Don't let winter stand between you and home improvements

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ January 21, 2011

In the heart of winter, it can be easy to let go of your commitment to fix up your home. There are some advantages to doing home improvement projects in the winter; your contractor may have more time for you and may charge less as the company appreciates the work. And if you're housebound, it's a great opportunity to handle small-scale repairs or improvements on your own.

By now you've had enough utility bills to compare with last year to see if your home or heating system is performing up to snuff. Do a walk-through of your home and list the small things you intend to do before spring. Adding or replacing weather stripping is an excellent idea, as is installing smoke alarms you meant to put in last summer. Neither of these simple upgrades add noise or pollutants to your home as you do them.

Winter Projects to Consider

If you hadn't noticed, the home improvement stores are less crowded this time of year. It can be a prudent time to buy supplies or scope out the work necessary for projects you intend to fire up in the spring. Material costs tend to rise every year, so buying wood, hardware, paint and other necessities now can spare you money when the building season heats up.

Think about doing a small bathroom remodel now. It's likely that the use of the shower or tub is lower than it is in summer months. Lowes has a great step-by-step procedure to replace your faucets. A small bathroom remodeling project continues to hold value through the roller coaster economy. Other spaces that may need attention are the panty or laundry room. Winter is a good time to add shelving and install low-energy lighting or storage.

Think About Your Gutters, Too

At this point in winter, you also have a solid take on the capacity and flow of your gutters. Even if it's cold outside, choose a clear day to get outside and inspect them. Cleaning gutters is like taking out a great insurance policy against wall and roof damage.

As part of your outdoor inspection, have a look at your exposed pipes to check for leaks. You may need to replace some wraps or tape. Don't be stingy about it. Flood damage can be a nightmare.

All this done, get a nice hot cup of cocoa--you deserve it.

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