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Category: Remodeling

If a kitchen remodel has always been on your to-do list, or if you’ve just outgrown the décor and design of your kitchen, the simplest solution isn’t to sell the house and move. You will be much happier if you put in the effort to make your house feel like home again with an affordable kitchen remodel. Remodeling the kitchen or the bathroom is the fastest and often the most economical way to add value to your home. However, kitchen remodeling price tags can often be upwards of $10,000. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that much.

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In an era when more and more homeowners are looking for ways to save and keep money in the bank, smart, affordable remodeling is within your reach. Ready to embark on your own affordable remodel? Hire a kitchen contractor and use him as a reference for choosing the best, most cost efficient products and materials on the market. You can also keep these tips in mind as well.

Smart Remodelers Make Smart Choices

With any remodel, the name of the game is creating a new look and feel. Feeling like you’re walking into a brand new room doesn’t necessarily have to involve stripping the room and starting from scratch. If you love the layout of the kitchen, but hate the look, refinishing your cabinets might be a smart choice for you. By taking what you already have and refinishing it, you create something brand new out of something you already had. This saves you money, but you’ll still have great results.

When you’re trying to keep a manageable kitchen remodeling budget, you’re going to have to make tough choices about materials. It’s completely understandable if you have your heart set on having a new granite countertop installed. They are durable and, of course, absolutely gorgeous. However, in your kitchen remodeling project, it might be more cost efficient and just as attractive to use slate or granite tile instead. With the money you save on granite, you will be able to either save more, or add to your budget for another part of your remodel. Talk to your contractor about the elements of the kitchen remodel you really don’t want to live without and see if he or she can help you make your décor dreams come true without breaking the bank.

An affordable kitchen remodeling doesn’t mean a cheap and unattractive one. You can have some of the materials you want in your home and still save money. It’s simply a matter of making compromises and really understanding the pros and cons of your choices.

So if we are seeking to embark on an affordable kitchen remodeling project we might surely ask ourselves about the ROI (return on investment) of various updates.

As mentioned in our last post, ROI really depends on what sort of “return” you are seeking.  For real estate investors, “return” is the sale price of the house or the rental fee they can get.  Thus, ROI is essentially asking “how much more can I sell or rent this house for” divided by “how much did this project cost”.

For many homeowners, its not just about resale but also about your appreciation of where you live.  Thus, gauging “return” can be a bit more vague.  But you can rather easily measure the latter part of the ROI formula – the investment.

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Here are some ideas for low-cost kitchen remodeling projects:

Paint – this one is easy, a new coat of paint goes a long way in any room.  The kitchen is no exception.  Unless you just recently painted, its hard to beat a new coat of paint in a kitchen remodeling project.

Cabinet Refacing – “reface cheaper than replace” is the slogan here.  The idea is that your cabinets frames (plus the installation of them) is a big part of the cost of new cabinets.  In most cases though, cabinet frames are in great condition.  Most people replace cabinets because they want a new look or style.  For that, you can either a) paint the cabinets, or b) reface them by replacing the doors and hardware .  As such, kitchen cabinet refacing is a great ROI project. You can also refinish them but this is a bit more of a project!

New Countertops – Everyone wants granite counters, and they certainly add to a home’s value.  But they aren’t cheap.  Consider granite tile as a more affordable alternative, or lower-cost Corian or Ceramic.  If you are replacing laminate countertops than any of these new kitchen countertops is a great option.  You might even check into Butcher-block.

New Flooring – Again not the cheapest, but consider a product like Pergo or QuickStep in place of real hardwoods.  Depending on where you are starting, this can really upscale your kitchen quickly and easily.

Appliance Refacing – this is a pretty new concept, but basically for $10-30 you can reface your appliances by covering them with a coating or film.  This can make a regular dishwasher look like it has a stainless steel finish, without the price tag.  Be careful though, you want to do a good job here so it doesn’t look tacky.  Also don’t go too cheap on the materials.

 

*Get free kitchen remodeling estimates from local contractors by filling out the form on the upper right hand side of this page*

Bamboo flooring can instantly transform a room into a classy and elegant living space. Millions of homes enjoy the benefits of hardwood flooring, but why is bamboo becoming such a more and more commonly chosen floor that is taking away from the previously dominated hardwood market? There are reasons, some really really good ones at that. Let’s explore…

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Environmentally Friendly / Eco-Friendly
There are many kinds of hardwood flooring available, red oak, white oak, hickory, birch, cherry, maple and more are all popular types of hardwood flooring, but they’re far from the being environmentally friendly. Oak trees can take about 15 to 20 years to grow to maturity. A birch tree takes about 10 to 15 years. Most of the trees used in hardwood flooring take at least 10 years to regrow. The growth rate can’t keep up with the cutting rate, which causes more trees to be cut down while the other trees grow.

Bamboo is quite the opposite. The growth rate of bamboo is incredibly fast. Bamboo only takes about three to five years to grow to full maturity. Bamboo shoots will also continue to grow from the roots of an already harvested plant, which allows more bamboo to grow without needing to be removed and then replanted. Since it’s very abundant in many parts of the world and regrows so quickly, it leaves much less of a footprint to cut bamboo instead of other types of traditional wood.

Low Price
Compared to other hardwood flooring materials, bamboo is quite affordable (I don’t want to use the term cheap, because that gives the wrong impression here – see durability below). It’s not uncommon for bamboo flooring to be priced below a dollar per square foot while other flooring materials can cost about $3 to $10 per square foot.

Durability
Bamboo flooring is made to handle high levels of daily abuse, levels that compare well to some of the more durable hardwood flooring options. Certain types of bamboo flooring, such as decarbonized bamboo and woven bamboo, are even more durable than regular bamboo flooring. Weaker flooring made from softer wood tend to get scratched and dinged up very easily. After some years of constant use, the floor will eventually need to be replaced or refinished. This can cost thousands of dollars in materials and labor. Bamboo lasts as well as the best of hardwood.

Maintenance
Bamboo flooring is easier to maintain than traditional hardwood flooring. It typically comes water and stain resistant, which helps prevent it from staining. It also doesn’t have as many slight or deep notches or grooves where dirt and grime may collect. Regular maintenance for bamboo flooring should consist of nothing more than sweeping and mopping.

Style
Bamboo flooring adds an elegant and stylish feeling to a room with its bright and clean color and sparkling sheen. Bamboo flooring comes in a wide range of styles and colors to match anybody’s preferences and home style. In fact, today’s options include bamboo floors that look identical to certain types of wood floors.

Bamboo flooring is only increasing in popularity, and with all of the benefits it offers, it’s not difficult to understand why. If you’re considering installing a new floor in your home, consider the unique style, eco-friendliness and durability of bamboo flooring.

This post was sponsored by Removals House

Repairing your roof is a smart way to correct a problem before it gets out of hand, causing even more damage and expense. If caught early enough, there are quite a number of roof-damage issues that are fairly simple and cost-efficient to fix. Houselogic.com urges homeowners to be on the lookout for signs of roof damage and recommends a roof inspection once a year.

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When conducting this inspection on the inside of your home, you should ensure that the ceiling contains no dark spots, that the paint job is intact underneath roof overhangs, and that there is no dampness or water staining on pipes or fireplaces. If discovered, these problems can be corrected with reasonable expense. Since these figures are estimates and vary from location to location, housewyse.com recommends that homeowners obtain bids from several contractors in order to receive the very best value for their money.

Elizabeth Dunn, contributor at AngiesList.com, provides a list of specifics that helps to determine the cost of a roof repair job. Roof type, for instance, can prove a huge factor due to the roofing material, topography, and pitch. Asphalt is relatively inexpensive, whereas white sheet and tile shingles can cost up to 1,000 per square foot, so this price discrepancy will impact your overall repair cost. Dunn also addresses other factors, such as size of the job, water damage, and the adherence to state permits, all of which can greatly impact total repair costs. For example, if your state requires a specific procedure for conducting a roof repair, extra materials may be needed to ensure that the roof meets the standards outlined in the permit. Also, if you have extra navigational obstacles, such as a chimney or a skylight, the contractor may charge additional fees.

Indoor / Outdoor Roof-Related Issues and Costs:

Cost of Water Damage Repairs: Through the use of a clever calculating system, Housewyse.com reports some helpful costs of repair statistics and what actions are required to complete the repair. Again, since there are no set-in-stone prices for such repairs, we will “plug in” the state of Indiana to gather some statistics for the average cost. There is a direct labor expense, or the price of the actual work being performed, and this repair takes approximately three hours and around $220 to complete. The supply cost of items such as fasteners, seam tape, and top compound, will average around $25 per patch, setting the estimated cost of repair at $250.

Roof Gutter Repairs: According to Mike Long, roofing expert and contributor at AngiesList.com, homeowners should take a look at the condition of their gutters to ensure that there is no bending, leaking, overflowing, or rusting. If a problem is determined, Long reports that the repair cost averages approximately $200-$1,000 for a 2,000 square-foot home.

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Houselogic.com outlines some issues to look for when inspecting the exterior of the roof, such as bucking shingles and moss or lichen growth. The roofing blog at roofing-directory.com reports that homeowners should expect to pay around $1,500 for shingle repair since shingles are sold by the square, and each square runs between $100 to $300.

A roof shampoo is recommended for moss or lichen growth in order to prevent decay to your roof due to the decomposing action of these fungi. Brian Eckert with CostOwl.com reports that the cost of roof cleaning varies with service professional and location. For a 1,200 square-foot home, you will likely pay around $250-$500 for this service. The roof of a 2,500 square-foot home would probably cost between $375-$750 to clean. Keep in mind that variables such as height and roof size will certainly impact the overall cost.

As houselogic.com explains, a roof that is in good condition is definitely worth the time and money to repair, and you should also explore other options when considering the cost and scope of a roof-repair project. Many repairs are quick solutions that the homeowners can even fix themselves. Others are not so simple, but if the cause is weather-related, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to determine if such damage is covered under policy.

Finally, if a personal roof inspection leaves you with questions, you might consider gathering a professional inspection of your roof to ensure that all issues are adequately addressed. Houselogic.com explains that homeowners can either receive a free inspection through a participating company or can secure a professional roof inspector for around $175 through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association. Keep in mind, however, that the key to successful roof repair is to adequately prevent and address issues as soon as possible to prevent further damage. In this way, you can work to extend the life of your roof, saving yourself much aggravation and expense.

Sources: http://www.angieslist.com/articles/5-factors-influence-price-roof-repair.htm
http://www.angieslist.com/articles/gutter-trouble-when-replace-instead-repair.htm
http://www.costowl.com/home-improvement/roof-cleaning-cost.html

Average Cost of a Shingle Repair Job

Roofing: Repair or Replace?


http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_repair_ceiling_water_damage.html

Expanding a home with an addition is a terrific way to offer a family more room in the house and improve the value of the property. Any home owner who is considering an addition on their home where a construction crew would be involved would need to research local contractors before making a choice.

Several issues may impact whether a particular contractor is right for the job. Smart home owners will want to consider every angle of the project before making their choice on competing estimates from contractors.

1. Reputation

A building contractor’s business thrives on happy customers, and one of the primary ways such professionals obtain additional work is through the recommendations of satisfied home owners. Asking friends or family who might have had work done by a local contractor about their experience is a good first step in determining whether the contractor will deliver.

The internet is another valuable resource for researching the reputation of a local contractor, but home owners should beware that what might be found on the internet regarding a contractor’s reputation might not always be accurate. Speaking to real-life clients of a contractor or building company will always be the most truthful way to determine a contractor’s reputation. The homeowner should also look for multiple reviews online as opposed to just one person’s review. Free review sources such as Google reviews and Yelp can be great sources for this.

2. Experience

The amount of time a particular contractor has been operating is a good indication of their reputation as any contractor who doesn’t perform well will suffer from a lack of new projects. Experience also showcases a contractor’s dedication to his profession, and the number of projects he might have completed that had similar goals as a client’s present request.

3. Price

Simply choosing the lowest cost estimate is never a good idea when it comes to home improvement projects and complicated installations like an addition to the home. The budget is often the biggest wildcard associated with a significant home improvement project, and will often be one of the determining factors regarding the choice a home owner makes.

Estimates that are too low reveal the inexperience of the contractor, while estimates that seem too high might be a more accurate representation of what the project may cost. A home owner might want to spend no more than a certain amount of money on a project, but sometimes what the home owner wants would cost much more.

4. Time

There are two considerations regarding time that every home owner should think about when choosing the right home estimate. One consideration will be the amount of time the contractor or building professional took to come to a decision on how long the project would take. No contractor worth his cost will ever offer an estimate over the phone. Good contractors always request an on-site investigation of the premises to be modified for accurate budgeting.

In addition, the completion time offered should also be under consideration as this timeframe might offer clues as to which contractor is telling the truth about how long it might take to finish a project. By comparing the estimates of time given from each of the contractors, it’s possible to come to an average timeframe and eliminate any estimate that seems suspiciously short when compared to the others.

When considering which bid to accept for a home addition, each of the preceding factors should be considered before any decisions are made. Speaking with each contractor or building professional more than once is recommended to get a feel for how each project may play out when the project gets underway. Careful decision-making regarding the contractor will be the best way to get a fabulous looking home addition.

Homeowners considering bathtub and shower replacement options will be happy to find a large selection of choices available in varying price ranges. Relaxing in a hot bath or shower can reduce stress after a day of work or play.

When a limited budget is not a hindrance, a residential steam shower unit is a common option. The steam shower contributes greatly to relieving tension and offers many other health benefits as well. Water vapors coming from a generator heat the air in a steam shower unit. These units can include features like seating benches, foot massagers and ceiling rain showers in addition to the steam. Common materials for steam showers are tile, granite, marble or fiberglass. These units do not require any more space than a regular bathtub. The steam controls can be located either in the shower or outside the shower door. Homeowners commonly choose to have controls installed both inside and outside the shower for more convenience. A thermometer or timer can be included as well. It only takes about two gallons of water to take a steam shower that lasts 20 minutes. For unclogging sinuses and relaxing muscles, there is nothing like a good steam shower.

As the population ages, many homeowners are equipping their bathrooms with walk-in tubs. These units fit in the same space as their existing tubs and offer convenience for anyone who has difficulty stepping up and over an ordinary tub. A popular choice is a walk-in tub with a 16-jet warm air massage feature that produces bubbles of warm air to surround the bather’s body. The quick drain system has two drains for faster draining of the bath water, and the independent filler system lets bathers fill the bathtub and take a shower at the same time. The shower water and bath water temperatures can be pre-set at separate maximum temperatures as a safety measure. Faucet handles with ceramic disc cartridges make operating the lever handles easy. The door swings inward and has a palm pad latch on its top. This type of latch allows the door to be opened by depressing the pad with an elbow, open hand or closed fist. An antibacterial seat cover tops a comfortable thick pad seat cushion, and it is easy to remove the cover for cleaning. A textured bath floor helps to prevent the possibility of slipping in the tub. These tubs are a popular option for homeowners as they mature.

Homeowners on a tight budget commonly choose a fiberglass tub and shower combination unit when they want an economical option for replacing their current tub. Fiberglass is lightweight and relatively inexpensive, and it has a nice appearance. Most homeowners choose a tub and shower unit with shelves on the shower walls for holding soaps, shampoos and other items. Towel bars are another popular addition to provide added convenience. Pressing layers of fine glass particles into a mold and holding the layers together with resin is the method of constructing fiberglass tubs. A built-in wood frame adds strength to the tub. When the unit has a sturdy wooden framework and the fiberglass walls are thick, it should hold up well for a long time. Fiberglass remains the material of choice for tub and shower replacement when saving money is important.

No one is going to dispute that avocado colored wallpaper and orange linoleum tile floors from the 1970’s are less than desirable. If you ever wanted to have a home spa day in your own bathroom, you would have to leave the cucumber slices over your eyes the entire time because seeing your Partridge Family bathroom would never let you relax. If you’re tired of your bathroom, but not sure you can afford to remodel it, here are some tips to help you reconsider.

A bathroom remodel is one of the smartest things a homeowner can do for their house. Along with the kitchen, remodeling the bathroom is incredibly effective for increasing the value of the home and a well done one can even boost your selling price. These kinds of remodels tend to pay for themselves when the house is sold. If you have no intention of selling, then an affordable bathroom remodel is a nice treat for you and makes your home that much more pleasant for you and your family. Of course, you don’t want to skimp on the quality of the remodel, so be sure to hire the best contractor you can find for the job.

Consider Creative Options for Saving Money on Your Bathroom Remodel

Affordable bathroom remodeling is all about being willing to think outside the box. While the easiest option for a remodel would be to simply gut the room and start from scratch. However, it isn’t the most affordable option. You’ll want to consider doing a “surface” remodel in which you only replace or refurbish certain parts of your current bathroom. A surface remodel could include repainting the room, adding new light fixtures, refinishing the vanity, or adding new countertops or floors.

If you need some ideas for inexpensive fixtures for your new bathroom there are several TV shows dedicated to the subject and home improvement magazines are another resource you shouldn’t overlook. Many larger cities also have home improvement stores that specialize in used and refurbished construction items. If you have one in your area, be sure to see what they have in stock. You never know, you might find that claw foot tub you have always wanted at an amazing price.

You might also find that there are some inventive programs from your city that will help your remodeling budget bottom line. For example, if you are replacing your toilet with a newer, water saving model, you could receive a rebate from the city by recycling your old one and showing proof of purchase and installation of the newer model. You don’t need a lot of money to change parts of your bathroom you don’t like, however you will need to do your research to make sure you are making smart decisions. A bathroom contractor will also be able to use his experience to help you make your dream room a reality within your budget.

Get free bathroom remodeling estimates using the form on the upper right of this page!

A strong roof on a home is one of the most critical elements of keeping the structure in good condition, and when problems occur, it’s vital to obtain the assistance of a professional roofer before any further damage to the home can happen. Home owners can go for years without fixing things like a broken cabinet or a faulty door inside their home, but a roof is far too essential to leave unattended.

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Different roofing jobs will have various timelines associated with them as far as how long the overall project might take. There are many circumstances that might impact the average time required to complete a roof replacement project.

Narrowing down the completion timeframe for a roof replacement will usually encompass a few different projects related to the overall project length and the actual time that the roofing company might spend on the roof making changes. A roof can actually be installed in many cases in just a few days on an average sized home that is not too architecturally complex, yet the overall process might take as long as a few months from start to finish.

From the time at which a problem is found until the roof is finally finished, a lot of things need to happen. Those projects include:

1. Inspection by the roofer and/or insurance company
2. Estimate of timeframe and cost from roofing company
3. Approval and funding from home insurance company
4. Acquisition of materials and scheduling
5. Roof repair and/or installation
6. Final paperwork for the insurance company

As long as there are no serious problems during the process, complete repair and replacement of a roof on a standard home would require a project length of a few months. The actual work on the house would be much shorter, however, and could be less than a week.

Additional elements that could lengthen the average time of completion could include:

1. The time of year

Roofing jobs should be scheduled during patterns of good weather although some roofing emergencies might require that a crew does some work during the rainy season or when it’s highly likely to snow.

It is possible to complete a roof replacement job in the dead of winter when there’s snow all over the ground, but the time table for the project is usually a few weeks longer than if it is accomplished in the summer.

2. Materials acquired for the new roof

Common materials for a new or replacement roof may include slate, composite or metal shingles, and the decision to utilize one of these roofing types will usually depend on how much a home owner wants to spend and how long they want the new roof to last. Other popular roofing materials may include clay, plastic, classic wood or simple asphalt.

Roofing materials like an asphalt roll might be installed quickly, but they will only last about a decade before needing replacement. Slate or Spanish tiles, on the other hand, may last over a century but will require longer installation time.

It’s also essential to consider that sometimes a roofing material is out of stock and may be back ordered. This could push back or extend the timeline of the project by a few weeks.

3. Size and complexity of the home or project area

It’s not a surprise to find out that a large home that has five thousand square feet inside it would probably have a much longer timeframe for roof replacement than a home that was just a thousand square feet.

As far as the shape of the house is concerned, sometimes the roof of a home will have nothing more than a single peak rising to the center without any depressed areas where the roof rises and falls. These types of roofs will usually offer the shortest timeline for completion. More complex architectural designs for the roof may require additional materials used to maintain the structural integrity of the building materials and work around impediments like chimneys.

4. Hidden problems and damage

It’s often possible to diagnose a problem in a roof by having it inspected by a roofing professional, but sometimes there is damage that isn’t immediately obvious or which doesn’t become apparent until the repair process has begun. In such circumstances, days or even weeks may be added to the project time frame.

Sometimes when a home owner has decided to have their roof replaced due to general aging and has not had to deal with an emergency, issues of wear and tear could enter into the project. Replacement of certain interior elements of the home could become necessary and would require additional construction personnel and time be added to the timeframe.

Homeowners who undertake remodeling projects are typically altering either their kitchens or their bathrooms. As one of the most frequently occupied rooms in the house, bathrooms see a lot of wear and tear in a short amount of time. Toilets begin to leak, tiles loosen around bathtubs and showers, and mold forms in the flooring grout. Even with cost-reducing quick fixes over the years, these issues pile up until nothing will resolve them except a complete bathroom makeover.

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The difficulty with bathroom remodeling projects is that the room is one of the most complex and compact spaces in the entire house. With all that water in one small room, there are many opportunities to make costly choices and mistakes. The best way to keep the costs of a bathroom remodeling project in check is to start the process with a set budget and to make design choices based on needs that fit within those specifications.

How much does a bathroom remodel cost?
The average cost for a bathroom remodel varies greatly depending on the type of bathroom. Master bathrooms are generally more expensive, averaging approximately $16,000 nationwide, while non-master full bathrooms average closer to $11,000. This difference in cost is based largely on the upgrades added in a master bathroom.

Because a master bathroom is still considered a luxury, building or remodeling these spaces is generally more costly. Homeowners working on their master suites are more apt to include more expensive accessories that are frequently nonessential. For example, master bathrooms often feature larger-than-normal soaker tubs or separate spaces for bathtubs and showers. These features are not essential to the functionality of the bathroom space, but they are luxuries that many homeowners wish to include in their master suites. These types of add-ons will greatly increase the cost of a bathroom remodeling project.

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Another variant in determining the average cost of a bathroom remodel is the location of the home. Homeowners across the nation spend varying amounts of money on very similar remodeling projects. Pacific coast homeowners tend to spend the greatest amount of money, averaging nearly $1,000 more per project than anyone else in the country. Residents of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states spend the second most on their remodels, while the South Atlantic states are third on the list. The least expensive remodeling projects seem to be located in the Mountain region where the average remodeling project is nearly $6,000 less than those on the Pacific coast.

Despite with these regional disparities in remodeling costs, even greater differences exist between urban and rural projects. Homeowners in major cities, such as New York and San Francisco, frequently spend more than $20,000 on non-master full bathroom remodels. Similar projects in smaller metropolitan areas, such as Oklahoma City and Dallas, average closer to $7,000. These regional and location differences are based on the availability of materials and more importantly on the cost of labor.

What factors most influence the cost of a bathroom remodel?
The largest single cost in a bathroom remodeling project is labor for the contractor and crew that will be handling the project. The cost of labor usually amounts to around one-third of the entire budget of the remodel. This fee is nearly non-negotiable unless the homeowner does some of the work himself to cut costs. Therefore, if the budget of the remodeling project needs to be trimmed, the savings most likely will need to come from some of the luxuries and not from the labor budget.

Another costly factor in bathroom remodeling projects is the plumbing itself. If the bathroom project is mainly cosmetic, this may not be a large factor in the remodeling, but many bathrooms are altered because of leaking faucets or bathtubs. Correcting leaks and replacing bad pipes can be very time-consuming for the construction crew and plumber which will drive up the labor costs in addition to the fees for the new pipes. This can be especially true if the leaking pipe is difficult to find or if the house is older and features non-compliant types of pipes. These hidden costs can become budget-busting very quickly.

Beyond the cost of labor and plumbing, the other major expenses in a bathroom remodeling project mainly involve cosmetic choices. While it is necessary to place a floor, walls, and ceiling in the bathroom, the types of materials and their costs can vary widely to fit within any remodeling budget. For example, although radiant (heated) flooring that will keep feet warm on cold mornings is exceptionally comfortable and luxurious, it is not a necessary feature for a bathroom remodeling project. Therefore, radiant flooring is an added expense that will drive up the cost of the project rather than keep it within budget.

What are some common luxury features used in bathroom remodeling projects?
In addition to radiant flooring, there are several common luxury features that can take any bathroom remodeling project to another luxurious level. Many interior bathrooms that do not have windows are being given natural light through the addition of skylights. These features can flood a room with natural light during the day while also giving a romantic view of the moon and stars during the night.

Deep soaking bathtubs and rain-inspired shower heads are luxurious additions to many master bathroom remodeling projects. These powerful yet calming additions to cleanliness help to create an at-home spa atmosphere for any bathroom. In addition, many tubs and showers are surrounded by elaborately designed bathroom tile designs with stain-resistant grout that withstand the threat of mold while looking stylish and modern.

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No matter the budget of a bathroom remodeling project, there are many options and variables to help keep the costs reasonable while creating a functional and attractive space. We hope you enjoyed this post on the average cost of bathroom remodeling projects!

A handful of our readers have been writing in asking about some previous decking posts we have on the site and some of the questions we are seeing are related to comparing pros, cons and average pricing of these materials. So, with the flow of questions, we figured we would try to provide some answers, via a post, of course! 🙂

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Composite Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Composite decking materials are decking materials made of a composite of wood and a variety of other products. They began to come into popularity in the 1990s, after some of the major defects of the composite materials had been worked out. The idea of using composites was to be able to retain the appearance of wood, without some of its less desirable properties. Composite decking materials require much less maintenance than pressure treated wood. The big advantage over wood is that they do not have to be regularly refinished or stained every few years. Composites eventually will show some deterioration due to rot, because they are, in part, wood. Another problem which may plague composite materials is that they are subject to mildew and mold, which is a concern particularly in wet or damp climates. Generally composite materials run about $2.50 per linear foot, about 2 ½ times the cost of pressure treated lumber. In order to assess the advantages and disadvantages of composite decking, you need to be informed of your alternatives.

Pressure Treated (Pine) Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
According to an article by Popular Mechanics, about 75% of all new decks are still made of pressure treated wood. “Pressure treated” wood is wood which has had preservatives infused into it through a variety of processes, to make it more resistant to natural deterioration, and pest infestation, and to make it fire retardant. There are about 25-30 different preservatives commonly used, and a number of processes of treating wood, but your local lumberyard or home improvement center will have a selection of the treated woods most suitable to your particular environment. Pressure treated pine is the least expensive building material, costing roughly $1.00 per linear foot. To prevent deterioration, it should be power washed annually, and retreated with preservatives or stains every two to three years.

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Natural Wood/ Select Hardwoods Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
A second wood alternative would be to build a deck with natural wood. Pine, unless pressure treated, is too vulnerable to rot and infestation to make it a good alternative. Redwood and cedar, because they contain natural oils and tannins which make them more rot and pest resistant, also have a great appeal because of their natural beauty. Tropical hardwoods, such as cumaru, Philippine mahogany, red tauri, tigerwood ipe, and others are still another alternative. These woods are extremely durable and resistant to both rot and infestation, but they are so hard that it is almost impossible to drive a nail through them without drilling a hole in them first. They are also heavy and hard to work with. All natural woods will start to discolor to the characteristic “silver” of weathered wood if not treated with a stain. Redwood and Cedar, which are cheaper near where they are harvested, can run from $1.25 to $2.00 per linear foot, but can run more, depending upon the grade. Select hardwoods such as ipe can run as much as $4.00 to $5.00 per linear foot, and often must be special ordered.

Plastic or PVC Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Plastic can now be made to look like wood, and is basically maintenance free. The new plastics are stain and scratch resistant, and won’t rot or mildew. Appearances tend to vary by manufacturer, so you would want to get all material from the same source. To date, plastic decking materials have tended to sag over time, as opposed to the other decking materials. Plastic decking material runs about $3.00 per linear foot. Some contractors also note that plastic can be difficult to work with, which may result in additional labor costs during installation.

Aluminum Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Aluminum is the ultimate decking material if you are talking either durability or maintenance. Aluminum is impervious to rot, mildew, cracking, or warping. It will not catch on fire, and pest infestation is not a problem. It is lighter and stronger than most other materials and can be cut with regular carbide-tipped saws. The major drawback for aluminum decks is the cost. At roughly $9.00 per linear foot, it costs nine times as much as a pressure treated lumber deck.

Conclusion
Of the three lower cost alternatives, composite decking will probably continue to gain in popularity as technology produces even better composites. Pressure treated wood, although considerably less expensive initially, should be considered to be of roughly comparable cost, when maintenance and upkeep costs are factored in. If you are someone who will do your own maintenance, these costs can be reduced, but if you hire someone to wash and stain your deck at regular intervals, the maintenance costs of the pressure treated lumber will soon exceed that of the composite deck. Plastic, appears to have little advantage over composite until the problem of sagging is adequately addressed.

Changing the color and curb appeal of your home’s exterior can be done by applying a new coat of paint. New paint for your home can be applied by a professional or as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. The cost to paint the exterior of your home is based on factors that include the cost of labor and the tools that are required. In this post we will more closely take a look at the average cost of doing this project on your own.

The Average Cost of Hiring Professionals

Professional house painters are a good option for homeowners who lack the skill or the time that is necessary to paint the exterior of their home. The average cost of hiring a professional exterior house painter is in the range of $3,000 to $8,000 or more based on the size of the home and other factors. That average price typically includes the coverage of tools, supplies etc. no fuss, no worries and typically an excellent finished project, if you hire professional painting contractors, obviously. If you skimp on this, your home may end up looking quite a bit worse than what you had hoped for, because the quality of the finished product is usually in the preparation.

Do-It-Yourself Project – The Average Cost

Painting the exterior of your home by yourself “can” save you money on the cost of labor. However, you will need to have the time available to complete the project and a handful of tools and other helpful items (see scaffolding below, that’s the tough one).

If done on your own, paint will typically cost between $25 and $50 per gallon. Primer will be needed for the project and will cost between $10 and $15 or more per gallon. The average size home in the USA requires between 6-12 gallons of each. If you decide that hiring a painter to paint your home is too expensive, then the project can be done by yourself. Paints with primer already included in them can be purchased, but are on the higher side of that cost per gallon previously mentioned. On average, a homeowner can do the exterior paint project on their own for around $1,000, after all supplies are purchased / rented.

Matching paint colors can be an issue for homeowners. There are products out there available to assist with matching current colors up with new colors (see here).

Renting / Borrowing Tools

Many tools that you need to paint the exterior of your home can be found or rented from a home improvement store in your area.  Look to see if the tools you need are available from friends, family members, or neighbors. Lets review some of the necessities:

Pressure Washer

One special tool you will need is a pressure washer. This tool can typically be rented at a cost of $50 to $70 for each day of use. You can also purchase a decent pressure washer for under $300. The pressure washer will easily remove dirt and grime from existing siding. This step is essential for a professional finish. Keep in mind that a pressure washer can be used in the future for things like deck, patio, siding, brick resurfacing and more. If you are DIY buff, a pressure washer is a healthy investment.

Paint Sprayer

The use of a paint sprayer will make the painting process go much faster. You will also keep your arms and hands from aching by not using a paint brush or roller. A decent paint sprayer costs about $70 each day. If you are renting the paint sprayer, be sure to have already pressure washed the exterior prior to renting and you either want to complete the trim work painting (or taping / coverage of non-painted areas) prior to or after the paint sprayer is rented.

Scaffolding

The use of scaffolding is a great way to ensure you can easily reach high areas. You may want to rent a scaffolding system if your home is more than one story, as a ladder may not meet your needs. The rental of a scaffolding unit is typically based on its size and can be between $15 to $50 per day. For most homes, a base scaffolding set will do the trick.

Heat Gun

A heat gun will run between $40 and $75 or more depending on the model being purchased and it is not needed in most cases. On most homes, old layers of paint can be removed cleanly with a pressure washer and scraper. A heat gun is needed in situations where multiple layers of older paint exists on the surface. As paint is layered, varying heights on the paint surface (from older, lasting paint) can cause an uneven look, which can define a homes age too much. As sun hits uneven paint, it will show slight shadows which really show the blemishes of the exterior. A heat gun may be necessary if you are truly looking to add a pure, even professional and new looking paint job to you house.

Paint Scraper

A paint scraper can be used in combination with a heat gun to remove old paint. This tool can be found for a price range of $8 to $25 at a home improvement store. In almost all scenarios, this will be a necessary tool and it is likely that you will use a paint scraper multiple times in the future. So it is never really a bad investment.

Putty Knife

Old caulk and paint that cannot be easily removed with a scraper will require a putty knife. This tool is inexpensive and can be found starting at about $5. You can also use this tool in combination with a heat gun.

Sander

Sanding the exterior of your home is needed to remove old paint and allow new paint to stick properly. There are a variety of types of sanders available pretty much anywhere. The best choice for exterior sanding is a pole sander. This tool will require sheets of sandpaper that cost between $3 and $10 per package. Areas that are hard to reach as well as corner / edge spots of the house will require sanding by hand. The purchase of a pole sander will cost about $15.

Metal Brush

Areas you cannot thoroughly cover with a sander or sandpaper will require a metal brush. The bristles of the brush are wire and used to loosen paint that is thick or hard to remove. A metal brush can be purchased at a hardware store for around $10.

Painting Tape

Areas that do not require paint typically need to be covered with either tape, or a combination of tape and plastic (for larger areas of course). The average house exterior may require as much as a $25 worth of tape and usually varying sizes should be purchased. 3/4 of an inch to 1 and 1/2 inch tape varieties should be on hand. In fact, if you spend a healthy amount of time properly applying tape and plastic covering to non-painted areas, you can usually save a substantial amount of time on the overall project, because it will allow you more liberal use of the paint sprayer (hint – this makes for an easier job).