- The Key: DIY
DIY stands for “Do It Yourself”, and it’s not something a lot of homeowners prefer. Straight “sweat equity” is one of the best ways to maximize home improvement budgets. The lion’s share of expense on a given remodel goes to the labor for which you pay. Think about it critically.
If you’re repainting your house, for a single-story unit under 1,000 square feet, you’re looking at about $1,600 in materials and about two weeks’ work; call it 80 hours. You’ve got to wash the house multiple times, scrape it, prime it, and paint it. Then you’ve got to do the detailed trim work. If you’re doing it yourself, you have to go to and from the store.
You’ve likely got a job, and there’s weather to contend with for exterior paint jobs. If you call it $40 an hour in worker value, you’re looking at about $4,800 for the total job. Now, a paint crew of 10 guys can get the job done in a day over two weeks; sure. But it’ll be expensive. So for $1,600 you can have the same job, it just takes longer and you’ve got to do it.
If you go by those numbers, DIY saves you about two-thirds of the total cost of a job. So that means for $50k, you can do $150,000 worth of home improvement. That’s the value of sweat equity, and why some people literally “flip houses” for a living. With the DIY angle in mind, let’s look at a few things you can do to get your kitchen looking excellent in an affordable way.
- LVP and Your Floor
Luxury Vinyl Plank can be installed in a very straightforward way. Pull out the old floor, assure its level through sanding, sweeping, etc., and put down the plank.
Give yourself a half-inch under the trim by the walls—don’t put it flush against the wall. Seasonal heat and cold contract LVP. If it’s flush, it’ll buckle and you’ll get floor bubbles. Also, stagger planks on the floor for strength.
You can do a whole floor in a day that way, and LVP comes in a variety of options that can be used to enhance your kitchen; some look like wood, and some look like tile. Find what you like, spend a day stripping and reapplying the floor, and you’ll definitely add value to your kitchen.
- The Cabinet Side of Things
Another thing that can help you get more for less is going the online route for cabinetry. From RTA (Ready To Assemble) options wherein you enter your kitchen’s dimensions, have the materials shipped to your house, and assemble them, to other more traditional high-quality kitchen cabinets, there are some surprising options online.
- A Nice Backsplash Silhouetting the Sink
A backsplash is extremely simple; just get one-inch square tiles (or larger, or smaller, depending on your preference), and install them along the wall behind the sink. Here’s a handy link to a Home Depot guide that can help you get started on the right foot.
- A Kitchen to be Proud of on a Budget You Can Afford
LVP, cabinetry, and backsplash options will make your kitchen look new, and honestly, if you’re really dedicated to the work, you can get it all done in a weekend. The key is preparation. You’ve got to liquidate the old cabinets, that might mean breaking them down for future projects, it may mean selling them, it may mean throwing them out.
The same is likely true of your floor unless it’s some empty painted cement. With the backsplash, you just need to do a little cleaning and measuring prior to installation. The DIY route is ideal for all these options, and will likely enhance property value profitably over the cost of the job.
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