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Easy exterior projects that add lasting beauty to your home

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Updated: 8/24/2012 11:47 am
(ARA) - In the current economy, homeowners want to improve their home's exterior while saving time, labor and money. You can enhance your lifestyle by choosing options that extend product performance and add beauty and enjoyment to outdoor living. The easy patio fix that's eco-friendly Adding pavers to any outdoor area can transform cracked slabs or troubled grass areas into virtually instantaneous living space. But most do-it-yourselfers shy away from working with heavy concrete or brick. Andy Vander Woude of AZEK VAST Pavers says you can install a new patio, walkway or driveway with new pavers that install three times faster on a unique grid system over a traditional sub-base. At less than half the weight of concrete, they contain up to 95 percent recycled scrap tires and plastics. "There is no need for wet saws or heavy equipment," Vander Woude said. "You can also resurface an old patio, deck or flat roof without the sub-base preparation - just assemble the grid and lay the pavers in like a big puzzle." He added, "It's a way to create instant living space that respects the planet." Add curb appeal for lasting first impressions You can increase curb appeal with stylish and functional, quality amenities that dress up an entryway, yard, patio, porch or deck. According to the experts at Walpole Woodworkers, known for outdoor furnishings handcrafted in Maine since 1933, consider classic accents such as lantern and mailbox posts, pergolas, arbors, window boxes, deck planters and birdhouses handcrafted from new advanced materials, with long-lasting benefits and low-maintenance. Walpole offers these and many other products handcrafted in modern cellular PVC. This advanced material looks just like natural wood, but won't rot, split, or warp and will maintain its good looks for years, virtually maintenance free. Call 1-800-343-6948 for a free catalog. Light up the night With the emergence of inspired outdoor living spaces and new trends in materials, it only makes sense that homeowners search for a way to enjoy their deck parties well into the night. Deck rail lighting has become extremely popular, with LEDs the preferred way to create ambient lighting. Michael Gori, Director of Product Management at AZEK Building Products, makers of AZEK Deck, said lighted post caps and light strips concealed under the hand rail are in high demand. "The lighted post caps add an elegant touch, while the hand rail lighting casts a downward glow, reducing hot spots and attraction to insects," he said. "The combination of the two light sources adds a dramatic effect for nighttime entertaining." Gori adds, "With warm, ambient lighting, there's no longer a need to head indoors when the sun goes down." Know when to paint caulk Did you ever poke your finger at a caulk bead to see if it's dry and ruin your nice work? "Caulk needs to dry for about one to two hours, before it can be painted-whether you're working indoors or out," says Jason Ringling, marketing director at Red Devil, a company with a 140-year old history in the industry. "Painting too soon can cause sagging and cracking and then the entire job has to be re-done." He says that there is a new technology called ColorCure sealant that turns from pink to white when it's ready to paint, so there's no guesswork. And if the job gets interrupted, you know exactly where you left off. "Formulations are getting smarter to help you work more efficiently," he adds. When fixing up or adding beautifying elements to your home exterior, be sure to investigate all the options--from new formulations in caulks and sealants to alternatives to traditional materials that offer easy installation and better performance over time.
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