As some of you may know, my husband and I bought our first house last summer. After spending months shopping, we finally settled on what to me was the perfect house. Last summer, I spent two months painting, painting, and painting with my wonderful father before we moved and settled in.
With a house, though, your projects are never done. The most important task you have as a homeowner is to spend your time and money wisely. This means that every home project you partake in should increase the value of your home.
So, what was my first project for the year? The floor in our master bedroom.
Upstairs in our master bedroom the previous owners had thought it a wonderful idea to carpet the room in green, paint the room green, and even trim the woodwork in green. Oh and don’t forget the window curtains. Yeah, they were green. I think I was incredibly patient to have lived with green carpet, green walls, and green curtains for 8 months.
A few weeks ago, though, was the beginning of the end. When I looked at the room, I had to make a decision as to where would my money and time would go the furthest. In other words, what could I do to the room in order to raise the value of my home the most? Paint was cheap and would help. That I knew, but nothing could ever save the house from the fact that it had green carpet.
So with $1000, I decided to take on a small renovation project: get rid of the green carpet and lay some new flooring.
I had two choices for the floor: carpet or wood. I chose to go with wood for two reasons. One, it always looks so beautiful and is a great selling point. Two, it is super easy to clean with pets and kids (another selling point). My next choice was to go with either real hardwood or Pergo. I thought about it, priced it out, and realized that hardwood floors would cost twice as much — but probably wouldn’t return twice as much. Therefore, I decided to go with Pergo flooring. They look just like hardwood, but they never need to be replaced or redone and clean up perfectly. To me, being in a neighborhood with young families and pets, this was an easy decision. The fact is, though, if I was moving into a much more expensive neighborhood or an older neighborhood, I may have chosen differently. What you chose to lay in your home is more about what will bring the most value to your home, to your lifestyle, and those around you.
With the planning done, I called in reinforcements. My parents arrived on a Sunday night to teach us what we were doing. Before they came, we moved everything out of the closets and the bedroom. This was no easy task. So, now we were sleeping in the loft area surrounded by boxes and clothes. This was not relaxing by any means. We began the night with a trip to Home Depot and then to the Lowe’s to find the perfect Pergo flooring. On top of that, we needed quarter round. That is the small molding pieces that go between the floor and the baseboard and make it look finished. Finally, we also picked up marble thresholds to go between the other bedrooms and the hallway. (Yes, we decided to do the hallway as well). After all the money was spent, we returned home ready to work.
There were several lessons I learned in laying flooring in my master bedroom and hallway that I want to quickly pass on:
1. When you rip up carpet, you must take out ALL of the staples. There are a lot of them. It takes a long time. Using a screw driver and plyers helps a lot!
2. Use a carpet cutter and cut underneath the carpet makes the cutting so much easier. No, scissors do not work.
3. Cut the carpet into smaller sections, then roll it up and tape it. It makes the clean up so much easier. Do not attempt to roll a whole room of carpet and throw it out the window. Bad idea.
4. When cutting your wood, or quarter round, measure it three times — and cut one time.
5. Don’t panic about the mistakes you make. You knew to buy 10% more than you needed.
6. Every house and room is different, so you will always be learning as you go.
7. Have help. This I can’t stress enough. If you don’t have help, clear out a good week and find a fantastic marriage counselor. Renovations — big and small — are stressful so plan accordingly.
Anna Domzalski is a staff writer for Financial Bin covering Budgeting, Wealth, Education, and Real Estate.
Have a question for Anna? Email her at Anna@FinancialBin.com.