Top 10 Investment Improvements for Your Home

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford in a remodeled kitchen

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Every year Remodeling Magazine conducts a survey to see which home improvement projects have the best rate of return on investment for a number of home improvement projects. While not an exact science, the survey gives a good idea of where to put the money in your home.

#10: Roofing Replacement (60-67% Return)

While not an exciting project, replacing your roof is important in maintaining your home. When deciding on a roof for your home, keep in mind that a midrange asphalt shingle roof has a higher rate of return than more expensive metal roofing.

Remodeled bathroom

#9: Bathroom Remodel (71% Return)

Rate of return on bathroom remodeling can vary depending on the materials you choose, so ask a real estate agent what styles are popular in your area. Other tips for bathroom remodeling include:

  • Select neutral colors for permanent fixtures like sinks, tubs, and toilets.
  • Choose a timeless, classic look for the flooring and vanity.

#8: Major Kitchen Remodel (72% Return)

Workers gutting kitchenA major kitchen remodel consists of removing and replacing all the kitchen countertops, cabinets, and flooring. It often involves gutting the kitchen down to the studs and starting from scratch with new plumbing, wiring, and insulation. When taking on a major kitchen renovation:

  • Decide on the materials far in advance, so they will have plenty of time to arrive.
  • Consider hiring a kitchen designer to help you navigate through many choices that must be made.

Remodeled basement room

#7: Basement Development (75% Return)

Turning an unused basement into living space can be a great way to increase the size of your home, but before you begin:

  • Look for water seeping into the basement, since it can be expensive to correct.
  • Check to see if your basement meets local building codes for access into the basement and egress out of it in case of an emergency. If not, you may have to add windows, doors, and upgrade the stairs, which can be costly.

#6: Window Replacement (77% Return)

Window sash being replaced on a homeReplacing old single-pane wood windows with vinyl clad windows with insulated glass can really improve the look and energy efficiency of your home. Since you will see savings in your utility bills immediately, payback on this project occurs even if you never sell your home.

A less expensive window replacement option offered by JELD-WEN Windows & Doors is to replace just the window sash, leaving the casing around the window frames intact.

Granite kitchen countertop with tile backsplash

#5: Minor Kitchen Remodel (78% Return)

You can dramatically change to look of your kitchen without spending a lot of money by working with what you have, rather than starting from scratch. A minor kitchen remodel usually involves some or all of the following:

  • Refinishing existing cabinets
  • Replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • Replacing cabinet hardware
  • Replacing countertops
  • Update the sink and faucet
  • Upgrading the lighting
  • Replacing appliances

Wood deck on back of house

#4: Deck Addition (80% Return)

Adding a wood or composite deck to your house is a great way to get more out of your home and increase your investment. While composite decking is more maintenance free and lasts longer than wood, it costs more, making for a lower rate of return.

#3: Attic Bedroom Addition (83% Return)

Unfinished attic in homeIf your attic has enough space and height, converting it into an extra room can be a very cost-effective way to add living space to your home. When adding an attic addition, make sure you have:

  • A steep roof to provide enough ceiling height.
  • Access to the attic from the existing living area.
  • A floor strong enough to support the weight.
  • Windows for ventilation and natural light.

Siding on home

#2: Siding Replacement (79-84% Return)

Replacing or covering over weathered wood siding can lower your maintenance costs and improve the curb appeal of your home. Siding materials that provide the best return on your investment include:

  • Vinyl siding (plain or foam backed)
  • Fiber cement siding (unfinished or prefinished)

#1: Front Door Replacement (130% Return)

New wood front entry door on homeThe front entry door on your home is the most visible part of your house, which is why upgrading an old front door to a new one is the most cost effective home improvement project around. Entry doors can be made from:

  • Fiberglass
  • Steel
  • Wood

Entry doors are available either prefinished or ready to stain or paint.

Watch Videos from This Episode

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To enlarge an existing hole, simply clamp scraps of plywood above and below the hole, mark the center of the existing hole on the plywood, then use a hole saw chucked in a drill to drill through the plywood and stock. (Watch This Video)

ComfortChef foam floor mat

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
ComfortChef Floor Mat

Give your aching feet a break with the ComfortChef Foam Floor Mat. This ergonomic, soft, slip-resistant PVC foam mat is perfect for your kitchen, bath, workshop or anywhere you have to stand for long periods of time. The ComfortChef Mat is available at The Home Depot.
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Green Seal certification

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Green Certification

With so many green products on the market, how do you decide which ones really work? The answer is to look for Green Seal certification. Green Seal is a nonprofit organization that provides science based testing and standards for everything from home products to restaurants and lodging. (Watch This Video)



Please Leave a Comment

2 Comments on “Top 10 Investment Improvements for Your Home”

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  • Rohn Barton Says:
    January 21st, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Your team did a wonderful job on the “Ten Best…”. I know it is difficult to cut and paste an informative quality show for 20min broadcast.
    One side comment, when we returned home to our Goodyear house we found one of our main kitchen windows shattered from a pigeon flying into it.
    What is amazing to me is this windows is about a $220 to $250 dollar window. I built the house 4yrs ago. Now, to replace it (59×70,low E, dblpane) . . . 500 Dollars. That is not even a Jeld-Wen (I like JW windows and doors and they are Oregonians and three, they started the Time Share WorldMark. A story of it’s own) appraisal. To have the half replaced rather than a new window was only $475.00. I can’t believe it. One average Window.

  • Lynn P. Gayle Says:
    December 3rd, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I would like to see a practical do it yourself functional shutter project. Functioning shutters are so expensive. Plastic ones are worthless. Help please.


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