If you buy an older home, there is probably something you want to get rid of or replace.
Here are some of the features that may bother you plus some information on whether you should do it yourself or hire a contractor.
Get rid of the popcorn ceilings
Many homes built before 1981 have popcorn ceilings and some contain asbestos. Generally, the EPA tells homeowners to leave the ceilings alone if they are in good shape and not likely to release asbestos fibers.
But many homes would benefit from removing these ceilings. You can hire a contractor who will dispose of the old material properly. In the past, this was expensive, but costs have dropped.
Have ceilings tested to see how much asbestos they contain because many ceilings have very little in them. If the amount of asbestos is non-existent, some homeowners even do the job.
Cover up the floor and walls and spray the ceiling with water using a common garden sprayer. Then use a specially designed scraper to remove the coating.
After cleaning up, texture the drywall ceiling and paint.
Replace fluorescent lights in kitchen or bathroom and install recessed can lights
Sometimes a box was built into the ceiling over a kitchen or bathroom and was covered with sheets of plastic. Behind the plastic, there are fluorescent lights. In a case like that, an electrician must put in connections for recessed can light fixtures.
New sheetrock will be needed to create a level ceiling. You can’t just build the can lights into the now empty box as they would cast unsightly shadows.
If you’re just removing a fluorescent fixture on a level ceiling, however, you only need to remove the old fixture and rewire for can lights. Painting is needed in any case.
Replace the old grab bars in the bathroom and the old towel bars, faucets and TP dispensers
All those bathroom accessories are probably showing a lot of wear and looking out-of-date.
Today’s grab bars, for example, are a whole lot more attractive and are designed to match the other fixtures in a bathroom.
Replace handles and knobs on the cabinets as well so that everything matches.
Install new bathroom toilets even if you don’t remodel the bathroom
A 20-year-old toilet will be less efficient than a new one. Newer toilets use far less water and can enhance the look of a bath.
Of course, if you buy something small and in a different shape, you might have to redo the floor.
Toilets can cost $200 each or more. Installation is extra.
Replace all the brass hardware on doors and hinges and on kitchen and bathroom cabinets
Shiny brass went out of style some time ago after a huge surge in the 1980s. Antique brass is what you want now, but pewter, chrome and brushed nickel are also possibilities.
Fill in the sunken living room
Sunken living rooms were in style in 1950s and 1960s houses and some people still like the look.
However, they can dominate the whole living space and require stepping down six to eight inches from another room. Aging baby boomers and small children may have problems with that.
You can raise the level of the floor to fill in the sunken room. After removing furniture and flooring that covers the concrete slab, have a termite inspection and get the area treated to ensure against future termites. Then remove the wooden pieces — such as baseboards and stairs — surrounding the old floor.
An electrician has to adjust the height of electrical outlets and switches. Eventually, workers will bring in the aggregate base course and new concrete to fill the hole that was made. New concrete can be pumped in if a living room is near the street where the concrete truck can park.
You want to match the new subfloor’s height to that of the current subfloor in the adjoining room. You may also have to replace flooring such as tiles that run through the repaired living room and then into a hallway.
For more homeowner advice, DIY tips, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at Rosieonthehouse.com.
And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.
Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- December's Rosie-do list: It's time to get ready for the Arizona winter
- November's Rosie-do list: Time to get ready for the holidays
- October's Rosie-do List: Keep your home running smoothly this month
- September’s Rosie-do list: Get your veggies, trees and yard ready for fall
- August’s Rosie-do list: Fix the monsoon issues, get ready for fall
- July's Rosie-do list will help you fight bugs brought on by the monsoon
- Ready your home for monsoon season with June's 'Rosie-do' list
- Eight things for homeowners to add to their 'Rosie-do' list for May
- 6 to-do items for your April 'Rosie-do' list
- Your 'Rosie-Do List' for March: Time to start gearing up for summer
- Rosie-Do List for February: Get outdoors to prepare for spring
- Here’s your ‘Rosie-Do List’ for January