With summer weather warming the air, outdoor activities are becoming more frequent. It's the perfect time to grill out on the deck or sit with friends on the porch or balcony. Since these features are so integral to your property, making one the object of your new summer project could help make your place even more welcoming.

Renovating your porch

For instance, an easy way to improve your curb appeal is to fix up the porch skirt. One way to do this is to install lattice framing, which will look nice but also keep your deck frame dry and rot free. The framing can do this because it allows air circulation underneath the porch, but stops any leaves or other debris from getting in.

Along with a porch skirt, add some new color. This is an affordable way to make your porch look fresh and eye catching. Make sure you use colors that go well with the base color of your house, though. You don't want to throw off the look of your place by choosing a color that's too flashy.

Another, way to fix up your old porch is to look at the railings. If your railings are not in the best shape, try replacing them with metal ones. Making this change can give your porch a unique look depending on the style and design you use. Be careful, once again, to match the railing to the style of your house, though.

Cover all your bases

One thing to remember when making big improvements to your home this summer is to check your insurance coverage. A Liberty Mutual study found 40 percent of Americans are unlikely to check their coverage after making home improvements. It's important to check this because if any value is added to your house by the new additions, your insurance may not cover it. Home improvement is fun, but make sure you protect yourself by updating your insurance afterwards.

Speaking of protection, before you get too far into your renovations, you should be sure to utilize home inspection services to check the structure's safety. By doing this before you start your renovations, you can add the safety fixes into your list of improvements instead of finding out about them afterwards.

Getting an inspection for your porch or balcony is imperative because it can save you, friends and family a lot of trouble and pain in the future. Rotting and other structural issues are not always apparent with these platforms; the recent Berkley balcony collapse, where several students fell 4 stories to their death, is a sobering example of why getting these features inspected is so vital.