Remodeling - Top Projects and Their Costs

Considering a home upgrade? These are the projects that traditionally return the most of your investment when it's time to sell. From the color of your walls to the functionality of your kitchen, it pays to get it right!

Kitchen Remodel

Homeowners typically spend: $12,541 - $33,526
Biggest cost driver: Appliances, cabinets

A kitchen remodel is one of the biggest and most expensive home projects short of an addition or whole-house remodel. Careful planning can help you realize the kitchen of your dreams, just as failure to plan can quickly devolve into a nightmare.

This is a job in which you’ll have to be ready to grit your teeth and pay out serious money for things like cabinets and appliances. It’s likely this will be a once-in-a-lifetime remodel for you, so it’s worth it to spend more to get it right. Using high-quality materials and going for the fixtures and appliances you really want will help ensure you’ll value and enjoy your kitchen for many years to come.

Bathroom Remodel

Homeowners typically spend: $5,930 - $14,131
Biggest cost driver: Plumbing, fixtures

Be prepared for unexpected and costly infrastructure shifts on a bathroom remodel, because plumbing is expensive to move. If you can get away with remodeling without changing the layout of the plumbing, you may want to do so. And if you move ahead anyway, be aware that moving a toilet across the room will cost far more than the price of the toilet itself.

Since bathroom remodels often involve the customization of some features, be ready for the timeframe to shift. You’re entirely at the mercy of the supplier’s schedule. If possible, select your components early on and wait until they’re delivered to start demolition. And if you do start without fixtures in hand, be ready with a backup plan for when (not if) something gets delayed.

In addition to the obvious plumbing concerns, many bathrooms have no windows. So think through lighting and air circulation. Exhaust fans are highly recommended to prevent mold and keep air circulating.

Flooring

Homeowners typically spend: $2,542 - $6,480 (wood), $1,531 - $4,411 (laminate)
Biggest cost driver: Materials, difficulty of installation

Flooring work presents dangerous temptations to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Take care with decisions where saving a few bucks may subtract years off the floor’s usable life. Flooring installation is best left to the professionals. If you blow it on a DIY job, you’ll often end up buying materials all over again. And take care to purchase high-quality materials; the dollars spent can translate into decades of floor life.

You especially don’t want your contractor to skimp on preparation. Experts say floors often fail because the contractor didn’t verify the subfloor’s flatness, for instance.

Hardwood flooring costs range from $2 to $30 per square foot, depending on the specific wood. Pros say engineered hardwood makes an excellent compromise because of its affordability and durability, at around $8 per square foot. Laminate flooring costs less than wood, at between $0.70 and $2 per square foot. But laminate is not as durable as hardwood.

Interior Painting

Homeowners typically spend: $974 - $2,721
Biggest cost driver: Scope of job, type of walls

Painting is a quick and affordable way to improve your home’s interior and give it a whole new look.

Two questions loom largest: What color will you select? And what paint finish will you use? It’s worth taking the time in advance to consider your color palette, because it’s much easier to change your mind before the paint rollers get going. Your painting professional will be able to provide color swatches and samples to see how things will look. And you might also consider consulting with an interior decorator. Don’t forget how the floors, ceilings, baseboards and trim will interact with the new look. The finish plays a big role as well – your choices range from matte to glossy.

The scope of the job is an important cost indicator, as is the nature of your home. Textured walls will take longer to paint, for example, and some paints dry more quickly than others, which lowers the labor cost.

Since a painter is already going to be paying close attention to your molding, baseboards and trim, this is an excellent time to inspect those areas for cracks, warps or other issues. Many painters can fix those items themselves.

In addition to swatches, you can also apply paint samples to the wall. This way, you can see how the color interacts with the light and décor.

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