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The most expensive part of the home to remodel is the kitchen. It’s because of all the appliances. If you want to do the renovation and save a bundle doing it, work around your existing appliances. If you plan ahead, you can replace them, one at a time, as your budget allows. Here are some suggestions for quick and inexpensive changes you can make right away to get that new look in a hurry and on a small budget:

You could paint your appliances or cover them with peel-and-stick material. They even make a “stainless-steel” covering.

Try painting your countertops. Yes, they have an epoxy paint designed just for countertops.

You can paint your cabinets, too. The options for this are endless and very affordable. New hardware also could make a big difference.

Change out your sink faucets. New faucets can give your kitchen a facelift for a fraction of the cost. A sink replacement also is an option.

If your current flooring is smooth and flat, you can put laminate flooring on top of it. Even new vinyl flooring can make a big difference with the right design. Depending upon your subfloor, tile might also be an option.

Ceiling fixtures are fairly easy to replace. If you have older fluorescent fixtures, you will be amazed at what a difference a new fixture can make. You might even consider adding lights under the upper cabinets.

If you have a plain backsplash or no backsplash, you might consider adding a simple tile pattern. With the new sticky-back materials, you can do this in just one day.

Check for “seconds” and “surplus” items at your home center or a local kitchen-and-bathroom showroom. Scratch-and-dent sales are great, and remnants or closeouts also can help you get what you are looking for on a tight budget.

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Q: We have some leftover bricks from when our house was built. We’ve used some for planters in the backyard and are now wanting a fire pit to match the house and new planters. Is it OK to use these same bricks to build a fire pit? – H.T.

A: Most standard bricks would not do well for a fire pit. They will fall apart under this kind of heat. You should use bricks rated for this type of heat. Most will be plain gray. Also, don’t forget to use heatproof mortar. You can then use the leftover house bricks to face your fire pit, and it should be super-strong and look great.

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Q: My front porch has an old wrought-iron railing and accents. I would like to paint these, but I need to deal with some rust first. How do I remove the rust? What type of paint should I use? – D.H.

A: Wear a mask and gloves, and use a wire brush to remove any rust and loose paint. You also can use a rust converter to stop the rusting process. Use a zinc-based primer for metal on all bare metal surfaces, followed by an exterior paint for metal. That should take care of it.

A Super hint

Old closet rod brackets, installed on your garage wall, are the perfect place to store a string trimmer. It also might be possible to add a shelf to hold extra string and accessories on.

Shoptalk

Chamberlain, the garage-door-opener people, have just come out with a super Garage Power Station. It easily mounts on your garage ceiling, so it’s out of the way; has an auto-retractable utility cord to give you power wherever you need it and without all the tangles of a standard extension cord; and has air so you can keep your tires and sports equipment properly inflated. It also has a super-bright LED lamp, which will give you the light you need when and where you need it. To find out more, go towww.chamberlain.com"> www.chamberlain.com.

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit our website at www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.