The summer season tends to bring out the “DIY-er” in all of us. The warm sun mixed with HGTV re-runs inspires us get our hands dirty and spruce up our homes – whether that be a new coat of paint, a complete bathroom tear-down, or just a little TLC – we’ve compiled the ultimate list of the top 9 home improvement projects to try this summer.
1. Pressure wash your home & walkways to remove old dirt.
After years of dirty rainwater, strong winds, and of course, snow hitting your home, there’s a good chance that it’s now caked in a deep layer of grime. Maybe you hardly notice it anymore because you’re just so used to it, or maybe it’s been on your mind for the past six months. Either way, the summer is a great time to break out the old pressure washer and put it to good use. Don’t have one? Luckily for you, pressure washers can be a relatively small investment that can last you for years on end. You can purchase a pressure washer for anywhere from $150-$500 depending on the make and model of your choice, but according to thewirecutter.com, the best choice for the average homeowner is an electric pressure washer with a quiet motor, larger wheels for better mobility, a longer hose for better overall range, and a sturdy base to ensure the machine is nearly impossible to tip over.
Giving your home and walkways a deep clean can transform your property in a matter of hours.
- Time: 30 minutes- 2 hours – depending on the size of the house.
- Price: $150 – $500 – depending on the make and model of the pressure washer.
- DIY Difficulty: 2/5 – requires some skill, but overall not incredibly difficult or time consuming.
2. Re-stain your deck to bring new life to an old structure.
When was the last time you stained your deck? Has it been five or six years? Is the wood starting to peel away and you’re left with unsightly chips in what was once a beautiful, cherry-stained finish? The summer is the perfect time to tackle this project. The hot sun provides the ideal environment for cleaning up your deck – not only does it make cleaning it easier, but it also helps with overall drying and curing time.
First and foremost, make sure your deck is clean.
There is a good chance you may need to sand down the original stain and scrape off any clumps or build up. It’s also a good idea to invest in some high-quality deck stain remover.
As you start to scrape off the old stain, take note of any nails or screws that are sitting at odd angles or are sticking up creating a potential hazard – may as well cover all your basis while you’re at it, right?
Once you have scraped the old wood off your deck, use that deck stain remover we mentioned before to remove the original stain. Allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes to soften the stain, and then scrub it off with a durable brush. Rinse off any residue with a hose, and then allow the wood to dry completely before sanding down any remaining areas of discoloration – the best tool to use for this, according to familyhandyman.com is to attach a stripping disc (think of it like a steel sponge) to an angle grinder.
Next, you can use a deck brightener/conditioner to help restore the wood to something close to its natural colour. This is optional but will help your deck appear more balanced and even coated when you do eventually stain it. Scrub the deck and rinse it once more, allowing it to dry completely before re-staining.
- Time: 1 – 2 weekends – includes cleaning of the wood and stain build up on older decks, preparation, and application. Keep note of the weather and choose a weekend where the sun is out as stain needs time to dry and cure.
- Price: $50 – $200- depending on size of the deck and quality of materials used.
- DIY Difficulty: 3.5/5 – having previous knowledge of deck finishing is useful to avoid mistakes and uneven, lumpy coats of stain. We also recommend having a friend to help you out with this one as re-staining a deck can be time consuming.
3. Install new light fixtures.
Updating your light fixtures can help bring a trendy, modern feel to your home without making any major changes. You can switch out tired, old pot lights for an elegant chandelier. Or, trade in your minimalist hanging-lightbulb for a more structured, geometric light fixture. We must caution you, however, that while most of the items on this list can be done with little to no outside help, we do recommend involving the aid of a licensed electrician for any necessary re-wiring and installation. DIY light installations can be incredibly dangerous if you are untrained and ill-equipped.
- Time: 1-2 hours/ fixture – includes wiring and installation.
- Price: $150 – $400 – varies by the quantity and cost of fixtures and the fees of professional installation by an electrician.
- DIY Difficulty: 5/5 – this really should not be attempted on your own unless you are a licensed professional. Leave the wires to the electricians.
4. Refresh your outside seating area.
(Image source: Photo by The London Gardener Ltd – Discover patio design ideas)
You’ve had the same patio furniture since 2010, when Ikea had that great sale, and you’ve felt comfortable with it since – it still looks okay, and it functions well, right? Take another look. Outdoor furniture, while often built for durability, tends to take in the most wear and tear, so if your patio furniture is looking a little rough around the edges, faded, or outdated, maybe it’s time for a makeover.
There are a few approaches you can take when it comes to updating your outside seating area. First, decide what kind of atmosphere you want. Do you desire a communal space where you can host Pinterest-worthy summer cookouts? Or, do you prefer a more serene, quiet place where you can escape to when you need some major relaxation? Decide for yourself what you require most out of your outdoor space and then consider if your furniture just needs a simple update – maybe some new cushions and a fresh coat of paint – or, if it’s time for a full overhaul – out with the old and in with the new!
- Time: 3 – 10 hours – including shopping time and placement of furniture/décor (not including shipping times for online orders or deliveries).
- Price: $500 – $2000 – depending on quality and brand of furniture and if a brand-new set of patio furniture is needed, or if older furniture just needs some new décor.
- DIY Difficulty: 1/5 – revamping your outside seating area should be fun and exciting! This project takes only a minimal effort, as all you need to do is to decide what furniture to buy, have them delivered to your house, and place them as you see fit. It can, however, require a decent investment – especially if you are buying all new furniture.
5. Update your kitchen backsplash and tile.
(Image source: https://sebringdesignbuild.com/top-trends-in-kitchen-backsplash-design/)
Modern kitchens today ere towards a sleek, clean, and polished look. It’s time to do away with the drab brown tile backsplash and update it for something more tasteful and refined. Try opting for durable materials in neutral colours (like white or grey) that will not only last you a while but will stay classy and relevant as the years go on.
While it is best in the long run to avoid anything super trendy as you may have to update it again in a couple years, you can now purchase adhesive faux tiles that are trendy, look like real tile, and require no commitment as they are easy to place and remove – and the best part is, you can place these over your current set, so there is no need to chip the original tile off.
- Time: 8 – 16 hours – depending on the size and difficulty involved of the materials used.
- Price: $50 – $200 – depending on the materials used, quality and durability, and how much of said material is needed.
- DIY Difficulty: 3/5 – some skill may be needed to remove and replace tiles. We recommend seeking help and doing your research so as to not damage your walls.
6. Upgrade your hardware.
(Image source: https://www.grahamandgreen.co.uk/home-accessories/utility/drawer-knobs-handles)
If you’ve ever wanted to change the style of your home, with minimal effort, time and money, try changing out old, dingy drawer and cupboard handles for new, modern knobs. Switch out old, rusting metal pulls for a beautiful brushed steel, or a delicately designed porcelain. Try experimenting with the feel of your kitchen or bedroom – do you want to evoke a more rustic feel? How about something sleeker and more polished? Purchasing knobs and handles can be relatively cheap, too. Depending on the materials used, you can find knobs for as little as $0.50 per piece! You’ll be amazed at how such a small detail can make such a large impact on the feel of your home.
- Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour – depending on how many need to be replaced and tools used to install.
- Price: $15 – $50 – depending on quality/materials used and how many are required.
- DIY Difficulty: 1/5 – this is really one of the simplest and easiest ways to update the look of your home with minimal effort. No experience necessary.
7. Ditch the popcorn ceilings.
(Image source: https://protekpainters.com/popcorn-ceiling-removal/)
Everyone knows that it’s not the 90’s anymore – so why are your ceilings still stuck in the past? It’s time to bring them back to the future by getting rid of that outdated, lumpy texture.
Try switching it out for a clean and even surface. This will ultimately make your home feel more spacious, and with the right coat of paint, can make your ceilings appear taller. Feeling fancy? Add some beautiful trim or place some crossbeams for a look fit for a monarch.
- Time: approx. one week.
- Price: $100 – $200 (or $800 – $1500 if contracted out)
- DIY Difficulty: 4/5 – removing popcorn ceilings is tedious and messy work, unfortunately. We recommend enlisting the help of a contractor for this project.
8. Add wallpaper to unexpected places for a unique look.
(Image source: https://www.digsdigs.com/wallpaper-accent-walls/)
Sometimes your home just needs a simple refresh and you don’t have the time or energy to kickstart a major renovation project. Not to worry – all you need is some eye-catching wallpaper and an imagination.
Accent walls are incredibly trendy right now and can give your home an elevated look. Try adding pops of colour or patterned wallpaper to solid coloured walls in places you’d never expect for a unique and artistic look and feel.
- Time: 1 – 3 hours
- Price: $80 – $200 – including tools needed, wallpaper stripper, wallpaper paste/glue, and wallpaper.
- DIY Difficulty: 2/5 – some skill is helpful, but this is a great project for the average home reno novice.
9. Honestly, just finish your basement.
(Image source: http://www.therenopros.ca/basement-renovations-toronto/what-are-the-primary-concerns-with-renovating-a-basement/)
Your basement has been “in the works” for years – there are exposed beams at every turn, tools laying helpless on the concrete floor, and blueprints lay cast aside, neglected for months at a time. There is ample amounts of clutter down there – hockey gear, Halloween decorations, that pressure washer you bought to do the first project on this list – it’s all sitting in your basement waiting for someone to turn a hazardous storage unit into a pristine finished basement. So, what are you waiting for?
If you’ve already renovated your home and want to see what it’s worth, contact us for a FREE home evaualtion. If you’re about to start renovating your home and would like some more resources, contact us for a list of home service providers that we work with!