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U.S. Green Building Council Member Member - United States Green Building Council Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc.

(April 2002)

By Charles Plunkett

One of the least costly methods of updating, which is normally considered (although sometimes overlooked) is painting. Painting may be as simple as freshening up your look by repainting in the same colors or patterns you currently have. An alternative approach is to look at repainting as re-decorating. This is an opportunity to change colors or to paint new trim lines with a new pattern and new colors. This may accomplish the primary goal of simply updating your facility. Colors can be cyclical and go out of date just like clothing or particular architectural styles.

Another method of updating is to install new landscaping. Just like repainting, this should be viewed as painting on a canvas. You can place new planting beds in new locations or reshape beds with curving sweeping lines or a geometric pattern. This reshaping along with new decorative blooming trees, shrubbery and color beds will give your facility a new look. This can often be combined with architectural walls around the beds made of decorative block or laid-in-place rock. You can also bring about a new look in conjunction with the items mentioned above by installing additions like new fencing, trellises, and archways to the extent that they blend with or complement your architectural design. (You would not want to install a Greek revival column and arch with a traditional brick-building exterior). It would certainly be advisable to hire the services of a professional designer, or landscape architect to assist in the development of the above-mentioned activities. This will help ensure that you are not making a mistake and help to maximize your cost and efforts.
Architectural Modifications

None of the previously mentioned enhancements have included structural or serious architectural modifications. This gets into a more complicated arena. This is a time when you will want to hire a good architect to assist in pulling off a more complicated renovation. You may also want to hire a good designer who may work in conjunction with you and/or the architect to assist in developing the overall look.

Following are some of the enhancements that can be done while still minimizing costs.
Create a New Roof Line

If you have a flat or near flat roof, consider new framing to raise the roof up and create a steeper roof. This may also involve an architectural style roof shape. You can do this in conjunction with a new standing seam metal roof (whether galvanized finish or colored) to attract attention to your facility. This effectively becomes advertising.
Reshaping or Refinishing the Exterior

You may change the building materials utilized on the exterior. If you currently have a bland brick exterior, this can be demolished and replaced with rock. You can also refinish over many exterior surfaces with traditional stucco or a synthetic stucco-looking product commonly called EIFS (which stands for exterior insulated finish system). One advantage of using EIFS is that it is applied over a foam backing which can easily be layered and shaped to create many interesting characteristics without a great deal of added costs. You can install a raised relief shaped profile around the perimeter of your building simply by gluing on or mechanically fastening a foam layer and then installing EIFS over top of the foam. This product performs well, stands up to weather, and can be made to look like almost anything. Anyone who has been to a fancy Las Vegas casino and seen all of the intricate detail on the interior and exterior of those buildings (which looks like stone, cut rock, stucco, etc.) has most likely been looking at EIFS.

In conjunction with the above-mentioned possible changes, one thing to keep in mind is color. If you are using color to accent your building, consider utilizing three colors instead of only two. Many people utilize a primary background color with one accent color, like stripes or trim on the building. If you think about some of the buildings that attract your attention the most or you consider the most attractive, you will often find that they incorporate three colors.

Do not be afraid to step out on a limb and create a new image. Remodeling may also be a good time to change your company logo and incorporate this with your new colors. Be creative or hire a professional designer to assist you in being creative. Then get some hand sketches of what this new look would be like. Set a budget that you can live with, and then spruce up your image.

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