Don’t want your budget to skyrocket? Don't move your plumbing. On the surface, switching your sink and toilet around may look easy enough, but the problem lies underneath and all the costs involved in moving that plumbing. Besides, if you spend less money on moving fixtures, you’ll have more to spend on that new sleek shower system or vanity you’ve been eyeing.

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?)
Under Wis. Stat. s.101.148, contractors must provide consumers a brochure, at the time of contracting, that describes the requirements for making future claims about construction defects. The “Right to Cure” law, Wis. Stat. ss. 895.07(2) & (3), provides timetables and other steps to help consumers and contractors resolve disputes. Failure to follow the “Right to Cure Law” can result in dismissal of legal or arbitration actions.

Thanks for these remodeling tips. I didn’t know that it’s important to make sure that your new bathroom is ventilated properly especially if it can help prevent mildew buildup. I’m kind of interested to learn more about how to take this consideration into the initial planning of the project, and how to determine where the best location of the vent should be.


Before scheduling workers to install your new cabinets and appliances, make sure the materials will be there for them. Don't just allocate installation time; know how long it will take to ship your farmhouse sink. (Another related point: Know your contractor's schedule, too, so you won't be dismayed when he can't come the day your cabinets arrive.)

Thanks Scott! One option would be to purchase pre-assembled residential cabinets from Lowes or Home Depot. You can use a cabinet designed to go above a microwave or refrigerator if the cabinets need to be shorter. The cabinets can be modified to work with your angled wall by cutting the back to match the 20 degree angle. The cabinets can be mounted directly to the studs in the wall using self-tapping screws.
For most people, their home is their single largest investment, so treat it that way. Hire a financial planner to work out a strategy for protecting your investment by analyzing all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.

Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
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?)
Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete and potential homebuyers will really take notice.

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.
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.
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.
The walls of nearly any space set an instant tone of the space’s style and vibe. Bathroom walls are no exception. If your bathroom has peeling, crusty wallpaper or oddly tinted and speckled paint, the entire space is going to feel dingy, drab, and/or dated. Conversely, if your walls are clean and freshened up, the entire space will experience a pick-me-up in the style department.
For most people, their home is their single largest investment, so treat it that way. Hire a financial planner to work out a strategy for protecting your investment by analyzing all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.

Before you enter into a home improvement contract, the contractor must inform you of all required building or construction permits. If the contractor is doing general construction work, such as siding, insulation, and roofing, on one or two-family homes and will be obtaining the building permits, the contractor must have a Dwelling Contractor Certification and a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification from the Department of Safety and Professional Services, (608) 266-2112.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
×