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The Average Cost of Stone and Brick Exteriors for Your Home

Stone/brick exteriors have been around for centuries and suggest elegance and modern sophistication. While this is an expensive exterior that is available in granite, slate, limestone, marble, or brick, if you are fortunate enough to live close to an area where the stone is quarried, you will pay less. While brick may run an average cost of $6–$12, real stone can be $12–$30 per square foot. For this reason, many property owners choose to use stone or brick siding as an accent or only on the front of their buildings for a richer look without exorbitant expense. It is also possible to find artificial, engineered stone that is lighter and easier to install. It is less expensive, but does not sacrifice good looks in the process. It is also very durable and unaffected by weather and climate conditions.

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Creating Space in a Small Kitchen

Are you living in a home with a small kitchen? Are you desperately looking for ways to make this space seem bigger and more inviting? I recently came across a blog post that offers several suggestions for creating the illusion of more space in a kitchen.

  • Lighting – The lighting in a kitchen is a detail that is often overlooked, yet it can have a huge impact on how the space appears. Task lighting and under cabinet lighting are two ways to add extra lighting in your kitchen while also showcasing some of the details in the space. Natural light from replacement windows is another way to make your kitchen look more open and bring a little bit of the outdoors in.
  • Paint – Lighter rooms will generally feel much larger. Keep this in mind when choosing paint colors for the walls in your kitchen and for your kitchen cabinets, if you choose to paint them as well. Go with light blues, greens and yellows on the walls for a light and airy feel.
  • Details – The smallest details can make a big difference on how large or small a kitchen feels. Glass front cabinets and patterned backsplashes are stylish and can make the space appear more open. The way the flooring is installed also plays a role, such as making the room looking more expansive just by choosing larger tiles.

Keep these elements in mind if you are taking on a kitchen remodeling project in a smaller space.

The Average Cost of a New HVAC Unit Installation

There are very few places on earth where people are comfortable living without heating and air conditioning, and the United States is not usually considered one of them. Weather you live in a state with hot and sticky summers, or freezing cold, snowy winters, you are going to want an efficient HVAC unit. But how much will it cost?

The price of residential HVAC depends on the size of the house, the quality and brand of the unit, the region in which it’s being built, and the type of fuel it will use. Initial installation cost is one thing, but it’s important to consider the cost of fuel in the long run as well. High-efficiency systems can be more expensive to install, but will pay off over time. Maintenance costs are also something to consider. A complete overhaul or entirely new system with new ducts will cost more.

Installing an air conditioning system in your home can range from $3,000 to $6,000 depending on the situation of the home and the duct work. For a 1,900 square foot home, an new unit may cost around $3,500-$4,500, not counting the cost of installation.

The region in which you live will play a big factor in your final cost. If you live in the Midwest, the South, or the country, you will pay less than if you live in the Northeast or West Coast regions. In Raleigh, North Carolina, for example, a reasonable estimate would be somewhere around $3,800-$4,200 for changing a 2-ton system. This price would be a bargain if you lived in Maryland or New York, where prices are on average closer to $10,000 or more. Estimates can range closer to $20,000 for a complete HVAC overhaul on a large house. Every project is different, so it is difficult to say exactly what the cost will be. As a nationwide average, homeowners should expect to pay somewhere around $5,000 on new heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, then factor in the labor.

The cost of your project will also depend greatly on which contractor you choose. Estimates for the same project can differ by thousands of dollars, so it is definitely to your advantage to obtain several before choosing between HVAC contractors. When reviewing an estimate, make sure you understand exactly what it includes and what it does not include. It always helps to get as much information as possible from your perspective contractors.

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The Average Cost of Wood Flooring and Installation for Your Home

Thanks to its sleek, classic look, hardwood flooring is extremely popular. Installing wood flooring not only makes a difference in a home’s look, but in its resale value as well. For homeowners interested in installing wood flooring, the first question usually has to do with money.

There are many things that can affect the cost of your wood flooring, including the materials, the size of the space, and the contractor you choose. Standard solid-strip hardwood flooring averages about $8 a square foot for materials and installation, or $1,150 for a 12×12 foot space. The wide pine planks that have become popular lately can cost up to $12 per square foot (materials and installation). This means that for a 12×12 foot room, you are looking at an average cost of $1,750.

Pre-finished wood is more expensive than unfinished, though it still depends on what type of wood you are buying. Usually, factory finished wood costs around $10-$14 per square foot for installation. This means that for the same 12×12 foot room, the average cost is close to $2,000.

Different types of wood come at different prices. Bamboo is usually cheaper, around $4-$6 per square foot for materials. Other, more exotic woods can cost up to $13 per square foot for the materials, and more when you factor in the installation. Laminate flooring is usually around $8-$12 a square foot for materials and installation, which means that your final cost is somewhere close to $1,500 for a 12×12 foot space.

Your final cost will also change if you choose to have a custom pattern or border installed. This adds an element of originality and uniqueness to your floor, though the cost may go up by $2 a square foot, or more. For a 12×12 foot room, an extra $2 a square foot means $288 added to your bill. The bigger the room, the more your floor costs.

As with anything, your final bill will depend largely on which contractor you choose. Competing flooring contractors may have dramatically different prices, so it is a good idea to obtain several initial estimates. Pay attention to which items the estimates include and exclude. You want to know exactly what you are getting with each contractor. It also can be very helpful to get references and see floors previously completed by the contractors in question. Entering a project fully informed is the best way to guarantee a successful and satisfying experience.

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The Average Cost of a Bathroom Remodeling Project

The average cost of bathroom remodeling job can range anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the extent of the project and the materials being used. This range is flexible, and your final cost could end up being more or less depending on the choices you make. In fact, many homeowners remodel their bathroom for a more reasonable price range of $7,000-$10,000.

The cost of bathroom remodeling depends on several factors, including whether or not you expand the space, which fixtures you choose to replace and the quality of the replacement fixtures, the cabinetry you choose, and the type of flooring you choose. Really, the possibilities are endless. If you’re knocking down walls and expanding, choosing top-of-the-line fixtures and flooring materials, expect to pay closer to the top of this range.

Where you live can also affect the cost of your bathroom remodeling project. In areas with higher living costs, such as California and the Northeast, expect to pay more than other parts of the country. The size of your bathroom also matters, and square footage affects the cost of flooring an other things. It helps to search around for different flooring and fixture options in the beginning. For example, two manufacturers could have similar products, but one could be much less expensive.

Another important consideration is the type of fixtures you’re replacing. Are you looking for standard products, or will this be a custom project? Custom built cabinetry can cost a lot more than something off the shelf at Home Depot. The same goes for showers and sinks.

Before beginning any bathroom remodeling project, it can help to set some sort of a budget. Decide on flooring materials, sinks, tubs, showers, etc. Collect estimates from several local contractors before choosing one. All of these things affect the final cost, and it’s important to know all of your options before beginning.

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The Average Cost of New Windows for Your Home

In a world of rising energy costs, everyone seems to be looking for ways to cut their bills. Replacing old leaky windows can actually cut your energy bills up to 25%. It’s important to weight the cost of replacement against the savings over time. So how much does it actually cost to outfit a home with new windows

The actual cost of new windows depends on a number of factors, such as the quality of the new windows, the number of windows, and whether or not the window frames are damaged and need replacing as well. If the window frames are in good condition, you can expect to pay an average of $300-$700 per window to be placed inside the existing frames. Depending on where you live, it could be as much as $1,000 per window. This means that for a single-story home with 10 windows, you’re looking at anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Larger homes with more windows and second stories can run anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000. If the window frames are rotten or damaged, expect to pay 50-100% more for new construction windows.

The type of window has a big impact on the cost. Higher-end manufacturers can charge more for more energy-efficient windows. Sometimes you can find a lesser-known manufacturer that produces top-end windows, but charges less than the leading brands. Where you live matters too. In areas with a higher cost of living, your window replacement contractor will be have to charge more.

Another important cost factor is the size of your windows. Non-standard sized windows generally require custom replacements, which can increase the cost by 50-100%. It’s important to know the size of your windows and to shop around with different manufacturers to see who will give you the best deal. As with any home improvement project, it’s important to obtain estimates from several contractors before settling on one to get the job done.

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The Average Cost of Gutter Replacement

Sometimes we forget how important gutters are, until a torrential rain sends sheets of water flying off the roof, turning the yard into a sloshing mess for a week. If you’re looking for new gutters, your first question is probably going to be about the price.

The cost of your gutter replacement depends on the length of your gutters and the material being used. The average residential home has 120-250 feet of gutters. For vinyl gutters, you can expect to pay around $3-$5 per linear foot for installation. That comes out to anywhere from $360 to $1250 depending on how much you need.
Aluminum gutters are slightly more expensive at around $4-$9 per foot, with the downspouts costing about $8 per foot. Galvanized steel costs about the same as aluminum, so roughly anywhere from $480 to $2250 total cost. Wood gutters are also available, although these are usually only used in restoration projects and can cost $12-$20 per foot.
Stainless steel and copper gutters are two of the highest quality gutter materials. Stainless steel gutters run at about $20 a foot ($2400-$5000 for the average house). The upside to this is that stainless steel gutters are very strong, rust-free, and will remain shiny for years to come. Copper gutters cost between $15 and $20 per foot ($1800-$5000), and are also low maintenance and rust-free. Copper, however, will develop a green color from being exposed to air over a lengthy period of time.

On average, gutters can cost anywhere from $360 to $5000 depending on the size of your roof and the materials you choose. Also, expect to pay somewhere between $40 and $100 for the hauling away and disposing of your old gutters. As with any home improvement project, it’s best to shop around and get estimates before beginning.

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The Average Cost of a Basement Remodeling Job

As part of our very popular “Average Cost” series, we would like to address the question; “What is the average cost of a basement remodeling project?”

The average cost of a basement remodeling job can depend on a lot of things. The three biggest factors affecting the cost are the size of your basement, its present condition, and the desired finished product. While the average cost nationwide is $45,000, you could spend anything between $500 and $100,000 depending on what you’re going for.

The current state of your basement can have a big impact on your final cost. All finished basements need moisture-control and insulation. If this has not already been taken care of, it’s going to add to the cost. Installing plumbing and electrical wiring is another expense. Adding windows and extra lighting will up the cost as well. A basement that is partially finished may cost much less to complete than an entirely bare space.

It’s generally accepted that in newer homes, basement remodeling will cost on average $20-$25 per square foot, meaning around $30,000-$50,000 for a 1,500 to 2,000 square foot basement. It’s also possible to finish part of your basement and leave another part unfinished.

Converting a basement into a comfortable and legal renting unit usually costs between $30,000-$50,000 as a national average. This could mean adding bathrooms, kitchens, and windows if necessary.

What you want out of your basement is the ultimate factor in determining the final cost. You can finish the walls, ceilings, and floors to create usable added living space for as little as $1,000-$5,000. It’s additions such as bathrooms, wet bars, entertainment areas, elaborate moldings, heating, and additional wiring for lighting that can increase your price tremendously. It’s possible to spend upwards of $100,000 depending on the dream in mind. As with all home improvement projects, the more elaborate the plan, the higher the price tag.

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Average Cost of an Interior Paint Job

Painting is one of the fastest, most cost-efficient ways to give your home a new look. When having a professional paint your home’s interior, the cost can vary greatly depending on the size of the area being painted.

Interior paint can cost anywhere from $10-$50 per gallon, depending on the brand. Some paints are more expensive than others. This is usually due to quality, but like anything, some less expensive paints can be just as good as their highly priced alternatives. Average quality paint for a 1,500 square foot home may cost roughly $200-300.

Paint is not the only material cost to consider. There is prep work to be done, including moving objects, taping, and applying primer. A professional estimate generally includes prep work as well as 2 coats of paint. For a 12×12 room, you can expect to pay roughly $300-$400 or more. When painting an entire 1,500 square foot house, expect somewhere around $1,100-$2,000, or more. Things like painting baseboards, crown molding, or unusually high ceilings can add to the cost.

Where you live will affect the cost of the project, as the cost of living varies around the county. The national average cost of hiring an interior painter is around $2,200, but this includes all different size houses in all areas of the county. As with anything, it’s good to obtain several estimates before settling on one, as individual painters’ prices can vary considerably.

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The Average Cost of a New Fence

When choosing a fence for your home, you’ll want to choose a style that will compliment your home and your personality. Fences come in many different styles, and each one has its own advantages. If you’re thinking of building a fence around your home, you’ll want to consider the initial cost, as well as the maintenance that a fence will require. Fencing costs generally take into account the cost of materials, the perimeter of the fence, and the difficulty of the terrain (when applicable).

The cost of a new fence varies mostly depending on the cost of the materials. For example, wood rail fences often cost $9 per foot in materials, while the vinyl alternative can often cost twice as much. Ornamental steel and wrought iron fences can cost around $20-$30 per foot, and they often include stone or brick posts which add to the cost. Privacy fences in wood or vinyl generally run about $15-$20 per foot, with vinyl being more expensive.

The final cost of your fence largely depends on the size of the area you are enclosing. Building a fence around one or two acres will be more expensive than a fence around the backyard of a townhouse. Also, if your property is in the mountains, or if the terrain is steep and difficult to build on, the cost may be higher.

Related to cost, durability is another important factor to consider when choosing a fence, as certain types of fences require more maintenance than others. For example, many homeowners choose to build rail fences out of vinyl instead of wood, as vinyl doesn’t decay, though many people still prefer the classic look of real wood. Iron and steel fences are generally the most expensive to build, but they usually require very little upkeep over the years.

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