Part of the adventure of owning a home is tackling a few home improvement projects. But now that it's fall, what if you don't want your last few warm weekends swallowed in renovation hell?
The solution: knowing which home improvements can be done quickly, with minimal effort. And that's where this article can help!
Below are eight home improvement hacks that won't break your back or your bank account. Read on to reclaim your weekend, while still renovating your way to domestic bliss.
1. Pressure-wash your home's exterior
One of the easiest ways to give your home's exterior a face-lift is to clean it. And to be honest, there's just something satisfying about aiming a blast of water at a surface and watching it come clean, with no scrubbing or elbow grease required.
"Pressure-washing is safe for brick, concrete, masonry, wood, and siding," says Kealia Reynolds, an editor at House Method. (Avoid pressure-washing painted surfaces, asphalt roofing, and stained wood.) Plus, you can pressure-wash most homes in under two hours.
You can generally rent pressure-washers for $50 to $100 a day at your local home improvement store. Just note that pressure-washing is different from power washing: Power washing removes extreme dirt, grease, and moss from hard surfaces—think driveways—that can withstand high heat and pressure.
2. Caulk your first-floor windows
Most window-frames are made from wood, vinyl, or metal, which expand and contract over time. This causes old caulk to crack and open small openings where air can flow freely into your walls.
"Focus solely on caulking your first-floor windows—to save time and avoid having to balance on a ladder," says Teris Pantazes, co-founder of Settle Rite, which helps sellers prepare post-inspection repairs in Maryland.
Sealing up holes properly insulates your home and reduces your energy consumption, by keeping heat rising instead of escaping on the ground floor.
Caulking is not only an easy job that might take 10 minutes per window, it's also piecework.
"You can do one or two windows at a time, as you feel up for the task," says Pantazes.
Here's more on how to seal windows and other areas of the home.
3. Fake new countertops
Vineta Jackson of The Handyman's Daughter plans to remodel her kitchen in a few years. "But I didn't want to live with my ugly blue countertops for that long," says Jackson.
So she covered the countertops with heavy-duty, faux-granite contact paper. Not only did it take only an hour, but the whole job also cost less than $50.
"And it held up great and is still going strong after three years," says Jackson.
4. Use painting shortcuts
If painting a whole room seems like too much work, try just painting your door frames, doors, and baseboards. This will freshen up your room in a quarter of the time of a full-on paint job (plus you'll save a ton on paint).
"Paint door and trim in an accent color you already have in the room," says Marty Basher, home organization and improvement expert with ModularClosets.com. You can also simply paint one wall in a room to add some color and interest.
Next up: kitchens. We all know changing the color of cabinets can breathe new life into a drab kitchen space, but painting them all is a lot of work. So go two-toned with your cabinets.
Paint only the bottom half under your countertops, says Kate Gailunas, interior designer and owner of N-Hance Wood Refinishing.
If you have light floors and countertops, go for dark colors (or vice versa). Think navy blues, with whites, pastels, and wood, or gray with bold colors.
5. Update outlet and switch covers
Photo by MS Colours Inc.
An easy and inexpensive improvement that refreshes a room's appearance is to replace dirty, crusty switch-plate covers with an upgrade from the standard plastic ones.
"If it isn't in your budget to replace them all, refresh your old ones," says a licensed real estate agent and all-around DIYer Kimberly Blaker.
Remove the covers, soak them in water, and then scrape off any old paint.
"Then simply spray-paint them with a metallic or colored hue, and in an hour, they'll be ready to put back on," says Blaker.
6. Refinish your bathtub
"Instead of buying a new tub for hundreds of dollars, refresh your old porcelain, ceramic, or fiberglass tub’s finish," says Michelle Felux, a DIY home renovator at BreakingDowntheBox.com.
You just need an epoxy kit for tubs, which will run you about $30 at the hardware store, an abrasive cleaner, tub repair product to fill in holes (about $20), sandpaper, and some caulk.
Prep your tub by removing the hardware, and then clean it with the abrasive cleaner. Next, repair the tub’s imperfections with your tub repair product and sand it smooth.
"Finally, mix up the epoxy and paint it on in two thin coats, letting each coat dry thoroughly," says Felux.
Wait three days before running water in it, and then caulk to seal it—you'll have a tub that looks brand-new!
Here's more on how to paint a bathtub.
7. Stick on a wood accent wall
A fast and easy upgrade to your home is to create an accent using real reclaimed wood planks that you can peel and stick.
"Wood planks are easy to install and, in just a few hours, will instantly transform the look of any room in your home," says Tom Shafer, founder of TimberChic.com.
The planks, which come in lengths of 1 or 2 feet, can also be used for creating interesting walls, ceilings, doors, beams, and columns. And they are right on trend (just ask Joanna Gaines).
8. Swap out ceiling-fan blades
If your ceiling fans are looking decrepit, there's no need to buy a whole new unit. Not only are new fans costly, but swapping out the whole thing also usually means calling in an electrician.
"Instead, try this cost-effective and easy fix: Buy a package of new ceiling fan blades that fit your existing motor," says Blaker. Your ceiling fans will look as good as new again.
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By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry