The 2019 COST VS VALUE REPORT is here!!
Remodeling Magazine compares average costs for 22 remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 U.S. markets.
We've broken out the numbers by Mid-Atlantic regional averages and then by our closest local market data, which is Allentown PA.
Here are our picks for the best home improvement projects to increase property value in 2019.
We've included: the average percentage recouped at resale, both in the regional market and closest local market. Plus, any thoughts we have for local home improvement projects.
There you have it folks! If you are planning home improvements for 2019, crunch the numbers and get the most out of your hard earned money!
View the full report here: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/
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Conserving water isn't something we immediately think of when the spring melt off is in full swing and everyone's minds are turning to their concerns about their damp basements.
However, since the spring home improvement season is in full swing this is a great time to take a critical look at your water consumption to reduce your use all year long.
Conserving water may save on water bills (if you are on a shared system) or home maintenance costs (well systems) since less use will reduce the wear and tear on your well pump, holding tank, hot water heater, etc.
Check out this info-graphic by SanifloDepot for great DIY home maintenance tips on how you can reduce your water needs.
Remodeling Magazine has published their annual home improvements cost vs. value report!
There aren't a lot of surprises this year so we'll just highlight some home improvements that should be on the minds of home owners in our area, starting with their top suggestion for our Mid-Atlantic Region.
#1 Best Home Improvement ROI for 2018
Manufactured Stone Veneer: Home owners are looking at an almost 94% return on investment with this home improvement.
Our suggestion: Be open minded about stone types. The big box stores can often be more expensive than independently owned retailers and certain types of stone veneers can require more labor costs than others. Visit our siding page for stone veneer ideas.
#2 - Garage Door Replacements (90,6% ROI)
#3 - Entry Door Replacements (steel) (78.4% ROI)
Our suggestion: These two home improvements are both minor projects but they also give a big boost to the look and feel of your home. Replace both doors at the same time with complimentary styles for maximum curb appeal.
#4 - Deck Addition (wood) (74.1% ROI)
Our suggestion: Decks and/or patios are necessary features for homes in the Poconos. Most homes will have one or both, or need one or both to maximize the home's functional space.
Wood decks are again outperforming composite decking this year and with a sizable cost difference it is easy to see why.
If you have a deck now, inspect it regularly. Every single year older decks fail in the Poconos because they were not built to reflect current codes, or, they have not been properly maintained.
If you need help with ideas for new decks/patios, or with understanding the lifespan of your current deck, visit our decks page.
#20 - Backyard Patio (43.9% ROI)
Our suggestion: The write up they give for this project makes it a major home improvement project with a good amount of maintenance and a high price tag ($56.067). For most home owners in our area, this specific project as described is going to be a financially out of reach home improvement.
We would likely suggest a backyard patio design that is similar in size (20'x20') but with less expensive features, at least initially. Our well thought out designs are beautiful projects on their own, but also leave plenty of opportunity for additional upgrades. Visit our landscaping page for great patio ideas.
To learn more about the entire list of home improvement projects, visit this link: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/middle-atlantic/
Pocono homes are still rich with paneling from decades ago. On the upside, paneling walls are generally very sturdy and long lasting. On the downside, paneling walls immediately date the look of your home.
Painting your walls is one of the most cost effective DIY home improvements available to home owners. Painting paneling walls, is one of the fastest and easiest way to create a fresh new look and updated feel in your home.
This DIY project may vary slightly depending on exactly what kind of paneling you have and the desired end result.
5 How To Steps for painting your paneling walls:
1. Make sure the walls are clean. Some Dawn dish soap, water, a bucket and sponge, along with some elbow grease will be all you need. Make sure the walls are free of smudges, buildup, and grease.
Pro Tip: Using extra lights will help you create a polished look by allowing you to see all the small detail areas that need attention throughout this process.
2. Do the walls have a shine? If your paneling has any kind of sheen to it you will need to get rid of that shiny top coat to allow the paint will stick. Any local paint store will have some removal agents that can be wiped on, but, a light sanding will also complete this step.
Pro Tip: Use a shop vac liberally or use a sander with a dust collector to save time cleaning up.
3. Step back and consider: Outlets, light switches, trim, and defects. If your paneling color and paint color are very different shades you may need to replace the electrical fixtures and trim, or, paint them to get the look you'd like.
Tip: This is the best time to fix any dings, holes, or loose nails in your walls.
4. Prime! Use a good primer from the paint store, use a brush to cut in around all the edges, and then roll an even coat of primer on everything that will be painted. If you have any areas that require extra cleaning or sanding you should be able see and fix them at this point.
Tip: Most wall paneling has grooves so once the primer coat is on you will have a good visual idea of how those grooves will, or won't, work with the look you are trying to achieve. If you really don't like them you can fill them in with some Spackle.
5. Paint! A good coat of interior latex paint is your next step. Use a brush to neatly cut in around the edges and roll, or brush, a good coat on everything else. Once the paint has dried you can decide whether or not you will need any additional coats.
Pro Tip: When you buy your paint, get a little extra so you have a perfect match for future touch ups.
That is pretty much all there is to this DIY home improvement project. If you try it, post your results in the comment section.
If you have a suggestion for a future DIY blog topic post it in comments section below!
The crisp fall weather is almost upon us and that means that the wood burning season right around the corner.
That makes late summer the best time to look at your fireplace and chimney home improvement needs.
If you are looking to add a new fireplace or chimney, there is a world of opportunity to create an old world style with modern day function. We maintain a large collection of ideas on our Pinterest Board to help both new construction customers and renovation customers find something they simply love:
If you are looking to update the style of, or if you are in need of extensive repairs to, your fireplace or chimney then a renovation project is your best bet. Changing the material used and adding some creative touches will bring both new life and long lasting value.
Minor maintenance and repairs will extend the lifespan of your existing fireplace and chimney for decades. If you have some concerns about something you feel may be an issue such as: cracks, leaking, plant growth, animal activity, or loose materials, give us a call. (267) 226-8293
If you are just not sure about something, or would just like some advice, feel free to email your question along with a photo of the area in question. Bill@BillPearnMasonry.com
Bill Pearn Masonry is your go to local contractor for new construction, renovation, and maintenance / repairs of fireplaces and chimneys. Check out our fireplaces page for project ideas:
Also visit our chimneys page:
** Please be sure to have your chimney properly cleaned at the beginning of every burning season. **
Landscaping with gravel is simple, clean, beautiful, affordable, and environmentally friendly.
Gravel can be used for large and small landscaping projects. It lends itself well to driveways, walkways, and foundation skirts, as well as decorative borders for trees, shrubs, and fencing.
A variety of gravel types, colors and sizes can be used to create visually interesting areas that are also low maintenance and have extensively long lifespans.
This type of landscaping is very approachable as a DIY project, but it is also an affordable option to have done by a hired Home Improvement Contractor.
The ease of upgrading these projects creates a win-win for home owners since the original material investment is almost never lost. Plain gravel can be easily upgraded with paving stones, brick, concrete, more gravel types, and more decorative pebbles and stones to create a more sophisticated look.
Few home improvements are as timeless and worthwhile as gravel landscaping.
Visit our Pinterest Landscaping board for an amazing variety of landscaping ideas from around the web!
I don't know who to credit the image below to, but, it is a perfect example of the versatility of gravel landscaping.
I found it on Pinterest.
When done correctly, a finished basement is a cost effective way to add valuable living space to your home. This blog is a general guide to help you save money and have a successful home improvement project. Every home is unique, however, these basic principles will apply to almost every home in our service area.
If you are planning this type of home improvement project, you will save a lot of money in the long run by first properly examining your basement for potential areas of failure and necessary upgrades. For example, here in the Pike County PA area moisture penetration, insect/animal activity, and high levels of radon are all common issues for home owners. It is much cheaper for the home owner to address these issues right in the beginning their project.
Let’s look at your basement from the bottom up.
Anyone looking to finish a basement should already have a concrete basement floor. Take a good hard look at the quality of the concrete work and any defects in the floor such as: cracks, moisture penetration, or uneven areas. Those items need to be addressed prior to framing and with a consideration of what type of flooring will be going on top of it. You can use concrete stain and sealers to finish your existing floor if it is in good enough shape, or, you can use it as subflooring for another type of flooring system. If you do not already have a concrete basement floor, give us a call and we’ll make sure your project gets off to a great start.
You need to understand what your foundation is made of, and when it was built, so you can assess the remaining lifespan of that material. No home owner benefits from paying for a finished basement if it floods or molds over in a year because of a failure in the foundation.
Whether your basement is made of cinder block, concrete block, poured concrete, or stone you are looking for the following issues: cracks, rotation, disintegration, moisture, missing mortar, and caulk. No one should be using caulk to fix defects in the mortar. That is a band aid fix that will fail much faster than simply replacing the mortar.
Basement Windows and Basement Doors
Now is the time to make decisions about whether or not to change or upgrade the windows and doors. Prior to considerations about insulating your basement or adding basement heaters: look at how the age of the windows or doors will affect heating efficiency. In addition to that, also look for rotting of the frames and look at the general functionality of the items. Do you have good ingress and egress? Do your existing windows and doors match your idea of how you’d like your finished basement to look?
Take a good look at the sill plate, floor joists, and main beam for rotting or warping and for insect or animal activity. Also take a look at the main beam supports. Check the spans on your supports and make sure you have proper support for your beam, especially if you plan on later renovations upstairs.
Electrical and plumbing issues for the entire home should also be taken into consideration at this point. Any work that may need to be done there to bring things up to code is far more efficiently done prior to finishing the basement. The same goes for moving any utilities (water heaters, holding tanks, etc.) that are currently housed in the basement.
Take a look at our Basements page for repair options and great basement finishing ideas!
When you have those areas of your basement ready you will be in a good position to continue with your project.
The specific needs of your home should dictate the types of construction methods used to frame and finish it, but, these videos from This Old House are good overviews for what comes next.
How to Frame Out Basement Walls - This Old House
How to Frame Walls for a Basement Room - This Old House
Follow this home improvement blog for all your DIY or professionally done projects.
If you have a specific topic you’d like to see us cover, leave a comment below.
Home improvement cost vs value report for 2017.
Here is a list of some of the best home improvement investments you can make, and the percentage of costs recouped at resale, for projects in 2017.
Manufactured stone veneer, additional benefits: durable, pest resistant, fire proof, water resistant, a wide variety of choices. Visit my siding page for inspiration!
Basement remodel, additional benefits: additional living space, healthier home, better insulation, higher resale value, pest control, radon mitigation. Visit my basements page for inspiration!
Backyard patio, tick resistant, surface water management, outdoor living space, curb appeal, lower outdoor maintenance. Visit my landscaping page for inspiration!
Benefits of adding an addition: higher resale value, additional living space, design aesthetics, cheaper than moving, enjoyment factor. Visit my foundation page to learn about how I can help you get started!
For the full list of top national home improvement projects for 2017 go to:
For the full list of top home improvement projects for 2016 go to http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/middle-atlantic/
We've all tried the DIY route and we've all tried the low cost route. For a lot of home improvements these are cost effective ways to handle minor repairs.
As we see in the image above, masonry repairs are usually more specialized and benefit from more advanced skills. The handyman who repaired these steps before us only succeeded in adding additional costs to the repair work.
Proper repairs of masonry materials far extend the lifespan of the improvement and therefore maintain its value over a longer period.
1. Once you notice problems don't ignore it. They are not likely to go away. If your busy, or just not sure if you need to pursue it, just take some pics and email them to us. We will be glad to give you a free opinion.
2. Water penetration is one of the biggest concerns in freeze/thaw cycle areas. This is where proper masonry repairs are essential. Short term repairs, such as caulk, will only increase the costs of, and possibly complicate, a proper repair.
3. Masonry projects have an incredibly long lifespan. Don't be easily persuaded to rip them out in lieu of newer materials. That 1960's chimney, properly maintained, will still be beautiful and functional for our great grandchildren at minimal cost.
4. Improper chimney repairs can, and will, burn your home down with your family in it. The kicker here is, it is NOT costly or complicated to maintain a wood burning chimney. You simply need to maintain it in a timely manner with a knowledgeable chimney mason.
5. Only hire a mason with experienced. Don't pay someone who says they do masonry. Hire an ACTUAL mason who is experienced in the repairs you need.
Call us today!!
Before you rip out that concrete walkway or patio read this entire blog! A good majority of concrete products do not need to be completely ripped out to beautify and improve them.
Concrete resurfacing is an option for any concrete where the surface has been damaged in some way. You have the option to: re-top the surface, use a concrete overlay, or apply epoxy coatings. Your solution depends on the type and scope of the damaged area(s).
As with all repair work, it is important to keep a keen eye on the design of the repair so that the end product is visually appealing.
Concrete Crack Repair
Cracked concrete repair solutions depend on the types of cracks and the purpose of the concrete. Basement floor cracks need more care than walkway repairs. Historically, homes in our area have often been constructed without proper vapor barriers under the basement floors. Therefore cracks in these floors can allow both water and radon intrusion unless they are properly repaired with methods such as urethane or hydrolic cement. The necessary solution will depend partly on the age of the home and the use of the area.
Concrete walkways are somewhat less complicated to repair. It is often possible to cut out the effected area and re-pour it with concrete. Multiple cracks can be cut out and filled in a way that creates a custom walkway design.
Whether part of a repair project or part of a home improvement project, concrete stains and sealers can be used on virtually any concrete surface regardless of its age. These products can be customized to incorporate the general aesthetics of the home and durable enough to withstand heavy traffic areas. They are also a wonderful option to camouflage repaired areas.
Top 4 Reasons to completely replace your concrete:
If you are undecided about where to spend your home improvement money in 2015 this report breakdown can be a great tool for you.
These annual reports are the result of a collaboration between Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors.
For Middle Atlantic (PA, NJ, NY) home owners, here are the lists of projects, with the percentage of investment return at resale, with our notes, for midrange and upscale projects.
$$ Midrange Projects $$
1) Steel Entry Door Replacement - 88.5% - This is the least costly of the listed projects and has been #1 for three years running. Pair it with some stone veneer and you can't go wrong.
2) Manufactured Stone Veneer - 78.1% - This is the first new addition to the list in at least three years and with so many wonderful options and applications it is a must do project!
3) Garage Door Replacement - 77.5% - Similar to front doors, this is a very visible project and also a less costly one to undertake.
4) Wood Deck Additions - 69.9% - More cost effective than composite decking and also consistently holds a better value. I would argue that this would be #3 in our area.
5) Vinyl Siding Replacement - 68.6% - A very good choice when upgrading from T1-11 and beautiful mixed with Manufactured Stone Veneer.
6) Attic Bedroom - 68.5% - A consistently decent return on investment over the last three years. Probably this is a good project to undertake when you already need roofing work done. This is the most costly project in the top 10.
7) Minor Kitchen Remodel - 68% - No change from last year with the return and still slightly higher than 2013's number of 66.2%.
8) Fiberglas Entry Door Replacement - 66.4% - More costly than steel and less desirable. This option consistently performs lower than steel doors.
9) Wood Window Replacement - 66.1% - Slightly more costly than vinyl with very similar returns over the last three years. It's a toss up.
10) Vinyl Window Replacement - 64.8% - Slightly less expensive than wood with similar returns. Consider overall aesthetics with these choices.
11) Composite Deck Addition - 62.2% - Much more costly than wood and consistently has a lower return. Not as popular as wood in our area so this would probably rank lower locally.
12) Major Kitchen Remodel - 60.6% - Consistently returns in the lower 60's over the last three years but took an also 4% hit from 2014's report. For the amount of money involved that translates into a decent pinch but if your kitchen is circa 1975 it is probably a good way to go.
13) Bathroom Remodel - 58.3% - ROI is lower than 2014 but still higher than 2013. Like kitchens, if your bathroom hasn't left the disco era than it will be money well spent.
14) Basement Remodel - 57.9% - The average job cost on this will fluctuate wildly based on what you have now. If you have ever seen water in your basement or have mold, those issues need to be addressed first.
15) Roofing Replacement - 57% - If you have a chimney make sure it is flashed correctly and the roof has an adequate chimney cricket.
16) Backup Power Generator - 56.3% - This project took a huge hit from 2014 when it was 77%! Unless we have another storm like Sandy in the near future the money spent for this project (avg. job cost $12,445) is probably better spent on other things.
17) Garage Addition - 55.4% - These are tricky if you will only have your home a short time and it's not something you need. If you not going to use it for yourself but your resale value demands it, absolutely add a garage.
18) Family Room Addition - 55.3% - You usually will not go wrong with adding additional living space. This one has hovered in the mid to upper 50's for three years so it is no exception to that rule.
19) Two-Story Addition - 54.4% - The most costly of the midrange projects. As with any project you need to be sure you will get value for the money. If this is improperly done the ROI will be extremely lowered and due to the average cost ($169,889) that will translate into a big dollar loss.
20) Master Suite Addition - 53.9% - The second most expensive project on the list comes in with a dismal return compared to the others.
21) Bathroom Addition - 47.1% - Locally I see this one as being much higher on this list. It is not uncommon to find a three bedroom one bath home locally. Adding an attic bedroom (or basement remodel) and a bathroom addition would greatly increase the value of those homes.
22) Sunroom Addition - 41.3% - This should be, in my opinion, also higher on this list in our local area. Due to our abundant natural beauty, a sunroom (or 'Pocono Room') added onto a wood deck is NOT a 41.3% return. It is practically expected.
23) Home Office Remodel - 38.7% - This is consistently the lowest returner. Better bets would be to add an attic bedroom and use that as an office or finish the basement and use that area. Both of those items will perform better for you than a dedicated office area.
$$ Upscale Projects $$
1) Fiber Cement Siding Replacement - 71.9% - This was also number one on the 2013 report. Pair this with some stone veneer siding and you can't go wrong.
2) Garage Door Replacement - 71.8% - This was number two in 2014 and being a visible project it is certainly a big boost to any property. It also enjoys being the lowest expense on this list.
3) Foam Backed Vinyl Siding Replacement- 68.4% - Another great pairing with stone veneer that enjoys a good return in the high 60's year after year.
4) Vinyl Window Replacement - 63.1% - These upscale windows have dropped in resale value since 2013. If it doesn't make a difference in the home's aesthetics the midrange windows perform better.
5) Wood Window Replacements - 60.8% - These too have dropped lower than their 2013 numbers. As with number four, if you can go midrange you will get back more of your investment.
6) Fiberglass Grand Entrance - 59.6% - If your home's value calls for it then you can't go wrong.
7) Roofing Replacement - 52.5% - Upscale roofing has a similar return to the midrange version but a much higher price tag. Take into consideration the visibility of your roof when making these decisions.
8) Composite Deck Addition - 52.1% - This has a lower return than 2013 and I would expect it to be lower on this list locally. Wood is the way to go in our area.
9) Major Kitchen Remodel - 51.9% - This return is lower than the 2013 percentage for upscale projects. The midrange projects are performing better.
10) Bathroom Remodel - 51% - Hovering around 50% for three years but with more than double a midrange project's price tag......maybe somewhere in between is the best bet.
11) Bathroom Addition - 50.8% - Added square footage is not a bad thing. Adding very expensive square footage needs to be thought through. Most homes in our area will benefit from a new bathroom so this item will likely perform better in our local market but I'd stay near the midrange price.
12) Master Suite Addition - 46.3% - The most expensive project on the upscale list is almost dead last. It was last in 2014 and 2013. Your money may be better spent in other areas until we see where this number goes.
13) Garage Addition - 45.7% - Upscale garages aren't performing regionally and I would not suspect them to perform any better locally. Stick to the midrange options unless your home's value demands all the bells and whistles.
Bill Pearn Masonry Blog
Quality construction does not only build structures, it also builds: town pride, small business opportunity, beautiful neighborhoods, home equity, and ultimately better lives.
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