Homeowners love renovations that make the most of their outdoor spaces. If you're a contractor, you may help clients make design choices that meet their immediate goals while also protecting their home’s long-term value.
One key strategy in this process is to guide your clients in making renovations that yield a high resale value relative to the project cost. Return on investment (ROI) is critical to informing their decision about which updates to prioritize when moving forward with a renovation.
Investing in the Future
Renovating for long-term ROI can be a balancing act. For homeowners, it’s important that renovations offer immediate benefits while also standing the test of time, both functionally and aesthetically.
The key to timeless renovation is functional design rooted in tradition. One of the oldest and most renewable building materials—wood—is sustainable, stylish, and classic. It’s no surprise that wood is estimated to be used in 90% of all single-family home construction.
When it comes to choosing materials for long-term ROI, wood can be a smart choice. Keep reading to get inspired by these four home renovations using wood, impressive not only for their natural beauty, but also for their positive impact on a home’s market value.
There's much to love about a screened-in porch. For homeowners—and home-buyers—a spacious porch is inviting, conjuring images of family cookouts or leisurely cocktails with friends.
Screened-in porches are also a cost-effective way to add livable square footage to a family home. In fact, the national average for ROI on a screened-in porch addition is an impressive 84%, with homeowners recouping an even higher ROI in warmer environments.
Because screened-in porches provide a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, homeowners frequently choose to leave their porches’ structural wood exposed, as is the case with this project in Wisconsin, completed by Degnan Remodel. According to the firm, the homeowners “gravitated towards a fusion of contemporary and rustic design elements.”
To accomplish this, this covered porch addition features exposed solid-sawn Douglas fir lumber and a tongue and groove roof sheathing treated with a dark contemporary stain. The porch’s seating area includes a gas grill and offers an expansive view of the property’s sunken outdoor pool. Exposed beams, wooden railings, and open framing allow unobstructed views of the surrounding forest.
Not all outdoor living requires four walls. For clients looking for a smaller out-of-pocket cost (or those living in climates with minimal bugs and rain), a wooden deck addition is an excellent way to expand outdoor living space and increase home value.
The average ROI on a wood deck addition is 65.8%, which is significantly greater than the return on decks built with composite materials, whose ROI is 15-20% lower.
This California home features a new cedar deck and outdoor dining space designed by architect Brett Farrow. Rich, warm-toned Western Red Cedar has also been used throughout the home for aesthetic connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, and Contemporist observes that the sliding doors “open up the interior to a deck that’s furnished for outdoor dining and lounging.”
Wood siding is sustainable, energy-efficient, and can accommodate both rustic and modern design styles. Replacing the wood siding on your home also offers strong ROI, with an average return of 77%.
There are many reasons that your clients might consider replacing their wood siding. In addition to the promise of high ROI, resilient siding is key to protecting a home from insects, moisture, and other environmental factors that can, over time, become a threat to structural integrity.
This Burlington, VA home designed by Cushman Design Group uses shiplap Eastern White Pine treated with a translucent stain for a weathered look that integrates the home with the surrounding landscape and references the historical farmhouses found in the region.
“The home represents and manifests qualities that regularly mark our design work,” writes the designer, “thoughtful use of natural materials, abundant natural daylighting, and the employment of talented local craftsmen, artisans, and carpenters, as well as a wonderful color palette.”
Cedar, redwood, and fir are also commonly used in siding treatments. To reduce cost, consider encouraging your clients to select a wood species native to their home’s location.
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Addition
For most people, the last few years have involved a lot of extra time at home. As a result, many homeowners have begun to consider the benefits of additional square footage. Enter the accessory dwelling unit, or ADU.
Studio, carriage house, mother-in-law flat, man-cave, she-shed—there’s a reason we have so many names for these spaces. Whether your clients are looking to add guest accommodations, expand their work-from-home capabilities, or establish a quiet retreat for yoga, art, or relaxation, an ADU can meet their current needs while also increasing the value of their homes.
The cost of ADU installation varies widely depending on size and intended use, which can complicate ROI calculation. Estimates suggest that a detached ADU can increase home value by 20–30%. For a $350k home, that’s up to $105k—with ADU construction costs averaging between $18k and $250k+. Many homeowners also use ADUs to generate passive income through either long or short-term rentals, so the full picture of ADU ROI should also take into account local rental markets and regulations.
This 400 sq. ft. office and living space in Austin, Texas, designed by Hunt Architecture features vertical cedar siding, 9-foot cedar ceilings, and large windows and skylights for plentiful natural light and views of the surrounding cedar elm grove.
Lofty cedar ceilings and abundant flora create a calming, verdant patio shelter and the attached living space is complete with kitchenette and bath, offering privacy for guests and presenting the opportunity for future rental income.
“Our previously underused yard has now become an active focal point on our property,” write the owners. “We love watching our kids play in the grass, swing from the trees, and wave from the deck above while working in the office.”
For the Log Haul
Renovations are exciting for homeowners, giving them a chance to shape their homes around their lifestyles—whether that means commuting to a backyard office or hosting a neighborhood grill-off on the deck. They are also big business for you. When helping your clients evaluate their options, it’s helpful to have inspiring project examples to share and reliable information about the value of their investment.
Photo credits (in order): A&J Photography Inc. and Degnan Design-Build-Remodel, Pixer Pros, Lenoid Furmansky, Lenoid Furmansky