Plan your project from start to finish. Talk to friends or family members who have had remodeling work that you like. Try to find pictures of what you like to show what you want. If you are leaving any decisions up to the contractor, make sure you put budget and material requirements in the contract. Be clear about who is responsible for ordering materials and when they need to do it. Remember that delivery times may affect your schedule. Decide what time workers may be in your home and where they should store any materials and equipment when they are not there.

Before you decide how extensively to renovate, you need to know what your end goal is for your home. Are you renovating to raise the resale value of your home, or will you be staying put for years to come? Consider the condition of your neighborhood before you begin, and know which renovations are a good return on investment, and which will be considered overdoing it for the area. Having a specific plan in place for your future will help you decide how deep to go with your project. Plus: 11 Important Things to Do When Planning to Sell Your Home

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.
A full grand surround turns a conventional shower into a steam shower. A transom installed above the door could be utilized in a way where it would dry the shower every time you close the door. Likewise, placing the fan near the transom can also help in drawing air out of the shower every time you close the door. For those with a steam shower, it’s highly recommended to incorporate a bigger bathroom fan. Don’t forget to check the grout lines as well. Fewer grout joints are recommended because there’s less surface area to absorb moisture.
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.
The temporary chaos of a home under renovation can be stressful at the best of times for the human occupants of the house, let alone the four-legged family members. When doing a house remodel, consider the safety and care of your pets, which could mean having a family member or friend pet-sit while the bulk of the work is getting done. This is especially true when the doors will often be open to bring tools and materials in and out.
While it goes without saying that any project needs a budget to keep costs in check, it's not always an easy task to find the balance between your dream designs and the amount in you've allotted for a project. This is why it is essential to get a true understanding of pricing, both with materials and labor, so you can gauge expectations accordingly. 
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?)
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?)
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.
I love your tip to talk to everyone that will be regularly using the bathroom space for ideas on what you want the remodel to look like. It would be important to make sure everyone will be happy with the remodel and that it will fulfill everyone’s needs! I’m planning on remodeling my guest bathroom, but I’ll make sure to talk to all my roommates before I call a remodeling company. Thanks!
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.

Air quality isn't just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don't hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.
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.
We installed a 1″ hex porcelain tile backsplash (Home Depot) using OMNIGrip premixed tile adhesive (Home Depot). OMNIGrip is similar to thinset mortar, but it’s better for use in RV’s because of its flexibility and strength. To finish off this the backsplash project, we grouted between the tiles with premixed grout in the color Alabaster (Home Depot) to perfectly matches the walls.

The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn't the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.
While it goes without saying that any project needs a budget to keep costs in check, it's not always an easy task to find the balance between your dream designs and the amount in you've allotted for a project. This is why it is essential to get a true understanding of pricing, both with materials and labor, so you can gauge expectations accordingly. 
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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