The look of your front door and entrance play heavily into the overall curb appeal of your home. As visitors enter, the front door serves as the transition into your home and is part of their first impression. Entry doors are architectural components that should complement your home's overall design, not detract from it. If your existing front door isn't up to par, head down to your local home improvement store for a more energy-efficient and attractive replacement. Whether you choose a solid wood door or one with decorative stained or cut glass panels, a welcoming entrance will definitely increase your home's bottom line.
The easiest way to clear up this question, of course, is to simply ask the company or contractor you're using what is the tipping policy before you even agree to a deal. Yeah, it's a bit awkward—but it's nothing compared with getting it completely wrong. And since tipping customs can vary a lot by region—people in Bismarck, ND, may not tip the same as those on New York’s Upper East Side—you could get some community advice from people who live nearby.
That is so exciting, Marlee, we love how our RV turned out! We remodeled a 2005 Daymon Bayridge park model trailer. The trailer cost $13,000 and the renovation (materials + labor) cost more than the purchase price, thus over doubling the total project cost. It was an extremely labor intensive process, but very rewarding. We loved being able to design the layout to perfectly suit our needs. Good luck with your project!

Many homeowners consider obtaining a building permit as an unnecessary headache which can slow down the renovation process, but permits are a necessary part of the process in most cases, which can come back to haunt you if not obtained in the first place. Building permits are necessary to ensure your house remodel meets structural and fire safety requirements and code inspectors in most jurisdictions can make you rip out non-conforming work if not up to snuff. This can create a very expensive headache when looking to sell your home down the road. It’s always advisable to think ahead and ensure the permit process is followed. Check out our DIY home improvement rules for more tips.


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.
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.
If you have a concern about poor quality work or materials, you must provide written notice to the contractors or suppliers before any legal action may be filed. The contractors and suppliers have an opportunity to respond to the claims, including the right to inspect and test alleged defects. You have the right to accept or reject settlement offers – in full or in part – via written notice.
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.
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.

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.
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. 
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.

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. 


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