Your home is one of the most important investments of your life. So maintenance and improvement is a vital necessity, if you want your home to stay comfortable, visually appealing and grow in value with or ahead of the pack. Also, having watched the HGTV and DIY for hours (who hasn’t?), you may be itching to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency and get a new modern looking kitchen just like the Johnsons next door, or something else of that nature. However, that nasty noise that comes through the window facing the street, and the wild heating bill keep reminding – kitchen may be a second priority after all.
So how do you prioritize your reno projects? Here are a few tips based on what we’ve seen over the decades of working in the renovation market.
First and foremost remember: renovation is not a TV set or even a car, even if it doesn’t cost as much, though usually it does. You don’t order it off the shelf. It is a big investment and a process – the final product is being built in front of you, and you MUST actively participate in the action.
Prepare to do quite a bit work if you want to ensure your expectations are met:
1. Take a detailed inventory of your home (getting a professional home inspector’s report is generally a good idea) and list all the areas of concern or need/wish for an upgrade. Here is the way to group and prioritize your concerns:
a. Safety / structural integrity
b. Functionality / efficiency
c. Looks / Added Value / Return on investment (it’s important to know the difference)
It doesn’t make sense to upgrade your furnace until you make sure your windows and doors are OK. Likewise, it makes no sense to replace kitchen appliances when your wiring is so old messed up that it’s a fire hazard. You don’t get to enjoy the line “c.” if “a” and “b” got ignored.
2. Educate yourself on what is it you are building; research the products/technologies and their respective vendors – quality, pricing, turnaround times, seasonality, warranty, customer references, etc.;
3. Budget. The reality is, budget is often the factor that dictates which projects are tackled first when the choices should be driven by the priorities in the p.1 above. Pick whatever you can afford, but only go top-to-bottom in that list when picking. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and money.
Depending on how much time and what skills you have, you can earmark certain projects for DIY, but only those which promise the biggest savings for your time and effort. Don’t touch the projects, where product is warranted if only professionally installed, or special tools, certification or safety gear is required.
4. Plan everything – things take time to be manufactured and installed, besides they come in sequence, e.g. framing and floors – first, doors – second;
5. Coordinate everything between the vendors, your service providers (utilities, security, landscaping etc.) and your family – make sure all service interruptions are scheduled, each stage is over some time before the next one is due to commence, and someone is always on site to oversee the work being done;
6. Follow up on your plan, and make sure you get what you paid for in a timely fashion.
Replacing windows and doors consistently makes the top 5 on the most popular renovation list ratings compiled by the realtors, mortgage specialists and reno market researchers of all sorts. No wonder. Replacing windows and doors adds a lot of value and comfort to any home. Windows and doors get high on the list of priorities, offer solid return on investment and are quite affordable – all kinds of flexible consumer financing plans are readily available. In a sense, energy efficient windows and doors pay for themselves – energy savings due to improved efficiency are comparable to the interest one would pay on the financing such a project, so delaying it only to save money simply does not make sense.
Benefits to the modern vinyl windows compared to what was available a decade ago are plenty:
· they let much more visible light in while blocking the harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation out;
· they conserve energy, by conducting much less heat;
· they are more watertight and airtight, therefore reducing the drafts and blocking the ambient noise much better;
· they require no maintenance – no need to paint every so often or patch up the seals.
All in all a modern age windows and doors provide a lot more comfort and style while reducing the total cost of ownership and adding value to a home.