Home Improvement: Top Projects Under $1,000

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It's hard enough to save $1,000 for your home improvement budget. Trying to decide on the best way to spend the money can be overwhelming when you run into project-after-project that's just a little too expensive. It's easy to become so discouraged that you abandon the idea. And that's unfortunate when there are several worthwhile, reasonably priced improvements out there.

Here are 10 top home improvement projects, one of which will likely answer your needs:

• Install a water heater - $922

Whether it's a shower that runs out of hot water, rising monthly bills, or a plumbing failure, a reliable water heating system is a great treat for your home. If you're worried about affordability, a conventional hot water tank will do the trick. For greater energy-efficiency, you should be able to install a tankless system for just over $1,000. (Find highly rated professional plumbers in your area.)

• Clean and seal a deck or porch - $888

It's not the most exciting of home improvements, but ensuring a long, healthy life for your deck or porch by sealing it this year is a wise investment. If you usually take care of this project yourself, you know it's more time-consuming than it looks. Maybe you can take this year off. The pros will use high-quality sealant products and a flawless application method. (Find highly rated deck & porch professionals in your area.)

• Install a security system - $873

It sounds like an easy sell, but it's also just as easy for homeowners to tell themselves that they won't get robbed or that installing a security system won't make a difference. With a smart design and implementation, these systems will act as an effective deterrent, while lowering your homeowners' insurance. AOL Real Estate's guides have more information on cutting-edge security systems that are available on the market.

• Tree service - $801

Tree trimming is one of the most widely neglected pieces of landscaping maintenance and home improvements. Along with reducing the odds that you'll need to chop them down, keeping your trees healthy will enhance their visual appeal and, in turn, your home's. Once you see how quickly your tree creates new shoots, you'll realize just how much dead branches were holding it back. (Find highly rated professional landscapers in your area.)

• Hire a painter for a small project - $736

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a treat by treating yourself to a stress-free home improvement project. Hiring a professional painter to really do a number on the walls of your favorite room can brighten your mood and brighten your interior decorating. (Find highly rated professional painters in your area.)

• Install a whole house fan - $706

An incredible resource for supplementary cooling that will aid an undersize or ailing air conditioning unit. Using only 10 percent of the power of conventional air conditioners, these fans will pull in large quantities of cool air during the morning and evening hours, while pushing warm air out through the attic. (Find highly rated professional A/C technicians in your area.)

• Bathtub refacing - $690

Assuming that cracked or corroded tubs must be replaced, many homeowners fail to realize the potential for bathtub refacing. In fact, some refacing techniques, such as fiberglass inlays, have gotten so good that the refaced tub is actually stronger than the original, for a fraction of the replacement cost. (Find highly rated bathtub refacing contractors in your area.)

• Roof repair - $558

Whether it's warped shingles, granule loss, or spots on the ceiling, any sign of roof damage will make this repair a top priority for your home improvement budget. Know that you may need to choose between repairs. Some roof patches may cost a couple hundred bucks and last for only a year. More substantive repairs may add many years to your roof and cost a thousand dollars or more. (Find highly rated roofing professionals in your area.)

• Drywall repair - $539

With the size of the damaged or missing drywall, so goes the difficulty of the repair. Minor holes can be tackled by homeowners, but to fix anything much larger than the size of a quarter takes a good amount of skill, patience, or a little of both. The cost of drywall repair can surprise many people, but it's worth it for a seamless patch job. (Find highly rated drywall professionals in your area.)

• Wood fence repair - $520

Replacing warped or missing panels will return your wood fence to a respectable condition, but the most important part of the repair may be the staining process that stops further deterioration. It may feel like a lot of money, but it's better than replacement (average cost: $2,858) or losing this landscaping feature altogether. (Find highly rated fencing professionals in your area.)

Final Tip: If none of these projects address your home's needs, you may just want to plan for a future home improvement project. Talk to several contractors about what areas do need work, what size budget you must create, and how soon the project needs to begin to prevent more serious issues.
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