Unfortunately, most home improvements do not pay for themselves. If you can't afford to finance the project in full with cash, know the different ways you can finance your home improvement without putting your home at risk. Also, if you know the difference between tax breaks you get for home repairs or home improvements, you can make the proper deductions at tax time and get some money back from your project. Similarly, if you're paying private mortgage insurance, home improvements that increase the value of your home could help you eliminate that cost, which, although it doesn't raise funds for your project, can reduce your housing expenses overall.
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.
Going "green" is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for you. Green products have great design, tend to function better, which lowers utility bills, and they’re also chemical-free, making them better for your health. Having an eco-friendly approach to remodeling isn’t just about buying new products, doing something "green" can be as simple as painting a cabinet instead of tossing it in a landfill.
The thrill of a home renovation can quickly be diminished by unforeseen circumstances, stretched budgets, and other unexpected issues. The good news is that most of the time these problems can be mitigated, if not avoided entirely, by keeping an eye out for warning signals. Read on as we go through essential home renovation tips to consider before kicking off your own revamp.
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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.
Although it probably sounds a little intimidating, most people can switch out a light fixture safely and successfully, if they’re careful and follow the instructions. And what a difference fresh lighting makes, especially in the bathroom! This DIY bathroom remodel idea is small and simple, and it can often be done in under an hour, and it really makes such a difference in the brightness and updated feel of the bathroom. Lighting is key in the bathroom, so be sure you’re opting for light that is bright enough, but not too bright, and also designed for high-moisture areas.
For those who are thinking of putting their home up for sale five years from now, then it’s important to ensure that the value of your property would increase over time, consider having your home renovated for that purpose. On the other hand, if you’re planning to live in your home for a couple of years, it’s very important to ensure that the design of your bathroom is something you would really love and fit with your style and preferences.
Even in a cosmetic remodel, there can be an opportunity to enhance the function or money-saving capability of your home. When ripping out an entire room, for instance, this may be the perfect time to add insulation to the walls, upgrade your electrical panel or add additional light or electrical fixtures. The key is to think ahead to how you will use the room, and take advantage of cosmetic updates to enhance the structure of your home.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bathroom remodeling, a lot of homeowners tend to neglect this aspect. What they are not aware of is the fact that proper ventilation is very important, especially if you want to ensure that your bathroom renovation project lasts for years to come. A bathroom that’s not properly ventilated could contribute to a number of problems, such as the buildup of mold and mildew. This could wreak havoc and ruin some of the expensive upgrades made in the new bathroom remodel, such as the floors, walls, and even the cabinetry.
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If your home is lacking plumbing shut-off valves in the area you are working on, you may have to shut the water off at the main valve, leaving your home without access to running water. Plan ahead and place containers of water in the fridge for drinking, on the counter for cooking and have buckets of water available to flush the toilet. An easy way to do this is to fill the bathtub with water and place a bucket nearby to pour into the toilet bowl.
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.
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.

Even in a cosmetic remodel, there can be an opportunity to enhance the function or money-saving capability of your home. When ripping out an entire room, for instance, this may be the perfect time to add insulation to the walls, upgrade your electrical panel or add additional light or electrical fixtures. The key is to think ahead to how you will use the room, and take advantage of cosmetic updates to enhance the structure of your home.
The condition of your home's exterior is key to the overall curb appeal, so refresh that facade with a coat of paint. Fresh exterior paint will not only preserve and protect your home's exterior siding — the right paint color can make a dull home dazzling. By the same token, a house painted with an overly bright or overly bland color will make a house less appealing and hurt the value, so choose your colors wisely. Should you decide to put your house on the market and the exterior paint looks bad, a buyer will assume that the interior of the home has been neglected too and drive right past.
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.
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.
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 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.
As different trends in home decor evolve, we have found that unique bathrooms are always a popular choice. Wet rooms might not function well with every bathroom design, but when you have space and resources for one, it can add a lot of value to the home. Most wet rooms include a shower and a toilet, without anything separating them. The uniqueness of wet rooms really comes into play when choosing flooring.The most important thing to remember when building a wet room is that everything must be able to resist moisture. Waterproofing your cabinets, flooring, and appliances is mandatory in order to have a well-functioning room.Flooring is one of the key features that distinguishes a wet room from other types of bathrooms. The flooring of the shower extends to the rest of the room, so it’s important to think about the fact that there is no separation happening there. This bathroom consists of open space with no steps or raised areas, giving you more flexibility to design something you wouldn’t be able to in other rooms.

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.
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.
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.
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