Ten home improvement projects to tackle while the sun is shining

Home improvements best done while the weather’s fine.

When the sun is out, and the beers are chilling it’s the perfect time to put on your tool belt and finally get around to doing those jobs that have been on your to-do list for a while. Whether it’s simply giving your home a tidy up or starting a larger reno project, summer is the perfect time to get it done.

“The three key advantages of tackling home improvement projects in the New Zealand summer are the higher temperatures, lower rainfall and increased hours of light,” says Jeremy Gray, spokesperson for, an online tradie service.

We’ve rounded up the top 10 home improvement projects to will earn you that cold beer.

Paint the exterior

Sunny, clear skies offer the best conditions for giving your home a new exterior hue, but don’t wait until the middle of the day to start says Karen Warman from Resene. “Start first thing in the morning with a surface that is dry and free of any overnight dew or moisture,” she advises. “This gives you plenty of scope for a good period of painting and gives the paint plenty of time to dry before nighttime.”

When choosing a colour for your exterior, it’s always best to opt for the darker option of your favourite colour choice as it will look lighter in the bright sun.

Dark surfaces get hot fast in the summer heat, therefore painting earlier in the day will prevent your paint from drying too quickly. Adding Resene Hot Weather Additive to your paint will also help. “If you’re planning to paint or stain dark colours outside, consider using Resene CoolColour,” says Karen.

Resene CoolColour paint is made with special pigment technology that reflects heat instead of absorbing it, which will help to keep the paint and surface cooler. If your sunny day looks like it
might be interrupted by a brief shower, use Resene Umbrella Additive in your paint to give it early protection against light showers.

Painting principles dictate that you should always paint from the top down – and for good reason. “You don’t want to be dripping on to already painted areas,” says Karen. “On most homes this would be the roof before the walls and the walls before the deck.”

How to be sure the weather is right for painting:

  • Is the washing on your line drying?  If the answer is yes, then so will your paint.  If not, then your paint won’t dry either.
  • If you’re finding it too hot to be out in the sunlight, chances are it is too hot to paint too.  Move to the shady side of the house so that you can keep cooler and so will your paint.
  • When paint gets too hot during application it will dry too fast and make it harder to apply smoothly.
  • It’s usually best to get an early start and take a break over the hottest part of the day.  Plan your work so you can get your exterior painting and staining done early, then work on interior preparation during the middle and hottest part of the day.

Entryway spruce

Much like a good handshake, the entrance to your home is an essential first impression gauge. Normally the dumping ground for shoes, umbrellas, coats and bags, make it a space
that impresses by adding a few key pieces.

Storage is your entryway hero. Give all those shoes, umbrellas, coats and bags a place to live out of sight. Simple baskets will do the trick as will a stylish shelving unit, while hooks on the wall will provide places to hang coats and umbrellas. If you have space, a hallway console is a great spot for keeping keys and a beautiful bunch of blooms. Hang a mirror on the wall above the console to help bounce light around the space – it’s also a handy addition for those ‘final checks’ before leaving the house.

Finally, if you’re really looking to impress, paint your front door an eye-catching colour. Soft pink has been a favourite in the past and looks modern and bold against a black exterior. Yellow and blue have also been known to delight, these colours look fresh and bright against a white weatherboard exterior.

Clean the deck

A good deck is basically a second lounge and dining room in summer, so make sure it’s clean and presentable for the months of outdoor entertaining ahead.

To clean a timber deck you’ll need:
• Broom
• Bucket
• High-pressure water blaster or garden hose
• Deck cleaner, try Cabot’s Deck Clean
• Deck oil, try Cabot’s Aquadeck
• Paintbrush.

Start by sweeping the deck, making sure all leaves and dirt are removed.

Use your high-pressure water blaster to remove any remaining dirt. If you have an older deck, be careful the pressure doesn’t split or crack the wood. You can also use a garden hose and scrubbing brush.

When your deck is wet, mix the deck cleaner with water and scrub the area with the cleaning mixture. Leave the solution on the timber for 20 minutes, then wash it off with water.

Take your deck cleaning one step further and finish with a couple of coats of Cabot’s Aquadeck.


Prep your building site

Jeremy says, “Landscaping and major planting projects are almost always better suited to late autumn and winter.  Hot and windy days are less suitable for earthworks, especially when the soil is very dry, as dust can attract complaints.”

For larger projects, it’s best to use the summer months for prepping your building site. This includes access and retaining walls, says Jeremy. “When it comes to retaining walls and other structural outdoor works, there is a much lower risk of movement and collapse of unretained soil in the building process.”

Paint the interior

Dulux colour speciliast Davina Haper says, in a time of uncertainty, we need our homes to provide balance, calm and a sense of comfort. “Soft, earthy neutrals and muted greens provide a reassuring connection with nature, while richer and brighter hues, such as coral or stormy blue, awaken our senses an allow for moments of optimism.”

Karen suggests opening the windows when painting to circulate the air and help the paint to dry. “High humidity can cause the paint to dry very slowly. If you are getting a lot of water condensation on the outside of a glass of water, the humidity is probably high.”

If you’re tackling interior and exterior painting this summer, head outdoors in the morning while it is cooler, and then move back indoors when the sun gets too hot.

Painting tip: Don’t paint directly out of the paint can.  Every time you brush the surface, the contaminants are transferred back into the paint.  Instead, use a smaller can or a paint tray.

Laundry refresh

Looking at beautiful laundries is a guilty pleasure for most, so now’s the time to make it your reality.  Simple and easy changes can make a huge difference to the space. Paint cabinets in a fun hue to inject some life into the room and update the cupboard and drawer handles.

If your walls are looking a bit bare, but you can’t face the effort and cost of tiling, use vinyl stick-on tiles. A new backsplash in these clever cheat sheets will instantly give your laundry a new look.

Add in some new storage baskets and conduct a Marie Kondo-like decluttering to finish it off.

Paint the fence

Chances are you’ll be spending time outside this summer and the last thing you’ll want to do is have to look at a peeling or unpainted fence all season. Luckily, getting your fence looking neat and tidy is relatively simple.

For a quick and easy option, with little prep required (thus, more time for post-painting drinks and relaxing), look for an exterior wood stain, such as Resene Woodsman. Simply wash the fence so it is free of cobwebs and leaf litter, allow time for it to dry, and then start staining. Wood stains generally need to be reapplied every couple of years.

A solid-colour fence is your other option. For this, apply a finish such as Resene Lumbersider waterborne low sheen. This type of paint will mask the wood grain and generally last a few more years than a stained finish.

Dark colours are often the most popular when it comes to staining or painting a fence. While it might feel a bit intense, black looks neutral in the garden.

It’s modern, sleek and helps your plants and foliage to really pop. But, it’s also a good idea to make sure the colour of your fence suits the style of your house. For example, if you’re in a traditional villa that’s painted white or grey, a fence in a similar hue is the way to go.

Remember, if you share a fence with a neighbour, talk to them before you get the paintbrush out.

Add a bench seat to a nook

If you’ve got a spare corner or nook, this is the perfect opportunity to turn it into a snugly bench seat. If your spare corner is next to a window – thus turning this bench seat into a window seat – bonus points for you! Make sure it has a plush squab on top for comfort and don’t hold back with the cushions. Add storage underneath for extra home benefits.

Tackle the garage

Summer calls for water activities, outdoor adventures and family road trips. It’s the best time of the year for the garage, which makes it the ideal time to give it a clean.

Determine a vision for your garage. Do you want it to simply be a de-cluttered space to store bikes, cars and sports equipment? Maybe it could do a bit more. Could it also be a workroom, an office or even a bar?

Whatever you decide will determine what the garage needs for its makeover, be it more storage shelves, a built-in workbench or generous pegboard wall. No matter the result, a tidy, de-cluttered garage is one of the more satisfying summer jobs to tick off your list.

Prep for winter

Although thinking about heating your home is the last thing you want to do in summer, it’s actually the best time to get it sorted. Installing effective ventilation, insulation, window treatments and
heating will not only save you precious warmth come winter, but will also help keep your home cooler now. It’s a win-win.

“With the seasonal push for heat pumps in winter, the cooling benefits of heat pumps in summer is often overlooked,” says Jeremy. “On the hottest days of the year, it can be a real luxury to close up the house and turn down the temperature when you’ve returned from the beach to a swelteringly hot home. Ventilation systems can offer all the fresh air benefits of that open window at night, without the security risk.”

“Summer is a great time for insulation and ventilation projects,” he says. “If you have any weather-tightness concerns about your home and haven’t had it checked, getting these issues rectified through summer is critical.”


Words by: Bea Taylor Photography by: The Virtue, Are Media Syndication

Home experts are just a click away