Over the years, your once new home can really begin to old and tired. Some out-of-date features may be showing their age. Or maybe you didn’t like them in the first place. Here are areas you may want to update – especially if you’re putting your house on the market:
This is a job that some homeowners try by themselves.They soak the heavily textured ceilings with water and scrape everything off into sheets on the floor. But if the popcorn was put up there in the 1970s, you’re better off having a professional test the ceiling for asbestos content and do the removal and repair.
Maybe a box was built into the ceiling over your kitchen or bathroom and was covered with sheets of plastic. Behind the plastic, a builder hung fluorescent lights. Now you’d like to switch to individual recessed can lights. You need to have an electrician work on the fixture to provide connections for new lighting; add new sheetrock as well to create a level ceiling. Some painting may be needed as well.
No matter how clean you are inside your house, that cluttered, messy garage with a cracked floor is a big turn-off. Empty the garage and have the old concrete covered with epoxy that resists oil stains, beads water and wipes clean like a kitchen counter. Have cabinets built into the walls as well if you can afford it.
Sunken living rooms were really big in the 1950s and 1960s, but now they look dated. Most can be a step of from six to eight inches down from another room. That can be a hazard for tiny children and aging baby boomers. You can raise the level of the floor to match the rest of the house, although it’s not a job you do yourself. A contractor may have to adjust some things in the surrounding walls as well, like raising electrical outlets and switches. Eventually, workers will bring in the aggregate base course and new concrete to fill the sunken area. The new concrete can sometimes be pumped in, depending on the distance from the street where the concrete truck will be and your living room.
Shiny brass is especially out of style on your doors and cabinets. Antique brass is popular now, and so are pewter, chrome and brushed nickel. This is a do-it-yourself project that could take a while, but once it’s done, you’ll be amazed at the change in the house. While you’re at it, change the lighting chandeliers to match the new metal.
Old metal fixtures that seem to clash with the hardware in the room should be replaced.
You can’t just put up walls on the slab under your carport or you could have floods and leaks. A contractor must build up a masonry stem wall of about 6 to 8 inches high, around the perimeter of the concrete slab of the carport/garage. A concrete block system can be used to do this, but don’t skip this step. If you use wood, instead of masonry, for the stem wall you can end up with mildew, dry rot and termites.
Even if you can't remodel the whole bathroom, those old frosted panels that encased the shower have got to go. If you can’t replace the tiles on the shower walls, you can at least replace the “glass” with frameless panels that are more up-to-date.
For one thing, a 20- to 30-year-old toilet will be less efficient than newer models. Modern toilets use significantly less water and a new one can enhance the room. If you choose a new one that is smaller and shaped differently, you might have to change the flooring to fit the new fixture.
You might still like the old décor, but probably these walls will be the first thing a Realtor will tell you to fix.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program heard locally in Phoenix on KTAR-FM (92.3) from 7-11 a.m. Consult our Web site for other listings. Call 888-767-4348.