Top 10 Home Improvements to Tackle this Summer, Plus their Costs 2017

Smart remodeling projects can enhance your home’s comfort, usability and its value. Here are the top ten hot home renovation projects for summer, plus their costs, benefits and ROI details.

  1. Adding a Deck or Patio

via MasterCraftNW.com

Decks and patios are lifestyle upgrades that can make your summer that much more enjoyable, whether you’re relaxing in the evening or entertaining friends on the weekend.

Expect a wood deck to cost $7.00 to $11.00 per square foot installed depending on how complex the design is and the quality of the accessories like stairs, rails and post caps used. Composite decks cost up to $18.00 per sq. ft.

Patio costs begin at about $2.50 per sq. ft. for installed concrete slabs and range to about $15.00 for thick pavers arranged in an attractive pattern.

A wood deck creates a value of up to 71% of its cost according to national statistics we’ll be quoting throughout this post. The work will take a few days to a week or more to complete depending on the scope of the project.

  1. Replacing that Old Roof

An old roof is susceptible to wind damage and subsequent leaks that cause mold, water damage and costly repair issues. Replacing old shingles protects your home and helps improve its curb appeal, too! 😉

Summer is a great time to replace your roof because the job requires several days of continuous, warm, dry weather. Pro roofers can complete the work in 2+ days depending on the size of the roof. Add a day if a tear-off of old roofing is needed.

A replacement roof will cost, on average, $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot for new asphalt shingles roofing installed, depending on the complexity of your roof and location of your home.

A new roof adds 69% of its cost to the value of your home, and it is something that must be replaced periodically anyway. That’s surely some good bang for your buck! 😉

  1. Installing Yard Fencing

A wooden picket fence adds charm, while a PVC privacy fence helps you enjoy your yard to the fullest. — Those are just two of the many fence options in wood, metal and plastic. The ground is dry and easy to work with in the summer, though if you happen to have clay soil, a powered posthole digger will be useful. Most fences can be installed in 1-3 days when pre-built panels are used.

Fencing ranges in price from about $8.00 for picket and split-rail fencing to more than $30.00 per linear foot for steel or faux-stone PVC fencing installed. The taller and denser the fencing is, the higher the cost will be. While ROI isn’t tracked statistically, an attractive fence definitely makes a house more enjoyable and easier to sell.

  1. Replacing your Home’s Siding

Are you tired of the peeling paint on the exterior of your home, yet? If so, then it’s time to consider installing a suitable siding rather than repainting yet again.

Siding is not only used for its aesthetics, but it can also protect your home against the elements, moisture and insects. It makes sense to have the siding installed or replaced in good weather to keep your sheathing dry and to help assure the work can be completed in a timely manner, usually less than a week for most single family homes.

Vinyl siding cost averages $6.00 to $8.00 per sq. ft. installed; fiber cement siding can cost some 20% to 30% more than vinyl, and must be installed by seasoned pros. One advantage of fiber cement over the less-expensive vinyl siding, is that it will not melt when subjected / exposed to extreme solar radiant heat such as when there is accidental solar lensing caused by neighboring windows or your porch / addition windows focusing the sunlight on a part of your home’s exterior. The ROI on new siding is an attractive 76%. If you opt for manufactured stone veneer on any part of the home, that option can have an ROI of almost 90%!

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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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BIPV Solar Shingles Cost – PV Redux – Solar Roof

Material Costs plus Labor Costs = Total Installation Charges

The axiom for all home improvement projects. Yet, for the solar shingle market, this helps to remember, especially with what is on the immediate horizon.

Wait, What’s A Solar Shingle?

The technical acronym: BIPV stands for Building Integrated Photovoltaics. Simply put, embedding solar technology into building materials. For our purposes, we stick to roofing materials, or what is known as the solar shingle and/or solar tile. Especially, since these are the type of BIPV products being designed for the residential market.

If needing a quick refresher on solar technology (the PV part of the equation), see our piece on solar panels. There we note that solar tech is moving in a direction to product “enough electricity to power not just a few appliances, but an entire home, including transportation.” Here, we’ll show you how.

Difference between the Solar Shingle and Panel

First key difference is size. Panels are, or can be, huge. This translates into more solar modules (and cells) being installed on the roof than a shingle can currently offer.

Which leads to the next difference, power. A shingle produces around 15 to 60 watts, while a panel, typically 18 sq. ft. generates 185 to 250 watts. In general, this means the panel system will produce more electricity than a shingle system.

Then there’s elegance factor. Not only are panels big and powerful, they’re big and cumbersome. They are adhered to a roof after careful surveying to make sure the structure of the (whole) house can handle the weight. Usually rack mounted, so they stand out above the roof surface. Noticeably stand out.

Solar shingles are usually near flush with the existing roof structure and becoming more of an option to be the actual roof structure with a beauty that mimics traditional roofing.

At the time of this writing, solar shingles have a metallic finish that is distinguishable from the rest of your roof, but still less noticeable than panels.

The bottom line difference is that currently panels are more efficient and cost effective than shingles.

While shingles are more aesthetically pleasing and gaining traction to be the primary way anyone would choose to do solar power generation on their own residence.

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