Small remodeling projects that add value – new doors and trim

With sales of new and existing homes remaining slow nationwide, many homeowners are looking for ways to add value now. Installing stylish interior doors and replacing old exterior trim are two great ways to make your home look even better today and sell it for more later.

New doors add style
Doors can offer so much more than entry into a room. Because they are made in various panel designs and can be easily painted or stained, interior doors have become a key part of a home’s overall decor.

“Many homes have plain flush doors that look rather boring,” says Bob Merrill, president and CEO for Chicago-based CMI, which makes CraftMaster Interior Doors. “One of the easiest ways to dramatically change the look inside your home is by replacing your current doors with raised- or flat-panel molded doors. New doors add fresh style, character and personality.”

Molded interior doors are made to resist swelling, shrinking, cracking and splitting. “CraftMaster also makes eco-friendly green doors that contain sustainable materials, recycled content, low VOC primers and have low formaldehyde emissions,” Merrill adds.

Typically, a home has around 17 interior doors, including passage and bifold (closet) doors. In many homes, those doors have a hollow core. Replacing standard, hollow core doors with solid core doors to add weight and reduce noise is a popular DIY project.

Installing new doors requires a few basic carpentry tools. Many homeowners purchase pre-hung doors. You also can choose to keep the existing frame and simply replace the doors, called slabs. In this case, you should heed a few installation tips:
* Ensure the slab door is squarely in the frame, then lock it in position with a cross brace.
* Use wood shims between the jambs and the studs, as necessary, to ensure a plumb, square and proper fit.
* Keep the frame flush with proper positioning of the cross brace.
* Add trim by cutting, gluing and nailing it in place after the slab door has been installed.

Exterior trim that wows
When it comes to your home, first impressions are everything. Nothing makes a worse initial impression than exterior trim that is cracked, rotted, peeling or falling apart.

Walk around your house and inspect the exterior trim on the corners, around your windows and doors and up near the roofline. Do you see peeling paint, warped boards, or any splitting or cracking? Is there any damage from water or termites? If so, now is the best time to replace your trim.

Traditional wood trim often looks fine when first installed, but it can split and swell, and is prone to knots and defects. Other materials, like PVC and fiber cement trim have performance limitations and may pose installation challenges.

“The exterior trim market has changed a lot over the last 10 years. New engineered products last longer and provide resistance to moisture, rot, termites and temperature extremes not found in other materials,” Merrill says.

With a clear cedar, wood grain texture on one side and a contemporary smooth finish on the other, MiraTEC engineered trim is ideal for any home style. It is most often used for roofline fascia, soffits, window and door trim, corner trim, dentil, gables, column wraps, trim along porches and similar architectural components.

Installing new interior doors or replacing your exterior trim are great ways to give your home a new look and increase its value. To learn more about updating your home from the inside and out, visit or

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