A video by Jason Gelios | Senior Real Estate Specialist
Episode 298 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by Amy Howell Hirt
Absolutely stunning! No. 4 is a water-resisting showstopper.
We don’t ask much from bathroom surfaces.
Just that they be beautiful and withstand every cleaning chemical invented, steamy showers, piles of damp towels, and, did we mention tantrum-induced line-drives with bath toys?
Oh, and they should be easy to clean. That’s all.
So, what materials can live up to the ask?
We asked the experts. Here are 10 they recommend.
#1 Engineered Stone Countertop
Dying for a white marble countertop? Join the club. But get ready to seal, reseal, and reseal. Then repeat. Year after year.
Or, go for engineered stone, which can mimic marble (and other stone materials) for about the same cost, but minus the hassle. It’s nonporous, so it resists bacteria, mold, stains, and water damage better than the real thing. Better! And it never needs sealing.
#2 Glazed Porcelain Tile Floor
Moisture is Enemy No. 1 for bathroom floors, and glazed porcelain tile is its most worthy adversary.
Glazed porcelain tiles won’t hold onto water like laminate and porous materials, and the ones that are glazed with glass are nearly stain-proof. The same is true of today’s high-quality epoxy and urethane grouts, which don’t require sealing.
#3 Vinyl Floor
Time to rethink vinyl. Hear us out. Luxury vinyl tiles, which mimic stone and wood, are awesome at resisting moisture.
Other affordable options like laminate just can’t keep up. Plus, vinyl sheets are so large, you can cover a small bath without a single seam or grout line, making it easy on the eye and easier to keep clean.
#4 Plywood Cabinets
Yup. We said plywood. But today’s “grade A” offering isn’t your mother’s plywood. (Or your Swedish cousin’s, which is actually particleboard.)
Composed of pressed layers of alder, birch, or cedar, grade A plywood (also known as furniture-grade) remains more stable in the face of moisture than solid wood, which will shrink and swell when exposed to bathroom humidity (causing cracks in painted surfaces and even warped panels).
As for the finish, you don’t need to spring for anything fancy: The factory finish applied to cabinetry nowadays will hold up to the moisture. Isn’t living in the future great?
#5 Tempered Glass Shower Doors
While you need your glass to be tempered for safety, you don’t need a special spot-resistant treatment or upgraded texture to have crystal-clear shower doors.
“Glass is easy to clean,” says Ebony Stephenson, a certified kitchen and bath designer. “I tell my clients, ‘I’ll give you a squeegee and you can save $2,000.’ It’s a lot of money when you can just wipe off your glass.” So definitely get tempered glass, but skip the add-on treatments that promise no spots.
#6 Glossy or Semi-Glossy Paint
Mold and mildew are real concerns, even on the walls, thanks to bathroom humidity. So paint sheen matters.
A full-on glossy paint has a shiny, sealed surface that blocks out moisture and wipes clear of residue, say, from hairspray, without leaving a mark like a matte finish will. But the sheen can be a bit overbearing on anything more than trim and calls attention to wall flaws.
A semi-glossy finish will hold up to cleaning and moisture nearly as well, without calling quite as much attention to bumps, dents, and other imperfections.
#7 Cast Iron Tub
A tub forged from molded liquid iron is likely going to be the toughest thing in your house — maybe even your neighborhood, depending on where you live.
You may need extra support for your floor (and your pocketbook) to bring it home, but cast iron won’t chip, scratch, or dent like fiberglass, acrylic, or even porcelain can.
This tub is your forever tub. And probably your children’s forever tub. And their kids’.
#8 Porcelain-on-Steel Tub
Don’t let its acronym, POS, misguide you: Heat-fused enamel on steel will resist corrosion, abrasion, and chipping better than synthetic materials, and it’s much more affordable than cast iron.
#9 Acrylic Panel Shower Walls
Despite their light weight, acrylic wall panels, often called shower surrounds, aren’t lightweights. They resist chipping, cracking, and peeling, and are much easier to maintain than stone tiles or slabs. Unlike tile, they nail directly to wall studs or glue to the wallboards, so they don’t require grout. Acrylic is tougher than fiberglass and colored all the way through — so it’s less likely to scratch. So even a deep cut won’t be as obvious. They’re also more affordable than tile and available in textured patterns if you want to look like you splurged on a fancy design.
#10 Stainless Steel Sink
Stainless: not just for kitchens anymore. Corrosion- and stain-resistant, stainless won’t melt under a hot curling iron like acrylic can, and it won’t dent or chip like porcelain if nail clippers plummet down from the medicine cabinet.
And it’s the perfect match for the industrial-chic look that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
By: Douglas Trattner
Consider age, repair cost, pricing, energy efficiency, and whether to modify your kitchen to
accommodate a new unit. When an appliance is old and isn’t working efficiently, it may
seem natural to decide to replace it rather than repair it — may it rest in peace. But appliances often break before their time, making the repair-or-replace decision harder. Also, the replacement cost may give you second thoughts. If money is tight, you may have to repair the appliance and hope for the best. But if you’ve got some coin, replacing with a new,
energy-efficient model may be the better way to go. Those are a lot of ifs, and the repair-or-replace dilemma is often hard to resolve.
Here are some guidelines to help you decide.
Is It Really Broken?
When appliances stop working, we get so rattled that the obvious escapes us. Before you
panic, make sure:
-The appliance is plugged in.
-Circuit breakers haven’t tripped. (I once replaced a blender only to discover that the circuit
-Flooring hasn’t become uneven, which can stop some appliances from turning on.
-Vents and filters aren’t clogged with lint and dust.
Is It Still Under Warranty?
Check your owner’s manual or records to see if the sick appliance is still under warranty.
Most appliances come with a manufacturer warranty that will cover the cost of repairs
anywhere from one to three years after the initial date of purchase. If it’s still covered,
schedule a service call.
Is It Truly at the End of Its Useful Life?
Appliances have an average useful life — the typical lifespan after which the machine is
running on borrowed time. The closer your appliance is to its hypothetical past-due date,
the wiser it is to replace rather than repair.
Here are the typical lifespans of major appliances.
- Appliance Average Lifespan (Years)
- Exhaust Fan..............................10
- Range, electric.................13-15
- Range, gas..........................15-17
- Range/oven hood..................14
How to Follow the 50% Rule
In 2021, the cost to repair an appliance ranged from $100 to $300. Should you pay it? If an
appliance is more than 50% through its lifespan and if the cost of one repair is more than
50% of the cost of buying new, you should replace rather than repair. To do the math, you’ll
have to know the typical lifespan (see above) and get a repair estimate. Most service
companies charge a “trip charge” to diagnose the problem. These charges vary widely, so
be sure to ask when you arrange the appointment. If the company repairs the appliance, it
usually waives the trip charge.
DIY Whenever Possible
If you know your way around a socket wrench, you may be able to make simple appliance
repairs yourself and save labor fees. YouTube has lots of DIY repair videos, and user manuals
can help you troubleshoot. Can’t find your manual? Search online for “manual” along with
your appliance brand and model number. Most manufacturers provide free downloadable
PDFs of appliance manuals, and several websites specialize in nothing but manuals.
Deciding whether to repair or replace roofing is largely an exercise in timing — you don’t want to reroof too soon and waste money, but you don’t want to wait too long either.
Eventually, all roofs wear out and need to be replaced. In a tight economy, the decision about when to repair it is especially weighty. If you do it too soon, you’ll waste money. But if you wait too long, you’ll end up with leaks and expensive water damage. To get the timing right, you need to know how to assess your roof’s overall condition. That way, you can identify early signs of roof failure. A new roof was the exterior remodeling project with the highest ROI (tying with a new garage door), according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2022 “Remodeling Impact Report.”® The ROI came in at $12,000, matching the project’s $12,000 average national cost. More than half of the consumers surveyed said they invested in a new roof because they wanted to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials.
They were happy with the results, giving the project a joy score of 9.2 out of 10. Despite those impressive stats, if most of your roof is still in good shape, a spot repair makes sense. But if the roof shows signs of wearing out or is more than 20 years old, replacing it may be the smarter choice.
Be Alert to Early Signs of a Roof Leak
If you check your roof’s condition at least annually, you should be able to plan for necessary repairs.
Early signs of trouble include:
-Dark areas on ceilings
-Peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs
-Damp spots alongside fireplaces
-Water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace
From the outside, you can assess your roof’s health by viewing it through binoculars.
Warning signs include:
-Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing
-Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering
-Worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights
If you find piles of grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, that’s a bad sign. The granules shield the roof from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal decay underneath the roof. If you’re inspecting on your own and find worrisome signs, get a professional assessment. That’s an especially good idea if the roof is old or there has been a storm with heavy wind or hail. The national average cost is $210. Some roofing companies will do a very basic inspection for free before performing the work.
Certified roof professionals from the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association charge based on the market.
When Repairs Make Sense
You can usually repair a leak in a roof that is otherwise sound. The cost might range from $10 if you just need to squirt some roofing mastic into a gap alongside chimney flashing, to $300 to $1,000 to fix a leak in a roof valley. If something sudden and unforeseen, like a windstorm, causes a leak to appear, your homeowner’s insurance will probably cover the repairs. But you’re still responsible for limiting the damage, so put out buckets and try to get a local roofer to spread a tarp while you arrange for repairs. Insurance may not cover problems that stem from a worn-out roof or lack of maintenance.
The Cost of Re-roofing
Stripping old roofing and starting over typically costs about $4 a square foot for an asphalt roof on a one-story house with no penetrations or valleys. Or, you may be able to leave an existing single layer and add a second layer on top of it. A roof overlay is significantly less expensive and could cost 20% to 40% less than a replacement. This might seem like a smart way to save, but unless you’re so pressed for cash that your only other option is to risk leaks, it’s false economy. The second layer won’t last as long — only about 15 years rather than the standard 20. And you won’t get new flashing or underlayment or the opportunity to upgrade to features that make a roof stronger. Plus, when you sell, your re-covered roof will look a little lumpy, and potential buyers may interpret the two layers as a sign that other home improvements were also done on the cheap.
Make Sure to Factor in Hidden Costs
When you evaluate bids, don’t just look at the total. A bare-bones estimate might include a single layer of 15-pound building paper under the roofing. However, a better but more expensive bid includes 30-pound paper plus self-stick rubbery material along the eaves to protect against damage from ice dams. Bids might also differ in whether they include the cost of disposing of the old roofing, hourly rates for structural repairs, and gutter-related costs. Once you settle on a contractor, check whether the company is licensed and insured. Also discuss how the crew will minimize landscaping damage and who will pay for any that occurs. Schedule the roof work during dry weather if possible, so your lawn takes less of a beating. You’ll sleep better, too, if you’re not worrying about rain coming in when the roof is half-done.
Get the Most From a New Roof
A new roof isn’t something most families are thrilled to buy. But getting multiple benefits from it makes it easier to shell out the money. As part of a new roofing project, you can incorporate many features that make your home more environmentally friendly. Some of those may qualify for a federal tax credit to offset the cost, using IRS Form 5965. You can also choose roofing that’s more resistant to fire or damage from wind and hail. And that may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Episode 296 AskJasonGelios Show
Jason Gelios is a Husband and Father. After that, a Top Producing REALTOR®, Author of the books 'Think like a REALTOR®' and 'Beating The Force Of Average', Creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show and Expert Media Contributor to media outlets across the country.