Home Remodeling

Home Remodeling

SKU# 071368

Covering all aspects from design to planning to construction

From the Editors of Fine Homebuilding


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Other Formats
  • Product # 071368
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-428-6
  • Published Date 2012
  • Dimensions 8 1/2 x 10 7/8
  • Pages 240
  • Photos 300
  • Drawings 75

While new construction has slowed to a crawl and upgrading to a bigger house is no longer a sure thing, more and more homeowners are choosing to remodel. They’re actively looking for information on how to make their current home a better place to live. This collection of 36 articles from the experts at Fine Homebuilding, the most respected residential construction magazine in the country, lays out detailed information on every stage of remodeling—from planning and design to building and installation, upgrades, finishing, and cleanup. Coverage includes interior and exterior design and building strategies, as well as information on additions and tips for living comfortably through a remodel. This complete guide, which includes 300 color photographs, 75 drawings, practical sidebars, and case studies, is a one-stop reference.

About the Author
For over 30 years Fine Hombuilding, based in Newtown, Connecticut, has been the magazine of choice for people who care about quality home improvement and construction. Today, with a circulation of 300,000, it is the best source of home-improvement information, inspiring readers to build projects better, faster, and more efficiently. For more, go to www.finehomebuilding.com

Preview a sample of this book below

Table of Contents

11 Essential Remodeling Strategies
How to Afford an Architect
Design an Addition that Looks Right
A Contract that Makes Everybody Happy

Make the Most of Every Space
The Well-Designed Walk-In Closet
Make Any Room a Great Home Office
Finish Your Basement with a Durable Wood Floor
Plumbing a Basement Bathroom
Trimming a Basement Window
A Skylight Cheers Up an Attic Bath

Give Kitchens and Baths Special Attention
How Much Will My Kitchen Cost?
Rethinking Kitchen Design
Opening Up a Small Kitchen
The Energy-Smart Kitchen
Stay Inside the Lines
Designing Showers for Small Bathrooms

Do It the Smart Way
Prep before You Paint
An Easier Way to Hang Drywall
New Insulation for Old Walls
Doghouse Dormers
Install a Leak-Free Skylight
Wiring a Small Addition
Add Character with a Box-Beam Ceiling

Fix Up the Exterior
A Buyer’s Guide to Windows
Upgrade Your Entry Door
The Right Way to Install New Siding
Will Your Next Asphalt Roof Last a Lifetime?

Survive Your Remodel
A Safer Job Site
Protecting a House during Construction
Keep the Rain Out When Adding a Shed Dormer
Dust Control
The Remodeler’s Guide to Construction Debris


When embarking upon a home remodel, it’s often difficult to decide what jobs to tackle first. Should you make over the kitchen or replace the furnace? Paint the exterior or build a deck? A good starting point is to ask yourself the question: “How long will I be living in this house?” If the answer is only a year or two, focus on upgrades that will make the house easier to sell when the time comes. If you don’t foresee a move anytime soon, choose improvements that will improve comfort and give you long-term personal pleasure.

If you plan to stay
1. Suppress your home’s energy appetite
Energy repairs and improvements can range from simple air-sealing to a full insulation and mechanical retrofit. The first step, however, is to invite a building performance analyst to evaluate your home. The two largest organizations that train and certify energy auditors are the Residential Energy Services Network (www.resnet.us) and the Building Performance Institute (www.bpi.org). Both are good, but I prefer BPI because their inspectors specialize in aspects of building performance that go beyond energy considerations.
2. Upgrade your entryway
Too often, we spend money on impressing others instead of making our lives easier. Upgrade the entry you use most: the side or garage door. An updated everyday entrance or mudroom should include a welcoming, functional door (with glass if the fire code allows), as well as a place inside to drop off groceries, leave notes for family members, hang a coat, stash boots, and comfortably transition into and out of the house.
3. Take cues from a lighting designer
Most of us work during the day and enjoy our houses mostly after dark. Upgrading lights and changing bulbs yield a quick uplift to your interior while saving energy. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) only where lights will remain on for at least 15 minutes, such as exterior fixtures, kitchens, and bedrooms. Use halogen bulbs where you toggle the lights on and off more frequently, such as hallways, stairs, and pantries. Halogen bulbs also work well on dimmers, which makes them ideal for dining rooms, master bedrooms, and family rooms.
4. Upgrade the cabinets
New cabinets make up about a third of the cost of a typical kitchen renovation, so it pays to explore alternatives to replacement. The options include painting, refacing, and accessorizing. I like to combine all three. Paint the boxes, replace the door and drawer fronts and pulls, then refurbish the interiors with an array of organizers, shelf drawers, and rollout bins.
5. Refinish countertops and appliances
Refinishing companies such as Miracle Method (www.miraclemethod.com) specialize in resurfacing countertops. Similar companies offer services to refinish your appliances with electrostatic paint. The finish is factory tough and will make your appliances, if they work well, indistinguishable from new products.
6. Build a better bathroom
Consider reconfiguring the bathroom to include double sinks and a privacy door between the lavatory and the tub/toilet area. To update a bath, use some of the techniques for kitchen cabinets and counters. Tub and shower options include ceramic-tile refinishing and thin stone veneers that apply directly over sound surfaces, such as old tile.
7. Add trim
Millwork, or trim, does not have to feature high-cost exotic woods like cherry or laborious improvements like a fully paneled mahogany library. Paint-grade crown molding, wainscoting, and casing upgrades can transform a room for relatively little cost and time.
8. Install better flooring
The flooring trend has moved decidedly away from carpet to hard surfaces. Cork, bamboo, ceramic, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood, plastic laminate, and vinyl are now more popular flooring options. They also wear better, so if you decide to upgrade your floors, you not only will enjoy the marked change in your home’s appearance, but you’ll also have a long-lasting improvement sure to provide a sale-clinching wow factor even five or 10 years from now. Choose classic floor styles.
9. Upgrade the siding
Although exterior improvements are best done right before a sale, there are some exterior improvements that are worth considering because they provide long-term practical benefits and immediate pleasure.
From a cost and maintenance standpoint, don’t overlook vinyl and fiber-cement products. Vinyl siding is now available in countless styles, including clapboards, shakes, and even scallops.
10. Expand outdoor living
If you need more space for entertaining, the one place where it’s relatively inexpensive to add square footage is your deck or patio. It’s also one of the better remodeling investments, with an 80% payback for a wood deck versus most room additions, which yield about 60% return on investment (ROI). Decks also provide the kind of homebody moments of happiness that make you want to keep your house. The average cost of a deck addition—even an extravagant one—is less than $15,000. A room addition starts at around $50,000.

If you plan to sell
1. Restore the front entry
This is the point where prospective buyers make first contact. Make sure the threshold is clean, the door panel freshly painted, and the hinges not squeaky. If the door does not look good, replace it. Among midrange projects, steel entry-door replacements yield more than a 100% ROI.
2. Replace or paint the siding
New siding can yield among the best ROI of all of the home improvement options, about 80%. This does not translate into a profit, but curb appeal can result in a sale quicker and closer to your asking price.
3. Update the existing bath
A bathroom remodel may not be the best investment when selling a house, but in consideration of the buyer, picture yourself checking into a hotel room. You don’t really want the bathroom to look like someone else has used it. Replace corroded fixtures, install a new toilet seat, and remove mildew. Fresh caulk and paint and clean, sparkling faucets and fixtures will make a buyer more comfortable with the prospect of moving in.
4. Create custom cabinets
Give cabinets a new look by refinishing them with paint or stain, or use a glazing technique. The glazed look darkens the kerfs along door panels and molding contours, giving the cabinets a richer, albeit antiqued, aesthetic.
5. Replace appliances
Just as buyers prefer clean, like-new bathroom fixtures, they also like new appliances. At a minimum, change the pans on an electric stovetop, clean the oven, and consider having all the kitchen appliances refinished. Otherwise, a simple suite of clearance-sale stainless-steel or black appliances may do more for your kitchen than new countertops.
6. Use mirrors to create a sense of space
A mirrored wall or set of closet doors can enlarge the feeling of a room and throw more light into an other-wise dim environment. Natural light is essential in creating a home that feels welcoming and comfortable.
7. Remove a few kitchen cabinets
Creating a little breathing room by reducing cabinet clutter can improve the feel of your kitchen, even if it sacrifices storage. When you’re after first impressions, how the kitchen feels is more important than how it functions. A creative way to do this is by replacing some upper cabinets with open shelving. Remember to keep them uncluttered.
8. Landscape the yard
Take the time to mow the lawn, prune bushes and trees, mulch flower beds, and, if the weather allows, throw in some annual plantings. While I don’t recommend spending thousands of dollars on your yard, I do encourage you to make it as appealing and as neat as possible. Much of that can be accomplished with a little bit of sweat equity.
9. Redeck the deck
Another high return-on-investment project is new exterior decking. Outdoor entertainment areas are one of those things everyone shopping for a house dreams about; otherwise they would be shopping for a condo. Exterior remodeling, especially something like upgrading an existing deck surface, usually costs less than almost any type of remodeling you can do inside.
10. Install laminate flooring
Buyers want solid flooring, not carpet. Plastic-laminate flooring looks better now than it ever did and can dramatically update the look of your entry, kitchen, and living areas. Also, it costs a fraction of what true hardwood does. Snap-and-lock flooring technology makes for a fast installation. And use one floor throughout; small spaces feel bigger this way.


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