There are so many ways to improve your home, from adding a spacious Master Suite, revamping a bathroom to remodeling your outdated kitchen to a gorgeous gourmet delight. Many of us probably believe that these significant improvements would garner a higher cost to value ratio than a less ‘exciting’ project, like upgrading the entry door, garage door & windows throughout your home. But the latter improvements actually reap homeowners a substantial return on investment while improving curb appeal and, in the case of new windows, improving your year-round energy efficiency.
Let’s begin with comparing cost to value of the mid-range and upscale versions of each renovation. As with our past remodel Cost to Value series, this information has been obtained from the 2015 Remodeling VS Cost reports for San Jose and San Francsico.
MIDRANGE Entry Door
Remove existing 3-0/6-8 entry door and jambs, replacing with new 20-gauge steel entry door that is factory finished with the same color on both sides and includes a clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs and aluminum threshold with composite stop. Exterior brick-mold and 2.5-inch interior colonial or ranch casings in poplar or equal prefinished to match door color. Replace existing lockset with new bored-lock in brass or antique-brass finish.
Remove existing 3-0/6-8 entry door and jambs and replace with a new fiberglass unit with simulated wood grain, stained the same color on both sides. Door includes a dual-pane, decorative half-glass panel with zinc caming; PVC-wrapped exterior trim in color to match existing trim; 2.5-inch interior colonial or ranch casings in hardwood stained to match the door. Replace existing lockset with mortise lock with lever handle and integrated deadbolt in oil-rubbed bronze or satin-nickel finish.
UPSCALE Grand Entrance
Remove existing 3-0/6-8 entry door and cut and re-frame opening for a 12-36-12 entrance door with dual sidelites that match the door. Move double-gang electrical box with two switches. Fiberglass door blank matches upscale entry, including color, threshold, lockset and decorative half-glass. PVC-wrapped exterior trim in color to match existing trim; wider interior colonial or ranch casings (3.5-inch to cover new jack studs) in hardwood stained to match door. All work to be completed in one day.
MIDRANGE Garage Door Replacement
Remove and dispose of existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and tracks. Install new 4-section garage door on new galvanized steel tracks. Existing garage door opener to be reused. New door is uninsulated, single-layer, embossed steel with two coats of baked-on paint, galvanized steel hinges, and nylon rollers. 10-year limited warranty.
UPSCALE Garage Door Replacement
Remove and dispose of existing 16×7-foot garage door and tracks. Install new 4-section garage door on new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks; reuse existing motorized opener. New door is high tensile strength steel with two coats of factory- applied paint and foam insulated to minimum R-12 with thermal seals between pinch-resistant panels. Windows in top panel are 1⁄2-inch insulated glass. Hardware includes galvanized steel hinges and ball-bearing urethane rollers. Lifetime warranty.
MIDRANGE Window Replacement
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated vinyl replacement windows. Wrap existing exterior trim as required to match. Interior trim remains intact.
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated wood replacement windows, exterior clad in vinyl or aluminum. Wrap existing exterior trim as required to match. Interior trim remains intact.
UPSCALE Window Replacement
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite vinyl windows. Windows have a simulated wood-grain interior finish; custom-color exterior finish. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite wood windows. Interior finish of stained hardwood; exterior finish of custom-color aluminum cladding. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.
Comparing Cost to Value
Entry Door Upgrades
Replacing the entry doors with a new midrange steel or fiberglass unit runs about $1500 for steel and $3,200 for fiberglass in both San Jose and San Francisco. The ROI for the steel door upgrade is approximately 225% in both markets and 150% for the fiberglass version. The upscale grand entrance costs about $8,300 and homebuyers recoup 117%.
Garage Door Upgrades
Replacing a garage door with a midrange version runs around $1,900 and the return is approximately 160% in both cities. The upscale garage door costs $3,300 and its cost to value is between 156% and 160%.
Window upgrades don’t bring in quite the same ROI but still tend to have a fairly good return. Midrange vinyl windows run about $12,000 with wood versions closer to $14,000. Upscale vinyl windows cost $16,000 and wood are $20,000. The cost to value trends higher in San Francisco, with midrange vinyl coming in at 106% and all others between 113% and 119%. In San Jose, midrange and upscale vinyl windows only recoup 87% of their value but the wood upgrades provide a return of 109% for the midrange and 100% for the upscale.
This home improvements, while less ‘impressive’ than a fancy kitchen re-do or that spacious Master Suite, will actually provide more bang for your buck when it comes to return on investment. Something to consider when its time to invest in your home.