Slideshow: The Real Cost of Home Improvement

By Ben Steverman - 2012-11-26T19:03:24Z

Photograph by AAGAMIA/Getty Images

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New Floors, Walls or Ceilings

Average cost: $5,557

About a quarter of the homeowners who add or replace floors, wall paneling or ceilings do so without hiring a contractor. Natural wood floors last 100 years or more. Marble, slate or granite floors have a similar life expectancy, but require maintenance. Linoleum floors last about 25 years, while carpet usually lasts eight to 10 years.