Home improvement is a never-ending process. There’s always something that can be fixed, right?
Unfortunately, it can also be a very expensive process. DIY is all the rage these days, especially with the endless TikTok and Pinterest inspiration you can find on the internet. There are a lot of DIY home improvements you can pull off on the cheap.
But should you?
DIY or Not?
Some projects are within reach of even the most beginner DIYer. For example, we all know that you can upgrade any bathroom or kitchen by replacing the hardware with brand-new knobs. Another easy way to change a room on the cheap is to simply throw a new coat of paint on the walls. Nothing changes the vibe of a room like a fresh paint job, and this is something you can do easily without breaking the bank.
If you’re planning a home makeover beyond the basics, however, you should know which rooms need your dollars most. There are certain home renovations that you shouldn’t do on the cheap. If you spend a little more on these renovations now, you won’t have to spend as much money and time maintaining and replacing them in the future.
Don’t skimp on countertops, whether they’re going in the kitchen or the bathroom. It’s not worth the (temporary) savings! You will just end up spending that money later when you have to replace a damaged or stained countertop.
There are so many affordable countertops out there that look quite beautiful, and these cheap alternatives to solid countertops made of high-quality materials are tempting. However, as with most cheap products, they are simply not going to last very long. They just won’t look as good as they do in the store after a few months of use.
You might be able to find ceramic tile for cheap that looks super cute on the counters. However, think about what you’ll do when the grout is stained. That’s not easy to clean! A countertop that doesn’t need thorough and frequent cleanings is worth the money.
Quartz countertops, for example, are very durable. They will last for an extremely long time because they’re so resistant to spills. They’re easy to maintain, and they’re even resistant to heat (up to a certain point). If you’re deciding between quartz and granite, which is also a beautiful choice for a countertop, quartz might be the smarter bet.
This is because quartz can pretty much do it all. According to the HGTV experts, quartz countertops make for a “solid surface, [meaning] that there is no need to have your countertops resealed…In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn’t porous like granite, it’s easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free.”
Buying a nice quartz countertop is basically a one-and-done deal. The average cost of quartz countertops falls between $50 and $150 per square foot, so make sure you can fit this into your renovation budget.
You don’t have to splurge on custom designs or colors. Even cheaper quartz is a better idea than ceramic tile or other low-cost option. There is also no need to go for reclaimed wood or concrete; those options are expensive, and more geared toward design than affordability.
Bathrooms may be some of the smallest spaces in the house, but their function is of the utmost importance. You should never go cheap on bathroom plumbing and fixtures. The water from the sink, shower, and tub should be the right temperature and have good pressure. The drains should work well, and of course, the last thing you want is a leak in the pipes.
Counters and floors need to be made with the right material so that water and moisture in the air don’t ruin them. Cheap countertops do not bode well in bathrooms that are exposed to water all the time.
You also want your vents in the bathroom to work well so that moisture isn’t hanging in the air. Cheaper fans will blow out more quickly. Splurge on a nice ventilation fan and you won’t have to worry about replacing it all the time.
You may even have a window that can be upgraded so that it can assist with airflow more efficiently. Any moisture that lingers in a bathroom can damage the walls, wood, fabrics–basically everything in your bathroom that isn’t glass or ceramic. This will eventually lead to mold and mildew problems.
Also, when it comes to toilets, budget-friendly ones are not a great bet. A high-quality toilet is worth the money because it will last a long time without needing repairs, and it can even save you money on your water bill.
This is all why you should never skip the bathroom when planning your house renovation budget. Every penny you spend on your bathroom renovations should go toward high-quality materials that will last a long time.
Don’t go cheap when it comes to your yard! Whether it’s the sprinkler system, the drains, or the foliage, lower-quality items will do more harm than good to your home’s value.
Some people like to ignore the yard altogether in order to save money on their water bill, but this strategy will just cause the lawn to deteriorate and the property to lose value. The best way to make your yard look gorgeous for years to come is to invest in it right now. The right sprinkler system can make all the difference.
There are ways to cut the costs of upgrading your lawn without skimping on the sprinkler system. For example, instead of hiring professionals to install even more sprinklers in a certain area of your lawn, you can build an awning that will put that area in the shade.
Floors are one of the most important elements of your home. After all, they support everybody and everything within the house.
It’s especially important to allow room in your budget for high-quality floor materials in the kitchen and bathrooms. Water can do serious damage to floors, as we’ve already seen, and you need a material that can handle moisture with ease.
Hardwood floors are a great water-resistant option, but remember that they’re not waterproof. If you don’t want to have to maintain hardwood, choose a more high-end material that’s completely impervious to water.
Vinyl flooring is also coming back in a major way. This material is chic and durable, helping to add both style and function to your space. Laminate is also a great option, and it’s relatively inexpensive. The one problem? The sound!
“The materials used to make the laminate floor do not have sound-proof ability,” say the flooring masters at Drill Warrior. “They produce the hollow sound when you step on it, thus making noise especially when walking on it with high heels.”
It’s these little inconveniences that you won’t have to deal with if you spend a little extra money now. If you have the money to spend, go for the highest quality material that you like best. If you absolutely can’t spend the money, considering waiting on this project for a while so you have time to save up.
The cost of installation is also something you have to consider when it comes to flooring. For example, The Home Depot estimates that labor costs for vinyl plank installation come to about $2-$3 per square foot. Vinyl sheet installation costs about $1-$2 per square foot.
Just like with plumbing, you don’t want to have any issues with the electrical wiring in your home. Figure out how many wall outlets you need in each room, and plan your budget accordingly. Overloading your outlets is a fire hazard, and that’s definitely not something you want to have to go back in and fix after the fact!
Remember to research your electrician carefully, as well. Some contractors will cut corners in order to offer you a better price. Of course, those numbers will be tempting. But if you want to make sure you’re getting the best service possible, don’t take make any deals that seem too good to be true. You’ll be thankful later on when your lights and electrical outlets work perfectly for years to come!
So, now that you know which home renovations are the most important to spend your money on, you can go forth with your home makeover feeling a little more confident. Get creative with some DIY projects while you have your high-quality countertops, floors, bathroom fixtures, and electrical wiring installed by professionals. Your wallet will thank you!