Where to splurge and where to save when remodeling

For homeowners trying to do some remodeling, there are some tough decisions to be made. Unless your funds are unlimited–very unlikely–you’ll have to prioritize which projects get the bulk of the remodeling budget and which projects are done on the cheap. There are some projects where you really can get away with less expensive look-alike materials and there are other projects where you really should spring for something of higher quality. The following tips can help.

Wood flooring: Save

Wood floors is undeniably the hottest thing in flooring. But there are drawbacks. For one, they’re expensive. They’re also more susceptible to water damage which is especially problematic when wood flooring is especially popular in communal spaces like the kitchen and guest bathroom where water is likely to spill on the floor. Flooring is one area in your home that you can save some money on by going with a tile or laminate flooring product that simulates the look of real wood. Look alike wood flooring products have come a long way in recent years and it’s almost impossible to tell the difference from the real thing plus you have the benefit of longevity and lower cost.

New Baseboards: Splurge

Baseboards, on the other hand, is where you want to spring for real wood. The cheaper stuff, while still technically made from trees, isn’t really wood. The leftover scraps of wood are broken down into fibers then pressed tightly together to form medium-density fiberboard. It’s basically a small step up from particle board which is made from wood dust. They dent easily when bashed with a vacuum or anything else and they damage easily when exposed to water. You’re better off spending more for real wood baseboards.

Cabinetry: Save

All new custom cabinets are very expensive so unless you really can’t live with the layout of your existing cabinets, consider refacing them instead. There are several ways to do this. You can remove just the faces of the cupboards and drawers and replace them with something new. You can re-stain or repaint your cabinets for even less. Even installing new knobs and pulls can give old cabinets a new look.

Paint: Splurge

Just about every major paint company now sells all-in-one paint and primer promising to save you money. But self-priming paint isn’t as good as buying the two separate and painting two separate coats. Yes it will cost more in money and time but all-in-one paint and primer products just won’t get you the same look, especially if you’re trying to paint over a darker paint color with a lighter one, or a shinier paint with a duller one.

Baseboard heaters: Save

Yes, old baseboard heaters can really date your home, but it’s probably not worth the cost to tear them out especially if you don’t already have an alternate source of heat for the home and will have to install a forced air heating system. You’re better off paying for some inexpensive baseboard heater covers that install over the heaters to quickly update their look. It’s a simple and inexpensive upgrade you can do yourself in a matter of minutes.

Leave a Reply