Home Improvement Projects For Less Than $1K

Everyone has an eye on those stimulus checks. If you think you will have to sell your home some really good ideas to save money or for that matter, maybe make a little money when you do so, making some upgrades might be just the thing you need to do. With that in mind here are some thoughts on things you can do for around $1000 that might really help your bottom line.

Handy Hibernation

Winter is no excuse to leave home repairs unfinished, especially when there’s months of coronavirus lockdown yet to endure. Nobody’s telling you to tackle difficult DIY tasks such as reshingling a roof, but if you wanted to, say, get your chimney swept or paint that guest room a trendy new color you might as well work on those tasks while stuck inside. With help from experts, we found a few projects to knock out for $1,000 or less.

Install a New Water Heater

The average tank-equipped water heater lasts only about 12 years. If yours is getting around that age, it’s better to address it now than when it leaks, bursts, and floods a part of your house. The average cost of a 50-gallon tank water heater’s replacement with installation can range from $795 to $2,800 according to Angie’s List. If you want to switch to a tankless system that heats water as needed, the cost of installation could be as high as $3,000, but the system can last 20 years or more.

Refinish Your Floors

If you have a room with floors that look scuffed and worn, refinishing them for under $1,000 is tough, but not impossible. It all depends how much ground you’re covering, how much refinishing has already been done (if the floor’s too thin, you’ll have to replace it), and how much work you’ll need to do. If your floor just needs recoating, for instance, you can keep the cost closer to $1,000 or even below.

Install Vinyl Windows

Or just install one. You can have one window installed for $250 to $600, which means you can get anywhere from one to four for your $1,000. The best part is that you’ll see the results of your efforts almost immediately if you can install those windows before the worst of the winter months. It won’t create drastic change, but replacing windows one at a time or in small bundles can help cut the cost while upgrading your home.

Upgrade Electric Circuits

Winter, when shorter days leave lights on longer, will boost your electric bill even beyond what it’s been during the lockdown, since computers, TVs, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles are likely getting more use. More electricity is used to heat hot water, and snow and rain keep the clothes dryer spinning. Newer, more efficient circuits for electric ranges, outlets, and dryers are available, and you can sneak a lot of work in for less than $1,000 if you pick one small job at a time.

Fertilize the Landscape

While nobody would recommend a winter round of cutting or pruning, adding fertilizer to trees, shrubs, and grass for the winter will help keep your landscape lively until spring arrives. You can do this yourself pretty easily for as little as $76, but the average cost of having a professional do it is about $225.

Paint the Interior

When you’re confined indoors, it’s a great time to think about painting. Sure, you’ll need equipment, primer, and paint, but those willing to do it themselves can knock out a room for $200 to $300. If the room is small enough, even professionals can knock it out for less than $1,000.

Seal Openings and Air Leaks

If you go after seams around windows and doors with caulk, waterproof sealant, or weatherstripping, it can improve your energy consumption and lower utility bills. Sealing openings and leaks can also reduce outside noise, control humidity, keep out dust and insects, and reduce the risks of ice dams on the roof and eaves in snowy climates. This will not only cost you less than $1,000, it shouldn’t cost you $100 to complete.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

By activating heating and cooling only when needed, programmable thermostats are far more efficient than their manual counterparts — if used effectively — while costing between $25 and $150.

Smarten Up the House

Don’t stop at a smart, connected thermostat. You can install smart interior and exterior lighting, alarm and security systems, smoke detectors, cameras, door and window locks, yard irrigation, window treatments, and other items for an average of roughly $1,000. (The monthly fees for some of these services aren’t included, but the improvements are designed to pay for themselves in the long run.)

Update Your Kitchen Tile

No, you won’t be able to tile entire floors and counters for less than $1,000, nor would you want to. But adding a colorful backsplash can be inexpensive and not terribly difficult, depending on the size of the area. You’ll have to be patient and take your time, but a simple tile backsplash can cost as little as $592, while having one professionally installed averages out to roughly $950.

Put In Crown Molding

At $3 to $8 per square foot, crown molding isn’t as out-of-reach as homeowners might think. If you have a table saw or have a Home Depot or Lowe’s nearby that can rent you one, you can knock it out for less than $300; Home Depot has a tutorial explaining how. Even if you do need a professional to make it happen, the average price for a room is around $1,000.

Add Insulation

Insulation gives a homeowner easily the best bang for their buck. Remodeling notes that attic insulation offers a 108% return on investment while cutting the overall cost of home energy use. While the cost of fiberglass batts, spray-foam insulation, and blown-in insulation varies, you can spend well below the $1,400 average cost of insulating an attic by doing the job yourself. The average person who installs batted installation on their own, for example, spends just $145 to $200 per 500 square feet.

Refurbish Doors

Replacing a front door with a new fiberglass or steel model can will add 78% to 90% of that door’s value to the cost of the house, Remodel Magazine says. You could simply paint a door for very little, but door installation costs less than $1,000 on average, and can cost even less if you buy and install it yourself. You’ll not only be adding value, but making your home more energy-efficient while improving its security.

Mind Your Gutters

Even if it’s late in the season for some winter repairs, you might be able to prevent ice dams and snow backups in your gutters. You don’t need to replace gutters completely, but installing gutter guards can help break up snow and ice and keep gutters and roofline clear. While the average cost of installation is little more than $1,000, doing it yourself can keep the price tag beneath $500.

Insulate Plumbing and Pipes

Wrap exterior pipes and spigots in foam insulation whenever temperatures are expected to drop below freezing. Granted, you could just shut them off for the season, but exposed metal and copper in basements, attics, and crawl spaces may get cold enough to freeze. Rather than dealing with leaks and flooding later, getting some foam tubing now is a far less costly option.

Start Finishing the Attic

If you’re insulating the attic anyway, check into the cost of conversion. If you already have stairs into an attic; widows; and an easy means of running heat up there, such as via ductwork or piping, you may be on your way. You can at least start talking to an architect or engineer ($50 to $150), run ductwork (about $1,000), or begin installing lighting ($50 to $200 per light).

Start Finishing the Basement

No, you won’t be able to finish a whole basement for $1,000, unless it’s tiny or your needs are minimal. But you can start framing out a basement for $1,000 a square foot. Even better, you can start drawing up plans and pulling $50 permits for work you’ll do at a later date. This kind of work adds 70% of its value to the cost of your home.

Build Some Built-ins

You can’t have someone come in and build bookshelves or a bench and cubbies for your mud room for $1,000. But you can do the job yourself for that price, paying anywhere between $200 to $500 to install built-in shelving units; the cost of the shelving itself will be anywhere from $25 to $150. Professionals do suggest that you not build shelves yourself, though. Have a carpenter make them or buy them pre-made if you must, but it takes a skilled hand to make a decent set of shelves.

Replace Appliances

While September and October are when manufacturers bring in the new year’s inventory, January is when much of the previous year’s inventory gets priced at its lowest. Will you be able to get a high-end refrigerator or stove for less than $1,000? Perhaps not, but it may be a good time to replace that dishwasher, washer, or dryer.

Start Remodeling the Kitchen

An entire kitchen remodel will cost 10 to 20 times the $1,000 you’re spending here. But if you wanted to install a vinyl or bamboo floor, put in a vinyl counter, refinish some cabinets, or install a new sink and faucets, you could sneak in any one of those jobs of $1,000 or less while saving the rest for sunnier days.