Areas to Think About When Upgrading a Builder Grade Home

by | Oct 27, 2017 | Design & Remodeling


Mosby Building Arts Designer, Jake Spurgeon, guides you through a few ways you can upgrade a builder grade home to add beauty and value to your space.

You have purchased a new-to-you home, and although there are pretty finishes and fixtures, after a short time you notice they are worn out or in the process of wearing out.  They may have been the same finishes and fixtures that were installed when the home was built, or even by an inexperienced DIYer.  These types of fixtures and finishes are typically considered to be builder grade.They look great for a few years but are not meant to be long-term items.  Let’s take a look at some upgrades that will give your home long-lasting value:

Kitchen Upgrades

Credit to Samsung

You may find the laminate countertops, plumbing, lighting fixtures, and appliances are not working or wearing out all at once.  Upgrading to stone countertops (like granite or quartz) can add some sparkle and durability to your kitchen.  Along with a countertop, an upgrade can include a new under mount sink and high-quality faucet.  You can take the kitchen upgrade another step up and install a tile backsplash to add some visual and functional texture to that space.  You could also swap out traditional black or white appliances to the newer stainless steel or even black stainless-steel upgrades that give a high-end look to your kitchen. 

Credit to Mosby Building Arts

Cabinets are always a debatable topic with kitchen upgrades.  I never recommend replacing the countertops to stone unless you have at least a good 7-10 years left of life in your cabinets.  If you do, you could be locked into the footprint and layout of your new countertops. How can you be sure it is the right decision for your remodel?  Examine your cabinets.  Are the drawers all functional?  Are end panels peeling? Is the finish wearing out on the face of the cabinets?  Builder cabinets only have about seven years in them until they start to become worn or discolored.  The same goes for your flooring in your kitchen.  In an ideal world, you want the flooring to go under the cabinets all the way to the wall.  If you don’t do this, then you may have missing pieces of flooring if you rearrange the cabinet layout at a future date.

Bathroom Upgrades

Credit to Mosby Building Arts

Another room that builders will typically install lower quality fixtures and finishes in is the bathroom. These installs show their age quickly in a high traffic space like your main bathroom, around ten years or less.  You can just replace the shower and the flooring and put some paint on the wall, and that may buy you another handful of years, but what about the other items in the space?  Is the room arranged in the way you use the space in the morning and evening, or do you find yourself complaining about how the shower opens or the location of the tub?  Do you even use the tub?  Do you wish you had more storage or taller vanities?  If the existing space is being wasted or not functioning, you may need to rearrange the space and replace everything.

Living Areas

Credit to Mosby Building Arts

The main living spaces of your home can seem easy to update; this is a space I feel most clients try to DIY and end up with missed opportunities to add real value and functionality to a highly used area of the home.  Yes, painting the walls and replacing the builder carpet with new wood floors seem like easy remodeling updates, but what about the lighting? Could some recessed lighting brighten the space?  How are the base moldings?  While you are upgrading your flooring and baseboards, you can install tall, detailed, beautiful moldings to enhance the value.  

Credit to Mosby Building Arts

Does your brick fireplace need a facelift with a new mantle or new stone?  How are the window treatments and furniture arrangement?  Only addressing a few items will make the other fixtures not addressed appear even worse, or date the space.

It can seem very daunting when you consider all the areas of your home that need attention and an upgrade, but that is where a design professional comes into play.  Mosby Building Arts can help you come up with a master plan and then break that into phases to complete over months or even years.  We are here to help you solve home improvement problems and improve your home value and function. For over 70 years Mosby has provided St. Louis, MO homeowners with the remodeling knowledge and expertise they are looking for. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at 314-909-1800, or contact us here.