Author Topic: 2015 Capital Improvement Program recommendations  (Read 2611 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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2015 Capital Improvement Program recommendations
« on: October 12, 2014, 05:44:04 PM »
Dear All:

Thanks to some very helpful advice from Mustachians in 2014-I've wrapped up my 2014 Home Improvement Program at my house. The major projects were
1) installing new hardie siding to replace the existing rotting cedar shake shingles
2) installing a new water heater
3) installing a dryer vent (instead of having the dryer vent into the attic)
4) replacing the rotting existing rear entry door with a new energy efficient fiberglass door
5) installing a new sewer line from the house to the city hookup

Of the five projects, only the sewer line was unplanned, and the total costs for all projects was around $5,300-I did a bit of the work on the hardie plank myself, and helped with installing the rear entry door.

I'm putting together my 2015 Home Improvement program, and I am wondering if the MMM crowd might have some advice. These home projects are being done on a 1957 single level ranch home that my wife and I bought with 25% down, and have 45% of the house paid off after 2.5 years of homeownership. We always save 30% of our income before we do any homeownership work, and prefer living in our older 1,500 sqft home instead of living in a palace that we could have purchased.

Here are the projects that I am considering for 2015
1) new gutters and fascia. Our gutters are original to our home, and leak badly. To make matters worse, many of the fascia boards behind the gutters have signs of rotting and probably should be replaced. This is a project I'm going to do myself in part (taking out the old gutters and replacing the rotting fascia boards with new treated wood), but am also going to outsource to professionals for the seamless gutters and adding on two new down sprouts. I'm expecting this project to cost about $650 total

2) installing new interior doors. My house has cheap interior hollow core doors (seven in all-three bedrooms doors, two closets, and two bathrooms) that are original to the house and in poor shape. I'd like to get some craftsman style solid core doors that would add some pop and privacy to various bedrooms. I'm seeing some decent doors at Lowes and Home Depot going for $55 each (total cost of $385), with the addition of new ADA compliant knobs ($30 each at $210), and new hinges ($3.50 each, two per door, $50 total), for a total materials cost of $637. Since I am just replacing the slabs, I'm hoping to do this project myself, but if I need to get my handyman to do it, that would add another $300 in costs.

3) installing new front entry door. Our front door is original to the house, and leaks a lot, with bugs getting into the gaps between the frame and door. I could get a decent fiberglass entry door for $219 at Home Depot, but would want someone else to install it ($250), for a total project cost with new hardware of around $550.

4) installing new porch columns. Our front porch has three non-load bearing columns that are rotting from long-term water damage. I'm thinking that I'll need to put in some new posts someday, but have no idea what the cost would be, and whether it would make more sense to get fiberglass columns instead of wood columns.

5) Adding more insulation to the attic. Right now our attic has an insulation factor of R-31. I'd like to 1) seal some of the existing gaps and 2) add another R19 factor to bring up the insulation to R 50 (as recommended for Dallas Texas. I can blow the insulation in myself, but would probably need to hire someone to seal up the air gaps effectively. I'd also like to create some new sofit vents in the front of the house-I only have two, and probably need another two to improve the air circulation. Cost for additional insulation is about $350 for doing it myself, $500 to seal the air gaps and the duct system, and $50 to install some new sofit vents (I would probably hire someone to do the air gap sealing and sofit vent work).

6) Adding recessed lighting in two bedrooms. We have recessed lighting in the kitchen and dining room, as well as the master bedroom. I would like to install some in the bedrooms, as it is rather tricky getting to the light fixtures in the dark, especially with kids running around. I got a quote from my electrician of a cost of $150 for each room ($300 total), with the cost of the materials (8 light cans, 8 lights, and two dimmers) at $250 for a total cost of $400.

Any advice on which project that would be the most value for the home? We are planning on staying at our home for a while and we have one kid due next month, and would like to have another within two years, so this is a long-term commitment for us. I'm very concerned about preventing water damage in the home, so the gutters might be the first priority, although the vane side of me is most interested in some new interior doors.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: 2015 Capital Improvement Program recommendations
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 09:03:05 PM »
Wow you've done a lot this year! I'm going through similar renos myself, this year i stripped the basement to studs and completely re-re everything.

I would recommend going with projects 1 & 5 first. Fix any outer shell issues before making the inside pretty. In the attic you should be able to air seal yourself quite easily. Do you have ridge venting in your attic? If not, it would be more beneficial to air circulation than adding soffit vents.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 2015 Capital Improvement Program recommendations
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2014, 08:24:09 AM »
Thanks for the thoughts TuxedoEagle! I'm getting my first two quotes for the gutters installation tonight. I appreciate your comments. Peter


  • Stubble
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Re: 2015 Capital Improvement Program recommendations
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2014, 08:01:56 PM »
My HGTV-watching spidey sense tells me replacing your front door will be the biggest bang for your buck. But I think the interior doors will make you happy. Good luck. Our house has been a complete gut and remodel so I feel your pain. We are almost finished with the house itself and will be starting on the yard soon.