Special to Yahoo Homes
If you’re smart and dedicated, homeownership can be a lifelong, extremely valuable investment. And while repairs, updates and renovations can help to improve this investment, how do you know which ones will yield the biggest return? Remodeling Magazine recently released its annual Cost vs. Value Report, a useful resource that examines 36 of the most popular remodel projects across 102 U.S. markets, and compares how each stack up in terms of retained value. Based on this data, here are eight of the most valuable, yet practical home improvement projects you should consider investing in this year.
1. Replace Your Front Door
Your front door is probably the most utilized and therefore, weathered part of your home. For a quick and relatively inexpensive improvement project, consider swapping out your wood door for a steel one, which will provide you with a 101.8% return on investment. At an average cost of $1,230, a steel door is sturdier and will last longer than a wood one, will require much fewer repairs, and can be customized according to your color and finish preferences. If steel is not your thing, you may also consider a fiberglass door, which while almost double the price, will provide you with many of the same benefits, and a 72% return on investment.
2. Incorporate Stone Veneer Into Your Home’s Façade
Natural stone veneer siding is a beautiful way to enhance the look and feel of your home. With this alternative to traditional masonry work, you’ll get the same authentic beauty and color variation that you would with the more expensive marble or slate. At an average cost of $7,150, you’ll see a 92.2% return on investment by adding stone veneer siding to your home’s facade. While you’ll probably need to hire a pro, an added bonus with stone veneer is that it’s quick and relatively easy to install.
3. Install a New Garage Door
With an average cost of $1,595, you’ll see an 88.4% return on investment with a new garage door. Depending on your style, you can choose from a wide range of materials that include steel, fiberglass, glass and wood. No matter your choice, a new garage door is the perfect and affordable way to immediately improve the curb appeal of your home.
4. Install New Siding
Vinyl siding is one of the most practical updates you can make to your home. A relatively new innovation on the home-building front, vinyl siding installation averages $12,013 and sees an 80.7% return on investment. Not only can it withstand extreme hot or cold weather, it is virtually resistant to rot and decay. Vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors, does not fade, and if insulated, can be extremely energy efficient.
5. Build a Wooden Deck
Whether you are looking to enhance the front of your house with a wraparound style or your backyard with a freestanding variety, a new deck is well worth the investment. On average, decks cost $10,048 and provide an 80.5% return on investment, depending on style, and wood species. Remember that whatever material you choose for your deck, in order to preserve its color and longevity, you’ll want to make sure you actively apply a finish for extended protection.
6. Do a Kitchen Facelift
If you were to make any one improvement to your house, it should be to your kitchen. And while this may sound like a big and expensive endeavor, there are plenty of ways you can make meaningful updates without too much pain and suffering. At an average cost of $19,226 with a 79.3% return on investment, a kitchen “facelift” that includes one or two new appliances, refaced cabinetry, and new countertops, will make a world of a difference, without completely breaking the bank.
7. Replace Your Windows
Whether it’s for function or aesthetic reasons, after years of use, your windows will need to be replaced. With an average cost of $11,341 and a 78.8% return on investment, you should consider upgrading to wood window frames. In addition to their visual appeal, including the ability to customize color and design, wood windows provide great insulation and are energy efficient. The one drawback to wood window frames is that they do require ongoing maintenance. At an average of $11,198 with a 72.9% return on investment, you could alternately consider vinyl window frames.
Renew Your Roof
If you inspect your roof regularly, you will have a good sense of when it needs to be replaced. And although it may seem like a hefty expense with an average price of $19,528, you will see a 71.6% return on investment if you add a new roof to your list of projects this year. While there are a number of materials you can choose from for your new roof including wood, clay and metal, the best and most affordable bet is asphalt shingles.
Pro.com is a website founded in 2013 by service industry entrepreneurs and former Amazon executives to simplify home services -- especially research on contractor fees and qualifications.
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