Most people spend their holiday season making all sorts of checklists, including those for shopping, baking, gift-giving, entertaining, and so on. What they often don’t realize is that this is also a great time of year to begin a home renovation or repairs “checklist” to plan for their home-improvement needs during the coming year.
At our house, we recently sat down to make our own list. Here is what we found.
Re-purposing rooms — Right away, we noticed that we have not been inviting older family members to the house because we don’t have a comfy bed for them to sleep on. So we put together a plan for turning an unused office space into a proper guest room. Since we also recently renovated our master bedroom, we’ll take some of the furnishings we replaced and put them into the new guest room. They include a queen-size bed and mix-and-match dressers and night tables.
When evaluating your own home, look at the use of each room. Does it make sense based on your family’s unique needs? For example, are the rooms awkwardly arranged? Does your home lack a common gathering area? Is it in need of a children’s play area or teen hangout space? Turning a basement into a family entertainment area with added bathroom and bedroom space is a great bang-for-the-buck renovation. Typically, “egress” (access to the outside) is required by code. Keep in mind that the products you can select from now are way better than the faux wood panelling and shag carpeting many of us grew up with. You might even find you want the new family room for yourself!
Repairs — Do you have outdated and malfunctioning rooms and systems that need immediate attention? Perhaps you’re finding water leaks, or you have experienced recent storm damage. Keep in mind that it’s always good to have a whole house plan, so you can plot complementary renovation activities together to save money and stress.
Improving efficiency — At our house, we know we need to replace the 1957 vintage double-hung windows on the second floor because they leak air badly. Even worse, the vinyl siding on the exterior leaks water at the windows, and it’s been causing rot. So replacing these items is in order for 2014, but this will be a pricey renovation, so we are saving up the dollars now.
Cold air leaks in your own home are very noticeable now that winter has arrived. Many of those found around windows and doors can be attended to as weekend projects. Leaky doors can often be sealed with door stop weather stripping — we like the type that is a metal strip with a silicone gasket that gets screwed to the door stop. Door sweeps or air sealing thresholds are a great simple repair to make, too. (Hint: The holidays are a great time to request your cordless 18-volt screw guns for these kinds of projects!)
If your heater runs non-stop, it could mean you need to insulate. You’ll want to hire a home-insulation expert or an expert on the kind of home you live in because this can be a tricky project. Also, consider investing in a programmable thermostat; it will only cost you about $60, but it will save you thousands of dollars in home heating and cooling bills over the long haul.
Final tips? Assign a realistic cost to each of the projects on your checklist so you can budget accordingly.
If you own an older home, remember to hire EPA/RRP certified contractors to protect your family from lead exposure during home painting or renovations. Be sure to get permits on the home improvements you pay for so that the work you have done is done correctly, to code, and is registered with your township or county.
Happy holidays — and best of luck with your home-improvement checklist for 2014!
The Myers Constructs Team