10 Best and Worst Home Renovations by Value

January 31, 2020 | Aubree Kendall Aubree Kendall

Home renovations are a big challenge. Here are the 10 best and worst home renovation projects ranked by average value each project retains at resale.

If you’ve ever completed a home renovation, you know that it’s quite an undertaking. Not only does it take up time and energy that could be well spent elsewhere, but it can also come at a pretty hefty price tag. Not to mention the fact that renovations make large parts of your house unusable for the duration of the project.

To help you decide whether a renovation is worth it, we took a look at national data from the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine and ranked the best and worst projects by the average value each project retains at resale in 101 markets in the U.S.

Top 10 Most Cost Effective Renovations

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer

Cost recouped: 95.6%

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This common project to replace vinyl siding on the street-facing exterior of the house with a manufactured stone veneer took the top spot for the best return on investment. Home restorers spend an average of $9,357 on this renovation and retain $8,943 of it, representing a 96% cost vs valuation score, the highest surveyed. 

2. Garage Door Replacement

Cost recouped: 94.5%

Got an old garage door that needs to be replaced? Modernizing it is probably a good idea. You’ll spend about $3,695 and see an average resell value of $3,491 for a 95% cost vs. valuation score.

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel (Midrange)

Cost recouped: 77.6%

Refreshing a functional but outdated kitchen might entail replacing cabinet fronts and drawer pulls, adding new appliances, and replacing countertops, sink, and flooring. This change entails an average spend of $23,452, but renovators recoup about $18,206 or 78% of value when they resell.

4. Siding Replacement (Fiber Cement)

Cost recouped: 77.6%

Replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber-cement siding that is factory primed and painted costs approximately $17,008 and retains about $13,195, making its cost vs. valuation score just below 78%.

5. Siding Replacement (Vinyl)

Cost recouped: 74.7%

Updating existing siding with vinyl siding offers a slightly less cost effective option than fiber-cement siding. Renovators spend $14,359 and retain roughly $10,731, for a relatively high cost vs. valuation score of nearly 75%.

6. Window Replacement (Vinyl)

Cost recouped: 72.3%

Replacing 10 existing 3×5-foot windows with insulated, low-e glass vinyl windows will carry an estimated cost of $17,641 and would retains $12,761, netting out at a cost vs. valuation score of 72%.

7. Deck Addition (Wood)

Cost recouped: 72.1%

Installing a modern, 16×20-foot deck with stairs, a built-in bench and planter, and complete railing system will run you about $14,360 and retain $10,355 or so of value, putting its cost vs. valuation score at 72%.

8. Window Replacement (Wood)

Cost recouped: 72.1%

Completing the same type of window replacements as above but with wood windows instead of vinyl costs about the same ($14,360) but retains a slightly lower value of $10,355 for a 72% cost vs. valuation score.

9. Entry Door Replacement (Steel)

Cost recouped: 68.8%

Replacing an existing front door with a new 20-gauge steel unit that includes a clear, dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs, and aluminum threshold with composite stop will cost $1,881 and retain about 69% of its value, at $1,294.

10. Deck Addition (Composite)

Cost recouped: 66.8%

Finally, installing a modern 16×20-foot deck using composite instead of wood costs more than the wood option cited above. You’ll spend about $19,856 and retain $13,257 of value for a cost vs. valuation score of 67%.

Top 10 Least Cost Effective Renovations

1. Master Suite Addition (Upscale)

Cost recouped: 51.6% 

Adding or enhancing the master suite is one of the best ways to make your house more appealing to prospective buyers, but it can be pricey. Completing an upscale addition with luxurious touches like built in shelving, a fireplace sitting area, and walk in closet was the most expensive project surveyed at $282,062, and retained the lowest value at $145,486, which is only 52% of the original investment.

2. Grand Entrance (Fiberglass)

Cost recouped: 53.3%

Removing an existing front door and cutting and reframing the opening for a grander front entrance with dual sidelights rings up to $9,254 but retains only $4,930 at resale for a cost vs. valuation score of just over 53%.

3. Major Kitchen Remodel (Upscale)

Cost recouped: 53.9%

For a luxury kitchen to match that upscale master suite, you might consider adding custom cabinets, built shelving and appliances, and elegant touches like stone countertops and tile backsplash. Such renovations average $135,547 and retain about $72,993, putting their cost vs. valuation score at 54%.

4. Bathroom Addition (Midrange)

Cost recouped: 54.0%

Adding a 6×8 foot bathroom with middle-of-the-road features like ceramic tile, chrome faucets, and a low-profile toilet costs around $49,598 and retains $26,807 in value, netting it just over half the value of the original investment. 

5. Bathroom Addition (Upscale)

Cost recouped: 54.7%

Meanwhile, adding an upscale 100-square-foot bathroom with a freestanding tub, dual sinks with high end faucets, and a compartmentalized commode area will cost significantly more ($91,287) but retain $49,961 for approximately the same cost vs. valuation score (55%)

6. Bath Remodel (Upscale)

Cost recouped: 56.6%

Expanding an existing bathroom to add space and luxury features and finishes is slightly less expensive than adding an upscale bathroom, and retains a bit more value as well. You’d be looking at a cost of $67,106 and retaining $37,995 at resale, meaning you could expect to get about 57% of your investment back at resale.

7. Master Suite Addition (Midrange)

Cost recouped: 58.5%

Adding a 24×16-foot master bedroom with a walk-in closet/dressing area, bedroom carpet and bathroom tile offers a better cost vs. valuation score of 59% than its luxury cousin. You’ll spend about $136,739 and retain $80,029 of value. 

8. Major Kitchen Remodel (Midrange)

Cost recouped: 58.6%

A midrange kitchen remodel also offers a more favorable return than going the luxury route. Adding features like semi-wood cabinets and a 3×5 freestanding island will set you back $68,490 and retain $40,127 at resale, clocking in at a 59% cost recouped. 

9. Roofing Replacement (Metal)

Cost recouped: 61.2%

Removing and restoring a 3,000 square foot roof with premium underlayment and standing seam metal roofing comes in at an average cost of $40,318 and retains about $24,682 at resale, for a cost vs. valuation score of 61%.

10. Bath Remodel (Universal Design)

Cost recouped: 62.0%

The best of the worst ranking goes to completing a universal design bathroom remodel. Making an existing 5×7 space wheelchair accessible and adding some nice touches like electric radiant heat beneath new luxury vinyl tile flooring costs about $34,643 and retains about 62% of value, or $21,463. 

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