Get the Most Value Out of Your Remodeling Project
The “Secret Sauce” to boost your project’s ROI
by Eli King for Roohan Realty | May 6, 2019
Not only can a room remodel increase your home’s value, it’s also a perfect opportunity to access hard-to-reach areas that could be invisibly costing you money or hurting your home’s health.
Picking out paint colors and furniture for your new space may be more fun, but won’t save you money or extend the life of your investment the way these steps will…
AIR SEALING: DON’T BLOW YOUR $$
Why now: You’re about to pour money into making your home more valuable and enjoyable. Make sure the remodeled area – and whole home – are air tight so your money spent isn’t being blown right back out the doors, windows and walls.
Project payoff: 10%-30% of your energy bill is spent on air that’s seeping out of your house — that’s the equivalent of leaving a medium-sized window open in your home 24 hours a day! And it’s a two-way street: you lose expensive indoor air, while pulling IN pollutants and moisture (can become mold) from the outdoors. Improving air-tightness also reduces strain on expensive HVAC systems and creates healthier indoor air for you and your loved ones — priceless!
How-To: Ideally, you can hire certified home energy auditor for under $500 to do a thorough assessment; reduced-cost programs are also available. If you’d rather DIY, you just need $1, a few hours, and several sticks of incense:
Now you can go through your inventory of problem areas and:
- apply weatherstripping to window and door leaks
- caulk cracks and gaps
- install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates
There is such a thing as being too airtight. If it’s a concern, consider looking into an air exchange system to introduce tempered fresh air into the house – there are several systems available.
INSULATE AS YOU RENOVATE
Why now: According to the EPA, 9/10 homes don’t have enough insulation. Since many remodeling projects mean you (or your contractor) will have access to interior/exterior walls, why not take the opportunity to address the insulation while you work?
Project payoff: Adding or enhancing wall insulation should save you at least $500+ a year. It will also improve your indoor air quality and comfort, reduce noise, and help extend the lifespan of your building materials. The U.S. Department of Energy (at hes.lbl.gov) and Energystar.gov each provide free, customizable web tools for homeowners to see what adding insulation will save (and cost), along with information on other energy-saving upgrades and rebates.
How-To: Whether you work alone or hire a pro, here are some insulation improvements to consider:
- Adding insulation anywhere it’s missing in interior/exterior walls, floors, ceilings, crawlspaces, attic, etc.
- R-Value is a rating for materials’ resistance to heat flow. The recommended R-Value for your insulation will vary geographically (Saratoga County falls under Climate Zone 5 – see below), and by area of the home being insulated. R-Values should be marked visibly on existing insulation and meet or exceed the minimum recommendation. If it doesn’t, or you’re adding new, the R-Value will be one of the key factors – along with cost & available space – in deciding which material to use. Be sure to check local code requirements too.
- Look for degradation to existing insulation caused by mold/mildew, water, pests and infestations. Gaps in insulation can happen over time from improper installation and settling. If you find any signs of degradation, you should consider removal and replacement.
REMODELING PROJECTS WITH HIGHEST RESALE VALUE
Need help picking which project to do first?
Check out our post: 23 Features Home Buyers Will Pay More For (2019)