The perennial champ when it comes to giving a return on your investment, an entry door replacement featuring a modestly priced steel door upgrades both energy efficiency and curb appeal. Steel doors come in many colors and can be painted to fit your exterior scheme.
National average cost: $1,230
Related: What Your Front Entry Says About You
Image: Terry at ForeverDecorating.Blogspot.com
What better way to enjoy outdoor living than on your backyard deck? At a cost of about $30 per square foot, a wood deck provides generous amounts of living area at a fraction of the price of an enclosed addition — and it satisfies our all-American appetite for al fresco dining, relaxing, and entertaining.
National average cost: $10,048
Related: 9 Inspiring Deck Ideas
Image: All Weather Decks
Need extra space? An attic conversion lets you add valuable living area without altering the footprint of your house. Soundproof rooms below by adding insulation between attic floor joists, or by installing a rubber acoustic barrier under flooring.
National average cost: $51,696
Image: workshop/apd / T. G. Olcott Photography
Nothing upgrades the look of your house like a new garage door. Manufacturers offer terrific styles and choices, from plain steel panel doors to energy-efficient, insulated models with glass windows and panels that look like painted wood.
National average cost, midrange steel: $1,595
National average cost, upscale insulated steel: $2,944
Image: First United Door
The royalty of siding, fiber-cement offers longevity and resistance to termites, moisture, rot, and fire. It’s stable and doesn’t flex, so repainting is less frequent — saving money over time. Fiber-cement has marketable cache as an upscale, high-quality product.
National average cost: $14,014
Image: Sun Home Improvement / James Voepel, owner
New energy-efficient windows look great and help you save money. Options, such as low-E coatings and argon gas insulation, help maximize savings depending on your local climate and the orientation of your house to the sun.
National average cost, 10 midrange vinyl replacement windows: $10,316
National average cost, 10 midrange wood replacement windows: $11,341
Image: Mary Lee Gaffin
Known for being lightweight, low maintenance, and relatively low cost, vinyl siding continues to be the preferred choice for siding replacement. Color-fast formulas and seamless installations help vinyl look better than ever. Insulated vinyl adds to your wall’s thermal resistance, helping to cut energy costs.
National average cost, midrange vinyl: $12,013
National average cost, insulated vinyl: $15,184
Image: Linda Johnsonbaugh/iStock
A minor kitchen remodel that includes new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, along with new appliances, countertop, and flooring, has one of the highest average returns in the “Cost vs. Value Report” over the past 10 years.
National average cost: $19,226
Related: Kitchen Remodeling Decisions You’ll Never Regret
Image: Benchmark Home Improvements in NH, ME and MA
A newcomer to the “Cost vs. Value Report,” a project replacing about 300 square feet of existing siding with manufactured stone veneer offers a top return on your remodeling dollars. Lightweight stone veneer installs easily, provides great curb appeal, and today’s versions are near-perfect copies of real (and much more expensive) natural stone.
National average cost: $7,150
Image: Eldorado Stone
8 Tips to Make Your Remodel More Energy-Efficient and Your Home Healthier
6 Ways to Pay for a Remodel When You Can’t Tap Home Equity
7 Ways to Get the Best Work from Your Contractor
7 Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling