One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!
Save energy bill greenbacks by going green with a solar water heater. The installed price can cost up to $5,000, but these systems can slash your hot water bills by as much as 80 percent and attract energy-conscious homebuyers should you decide to sell. Install a solar water heater where there's unobstructed southern exposure and you'll have savings made in the shade.
Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.
"A remodeling project is going to affect every room in the house," says A. J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. "The homeowners need to take down pictures, move vases, and pack away valuables before work begins." While you're at it, take steps to protect your immovable fixtures, including built-in cabinets and chandeliers. Have flooring covered with cardboard sheets if it needs to stay in good condition.
Hands down, one of the biggest returns on investment comes from a kitchen remodel. Most experts agree that if you plan on updating only one room in your home, it should be the kitchen. Large, open kitchens have become the social hub of the modern home. High-end touches like granite countertops, richly stained custom cabinets and energy-efficient stainless appliances are the gold standard in modern kitchens. Experts agree that kitchen remodels return an average of 80 to 85 percent of every dollar spent. You can expect an even higher return if you are remodeling a really outdated kitchen.
Contractors must provide the lien waivers if you request them. You should always ask for a lien waiver from the contractor when you make a payment. This will prevent a subcontractor or material supplier from putting a lien on your home if the contractor does not pay the bills. The following case history explains why lien waivers are so important to consumers:
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers' homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.
Great blog site – I have a quick question that I hope you won’t mind answering. I just got our 2013 Kodiak travel trailer back from having the roof replaced (western US sun-destruction). The manufacturer didn’t install the front cap correctly at point of manufacture, so long story short, it is correct now, but the interior wall-panel behind our bedroom cabinets is screwy. I’m thinking the same way your write-up describes, why bother putting back the cheap garbage (?).

Existing conditions in a house can radically change the budget and scope of a renovation, as sometimes something as seemingly simple as adding an additional outlet to a room can result in the rewiring of an entire home. If you know, for example, that you occasionally blow a fuse when you turn on your hairdryer and have the dryer going on at the same time, that should be a hint that you may need to upgrade your electrical system. 
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.

Finally, what's on your ceiling? Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. This is a project you can tackle yourself. First, visit your local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture, then simply scrape the popcorn away. Removing a popcorn ceiling may not seem like a big change but one of the keys for adding value to your home is to repair, replace or remove anything that could turn buyers away.
Before starting all the mess of a remodel, it’s a good plan to designate a renovation-free zone for your family to gather in semi-relaxation. Make sure you have everything you need in one place, such as a kettle or microwave, so you have one functional space to gather, eat or just unwind at the end of the day. For more relaxation ideas, check out our 8 Projects for Backyard Fun.
Big projects or small, probably all of us could stand to learn some decent home repair or home improvement skills. (All around the home, there are things we should never have to pay others to fix for us.) Learn Bob Villa-worthy skills and help others at the same time by volunteering or through free clinics and other resources. Turn to great reading resources and try starter projects too. If you get stuck on a project, iOS app Fountain will connect you to a home improvement expert to answer your question for $5. (Also, did you know we have a home improvement subblog here at Lifehacker called Workshop?)
There are certain regulations that must be followed for proper ventilation in your bathroom. Not only is it code, but it is also better for your health. Without proper ventilation, things like aerosol sprays will be left to stagnate the air. Over time, this would make it more and more uncomfortable to use the bathroom. Most bathrooms remodeling requires some form of ventilation, either through a centralized system or through the installation of the window.  Shower doors, panels, and screens need to leave ample space for ventilation. The steam that builds up during a hot shower an permeate the air to the point where it becomes difficult to breathe. During a shower, you need someplace for the steam to escape, and ventilation helps circulate fresh air into the room.  Besides, there should always be enough space for clearance during an emergency. In some cases, custom shower solutions offer you the ability to have a glass transom that can be tilted open to release steam and other particles in the air. Adding a fan to the bathroom boosts your bathroom’s ventilation capabilities. If you already have a fan installed, you may want to add a second one depending on the size specifications of your bathroom.
Any good contractor will have no problem providing references, and copies of liability insurance before a job begins. Don’t rely solely on client testimonials, search out actual customers that can give you a firsthand account and answer any questions you may have. For any project, ask to see before and after images of a contractor’s prior work, and most importantly—trust your gut and know which questions to ask.
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