10 Doable DIY Summer Renovations

Spruce up your home with these manageable improvement projects.
By aha insurance - Jun 5, 2020

At aha insurance we continually explore ways to stay in control of all aspects of life – because we know life is about more than insurance. In our Life Matters series we talk about staying in control of your life and living on your terms. Control feels great!

This year’s summer plans likely include more time staying at home than you would have liked. Whether you’re preparing for the perfect staycation or just want to use your spare time productively, you can complete one of these 10 DIY renovations this season. Successful home renovations can improve your home’s appearance and function in addition to increasing its resale value.

Don’t forget to let your home insurance provider know about your renovation plans. You can rest easy knowing that your home will be protected during the renovation process and that you’re insured for the full value of your home.

Paint rooms

Painting a room is a manageable weekend renovation project that gives your home a refreshed feeling. Even the least handy and artistic among us can choose the perfect colour and get to work on a paint project.

Architectural Digest has tips on the entire painting process from selecting materials and calculating how much paint you’ll need to proper paint mixing, ventilation and cleaning techniques. Lowe’s also has wall prepping and painting video tutorials that will help you paint your home’s interior like a pro.


Build a patio

Who doesn’t want to enjoy the summer weather from a lovely new patio? A patio can add value to your home and improve every backyard activity from barbeques to drinks with friends and pool parties. Building a patio requires more tools and renovation skills than a simple paint job. Still, it’s a doable DIY job after a local hardware store trip to pick up supplies and rent a plate compactor to level the ground for your patio.

Fix up your bathrooms

You don’t have to be a talented DIY plumber to perform effective but straightforward bathroom renovations. There’s a lot you can do to make your bathroom look great with some new fixtures, a few coats of semi-gloss paint, and a caulk gun.

  • Add a stylish tile backsplash above the sink.
  • Paint your bathroom cabinets.
  • Update your bathroom’s textile accents, including your rugs, towels, and shower curtain.
  • Re-caulk your sink, tub, and shower to keep your bathroom watertight and looking good.
  • Even the (arguably) most important appliance in your bathroom, the toilet, is relatively easy to replace with a new, high-efficiency model.
  • Replacing faucets and showerheads is another easy way to give your bathroom a high-end look quickly.

The minimal design of most bathrooms also means that you can add a few design touches that will pop among traditional bathroom decor. Try framing your bathroom mirrors or adding wall decals to make your powder room more fun. You can also bring your bathroom to life with these 17 houseplants that grow well in humid and temperature-variant bathroom environments.

Install a garage workshop

Are you looking for a space to complete home projects with heavy-duty tools like a drill press and table saw? Do you just need a safe place to store hand tools and home maintenance supplies? Either way, a garage workshop is a must-have for every savvy homeowner.

Garage workshop essentials include:

  • A fold-down workbench.
  • A lockable tool chest and drawer mats to keep your tools in place.
  • A pegboard to store tools in an organized and space-efficient manner.
  • Access to safe electrical outlets.
  • Overhead fluorescent lights.
  • Rubber floor mats or other flooring solutions that provide grip and reduce joint strain while you work.
  • A job site radio with Bluetooth for entertainment while you work.
  • ventilation system to keep the air quality in your workshop safe when your projects create dust and debris, or expose you to hazardous fumes.

This Old House has a straightforward guide for setting up a simple, space-efficient workshop in a one-car garage.

Set up a granny suite

Granny or in-law suites are practical living solutions for older adults in your family, allowing them to maintain independence while receiving additional family support as needed. In-law suites can be as sophisticated as building an entire self-contained granny flat attached to your home or located in your backyard. More affordable granny suite locations include garage, basement, and attic conversions. However, installing separate entrances, new plumbing and HVAC systems can quickly bring this type of project outside the scope of a DIY renovation project.

You can create the most DIY friendly granny suites in a finished basement, spare bedroom, den, or any other part of the house that is otherwise underused. Don’t forget to design your in-law suite with accessibility, privacy, and independence in mind.

Designing for accessibility:

  • Doors should be wide enough to fit wheelchairs or walkers.
  • Cabinets and shelving shouldn’t be too high or low for people who have trouble reaching up and bending down.
  • Include adequate lighting to optimize visibility for people with visual impairments.
  • Reinforce walls and add grab bars to help ease mobility.
  • Bathrooms outfitted with secure grab bars and lipless showers or walk-in tubs to reduce the risk of falls.

Elements of a granny suite that promote privacy and independence:

  • A separate entrance.
  • A private bathroom ensuite.
  • A full kitchen or kitchenette separate from the home’s central kitchen.
  • A private sitting room in addition to a bedroom.

Upgrade your windows and doors

Improve the appearance and energy efficiency of your home with new windows and doors. Summer is an excellent time to replace your windows and doors as long as you can handle going without air conditioning while you complete the project.

Modern window and door upgrades will help you seal in cold air during summer and keep your furnace from heating the outdoors in winter, helping you save money in the long run. Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane Energy Star-rated windows could save you 25% on energy costs.

Do you have what it takes to install your windows, patio doors, or storm doors? Find out here. Or check out this Better Homes & Gardens guide to installing a sash kit and window inserts.

Fence repairs and maintenance

Summer is the perfect time to get your fence looking like new again. Fortunately, fence work isn’t as precise as a DIY job like installing crown moulding. There’s a lot you can do to maintain and repair your fence, so you don’t have to take on an advanced fence replacement project or hire fencing professionals.

Check out this comprehensive guide from The Home Depot to clean, reinforce, and repair wood, vinyl, and metal fencing. When your fencing is structurally sound again, you may want to protect and beautify your fence with a fresh paint or stain job.

Install new flooring

Adding new floors to a room or an entire floor of your home is another way to drastically improve it’s look without needing a lot of money, time, or expertise. Installing new flooring is more complex than painting a room, but there are several DIY-friendly flooring options.

These three types of flooring are among the most affordable and most manageable to install for your DIY flooring projects:

  • Sheet vinyl is a popular flooring solution for several reasons. You can choose from a vast array of sheet vinyl design styles; it can be used in any room of your home and laid over almost any type of subfloor. Sheet vinyl is also durable, long-lasting, affordable and easy to install for those new to DIY flooring.
  • Luxury vinyl tile is another affordable option despite its name. Luxury vinyl tiles and boards can look like high-end natural stone or hardwood floors. LVTs and LVBs are versatile, affordable, and easy to install with a limited number of essential tools like a tape measure, a ruler, and an Exacto knife.
  • Laminate Flooring is also easy to install and maintain. However, like with most types of flooring, cheaper laminate products will be less durable. However, laminate flooring isn’t as comfortable to walk on or authentic-looking as luxury vinyl flooring.

Builder-grade hardwood flooring is another affordable option that’s more environmentally friendly, but it takes more hard work to install. Ceramic tile flooring provides quality and durability, but can be more challenging and pricey to install. If you’re looking for more outside of the box flooring ideas like wallpaper or stencilled concrete floors, the Crafty Club has 20 Cheap DIY Flooring Ideas You Need To Know About.

Build storage solutions

You don’t have to make a trip to your local home and furniture store to find storage solutions. Make the most of your spaces by creating functional storage pieces that make a stylish statement.

  • Storing your cherished belongings and wall decor go hand in hand with homemade hat storage hangers, a wall-mounted bike rack or picture rail shoe rack.
  • Pegboard storage isn’t just a great way to store tools in your workshop, it’s also a great storage solution for your office, art, or kitchen supplies.
  • Upcycling or buying glass storage jars is a convenient way to store everything from cereal and pasta in your kitchen to bath salts and cotton balls in your bathroom. You can even use glass jars to organize tiny items like bolts, screws and nails.
  • Give your entryway or mudroom an incredibly functional storage makeover.
  • You can even build a bookshelf if you’re up for the woodworking challenge.

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