5 Ways to Update Your Bathroom for Less

By Barbara Pronin

“These days,” says California bathroom designer Ted Reedy, “you can spend $15,000 or more to remodel an outdated bathroom. But while a trendy bath appeals to buyers and ultimately adds value to your home, you can achieve a fresh new look and improve functionality while spending whole lot less.”

Reedy suggests five ways to improve your old bathroom without spending any more than you need to:

Reface vanity/cabinets –
You can give bathroom cabinets and/or vanity a whole new look by refacing – not replacing – the old, tired-looking front surfaces. Refacing will cost just a third of the replacement cost and add new life to the room.
Add a stylish sink – Consider an integrated sink, which has no edges or hangovers from the countertop to the sink, or a bowl sink, which sits above the countertop, for between $150-$500. Even installing a shiny new chrome faucet and/or porcelain handles can be a smart and stylish small investment.
Change the lighting – Improve your bathroom’s look and feel by replacing those glaring overhead lights. Accent lighting, such as canister lights installed in the ceiling, or track lighting installed over the sink, will improve functionality and appearance at a very reasonable cost.
Update the flooring –Replacing vinyl tiles or linoleum with porcelain, ceramic or natural stone tiles is a cost-effective and savvy investment. Choose simple tile designs you can install yourself or have professionally installed.
Change the shower head – Turn your shower into an oasis you will enjoy by updating your shower head with a rain head. They can cost as little as $100 and the small investment can be a real turn-on to buyers when the time comes to sell.

Avoid These Common Home Improvement Blunders

(BPT) – Consumer complaints and lawsuits regarding home improvements are on the rise according to Ripoff Reports; a homeowner that does not do their homework before embarking on a project could find themselves with poor workmanship, inferior products, health and safety issues or even legal problems.

So what’s a homeowner in need of a fix up to do?

"Start by reviewing the three most common mistakes people make when embarking on a home improvement project," says Dave Harrison, chief marketing officer of Champion Windows, Sunrooms, Roofing and Home Exteriors, one of the nation’s leading home improvement companies.

No.1: Buying Only on Price
Your home is probably one of the most expensive items you own, so making improvements is not the place to budget shop.- "Make sure you are getting quality products professionally installed. A properly done home improvement should only have to be done once," added Harrison, "and remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’."

No. 2: Not looking at the Long Term Investment Benefits
When your home improvement project is finally over, you should be getting more than an upgrade to your home; you should also see an increase in your home’s value. When you do it right you can reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase comfort and pride in your home, and never have to worry about it again for as long as you own your home.

On the flip side a poorly executed project can lower the value of your home, have to be re-done in several years and even put your family’s health at risk. For example, water damage from faulty windows could cause mold.

No. 3: Not Knowing How to Screen a Contractor

"I’ve seen many independently owned contractors close their businesses after a short year or two," said Harrison. "When selecting a contractor to work with it is important to get a sense of who they are, what products they use and how long they have been in business."

According to Harrison there are four essential questions to ask during this screening process:
– Who designs it?
– Who builds it?
– Who installs it?
– Who guarantees it?

"When you don’t get the correct answers to these four questions you may end up with an inferior investment, expensive surprises, property damage or even lawsuits and liabilities," says Harrison.

"Ultimately, the answer you want is that there is a single source of accountability for your project. Having one company design, build, install and guarantee the product and work can save you time, money and hassles in the long run."

Make sure you have a contractor relationship you can trust for the long-term. This long-term relationship starts with a quality product and professional installation and includes a lifetime warranty from a company that has longevity and provides you with a sense that they will still be in business five or ten years down the road. -You should also ensure that your warranty is transferable, applies to all systems, applications and materials, and is non-prorated. A non-prorated warranty is considered to be the most valuable as it means that the manufacturer or seller will replace or repair the item at no cost to the buyer if there is a problem with a product.

Say Yes to an Inexpensive Bathroom Remodels

Repairing shower stall with grout applicator(ARA) – Looking to revamp your bathroom but worried about a monumental price tag? Want to freshen your space and still be able to afford that trip to Hawaii? We don’t blame you. The average cost of a bathroom remodel tops $16,500, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. But you don’t have to spend the average to achieve above-average results when it comes to updating a bathroom.

Generally, people renovate or remodel bathrooms for two main reasons: to boost their home’s resale value, and to enhance their own enjoyment of the room. A bathroom renovation yields a 62 percent return on investment at the time of resale, Remodeling Magazine’s report indicates. How much more will you enjoy that ROI – and the improved livability of your bath – if your initial investment was just $1,000, rather than tens of thousands?

Fortunately, the bathroom is one room in the house where you can accomplish a lot with $1,000. Here are four updates and upgrades that cost less than 10 Ben Franklins, but can leave you feeling like a million bucks when you step into your new bath.

1. Redo walls and floors
The key to bringing this job in under $1,000 is to do the work yourself. The actual materials – paint for the walls and tile, stone or vinyl for the floor – can be purchased for a relatively low cost. By doing the work yourself, you avoid high labor charges. Most bathrooms require only a gallon or two of paint, so you can easily stay on budget even if you purchase a high-end brand. It’s also possible to find plenty of cost-effective flooring options, from luxury materials like marble to more economical ones such as ceramic tile or vinyl. After the materials, your second biggest investment for this project will be the time it takes to learn how to do the job right. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of educational material online and many home improvement stores even offer free classes in how to lay new floors.

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Shop Easier: A Guide to Kitchen Faucets

Kitchen Sink

Replacing a kitchen faucet is hands down the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to dramatically improve the appearance and functionality of the kitchen. Maybe more importantly, replacing an older or corroded faucet goes a long way towards cleaning up and even updating the look and feel of the kitchen.

With such a wide selection of kitchen faucets, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Below are helpful hints so you can find a faucet to fit any budget.

Bare bones, pure functionality, no-frills kitchen faucets can cost less than hundred bucks, and if the existing faucet is in particularly bad shape, even a very plain-jane fixture can dramatically improve the appearance of the kitchen. For example, a simple, sleek Cascada kitchen faucet from Ruvati is a great choice, because it’s inexpensive (only $90!) and minimal, but also stylish. It’s no out of date, old fashioned faucet, it’s lovely and unobtrusive, perfectly suited for a modern kitchen.

High design. When kitchen faucets start getting expensive is when one either wants some more design to it, or more integrated functionality, though oddly enough it’s the former that will often cost you more. Herbeau kitchen faucets are famous for their authentic artisan designs, made from the same casts and using traditional methods and materials used for more than a hundred years in the Provence region of France. For a French country kitchen, one can’t get much more authentic than the Herbeau’s Valence faucet, but it’ll also put the project in a much bigger budget bracket.

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Remodeling? Follow These 5 Steps First

Having the flexibility to turn your home into your dream house is an amazing feeling, and remodeling can be fun. But imagine being halfway through your kitchen remodel only to realize the money you budgeted isn’t enough to cover completing the project. This is a perfect example of why proper home remodeling planning is so important. Below are five steps everyone should follow before the remodeling process takes place.

Draw a plan to define a clear idea of what you want the end result to look like. Write down any and all thoughts you have in regards to the desired room design. Draw where you think furniture pieces may go; describe how certain elements will be incorporated. The plan can change throughout the remodeling process, but having that visual at the start will help guide the project as things progress. If you are having difficulty formulating a remodeling plan, call a professional handyman or designer to help with direction and give you more ideas.

Research the various elements involved in your plan. Oftentimes, other people have carried out the same projects themselves and can offer valuable advice. Save time by learning from others’ experiences, rather than by your own trial and error. If you find your kitchen remodeling, for example, is beyond your capabilities, a skilled handyman may offer expertise that can enhance your plan beyond your expectations. Once you have done your research, you will have a better idea of how much money and time are required to complete the plan.

Create a budget that you are comfortable devoting to your project. Before you begin purchasing materials and securing labor, you need to set a limit to ensure that spending does not get out of control. At this point, your plan may need alterations to fit within your budget restraints. Proper budgeting ensures your plan can be carried out to completion. In order to complete the kitchen remodeling, however, you will most likely need some professional help.

Gather help from experienced craftsmen to ensure your success. While some handy homeowners may opt to remodel alone, having others help will make the process a smoother experience. In some cases, that can be as simple as collecting friends and family to share the labor. Unfortunately, this type of help does not always give you the professional results you hope to achieve. Sometimes it may be best to bring in a professional.

Get the appropriate permits required by your local government to make sure your project complies with local building codes. Make sure to apply at your local town office for any necessary permits involved in your remodeling project. If you are unsure of how to go about this or which permits you require, handyman services can be extremely helpful.

Source: www.handymanconnection.com