Home Improvement: Structural vs. Cosmetic Improvements




Improvements or additions to your home come under two headings; structural and cosmetic. What is the difference?

Structural Changes

As the name might imply, structural changes include changes that are done to the deep structure of the house. This includes a new roof, electrical wiring or plumbing, and work on the foundations. If you decide to tear out a wall, that will be structural because it affects the internal structure. Consultation with a building professional should be sought to ensure there is no loss of strength to the rest of the house. You will also need to know if there is electrical wiring or plumbing behind the plaster. Damaging things unnecessarily is foolish and can lead to cost blowouts.

Structural work is often done to bring a dwelling up to local building standards. It could be that the flooring is not stable, or vermin have chewed through the wiring. The roof could leak and cause damage, so structural improvements are necessary. The trouble is, although it is necessary, it doesnít add that much to the actual look of the place, so if you are upgrading to resell it is not a money-spinner like cosmetic renovations often are. The buyer has a right to expect that structural conditions of the house are adequate and up to code, therefore you cannot offer that feature as a selling point to any great extent.

When planning structural work, you need to factor in the weather equation. You donít want to have the roof off in the blizzard season. If snow or wet weather is imminent, donít plan on reconstructing the flooring or pouring concrete.




Cosmetic Changes

Cosmetic changes, on the other hand, are what affects the look of the place and gives the property a wow factor. They include fresh paint or wall-paper, new carpet and window fittings, light-fitting and faucet replacements, light alterations such as new kitchen cupboards and landscaping. In general, they donít cost quite as much as structural changes, yet they add a great deal of value to the property. This is because they can be seen, and everyone wants the chance to rent or own a house that looks great.

One of the best ways to add perceived value to your property is with cosmetic changes. Often you can do them yourself, thus cutting costs even further. You donít usually need any permits or permission to do cosmetic changes. They can be done without regard to the weather in most cases, though painting requires a certain temperature range to be effective. Cosmetic changes will modernize your house and give it a good resale value, or just allow you to enjoy it more.




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