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Windows, roofs are no place to skimp on quality

Part 1 of 2: Remodeling done wisely

(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2, "Buying cheaper fridge, floors makes financial sense.") As anyone who's remodeled will know, there's practically no limit to how much you can spend on a building project. Now, for people with money to burn -- and judging by the traffic in high-end design showrooms, there are plenty of them -- it may seem perfectly reasonable to blow a few thousand dollars on a Scandinavian dishwasher or a hand-painted Majolica toilet with gold hardware. For the rest of us, though, there are more cost-effective places to invest remodeling dollars. This makes it all the more puzzling when I come across projects in which budget-conscious homeowners pinched pennies on basic building materials, yet happily shelled out serious money for the latest fluff in countertops or exotic appliances. While this approach may provide instant gratification, it makes little sense in the long run. If you're portioning out a tight budget, work that's permanent and integral ...