7 Best and Worst Home Renovations in 2016

As it turns out, renovations aren’t always the answer.

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

A renovation project should not only add immediate value to your home, but also ensure that your return on investment (ROI) is attainable (should you decide to eventually sell). If you’re looking for a high-impact project to tackle this year, be sure to check the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report before breaking ground. To ensure that your shoo-in project won’t leave your budget hurting, here are some of the best (and worst) home investments on this year’s list:

Some of the Best:

#1 Adding Attic Insulation – 116.9%

The addition of attic insulation is the #1 improvement recommended by the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report. With an estimated cost of around $33 a bag, installing fiberglass insulation will increase your home’s value by $1,450. Additional insulation also aids in the utility efficiency of your home — cutting down on energy costs.

#2 Using Stone Veneers – 92.9%

Your home’s aesthetics are very important when considering the overall value of your property. Installing manufactured stone veneers (which cost an estimated $7,500) can potentially increase your home’s value by $7,000. If you have any stone left over, consider using the extras to accent your fireplace or bathtub walls.

#3 Replacing a Door – 91.5% (garage), 91.1% (entry door)

Replacing your current garage door with a steel alternative will offer peace of mind and an additional bump in the overall value of your home. If you decide to upgrade your garage door, make sure to add new steel tracks and a motorized opener to avoid jams. Replacing your home’s entry doors with a steel alternative will cost between $500 and $1,230 per door. But, expect a high ROI should you decide to sell.

#4 Minor Kitchen Remodel – 83.1%

While a complete kitchen overhaul will only retain 64.9% of your investment, there are a few minor updates that will increase your kitchen’s resale value (without a hefty price tag). Replacing cabinet hardware, installing energy-efficient appliances and upgrading your sink are simple, DIY-able ways to get more out of what you put into your kitchen.


Some of the Worst:

#1 Adding a Bathroom – 56.2%

Despite being one of the most popular rooms in your home, a bathroom addition isn’t always the best investment. A midrange bathroom add-on will cost around $40,000 (expect that price to double for upscale additions). Regardless of your total investment, bathroom additions only reclaim (on average) 56% of their original budget.

#2 Adding a Backup Generator – 59.4%

While having power might seem invaluable during a blackout, backup generators usually cost around $3,100 to install. On average, only 60% of your total expense will be added to your home’s resale price.

#3 Installing New Decking – 64.4% (composite), 75% (wood)

Although the idea of evenings outdoors might be enticing, deck additions are not a make-or-break feature for most buyers. Expect composite decking to return about 65% of its installation cost, while wood decking recoups an average of 75% of its fitting expense.


As it turns out, renovations aren’t always the answer. Unless a gigantic investment is required to bring your home up to code, it pays to think twice before dumping a chunk of cash into an improvement.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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  1. leeshin
    February 25, 2016

    attic insulation installation is always been a best choice when folks opt for updating the house for the energy consumption purpose

  2. Jammy Hope
    March 14, 2016

    A very useful post andrea. Good work. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  3. John
    April 8, 2016

    Great post Andrea! It’s nice to see insulation at the top of the list for its ROI. When considering the amount of utility savings that can be achieved through properly insulating a home, it’s hard to ignore such a relatively inexpensive improvement. Not only that, but it also helps to keep your home at your preferred temperature for comfort.

  4. Matthew G
    April 17, 2016

    Thank you Andrea.

    I especially enjoyed,as a former plumber and bathroom remodel specialist the cost upgrades to bathrooms. My house now has an additional 2 1/2 bathrooms added to the existing remodeled single bath for this house with six bedrooms, my work, when i was a yoUnger lad. Sweat Equity can pay off, I hope after 25 years of house flipping. A little more cleanup and code updates, and we will be ready to sell.

  5. Patricia Bart
    June 19, 2016

    Poor return of investment isn’t a logical reason not to install a backup generator. A backup generator will keep a home’s inhabitants safe and warm in a power outage, it will keep food safe, and will allow the home’s inhabitants to maintain a reasonable lifestyle until power is restored. One major snowstorm with power failure lasting more than a couple days is reason enough to invest in a backup generator. We’ve had several major events during our 25-year-marriage where we’ve experienced a loss of electrical power — several snowstorms where power was lost and we lived with candles and no heat for several days each, and a 10-day power outage after a firestorm — we lost all of our food and sat in the dark in the evenings waiting for power to be restored. We finally invested in a good back-up generator and haven’t regretted it once, in fact, we’ve used it twice in the two years since we’ve had it.

    • Pamela M
      June 30, 2016

      Very good points Patricia Bart. The same is also very true for hurricane prone areas. While our area is pretty good about getting the power restored quickly, we live in a fairly heavy populated neighborhood. Folks that live further out from town are usually restored later. This can go on anywhere from 2 days to a week or more. If you have any tricks up your sleeve, you might be able to protect all that food in your freezer up to three, maybe four days at the most. The fridge is another story entirely, especially if you have kids. A good generator is a must in these areas, even if you don’t get hit with a hurricane every year. But, when you do, you are so happy to have it already in place.

  6. Dot D
    July 1, 2016

    $40,000 for a mid-range bathroom add on?? Maybe in some high end markets, but not average.

  7. Lagnaf
    July 16, 2016

    How can you not address the value of a brand new roof?

  8. Joe
    July 18, 2016

    Where can you get stone veneer for $7500? I paid $5500 to do a small section of a small house acting as a my own sub-contractor and getting labor from craigslist. It was cheap but a nightmare. A contractor wanted 3x that price.

  9. Wayne Walusiak Coldwell Banker HB
    August 5, 2016

    GREAT post! Updated a lot of mistaken ‘bennies’ on remodeling and it’s ROI.

  10. Rachel
    August 8, 2016

    Adding attic insulation is always a wise choice. It’ll help save on utility bills, which will be very attractive to potential buyers. Thanks for sharing these!

  11. Eve
    August 17, 2016

    This list is useful for those focused on resale. but not so much for people who intend to stay in their houses for many years to come. This seems biased in the direction of selling. It would be helpful to state the bias at the outset, especially if there will be no caveats about renovations that might be valuable to the owners. As indicated in the posts about generators, there are many renovations that may improve quality of life for the current owners and occupants, but there is no mention of that in this article.

  12. LNWeaver
    June 20, 2017

    Wow, that’s impressive that replacing a door has almost 100% return on investment. I guess curb appeal is just that valuable. Having an appealing face of your house also increases potential buyers.


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