(ARA) -- It's beautiful outside and the last thing you want to do is spend all of your spare time working on your home when you could be playing or spending time with loved ones.
So what home improvement projects offer the biggest bang for your buck, saving you time and money down the road?
As a homeowner, it's difficult resisting the temptation of a new kitchen or bathroom. But rule No. 1 in the manual of Homeownership 101 clearly states: Invest first in the structure of your home.
"The reason is simple," said John Gardner of APEX Siding System, a company that makes low-maintenance, high-curb appeal fiberglass siding. "Taking care of your home will prevent major, unexpected repairs and will pay dividends over time."
The second rule of thumb of home improvements is to invest in curb appeal. Whether you are selling, renting or staying for the long haul, it pays to add charm and distinction on the exterior. The exterior of a home is the basis for the first buying decision; this is why investments in curb appeal typically provide a higher payback than other home improvements.
Finally, more and more homeowners say they want homes that are easier to maintain. If you want to spend more time enjoying life and less time working on your home, invest in products such as pultruded fiberglass siding and windows that are nearly maintenance free and can dramatically reduce the time you spend cleaning or maintaining your home.
Based on these three critical rules of homeownership, here's a list of the top five spring home improvements with big pay offs:
1. Replace gutters. Replacing old gutters is an easy way to spruce up a home and reduce the chance of water draining into your basement.
2. Update your siding. New siding can instantly give the appearance of a total home makeover, while also reducing your maintenance costs by choosing fiberglass products. Removing old siding also provides the opportunity to inspect your home for any moisture or critter damage that if left unchecked can lead to significant and costly damage to the structure of your home.
3. Repair the roof. Severe weather over the years can take its toll on your roof. Inspect your roof for loose, damaged or missing shingles, especially around chimneys and vents, where water can leak into your home.
4. Install energy efficient windows. Replace old, out-of-date windows with new energy-efficient, Integrity windows made with Ultrex, a fiberglass product.
5. Re-seal your driveway. Look for cracks and movement in your concrete and asphalt driveway. Fill cracks with a crack filler or sealer to prevent water from getting underneath your driveway. Re-seal your driveway to give it a fresh, new look.