Home improvement projects are more popular than ever before. Spending on home improvement projects and household renovations amounted to $271 billion in 2020, and that amount is on track to increase to $281 billion by the end of 2021. The key motivators behind these investments are making houses more comfortable (83%) and tailoring houses to meet new needs, like working from home and virtual schooling (40%).
Even better, many of these projects give households the opportunity to come together as a family. Whether home improvement projects count as a bonding experience or toward a goal like 5 ways to make money as a teenager — it doesn’t hurt to offer teens incentives! — learn what projects are most suitable to tackle as a family and what DIY projects are best suited for adults.
To get you started, here are four DIY projects to take on as a family, and four projects that work better as adult-only and/or professional ventures.
Do: Paint the Exterior of Your House
Exterior house painting considerably boosts curb appeal, a fresh coat of exterior paint lasts up to 15 years, and — perhaps best of all — it is a project that you can easily tackle as a family. To paint the exterior of your home and do it right, consider:
- Cleaning your house first. The experts agree: fresh paint will not stick to a home covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime. Dirt accumulates over the years. The exterior of your home may be dirtier than you think, even if you can’t see the dirt at first. It is perfectly effective to clean the exterior of your home using mild soap and a hose. Bonus: All members of the family can help with this step! If you are experienced, using a pressure washer may help get the job done faster. Proceed carefully. If you do not know what you are doing, pressure washing your home can lead to damages.
- Repairing damages before painting. Speaking of damages, just about all homes get some wear and tear with time. Examine the house for holes, cracks, fissures and other imperfections in wood, stucco, and siding. Fill any gaps with epoxy filler. Once that filler is dry, sand the spot down until it is flush with the rest of the house.
Similarly, sand and scrape old, peeling, or cracked paint as necessary. Once again, new paint will only stick to a smooth surface.
- Choosing the right paint color and the right paint. For the best paint job, paint the house a similar shade or choose a darker paint color. Choose a combination paint and primer for painting that is quick and effective.
- Giving credit where credit is due. Teenagers are driven by incentives — the main one being cash. Make exterior painting among one of the 5 ways to make money as a teenager, and your teen will be much more enthusiastic about joining you for the project. Give young children small, easily achievable tasks. That way, they can be genuinely helpful and feel accomplished at the end of the day.
Painting the outside of your home is an undertaking that you can easily take on as a family. Talk to your partner, spouse, and/or kids about making a day — or several days — of it.
Do: Give Your Yard a Makeover
Another DIY home improvement project that is more than reasonable to do as a family is taking steps to rejuvenate your landscape or backyard. Children of all ages can participate, and tasks can be tailored to make them age-appropriate. To transform your lawn as a family:
- Start with a clean slate. Before making any drastic changes, it is best to get a fresh start. Mow the lawn. Prune trees, bushes, and shrubs, and pull up any weeds. This part requires some grunt work. Offer your teenage children and/or their friends money — list these tasks among the 5 ways to make money as a teenager — to get the job done quickly and without complaint.
- Use natural fertilizer, weed repellents, and pest control options. Many traditional pest control options, weed repellents, and even fertilizers contain caustic chemicals. These chemicals are not only potentially harmful to the plants, grass, and flowers in your backyard, but also to your family. Choose natural options instead. Natural fertilizers improve the quality of your soil, and allow for greater wiggle room than fertilizers with chemicals. While it is definitely possible to over-fertilize with chemical fertilizers and ultimately damage or kill plants, organic or natural alternatives are much more forgiving and most often simply help plants and grasses rather than hurting them.
- Plant fruits and vegetables. One of the best ways to improve your lawn and to do it as a family is to plant a vegetable garden. Children of all ages — from toddlers to teens — can help garden. Tailor tasks for their age and abilities. Planting your own food is also a great way to teach kids about what goes onto their plate and the importance of eating sustainably.
- Invest in unique, kid-friendly features, like a butterfly garden. Inspire kids’ interest in landscaping and improving the appearance of your backyard by installing a new feature that is especially for them. Work as a family to plant flower varieties that attract butterflies, like marigolds and petunias. You can also leave a shallow plate to collect rainwater, and flat stones to further encourage butterflies to stick around.
- Revamp your landscape with all family members in mind. As you tackle landscaping as a family, keep in mind the best ways to make your backyard family-friendly. For example, choose sand, mulch, and turf to fill in any uncovered surfaces. These fillers are best for all members of the family, including young children.
Do: Teach Children and Teens Basic Repairs Around the House
Some of the best DIY home improvement projects to take on as a family are also the most practical ones. Work with your young children, teens, and partner to complete repairs around your home. This will not only improve the appearance and functionality of your home, but it will teach all members of the family how to complete these repairs moving forward. Some repairs that you can practically tackle as a family include:
- AC maintenance. Ductless AC and heat systems work best when they are well-maintained. With the right know-how, that maintenance is relatively simple. Show kids and teens how to remove and replace air filters, and teach them how often it needs to be done. For teens looking to earn extra money or teens always on the lookout for 5 ways to make money as a teenager (or more), paying teens to complete AC maintenance can be a worthwhile step.
- Patching up small and not-so-small leaks. Should a pipe or hose spring a leak and do so suddenly, it can be a big problem — especially if you do not know what to do to stave off the brunt of the damage. Teach children and teens what to do in the event of a sudden leak. Often, patching the leak with electrical tape or a rubber patch and securing it into place with an adjustable hose clamp is more than enough to prevent significant water damage until you are able to call emergency plumbers or appliance repair services.
- Unclog a drain or toilet. Another common fix that is invaluable to teach children and teens is how to unclog a drain or toilet. Unclog a toilet without a plunger by pouring a half cup of dish soap into the toilet and flushing. If that doesn’t work, pour one part baking soda to two parts vinegar into the toilet, let it sit for 30 minutes, and flush with hot water.
Once again, incentivize teens to take part by including these household repairs in 5 ways to make money as a teenager. Pay teens an allowance to help with repairs around the house.
Do: Paint Interior Walls
A final project to take on as a family is to add a fresh coat of paint to interior walls. According to Opendoor, painting interior walls with a fresh coat of paint can yield an impressive return on investment (ROI) of up to 107%. It is also one of the best DIY projects to complete as a family.
Painting as a family gives your children or teens the opportunity to weigh in on decisions around the house, giving them a sense of purpose. Plus, teens who learn the fundamentals of interior painting can put these skills to use for neighbors, friends, and family. Offering these services to others easily counts toward 5 ways to make money as a teenager.
Avoid: Remodeling the Bathroom
Of course, there are some home improvement projects, renovations, and repairs that are not ideal to complete as a family. For example, remodeling the bathroom is a serious undertaking.
A bathroom remodel may entail taking out your current cabinets and installing mirrored vanity cabinets instead, re-tiling the bathroom, and taking the necessary steps to replace an old shower or bath with a modern, walk-in shower or deep soaking tub.
It only stands to reason; if you do not know the specific steps that it takes to install granite countertop, your children and teens will not be up to the task, either.
While you may be able to involve your teen somewhat by including cleanup during renovation in the 5 ways to make money as a teenager, chances are you and your family will largely take a more passive role in the process.
Avoid: Getting Up on the Roof
Sometimes, no matter how dedicated your teen may be to earning extra cash or learning 5 ways to make money as a teenager, it is best for them to skip certain projects. In fact, it is best for most members of the family to skip certain home improvement projects, like any projects that require getting up on the roof.
Call roofing services to inspect roofs for any signs of damages. Call professionals to clean your roof or to replace significant amounts of missing shingles. If you need just a shingle or two repaired, on the other hand, that is something you may be able to do on your own with a quality adhesive.
Avoid: Refacing Your Home’s Exterior
If you want to add a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of your home, that is often something you can tackle with your family. If you are completely refacing your home’s exterior or installing new materials, doing that on your own — or possibly along with the help of a stone veneer supplier — is best.
Installing new stone or brick can be a complex process. It entails lifting and working with heavy materials. Do this on your own to protect the safety of your family. If your teen is still looking for 5 ways to make money as a teenager, suggest a different project that they can do reasonably safely. For example, suggest they repaint the fence while you work on the exterior of your home.
Avoid: Installing Solar Panels
Finally, anything that stands to serve as a significant investment — and that requires precise installation — may not be the best project to take on as a family. For example, installing solar panels can be a particularly involved process and you have a lot to lose if they are installed incorrectly.
Call in professionals to place solar panels and ensure that they are installed the right way.
You and your family can work on other DIY projects, like redecorating the sunroom instead. Talk to your kids about 5 ways to make money as a teenager, and do it realistically. Unfortunately, placing solar panels is not one of them.
All across the nation, homeowners are taking on extra projects to improve their homes, and many of them can be done as a family. Paint with your partner and kids, plant a garden and pretty up your landscape, and complete everyday repairs around the home. Not only is this a great opportunity to bond as a family, but it will also teach your teens new skills — ones they can apply to 5 ways to make money as a teenager, like completing yard work for the neighbors.