Be brutally honest about your DIY skill level. Assess which projects to do yourself and which are better left to the pros. You could save yourself a ton of money in the long run if you don’t have to call someone in to fix a project you’ve messed up. The best way to find a good contractor — seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had remodeling work done.
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?)
Only 7 percent of handymen and painters say they routinely are tipped, though 28 percent say they receive tips for service that goes above and beyond. Remodeling companies expect a tip 6 percent of the time, with 18 percent tipped for top-notch service. Half of remodeling firms say their gratuities come in the form of food and drink, gift cards or personalized gifts.
From the tiles that will go on the walls to the appliances that will be installed, anyone who has completed a home renovation before knows that it is better to have just about everything picked out before you begin the work. This is because you will need to make numerous decisions once the renovation starts, and the more you’ve made beforehand, the better off—and better educated—you will be. Online tools like Pinterest, showroom visits, and/or material samples can help, and don’t be afraid to start purchasing items to get the ball rolling.
Take your bathroom remodeling to the next level! Customized bathrooms are a step beyond standard bathroom with the implementation of personalized cabinets, vanities, and facilities. While stock options are always available, many homeowners find that they need something just slightly bigger, smaller, wider, or in a different color. Some popular options include floating vanities and double-wide sinks. You can also invest in custom cabinets with your choice of wood, made in a specific style. Your opportunity to expand on your custom bathroom depends on your budget and style needs. Cabinets are very advantageous on the bathroom, sometimes even more so than in the kitchen. This is because storage space in the bathroom is always more necessary than homeowners think. Having wide cabinets and drawers with enough space to store linens, toiletries, and emergency supplies is a great way to make your custom bathroom both functional and beautiful. There are certain considerations needed for custom bathroom designs, however. For example, when choosing a type of wood for the cabinets, think about what kind of wood can stand up to moisture. Professionally-installed custom bathroom pieces are your best bet for guaranteeing that your cabinets will last for years.
You should never attempt bathroom remodeling work yourself unless you are 100% positive that you can do it properly. This means that you should never try bathroom remodeling work that you have never done yourself or have no training in because any mistake you make during a bathroom remodel could potentially send the total price of the project soaring. Most people hire contractors to handle the following:
Dear Debbie: Tipping isn’t the standard in the home services trades, as it is in the restaurant and personal grooming trades. Still, it’s a question many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the nation to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.
A functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing. It provides necessary light and, in warm months, creates a soft breeze reducing the need for expensive air conditioning. But, an outdated, wobbly, loud or broken ceiling fan is a useless eyesore. Replace old fixtures with new ones to make your home more enjoyable for you now and to increase the bottom line should you decide to sell.
If you know a renovation is on the horizon, it’s time to call in favors from those handy family and friends. Give them ample time to arrange their schedule to help and provide plenty of reminders as the project approaches. (An offer of free food also helps!) If hiring a contractor, make sure you allow enough lead time to snag your desired timeline, otherwise you could be stuck waiting on them. Consider a message center to keep everyone informed as they come and go to make life easier on everyone.
There has yet to be a home renovation that has been silky smooth, without a single snag or snafu, so be prepared for days when things just aren't going right. It’s natural to want everything to go perfectly according to plan, but with so many products and people involved, it’s unlikely that everything will turn out exactly how you imagined, which can be frustrating and sometimes even costly.
Take a look at your home's soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.
Most en suite bathrooms are attached to the master bedroom, but there may be exceptions depending on the layout of your home. They are meant to be more private spaces than guest bathrooms, allowing you to put a more intimate or creative touch to this space. They are convenient due to their proximity to the bedroom, helping you maintain a comfortable amount of privacy. Dating back to the 1960s, en suite bathrooms have become commonplace in the modern home. You can add simple or elegant upgrades to your en suite bathroom to make it a distinct selling feature. If you don’t currently have an en suite, you can add one by converting a large closet or building onto the bedroom.
Painters generally don't expect tips, especially if you've hired a small company where the boss and his brothers are painting your house. Tipping is a must, however, if you ask a painter to touch up that little scuff on the dining room wall, which wasn't in the original contract. Most painters will oblige, and you should reward their generosity with a $15 to $20 tip if the extra work takes an hour or less.
You’re right that there should definitely be some kind of ventilation in a bathroom to prevent moisture build-up. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom and removing the window that is attached to one wall (it’s just so awkward having one there) and installing a vent to replace it is definitely something we’ll want to look into. I’m not sure if we already have an inlet valve, but our toilet can be rather noisy, so we’ll have to talk to the contractor about that, as well.
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If you aren't planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.
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.
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.
Inspect prior work. When you talk to potential contractors, ask them for examples of work they have done that is similar to what you want. Find out if it is possible to contact previous clients and to inspect the work that was done for them. You will also want to ask the client if the project was finished on time, if they were satisfied with the work, and if there were any unexpected costs added during the project.
If you were offered $100,000, no strings attached, what home improvements would you do? Chances are, a long laundry list of changes come to mind, from refinishing the hardwood floors to adding a new bathroom. Some home improvements, however, are more likely to increase your home's value than others. Although you shouldn't think of your home as an investment, with limited home improvement funds, it's good to consider whether a project has a decent return on investment.
Yet at the same time, keep things in perspective: just because something hasn’t been delivered on time or because you’re a bit behind schedule isn’t the end of the world, and it’s best to try and have the mentality of "how can we fix this?" rather than "whose fault is this?" Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize, and remember the revamp isn’t going to go on for forever, although it may sometimes seem that way in the process.
If you're unsure of which design style or paint color to use, hire a designer. They'll use discriminating taste and a trained eye to help with making the big decisions. Also, remodeling your home with a cohesive plan in mind makes all of your choices easier and ensures a pulled-together finished look. So, when you get the right mix of time or money, you'll know exactly which project to take on next.
Whether you decide to hire a general contractor or individual subcontractors for the job, it’s important to find the right team to complete your home renovation. While word-of-mouth recommendations from friends might be enough for some, you may also consider doing a full-blown check on your contractor—looking into their license, certificate of insurance, lien history, bond number, and certification—to ensure you’re dealing with a professional who is in good financial standing. Equally important is finding a contractor you get along with and who understands your vision, so it can be helpful to have an interview or preliminary discussion before the formal engagement of services.