7 Home Upgrades That Can Save You Money in the Long Run

There's a new class of durable home products that could help cut costs-and elbow grease-for years to come

There are so many upsides to owning your own home. The effort it takes to maintain it isn't one of them.

In a recent LearnVest survey, almost half of respondents who said they regret buying their home felt that way because of high maintenance costs and the time spent on upkeep.

Luckily, there’s a new class of super-durable home products that could help cut costs—and elbow grease—in the long run, CNNMoney reports. So if you’re planning a renovation, make sure you check out these materials first:

Fiber-cement siding

If you’re on the hunt for long-lasting shingles or clapboards, this class of siding might be your best bet. Made from a mix of cement and wood fibers, the product costs about 10% less than wood—and has a standard 30-year warranty.

Quartz countertops

Planning a major kitchen reno? Opt for engineered quartz—which is made from natural quartz, but mixed with other materials—if you’re aiming for low-maintenance. Unlike all-natural stones (think marble or limestone), these slabs won’t stain or chip, and will likely outlive every other part of your kitchen. Even better, today’s quartz looks hyper-realistic and can be found in almost any color.

Solid vinyl fencing

If you’re sick of repainting that wooden fence every summer, consider switching to solid vinyl. The material virtually never needs to be repainted and carries a 25-year warranty. One caveat: Vinyl is best for those planning to remain in their home for the long haul, since the fences can cost twice the price of cedar.

Fiberglass entry doors

Looking for a front door that will never warp or crack? Check out fiberglass. The material looks traditional (with panels and molding, for example), but its added insulating foam means it’s up to three times as energy-efficient as wood. Its initial price tag also runs about 10% less than wood and typically offers a lifetime warranty. (Wood doors usually guarantee just five.)

Clad windows

Sure, vinyl windows may be the most budget-friendly alternative to wood, but if you’re aiming for a material that looks (and feels) a little more quality, opt for clad, which is real wood covered in an aluminum skin. These windows last up to 30 years, and you’ll cut out the major paint costs you’d have to shell out for regular wood. “You get a product that looks better, lasts longer, and creates greater value,” Bonner said.

Cellular PVC trim

Though this authentic-looking trim has the appearance of lumber, it comes with a much longer warranty (around 25 years) and doesn’t require painting. Paler paint colors

Paler Paint Colors

When it comes to making a paint job last, experts recommend selecting a lighter color because it won’t absorb as much harmful solar heat as darker shades will, making the paint more likely to last longer. Also consider opting for the slightly pricier paint from the get-go because it can pay off in the long run: Higher-end brands are typically only 2% to 3% more expensive, but they tend to last about three years longer than bargain versions. And if you spot a crack early on, touch up the area right away. You’ll avoid damage to the materials below, and help postpone a major paint job for several years.

 

Read more from LearnVest:
-- 5 Strategies That Can Make You Happy About Saving
-- Investing 101: What Are Municipal Bonds?
-- Financial Infidelity: Are You Guilty?

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