A new year is upon us, and now is the time when a lot of us are setting resolutions for 2014. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds. Or maybe you want to pay off some debt. Get a raise. Get back in school. Travel more.

What about your house? Will this be the year that you finally get around to doing some of those home improvement projects you’ve been talking about doing for years? Will 2014 see your house transformed into its best version yet?

Many people will plan to do home renovations in 2014, but as is the case with other New Year’s Resolutions, most of these projects won’t get done. It’s understandable. You probably have a lot of different improvements you want to make to your home, but trying to get them all done can be overwhelming. That’s why you need a good plan.

Rather than biting off more than you can chew from the start, we suggest setting the goal of getting one home improvement project accomplished each season. With this simple plan, you’ll be able to complete at least 4 home upgrades in 2014.

Here are our suggestions for the best home improvement projects for each season:

1. Winter 2014: Focus on Roof Maintenance.

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The purpose of a roof is pretty simple – to keep the elements from destroying the inside of your home. In Houston, we have to contend with rain, wind, heat, and humidity. All of these harsh elements can put a lot of wear and tear on your roof over time, so it’s important that you always make roof maintenance a priority. Proper maintenance can help extend the lifetime of your roof and save you thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs.

With the spring season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to focus on roof maintenance. You want to catch any potential leaks and other issues now before the spring rains start to beat down on your home.

The good news is that winter time is typically the slowest time of year for roofers. That means you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting a professional roofer to come perform a thorough inspection of your home’s roof, ensuring it’s ready for the rest of the year and giving you peace of mind.

Other suggestions for winter home improvement projects:

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  • Weather strip and caulk your home to eliminate drafts, keeping the elements out and potentially reducing your energy bill by up to 30%. (source)
  • Get a programmable thermostat and save up to 3% on your heating bill for every degree you lower the thermostat. (source)

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2. Spring 2014: Install a Radiant Barrier.

Springtime is arguably the best time of year in Houston. The frigid winter temperatures are gone and the blazing heat of summer is yet to arrive. That means it’s a great time for ticking some home improvement projects off your list.

Since we are in Houston, we all know that the comfortable spring temperatures don’t last long. In the blink of an eye, the hot, sticky, and humid days of summer will be upon us. And if your home doesn’t have a radiant barrier, that heat can find its way in, forcing you to crank up the air conditioner and pay exorbitant energy bills.

Some tests have found that a radiant barrier can reduce summer ceiling heat gains by 16% to 42%, helping reduce the costs of cooling your home by up to 17% in some cases. (source) The HeatBloc 75 radiant barrier that we use can stop 75% of potential radiant heat transfer into your attic.

Get your radiant barrier installed in the spring, and save money this summer.

Other suggestions for spring home improvement projects:

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  • Install a storm door to increase energy efficiency by 45%. (source)
  • Work on your home’s landscaping by mowing, trimming the shrubs, and putting in new plants. Landscaping makes up 85% of your home’s curb appeal! (source)

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3. Summer 2014: Upgrade your siding.
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Summer is the hottest time of year in home renovation projects. Last summer, 60 percent of homeowner surveyed said they planned to make a home improvement or addition during the season (source).

With beautiful, albeit hot, weather here in Houston all summer long, it’s a great time to get outdoors and make some home improvements. One of the best exterior upgrades you can make is to install new siding. We always highly recommend James Hardie siding. James Hardie’s fiber cement siding

Is ideal for homes in cities where hurricanes are a real possibility (like the Houston area), and it has been specified by hurricane-zone building codes for building homes in hurricane-, tornado-, and wildfire-prone areas.

Upgrading your siding is also a smart investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, siding replacement pays off better than almost any other home improvement project, recouping 92.8% of its cost (source).

Partner with a service professional that can help you choose the right siding for your home.

Other suggestions for summer home improvement projects:
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  • Take a break from the heat, and paint the interior of your home to give it a fresh, updated look.
  • Add a half bathroom and increase the value of your home by up to 10.5%. (source)

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4. Fall 2014: Prep your heating system for the winter.
Let’s face it – fall in Houston is mostly just a continuation of summer. Sure, you might have a cold front come through here and there, but you’ll still have plenty of hot, sunny days. That means you probably won’t be giving much thought to your home’s heating system, but now is exactly the time when you need to focus on heater maintenance. When winter rolls in and the temperatures threaten to drop below freezing, you want to make sure your heater is going to work the way it should.

There are plenty of things you can do to get your home’s heating prepped for summer, including cleaning and replacing filters, cleaning out your fireplace, and having a licensed contractor inspect your heater to ensure it’s operating smoothly and, more importantly, safely.

Other suggestions for fall home improvement projects:
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  • Replace old windows with energy efficient windows to lower your household energy bills by up to 15%. (source)
  • Get your home ready for holiday guests by doing a through walkthrough to identify and repair any minor cosmetic issues, such as peeling paint, damaged kitchen tiles, etc.

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See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Now that you have a good plan in place, you’ll be able to make your home better than ever in 2014!