When you start imagining your next home improvement project, it’s tempting to think about spending your money on sexy ideas like a spa for an expanded master bedroom suite or an enlarged kitchen with celebrity-inspired fittings.
These dream projects will boost the value of your home, and you can show them off to your friends. However, it’s better to be reasonable and put them aside if your home first requires some decidedly “unsexy” updates because of electrical hazards or cracks in your foundation. Below are four top projects that will keep your home in the best possible shape for the long-term.
1. Repairing Your Foundation
Have you noticed that you have a slowly expanding crack that is stair-stepping up your basement wall? This may not mean that there is an impending collapse, but you need to get it checked before it gets worse.
Other signs of foundation problems are separations between concrete blocks, crumbling concrete, bulging floors, and doors that don’t close properly. Before engaging a contractor, have a structural engineer provide you with an objective analysis of the problem and a recommendation for the most effective and economical repair.
2. Updating Your Electrical Wiring
Research by the National Fire Protection Association found that old wiring and faulty outlets are a major cause of residential electric fires. Some signs that your electrical wiring could cause problems include a loose connection, a spark from an outlet after plugging something in, and a light that keeps flickering. Although it is costly to modernize an aging electrical system and rewire a home, your home will be safer, and you’ll sleep better at night.
3. Improving Your Insulation
If you have an older house, it was probably built with less insulation than a more modern home. However, even newer homes may need some added insulation. Get a professional home energy audit to determine where your home needs more insulation and what type of insulation is best. Installing insulation is a messy, unglamorous (not sexy) job, but will help to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures year-round.
4. Adding Ductwork for Central Air Conditioning
Consider yanking out those dripping, noisy, window air conditioners and replacing them with an efficient, quiet central-air-conditioning system. It may be that you have warm-air furnace ducts in place, or you may not have any ducts at all. Either way, you may imagine that ductwork installation or upgrade will involve a great deal of expense and the tearing of your house apart.
Adding central air is easier and less costly than you might think. If your house needs ducts, an experienced retrofitting contractor will cleverly hide ductwork behind your walls with minimal damage to your walls and ceilings.
These four home maintenance projects are particularly unsexy, but they will leave you with a more comfortable, safe, and secure home for years or decades to come. And, after you get done with these and other unexciting projects, you can turn your attention to that sprawling patio with a built-in fire pit and a fountain wall to transform your backyard into an outdoor oasis.