Home improvement has become a huge industry in the United States. Americans spent an estimated $214 billion on home improvements, maintenance, and repairs in 2001, according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Just how and where that money is spent makes a big difference when it comes to investing in your home.
Of all the rooms in your house, bathrooms represent the greatest and fastest return on your remodeling investment. Remodeling Magazine says that 80% of your bathroom remodeling expenses can be recouped within a year of resale. Not every room in the house offers such a return. Kitchens are sixth on the list with just over 60% of the costs returned.
Despite the remodeling craze, you should weigh the pros and cons of taking on an entire bathroom project alone. Knowledge is the key to successfully completing any project on time and under budget. Ask yourself the following remodeling questions to ensure you are making the best decisions for your investment.
Is It a Remodel or Makeover?
"The first consideration should be the scope of work," says remodeling expert Rick Peters. He asks: "Do you understand your home's plumbing systems, such as the location of the waste stack?"
If the remodeling project involves more than fixture replacement or surface redecorating, it may be time to call in an expert to assess your home's plumbing and pipe placement.
Peters suggests calling a contractor when you plan to move major fixtures, changing the walls, and installing ventilation. You can do it yourself if the project is limited to replacing minor fixtures, installing shower doors, adding light fixtures, and decorating the walls.
All of these projects require specific skills and knowledge of your local building and plumbing codes. These projects also require some skill base, but a first-time DIY homeowner may be able to complete them in a reasonable timeframe.
What's the Real Deal on What You Want?
Tempted by what looks good? Check the quality. Does that new faucet have rubber washers or plastic valves? Plastic valves are less durable, lasting only 5 years. That means you are spending twice as much in 10 years as you would in a lifetime for a better faucet.
Look for quality fixture manufacturers such as American Standard. The company's Champion Toilet, featuring America's Best Flushing System, includes a Worry-Free Decade Warranty that covers the entire toilet inside and out.
American Standard's faucets come with a lifetime warranty on the washerless watertight seal, the function, and the finish. Most of its sinks and toilets are made of dirt and bacteria-resistant vitreous china. Their acrylic tubs are made with fiberglass bonding for extra strength. "Your bathroom takes a daily beating," says Peters. "Buy quality."
Is There a Great Cover-Up Waiting for You?
Many bathrooms have been redone by covering damaged tiles or walls with acrylic panels. "Sure it looks better, but the problem is still there," says Peters. "In fact, panels like these hold the moisture and mildew that caused the problem in the first place"
Peters also suggests using a mildew resistant drywall. "Standard drywall cannot withstand air moisture, even with proper venting," he notes.
What's your pay-off in investing time to answer these important questions before you start? You'll end up with a successful bathroom remodeling project that adds to the value and enjoyment of your home.
Courtesy of ARA Content