe the climate can be.   We endure freezing temperatures and heavy snowstorms during the winter. Not only that, but we also get the intense hot dry phases and sticky humidity throughout the summer. We experience severe types of weather throughout the year.   Regrettably, so do all of our homes. When you look at the data provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA), you will see that every year there is over $1 billion in damages to crops and property! Homes in the Chicagoland and its surrounding areas must be able to withstand the hot and cold weather extremes. It is vital that the materials we select for our homes are adequately strong and heavy-duty to last through all four seasons, especially the roofing.

Asphalt Roofing Shingles is the Answer

When it comes to protecting your home through Chicago’s harsh weather, we at AJ Exteriors & Roofing, Inc recommends asphalt as the best roofing shingles of choice for installation and replacement. Asphalt shingles are affordable and can endure most types of weather situations. Asphalt is the best roofing shingles because they can hold up against rain, snow, moderate winds as well as small hail. Listed below are additional features and benefits of asphalt shingles.


Asphalt shingles can be versatile to many different forms, shapes, and angles. This flexibility allows you to provide you a custom roofing solution making them the best roofing shingles of choice.


We carry and install asphalt roofing shingles with Class 4 impact resistance rating. Class 4 is the highest possible impact rating. Owens Corning® has the TruDefinition® Duration STORM® impact-resistant shingles feature their patented WeatherGuard® Technology, available in seven colors. GAF® also has the Timberline® ArmorShield™ II shingles designed with its Advanced Protection® Shingle Technology.

Class A Fire Rated:

Asphalt roofing shingles produced with fiberglass mat accomplish the top (Class A) fire rating. Receiving this rating shows that they offer excellent protection against the possible penetration and spread in the event of a fire.

Resistant to High Wind:

All asphalt shingle brands that we carry pass the ASTM D7158 Class H and ASTM D3161 Class F wind ratings (110mph to 130mph) requirements.


When you are ready to remove and replace your old Asphalt roofing shingles, they can be recycled and used as a by-product for road paving.

Variety in Design:

They can replicate unique architectural designs including; slate, synthetic slate, cedar, heavy cedar, and more!

Variety of Colors:

There are many exquisite color palettes available of the best roofing shingles in asphalt material. The variety in color choices allows you to complement the appearance of your home and improve curb appeal.


AJ Exteriors & Roofing, Inc has over 25 years of roofing experience. We are well versed in installing roofing shingles proficiently. You can be rest assured that you will receive a completed roof of the utmost excellence.

Ready for a New Roof

At A.J. Exteriors, we carry and install top and leading industry brands of the best roofing shingles including; Owens Corning, Tamko Roofing Products, Timberline GAF, and Velux. As industry leaders with environmental building materials, you can trust and feel good about the manufacture products we install. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate!

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