Now is the Time for Smaller Home Remodel Projects

While new home construction has come to a grinding halt in most of the country, smaller home-renovation projects are still a viable option for homeowners. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently reported a “slight increase” in minor remodeling projects in its third-quarter 2008 Remodeling Market Index.

What does all this mean for homeowners? It spells opportunity. And for those who want to invest in their homes, it’s tough to beat bathroom additions and remodels, which rank high on NAHB’s list of the most prevalent remodeling jobs.

Bathroom upgrades still provide a solid investment return, even in the present tightening economy, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2008-2009 “Cost vs. Value” report. The magazine estimates that a midrange bathroom redo will recoup nearly 75 percent of its cost; a bathroom addition recoups just under 65 percent.

Get the most for your money. Thinking about a new or improved bath? If so, avoid the high cost and hassle of creating under-floor plumbing connections — one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of any bath project. Instead, use macerating technology, an above-floor plumbing system that can be installed right on top of an existing floor in any part of the house in only half a day.

With this type of installation, waste and water are pumped away and up from the plumbing fixtures through small-diameter piping into the sewer or septic tank. No more digging to set plumbing drainage lines. “This technology is easier, more convenient and less invasive,” says plumber Mike Sikorski of East Taunton, Mass., who installs Saniflo brand plumbing products. “It saves my customers an average of $1,000, and that’s on the low side.”

Mike Coletto, another Saniflo installer and an independent plumbing, HVAC and electrical contractor in Illinois, agrees. “If a bathroom is on your project list, consider above-floor plumbing — especially if you’re planning a basement remodel,” he says. “Saniflo makes installing a basement bath a snap.”

Here are some additional ways to keep your home bathroom remodel low-cost:

* Fix up vs. Replace: Instead of buying new cabinets, resurface or paint them; update handles and drawer pulls. Repair damaged walls and redo the caulking around sinks. Tile only halfway up the wall.

* Improve vs. Expand: Instead of knocking down walls, gain space by replacing a hinged door with a pocket door. Put in a recessed medicine cabinet. Install a bowed shower curtain to increase the interior shower space.

* Lighten and Brighten: Repaint, using neutral colors. Repair damaged flooring, or install tile right over the floor. Place task lighting over the vanity, instead of installing a window.

* Think Green: Replace old windows with energy-efficient models and you may qualify for a federal tax rebate. Replace leaky faucets with low-flow models.

Learn more about low-cost above-floor bathroom systems by visiting or calling toll-free: (800) 571-8191.


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