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​DIY Home Improvement Guide

Aug 17th 2020

I don’t know about you, but I have a magical power. I have the power to burn toast on a consistent basis that would make you think I’m training for the Olympics of burned toast. I’ve always been gifted this way. Until recently when I learned a little DIY life hack that changed my relationship with toast. I read about a neat trick where if I freeze burned toast, it stops the burn in its tracks. A small move, however, this little tip got me thinking about DIY home improvement tricks that my fellow man and woman can try. Considering as we write this, the Corona virus has all of us pretty much-working remote. We thought today’s article would be a good moment to share some DIY home improvement hacks, tricks and tips.

DIY Home Improvement Guide:

  1. Create A Space For Your Pet
  2. Remodel The Kitchen
  3. Install Energy-Efficient Insulation
  4. Add An Outdoor Deck
  5. DIY Home Improvements To Avoid
  6. Final Thoughts For Your DIY Home Improvement

Home Improvement Infographic

1. Create A Space For Your Pet

Let’s be real, you’re going to make all these home improvement ideas happen and the one who is going to enjoy them the most are our pets. They’re home 24/7. So for that reason, we’ll start off sharing an easy mini makeover idea for them. Imagine walking into a room, that before this makeover, might as well have been a storage room. But not anymore. It has been turned into a little jungle for your cat. You’re using ropes hooked up to carabiners and have setup planks for your pet to climb. This is obviously targeted more for cats. So for dogs - why not set up the classic rope swing. The way it works - find a large piece of wood - ideally oval in shape. Cut a hole in the middle of it and tie the rope through it. Connect this to something that will allow it to swing. If you’re outside, use a tree. If you’re inside, use the ceiling. Now introduce your dog to it and see if they’ll chase it around.

2. Remodel The Kitchen

When you think home improvement ideas, there is no way remodeling the kitchen can be ignored. If you end up selling your home at some point, sources like HGTV say you can expect a 60-120% return on investment for your kitchen alone. But, there is a catch - you can’t go overboard. The updates need to make sense with the entire house. You do not want to drop $100K remodeling your kitchen and leave the rest of your home as-is. This DIY Home Improvement Guide is about moving the needle in your favor. Easy updates. So we won’t dive into the $100K addition. Instead, we’ll talk about paint. If you want your kitchen to feel brand new without breaking the bank - give it a new paint job. Fresh, modern colors can update the energy in any room. We’ll take this tip up a notch by recommending eco-friendly low-VOC paint. Not only does this type of paint make the kitchen eco-friendly, but it also helps protect your loved ones from inhaling dangerous chemicals. This is the perfect weekend project for those stuck at home, looking for something to do. 

3. Install Energy-Efficient Insulation

I LOVE saving money. This tip is a HUGE money saver that I think you’ll love too. It’s one of the most overlooked DIY Home Improvement moves a person can make - installing energy-efficient insulation. Let’s look at the numbers; If you could spend around $250 or less adding an extra layer of insulation to your attic and that would, in the long run, save you hundreds of dollars each year, wouldn’t you? It’s another great investment. You can literally save thousands of dollars every year by modifying your insulation. We are also going to take this DIY tip up a level - if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars adding insulation to your attic - don’t! How about spending around $40, purchase a thermal leak detector and seal the cracks around your home? The US Department of Energy estimates the average home has enough leaks to equal a 3x3 hole in the wall. Think of all the wasted energy and dollars funneling through that. To get started on sealing these leaks, you’ll want to start with the most common areas that need a little extra insulation. After you buy the thermal leak detector, inspect the following areas:

  • Around doors
  • Around windows
  • Electrical sockets
  • Light switches
  • Basement
  • Anywhere ducts or wires go outside the house

Don’t stop there. Look at the lights you use in your home as well. Energy-efficient light bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs - think of the savings on that. Count all the light bulbs you have at home and do the math, each one can save you a few bucks and is another easy DIY Home Improvement hack.

4. Add An Outdoor Deck

This is a bit of an advance tip. You can do this, but don’t go into this home upgrade without doing your homework. Also, don’t be afraid to hire a contractor. If you go that route, do you research on that as well. Look at reviews, compare costs, make an educated move. If you do move forward with this project, you can almost guarantee a deck will add value to your home. HGTV estimates homeowners recoup their investment between 65-90%. Not a bad deal. But remember everything in moderation. This project isn’t cheap. Depending on the material you use, size of the deck, the bells and whistles you want to add, a DIY deck could cost you $1000 or $10,000. It’s hard to say. However, if you want to lower the cost of this project, make it yourself. As you can imagine, hiring a contractor to build a deck is man-hours plus material. If you do it yourself, you’re just looking at material costs. Some good news right?Now the bad news - in life, you tend to get what you pay for. If you don’t do your homework, don’t have the right tools for the job, aren’t prepared, this project is going to cost you an arm and a leg. For those looking for a more advanced detailed DIY Home Improvement project - this is the one for you.

Bonus Tip - If you are looking for an eco-friendly minimalist vibe that makes the space feel warm you will want to  check out cable rails. Their build offers a sleek, seamless flow from one space to the next. They’re known for being eye-catching and popular choices for terraces, backyards and decks. 

5. DIY Home Improvements To Avoid

The list below are either: long term projects, do not add real value to your home when selling, and/or cost a bit more money to set up, with little to no return on investment.

A. Avoid Adding A Septic System

When you sell your home, people want to know the water works, toilets flush. It’s very rare that the thousand dollar septic system is a selling point.

B. Replacing Your Roof

When it comes to a roof, unless you’re looking to add solar panels, don’t go out of your way to take on this DIY project. If the roof is not leaking, molding or rotting - it’s not worth investing the time, money or energy into an upgrade. Especially if you plan on moving in two-three years, as you most likely only recover 50-60% of the cost when selling your home.

C. Going Overboard On Landscaping 

Landscaping is always a tricky move. On one hand, if you’re looking to sell your home, having the front of the house look good is ideal. There is value in that. On the other hand, it’s easy to go overboard when updating the landscape. Depending on what look you go for, it isn’t cheap to maintain or set up. If you’re going to do this - do so in moderation.

D. In-Ground Swimming Pool

An average swimming pool will cost between $30-70K to install. Not to mention increased utility bills, homeowner insurance and on-going maintenance costs. This is a big expense. Although it may be fun to have and even look great - if you are ever interested in selling your home, it reduces the number of families willing to buy, as typically families with small children don’t want to buy homes with pools. So, if you’re going down this road, make sure the pool has a safety cover and you’re going to be using it for the long haul.

E. Building A Gourmet Kitchen 

We talked about this above, but going overboard on the kitchen tends to be where most people spend all of their DIY project money. Before you do this, think long term. If you do plan on selling in the near future, keep in mind, too much customization may turn buyers away. Try just investing in quality appliances that appeal to many. 

F. Adding A Sunroom 

For every $1,000 you spend on a sunroom you will only get back around $486 if you’re lucky. You need to take into account material, construction, even the season. Also, remember a sunroom uses glass which isn’t ideal for insulation - it’ll work against the other energy DIY home tips we covered when it’s winter and summer. 

6. Final Thoughts For Your DIY Home Improvement

We hope you enjoyed our guide on DIY Home Improvement tips. When we wrote this we were looking for basic to advance ideas plus some red flags to watch out for. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us after you make some of these DIY tips come to life - we’d love to see them.