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.

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. 

However, you may choose to add a clause in your cost-plus remodeling contract that pays a bonus if the contractor completes the project early or under budget. This is more an incentive than a show of appreciation, and can be a percentage of estimated money saved or a flat fee, perhaps $500 to $1,000 for a major project like a large kitchen remodel.

To have the best chance of success, and to help in the budgeting process, make a master checklist of items you need, from administrative tasks like permits, right down to rollers for the paint. It’s helpful to separate the list by items you have, and items you need to purchase. In the case of tools, making a list can help you decide which tools you can rent to save on costs versus purchasing new.


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.

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.
If you’re an experienced DIYer, you are likely good at working around the disruptions of a house remodel. However, if you’ve hired a contractor for any part of the job, be sure to be clear about your daily routine, and work with the contractor to come up with start and end times that cause the least disruption in your family’s day. After all, no one wants to encounter tradespeople while you’re still in your bathrobe.
It really helped when you said that getting an efficient lighting design can help eliminate shadows on faces. That was a common problem we have in our bathroom before. It was too dark and my husband easily gets cuts when shaving. With this bathroom improvement project, I’d be sure to get help from a professional so we can remedy this lighting issue. Thanks for the very helpful tip!
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'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.

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.
Even if you’re planning a spring or summer remodel, don’t bank on having gorgeous weather to do it. Be sure to check the long and short-term forecasts before beginning a job, and schedule jobs that require outside access, like spray painting or wood cutting on days that have the best outlook. Consider heat and cold on days you may have to cut power to your furnace or air conditioner for comfortable working conditions and be sure to stay alert to unexpected changes in the weather.
The best place to start with any remodeling project is the budget. Not only will it have a big impact on the type of materials you select for your bathroom renovation, it will also help you set the boundaries of your design. Knowing what you can really afford to spend will make it a lot easier to decide what items you want to replace and where you need to get creative!
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.

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.


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.
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.

For bathrooms, overhead lighting is very important.  As for ambient options, you can always consider the use of a sunken track lighting, frosted glass fixtures, or even rice paper. Likewise, perimeter lighting is also capable of creating both soft, ambient glow, as well as useful light. It’s also highly advisable to consider using pendant lighting. Something like this allows the scattering of light into the direction that it gives the illusion of a beautiful centerpiece ceiling.
Ventilation. Ventilation. Ventilation. Moisture is your bathroom’s greatest enemy. Mold and mildew will make quick work of any renovation you’ve done so be sure to install a vent fan of appropriate CFMs for the square footage of your bathroom. The rough guide is one CFM per square foot for bathrooms of one hundred square feet or smaller. New designs are quieter and more stylish than ever and are a must have for any bathroom remodel.
Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do when it comes to home improvements is to start a project without the major details—cost, time, materials, and design—as realistic as possible from the start. Nothing costs more than having to "change horses in midstream" (e.g., you want to move the fridge somewhere else now or want to change your tile choice). Use design tools to conceptualize your project and add a healthy buffer (10-15% more) to your time and financial budget to account for the inevitable surprises.

The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers' homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.
Choosing the right layout for your powder room is important, not just for you but for your guests. This is the bathroom that your friends and neighbors will use most often in your home, rather than traveling to the private bathroom next to your bedroom.Powder rooms got their name from the 18th century, and are still largely used for the same purpose: as a space for guests to freshen up. Nowadays, powder rooms typically include a toilet and a sink, but never a tub or a shower. If you are looking to build a custom powder room from scratch, you should make space near your entryway or off of one of the more public rooms in your home.Typical powder rooms are about 20 square feet in size, and can be an easy extension to a living room or hallway. Pedestal sinks are a great way to save space when your powder room is on the smaller side, leaving plenty of legroom for guests. There are certain measurements and specifications that must be utilized in accordance with the IRC. The toilet and sink must always be accessible. But in most cases, this is easy to accomplish for your bathroom remodeling.
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