Not all home improvements have to break your bank. Angie's List, a consumer ratings provider, went to the experts to find cheaper alternatives to home improvement projects.
Big bucks project: New bathtub
Small bucks fix: Reglaze the old tub
An old and worn out bathtub can make any bathroom look dull and dated. But the cost of a new bathtub can start anywhere from $200 to $600, and some tubs can cost thousands, depending on the size and features, such as jets. In addition, replacing a bathtub usually involves more than just buying a new tub - you may have to move or replace plumbing to fit the new tub. Consider a less expensive option, such as reglazing the bathtub a new enamel finish in a color you choose. Price typically ranges from $300 to $600 and you don't have to factor in the expense of ripping out the old tub.
Big bucks project: New kitchen or bathroom cabinets
Small bucks fix: Cabinet refacing
Looking for a new, fresh look for your kitchen, but can't afford a total remodel? Consider re-facing your cabinets. That way you can rework an already adequate kitchen/bath with a facelift without interrupting your busy life. Re-facing consists of installing new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and covering the exposed frames of the cabinets with new matching wood or plastic veneer. No cabinets are ripped out, and the layout remains the same. Add some new hardware, and voila - your kitchen has a new look!
Cabinet refacing typically costs 25 to 30 percent less than replacing existing cabinets. Most companies price per unit (count each door, drawer, etc. as a unit). Price per unit can range from as low as $100 to as high as $250, depending on materials.
Big bucks project: New deck
Small bucks fix: Clean and seal
A deck will last up to 20 years if you take care of it. Considering it costs anywhere from $10 to $20 a square foot to build a new deck, a little maintenance is the best bang for your buck.
Decks take a good amount of beating from the weather and catch a lot of dirt, grime and mold. A good cleaning once a year with a pressure washer will keep the deck looking nice and is essential before sealing or staining. After a thorough cleaning, seal the deck or the wood will splinter, crack and warp. And finally, keep the deck free from debris buildup between boards. This area collects moisture and can cause dry rot.
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