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21 Best Home Renovation Projects to Use Your Tax Return On

Invest your refund money into your home.

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new garage door upgradeFamily Handyman

Garage Door Replacement

Replacing your garage door has taken over the top of the list on a national average, with a 98.3 percent cost recoupment. The average cost of the job ran $3,470 nationally and the resale came in at $3,411. Unlike in 2017, none of 2018’s remodeling ideas recoup the cost and add to the resale value, but garage door replacement comes pretty close! Here are 10 things you should know before buying a garage door.

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Manufactured Stone Veneer

Installing manufactured stone veneer comes in second on the list of home improvement projects that practically pay for themselves. Taking a 300-square-foot band of existing vinyl siding from the bottom third of the front of your house and replacing it with manufactured stone veneer will cost around $8,211. You’ll see a resale value of $7,986, recouping an impressive 97.1 percent. These 13 smart upgrades pay off big in resale value and enjoyment of your home.

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doorDavid Papazian/Shutterstock

Steel Entry Door Replacement

Remodeling magazine reports that replacing your door with a steel entry door will cost $1,471, with a $1,344 resale value, resulting in a 91.3 percent recoupment. Here’s how to replace an exterior door.

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Wood Deck Addition

Reported as the fourth best remodeling project for its value, a wood deck addition will cost you $10,950. You’ll see a $9,065 resale value, so the recoupment comes in at 82.8 percent. An outdoor “room,” continues to remain a desired home attribute, because it creates more living space without breaking the bank. Check out these 15 modern deck building tips and shortcuts.

You can do some (or all!) of these projects yourself. Check out DIY University’s online classes for help completing you to-do list.

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Minor Kitchen Remodel

Minor kitchen updates can make a big difference when you go to sell your house. While it will cost you $21,198, you’ll recoup $17,193 when you sell—that’s 81.1 percent. “In a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet boxes in place but replace fronts with new shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts, including new hardware,” Remodeling magazine recommends. Other updates to consider include replacing major appliances with more energy-efficient models, and removing and replacing resilient flooring. If you want your kitchen renovation to go smoothly, you’ll want to avoid these mistakes.

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remodelTrudy Wilkerson/Shutterstock

Siding Replacement

To replace 1,250-square-feet of existing siding with new siding, including factory trim at all openings and corners, you can expect to pay $15,072. The resale value is $11,554, so the recoupment is 76.7 percent. Plus, new siding increases curb appeal. Check out this guide to replacing siding.

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knobVitaliy Hrabar/Shutterstock

Vinyl Window Replacement

According to Remodeling magazine, you should “replace 10 existing 3 x 5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite vinyl windows. Simulated wood-grain interior finish; custom-color exterior finish. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.” The project will cost you $15,955, you’ll see a resale value of $11,855, with the recoupment coming in at 74.3 percent. Ready to replace your drafty old windows with new energy-efficient units? We’ll show you how to replace a window and put new ones in.

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Universal Design Bathroom

The bathroom may be far from the first thing that people see when coming into your home, but it’s a very important room! The more spacious and updated, the better — especially for the elderly. Universal design includes accommodating a wheelchair and adding safety features like grab bars in convenient places. A full update will cost you $16,393. You’ll see a $11,581 resale value, with a recoupment of 70.6 percent. Here’s how to make a home safe for older folks.

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Bathroom Remodel

A midrange bathroom remodel will cost you $19,134. The resale value is $13,422, with a recoupment of 70.1 percent. These numbers are based on remodeling an existing 5 x 7-foot bathroom with ceramic tile floor. The remodel includes a new 30 x 60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with 4 x 4-inch ceramic tile surround and new single-lever shower control. Other updates include a standard white toilet, solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink and a recessed medicine cabinet with light.

Check out these 16 cheap bathroom updates that have the wow factor.

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Wood Window Replacement

Replacing 10 existing 3 x 5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite wood windows will cost you $19,391 with a resale value of $13,468. This project includes an interior finish of stained hardwood, an exterior finish of custom-color aluminum cladding, and exterior trim to match what’s already there. You’ll see a recoupment of 69.5 percent. If you’ve got questions about buying new windows, check out these FAQs before you buy.

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Roofing Replacement

One of the most important parts of a home, a new roof is a big deal to home buyers. It’s a decent investment, too. Although it will cost you $20,939, you’ll see a resale value of $14,320. It recoups 68.4 percent. Here are common roof problems and how to fix them.

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EntranceDavid Papazian/Shutterstock

Fiberglass Grand Entrance

Make a great first impression. Removing your existing entry door and cutting and reframing the opening for a larger fiberglass entrance door with dual sidelights, threshold and upscale locket will cost you $8,591. The resale value is $5,809 with a recoupment of 67.6 percent. Here are 15 stunning front doors to inspire you.

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boardsBrad Ingram/Shutterstock

Composite Deck Addition

A composite deck may not have the same recoupment as wood, but it still makes the list, coming in at number 13 on Remodeling magazine’s list, with a cost of $17,668, resale value of $11,239 and a recoupment of 63.6 percent for a 16 x 20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4×4 posts anchored to concrete piers. The composite deck material had a simple linear pattern with a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Steps and a railing should also be included. Do you know how to avoid staining a deck? Build it from something other than wood!

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Family Handyman

Major Kitchen Remodel

A midrange major kitchen remodel will cost you $63,829 with a resale value of $37,637 and a recoupment of 59 percent. “Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets. Install a 3 x 5-foot island, laminate countertops, and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet,” says Remodeling magazine. “Include energy-efficient range, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling.”

Planning a new kitchen? Use these tips to prevent expensive mistakes, eliminate headaches and get the kitchen you want!

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Family Handyman

Bathroom Addition

A midrange bathroom addition will cost you $44,717 with a resale value of $26,769 and a recoupment of 59.9 percent. The full 6 x 8-foot bathroom should be added over a crawlspace with poured concrete walls, ceramic tile floor and painted trim. Include a 30 x 60-inch white fiberglass tub-shower, cultured-marble vanity top with molded sink and a mirrored medicine cabinet, according to Remodeling magazine.

A bump-out addition is a great way to expand a small bathroom without messing with other nearby rooms. It’s complicated, but the spaced gained can be well worth.

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Mission-Style Twin-Over-Twin with Trundle bunk bedPhoto: Courtesy of manufacturer

Conversion to Bedroom

Finishing an area of the house, especially an attic or basement, into another bedroom can greatly increase the resale value of a house. This is because it adds more square footage, creates a new usable room and opens the house up to buyers with larger families.

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loose fill attic insulation

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation with fiberglass is seeing over 100 percent cost recouped. And this means you are technically gaining resale value at no expense when adding important attic insulation. Make sure all gaps are covered and cracks are sealed against pests.

Plus: Finishing an Attic

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Family Handyman

Enclose a Patio

Enclosing a patio is going to be a lot of work. Putting up walls and a roof, along with a foundation but it could potentially become additional square footage if done correctly. It needs to feel like a part of the home and be accessible through the house.

See what your home might look like with a screened-in patio if you don’t want as big of a project or discover how a deck over a concrete patio can change a backyard.

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Family Handyman

Finish a Garage

It’s a bit of a Catch-22. If you want to add square footage, finish your garage. But as soon as you finish your garage, in order for it to be considered additional square footage, it must no longer be a garage. Hmm?

Learn some garage remodeling tips you haven’t thought about and different garage floor styles that can make your garage last longer.

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Family Handyman

Build Over the Garage

A room above a garage might prove the perfect tonic for a house with a small lot and a need for additional rooms. Be sure to check your local building codes and zoning ordinances before starting a project. You’ll save on some of the construction because there will be a foundation already in place with the garage. But there will need to be a vapor barrier to block car exhaust and of course, a new roof.

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Family Handyman

Add a Dormer

Looking for a simple expansion that’ll give you more space in your home? A new dormer in a cramped, underused attic might just be the ticket. It’ll create the additional headroom you need to make a comfortable living space–an extra bedroom, studio or playroom. And a dormer window provides natural light, fresh air and perhaps some dramatic treetop views. Dormers look great from the outside, too, adding variety to a plain front and improving your home’s curb appeal, not to mention the resale value.