Home Beat – Little Fixes, Big Gains
Four Simple Home Improvement Hacks
With the rise of HGTV and other real estate-focused television channels and programs, renovations and home improvement projects have blasted into the mainstream — but to complete these efforts safely and effectively, you will need expertise, money and time.
Over the last few months, my wife and I launched into the world of home improvements after a tenant moved out of our multifamily home in Haverhill. We’ve learned a few tricks and figured we would share some affordable ways to increase your equity with a mixture of hard work, innovation and the strategic use of contractors:
1. Interior Painting:
No matter how terrible your walls may look, proper patching, sanding and painting can make a dramatic impact on the look of your house. Many people do this themselves, but consider hiring professional painters if you need to cover a large area or if wall repairs are necessary. I opted to hire professionals, and they repaired dozens of damaged spots and sanded the wood trim before painting. Side note: If cigarette smells have to be eradicated, painting is one of the more effective ways to get the job done.
2. Hardwood Floor Refinishing:
If your home is filled with hardwood that’s chipped, coated with grime, or otherwise in disrepair, a floor refinishing service might be your best option. These contractors will sand off the top layer of the flooring and refinish it with various coatings that will make it look and feel new. This option is much cheaper than replacing the hardwood — you can expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot. Just remember, the chemicals used during the coating process are toxic and may be harmful in large doses, so be sure to closely follow appropriate procedures.
3. Vinyl Flooring:
Vinyl flooring is among the most popular trends to emerge in home renovations over the past decade. Vinyl and luxury vinyl planks are cheap, weather and scratch resistant, and look great, with numerous color options available. My wife and I recently picked up 300 square feet of vinyl planks for $1.69 per square foot at a local hardware store. Installation was simple, so we saved on labor costs. A vinyl sheet is another great option. It can go on top of old laminate flooring to revitalize the look of your home. A 150-square-foot sheet can cost as little as $70, although fitting it can be tricky and require a contractor to do the work. We chose vinyl planks in the laundry room and entryway, and a vinyl sheet to cover our old laminate kitchen floors.
4. Think Small:
Consider smaller projects, such as replacing an old sink or faucet. These changes can make a huge difference in a bathroom or kitchen. Installing knobs on cabinets can provide a fresh appearance and eliminate the need to replace them. Resurfacing is also a cost-effective option. Changing out your old toilets for newer energy-efficient models may be a DIY project you can handle without a plumber. Upgrading old light fixtures with newer LED alternatives can save on energy costs.
These are just a few of the simple and cost-effective ways to change the feel of your home. Now is the time. Hopefully we are in the waning days of the pandemic and it won’t be long before we can throw open the doors to spring, and guests, and whatever lies beyond.