Home improvements - is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by jeepgirl30, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. jeepgirl30

    jeepgirl30 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2003
    My DH wants to update/replace all the trim inside our home, all the baseboards, doors and trim around the doors. He wants oak. Is there somewhere I can look up cost estimates? I have someone coming but want to have a ballpark in mind so i don't :scared1: infront of the guy! My DH is so NOT a DIY'er.

    We also talked about converting our formal living room to a game room. That I think would be completely worth it as we never use the room as is but DH said we would do that after all the other woodwork is replaced.

    Does the trim make a difference in resale?
  2. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    Trim is one of those things that isn't really going to increase the value of your home. Unless your trim is in really poor repair, this isn't something I'd spend money on.

    Typically, the renovations that can improve the value of your home are:

    Energy efficient windows/doors
    Finishing a basement
    Putting on an addition/sunroom

    I'd also be careful of converting a dining room to a game room unless you can turn it back really easily. While I would buy a house with a dining room and a game room, I wouldn't buy a house that only had a game room and no dining room. We like to entertain and a dining room is a must for me.
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  4. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    Realtor here. The first question is, what kind of home is it? If it is a 500K house with granite, and high end things then low grade trim would make a difference. However, if you live in a less expensive house low grade trim would not make a difference. Also, do you plan on staining the wood? Is it a historical home?

    My home is 20 years old and a little above average in size and price for the area. We went with inexpensive trim and painted it white. We only placed the trim that was rotting. Personally, I wouldn't replace the trim just for the sake of it. Kind of like throwing money out the window. ;) This is from a resale perspective.
  5. Brer Shay

    Brer Shay Everything is Satisfactual

    Feb 20, 2008
    Funny you should post this as DH and I are looking at the same thing for our home. I'm a DIYer though, so I can't comment on the cost in terms of labor. What I can tell you is that it's not an easy job and there is a great deal to do. Using real wook, the trim pieces will have to be stained and/or polyurethaned. You may be able to prepurchase it in that form, but it will cost you. For product cost, a GOOD deal would be $1/foot, likely $1.50. Go around your room, measure the length of trim - baseboards, all sides of windows, doorways, etc.. then multiply. I would expect labor to be one or one and a half times the cost of the product. NOT a cheap job.

    I don't expect to recoup the cost on this at all. We're now living in our "last" house - we'll be leaving in a pine box. For me it's about the appearance - I like the wood look instead of the painted look for trim. There really isn't any other benefit.
  6. Anthony1971

    Anthony1971 DIS Veteran

    Mar 11, 2005
    Stain grade oak trim is expensive by itself... after it is installed it will need to stained as well as the doors etc to match... there may be a lot of labor involved that is not seen like sanding doors and jams... you wnat evrything to match if you going to invest in hiher end oak
    if you are talking painted no need to get oak...
    Anything can make a difference in resale if it improves the look of your house. if you have oak HW floors solid wood doors and oak trim it is going to command more than the same house with carpet painted trim and hollow painted doors....
    Is this or any project worth to do for resale: NO
    a high end bathroom renovation if you were to sell in the first year might only get a 60% return after that it goes down......
    Do not do a renovation because of resale do it because it is something you will enjoy
  7. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

    Apr 19, 2002
    For starters, does he mean real oak, or pine stained to look like oak? Makes a big difference.

    Right now, Lowe's price on stain-grade pine Colonial baseboard moulding in my area is $1.33/ft, unfinished. Red oak is $1.47/ft. (Those prices are oddly close, actually.) With the pine you would need to both stain it and polyurethane it, whereas with the oak you would only need the polyurethane.

    The labor that would be quoted would be to finish the boards, cut them and nail them in place. Remember that the measurement of how many feet of work will be done would normally assume flat trim only; if you add 3-D buildups (such as 3-piece baseboards or coffered ceiling coves) the amount of labor involved is at very least tripled, and may be 5X as much work, depending on the profile of the design.

    Trim work is actually one of the easiest DIY projects around as long as you don't get into 3D work. All you really need is a whole bunch a cheescloth, a compound miter saw, a hammer, and a box of brads. The finishing is what takes the real time. (I did a 10' x 11" bedroom addition last year. Baseboards, door, closet, closet doors, and three windows. It took me 4 full days to finish the wood (stain and poly), and it took my carpenter 2 hours to cut and install it. We used pine, and it cost about $340 for the wood (including 6' louvered oak closet doors that were $100), plus about $30 for the finish materials. The carpenter's labor was $70/hr.)

    As to whether it's worth it, that depends on your area. Painted trim is never worth much, but well-done stained woodwork in an older neighborhood is always a major selling point. (Generally speaking, you want to avoid really light finishes on trim; deeper colors sell better to people who like woodwork. The houses in our neighborhood were built in the 1930's and all have serious woodwork. If it is stained it is always mentioned in the sale ads, but if it is painted it isn't mentioned at all.) Is is going to recoup the cost? If you DIY it might; if you have a woodworker do all the work from start to finish it absolutely will not.
  8. teacup princess

    teacup princess DIS Veteran

    Mar 22, 2008
    We are actually doing this now. I didn't do it for any kind of resale value, we'll never move from the house we are in. I've just always hated the puny 1.5 inch baseboards and scratched window trim (from a previous owner's dog). We are doing our entire house. It's not cheap, but then again I wanted a really tall 6 inch trim with a cap so that probably doubled our material costs. We didn't do the doors. Expect that to be your biggest cost. Labor quotes for the install ranged from $25/hour to $40/hour. DH stained it himself but we hired someone to install it because we know our construction limitations. Stained wood needs a more skilled installation than painted wood 'cause you can't just hide a bad cut with caulk and paint. Our carpenter is actually here installing it now.

    It's an expensive undertaking, but I'm loving the look of it. I wouldn't do it though, if this wasn't our forever house or I was trying to recoup the cost in resale.

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