Top 10 Spring Home Improvements With Best ROI, Plus Cost and Pros & Cons

Home improvement in the spring is all about getting outdoors, enhancing the exterior of your house and improving its curb appeal for the upcoming summer months and rest of the year. “Why bother with the curb appeal?”, you may ask. Well, curb appeal normally ties in with the greater enjoyment of your home, as well as better return on investment or ROI for your property.

The obvious considerations are landscaping improvements. Half of our list is devoted to those type of projects and the other half are home exterior and structural improvements. In a few instances, an update or inspection may be all that is needed, but since that may lead to a significant upgrade, it has made our list.

Landscaping Improvements

1. Improving Yard Drainage

via Dry Creek Bed

The need for this improvement stems from the obvious over saturation of water on your property. Soggy yards are not only hard to navigate through, but can damage turf. If not addressed, the problem is likely to worsen. The worst case scenario occurs when water collects near your home and, over a period of time, impacts your foundation, possibly leading to a leaky basement.

The solution is as simple as using gravity to slope water from one spot to another spot, or to multiple spots. There are several methods to tackle the solution, and often a combination of steps is the best approach.

An obvious place to start is making sure your home’s drainage system is in working order. Clean gutters and downspouts, which is a great project to tackle each spring. After this, make sure the lower end of the downspout is directing water a good distance away from your home’s foundation. Ideally, you are directing the water to the yard’s drainage system for further discharge or distribution.

Yard drainage takes a bit of ingenuity and combines that with scientific principles. A landscaping contractor has experience to implement a solution that will work best for your property, or ones just like it. The basics though, are to make note of troubled spots, observe how water moves or remains stagnant over all areas of your property and come up with plan of action. A diagram or site plan that focuses on terrain and water movement (via arrows) can be of tremendous help.

From here, it is then about grading or sloping the property as one possible way to tackle the problem. Alternative and well tested solutions use various drainage devices to move water either off the property or around it so distribution is as even as possible.

Cost: On average, improving yard drainage will range from $1,800 to $5,000. The higher price accounts for additional underground devices that may be used in the sloping. Much of the cost deals with labor to pay for someone to do the work that goes with grading and digging.

Pros: Less areas on your property that are swampy, reassurances that foundation will not be inundated with water, redistribution of water offers better growth within various regions of your land – such that gardens can be had where previously they may have been ruled out.

Cons: Very little curb appeal with this project, creates an additional area of ongoing maintenance though that ought to be offset by the fact that an original problem is no longer in effect

Additional consideration: ROI is between negligible and non-existent for this project because you are fixing a flaw more than upgrading an existing an aspect of your property. The next buyer of your home expects drainage to be in working order.

2. Installing a Sprinkler System

via TriState Water Works

The first project was about removing or redirecting water from your property, this one is about adding it. Gotta love the irony. A sprinkler system though seeks to effectively distribute water in an even fashion and remain unnoticeable when not in use.

Positioning sprinkler heads, digging trenches for underground pipes or hoses and maintaining turf integrity are all tasks best left to a landscaping professional. While you can save on labor costs, the potential to do things incorrectly or worse, damage your property outweighs the costs that it takes to hire and pay for a landscaping crew to do this job.

Cost: Prices for fully installed sprinkler systems range from $2,000 to $5,000. Size of your property, labor for digging up and later restoring those areas, along with quality of the system account for the majority of the cost.

Pros: The return on investment for this project isn’t best measured in monetary value. It’s a hidden improvement that has little curb appeal other than a well irrigated yard. But the return is still significant. Coupled with a yard drainage system, your yard will flourish for a long time to come and will no longer require you to lug a hose around spending 20 minutes daily on manual irrigation.

Cons: It’s expensive when compared to the desire some get from spending 20 minutes daily on manual irrigation. Plus if something in the system is not working properly, it can be challenging to determine the problem or expensive to fix it.

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Window Replacement Cost in 2017 – Window Types & Costs

Most properly installed residential windows will generally last 15 to 25 years before requiring a replacement. The materials that make up each window will usually last much longer (up to 50 years), but home windows are about function as much as they are about aesthetics, view, insulation value, ease of use, and security.

via Pella

Note: In this guide, we are not concerned with a brand new, full window installation which normally includes building frames where each window is hung, or installed. The costs are similar to window replacement project and there is much overlap in the work that each project entails, but our focus is on the replacement of windows, their costs, the factors impacting those costs and their pros and cons.

Pricing Information – Part 1

Window replacement projects tend to be fairly basic in terms of planning because the frame will likely determine the material of the updated windows. Wood windows in wood frames, vinyl windows in vinyl frames. Yet, types of panes (glass), along with considerations for energy efficiency and potential needs for repair make it so an average cost for replacement only goes so far.

The national average for window replacement is $500 per window installed. Though the price can range $250 to $1,200, which accounts for much variation in material type, window size, window brand, and typical labor costs. More often than not, the more windows you purchase for a single project, the less you will end-up paying on a per window basis.

How a Window Type and Materials Impact Costs

Double hung windows are what most residential homes have. These are characterized by having sashes on both the upper and lower and thus both can slide vertically, up and down. Depending on the material and brand of the window, the average cost can range from $300 to $800 per window.

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Deck Cost, Plus Pros and Cons in 2017 – How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck

An exterior deck is an addition to your home. Most room additions are considered “building up” while a deck is “building out.” Even with fine quality materials, decks are generally less than half the cost of an interior addition. A deck often serves the purpose of providing an area to relax, cook, dine, and entertain guests. A deck is similar to a patio in several ways, but the main distinction is that a deck is usually elevated, and made of wood or composite materials, while patios are at a ground level and are often made of stone or cement.

via CederbergKitchens.com

Decks can be attached to your home or detached. Either way, a building permit is generally required for this type of upgrade, which means a site plan would benefit the project and/or be required as part of the permitting process.

Planning for a new deck construction helps ascertain costs, materials and layout that you’ll go with. Let’s overview the costs, the price breakdown and advantages along with disadvantages of an exterior deck.

Pricing Information – Part 1

Building a deck is labor intensive and takes experienced contractors between one and three weeks to complete the job. While a handy person might be tempted to go the DIY route, it is not recommended. Decks must be ultra sturdy. All floor boards benefit from being exactly even. Modern decks make room for electricity and plumbing that are well-hidden.

Pricing is done on a square footage basis. And the price range can be wide, between $4 and $25 per sq. ft. for materials. A professional crew will usually charge $4 to $15+ per sq. ft. for all labor involved. While a professionally installed deck can cost as little as $8 per sq. ft. for materials and labor, the average cost is actually closer to $35 per sq. ft. If you are looking to save on costs, then the best advice is to lower the overall size of your deck.

On average, people spend between $6,000 and $10,000 for a new deck installation. But what is it that makes for an average deck? Deck sizes vary and depend significantly on elements unique to the property. Generally though, homeowners want one of three type of decks:

  • small decks – under 200 sq. ft. – for relaxation mainly
  • medium size decks – 200 to 500 sq. ft. – for dining, relaxing and entertaining a small group of friends
  • large decks – more than 500 sq. ft. – may be multi-level – for cooking, dining, relaxing and entertaining larger group of friends

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