Home Improvement Projects That give The Best Bang For your buck

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Home improvement projects can benefit you in more ways than one. While your primary purpose may be to enhance or rejuvenate your home’s aesthetics, improvement projects do a lot more than that; they also help increase the home’s value, function, and energy performance. Here are the top three home improvement projects that have proven to give homeowners the best value of all.


THE VALUE OF ROOFING PROJECTS A home is, first and foremost, a shelter. Having a good, solid roof over one’s head tops the list of things homeowners desire and consider important. For this reason, roofing projects hit the mark in so many different ways; consider buyer appeal, cost, return, and owner joy, and you’ll find that a new roof is possibly one of the smartest investments homeowners can sink their money into. In fact, in a recent report from the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), owners are reportedly more apt to put money into remodeling for two primary reasons: to increase the home’s value and to improve their enjoyment of the home. That roofing offers the biggest recovered percentage of original cost – 105% – is certainly incentive enough for any homeowner to pick roofing repair and/or replacement as an investment. Moreover, the satisfaction factor, or the “joy” homeowners get out of new roofing, rates a high 9.6 on a scale of 1-10 – all the more reason to seriously consider getting a new roof installed. These findings are further borne out by the most recent Cost vs. Value report (as of 2016) which estimates the CvV of roof replacement at a high 71.7%

DO YOU NEED ROOF REPAIR? SIGNS OF ROOF DAMAGE Even if your roof shows signs of water damage, however, don’t jump the gun and assume that a brand new roof is immediately called for. The California Contractors State License Board says that if your roof was properly installed and is less than than 15 to 20 years old, it can often be repaired rather than replaced. Indicators that’ll tell you when a replacement is truly called for include the following:


• Roof age. If the roof was installed over another layer or several layers of roofing and is older than 20 years, chances are you need a new roof. • Buckling and curling shingles. If you notice your shingles curling or losing granules, it could mean that they’re past their life expectancy. • Roof valleys. If your roof shingles are falling apart or missing in roof valleys, it’s a definite sign you need a new roof. Valleys are one of the most important areas of your roof. • Missing shingles. This is another sign your roof could be failing. Check to see if all of the shingle “tabs” are intact. • Chimney flashing. If your flashing consists of roof cement or tar, it may need to be replaced with a long-term, watertight fitting, which would be a metal flashing system. • Shingle granules in the gutters. Roofs tend to lose more granules toward the end of their life cycle. Inconsistent or darker colors on some parts of the roof is another sign the granules have worn away. • Daylight through the roof boards. If you notice a spongy feel or trampoline bounce when walking on the roof, the underlying decking may have been weakened from moisture. Check your attic to see if there is any daylight coming through the roof boards. Also check for moisture in the insulation.


DECIDING BETWEEN ROOF REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT When deciding whether to simply patch leaks and damaged areas, or to do some partial or complete reroofing, there will be cost consequences either way. If damage is significant but confined to one side of the roof, partial reroofing may be more viable as it will cost thousands of dollars less than doing the entire roof. On the other hand, you should also consider that even if only part of your roof is showing signs of wear, replacing the entire roof could cost less over the long term than doing one part now and the remainder in a few years – so study and weigh your options well. FINDING A ROOFING CONTRACTOR A large part of getting your money’s worth depends on hiring the right contractor for the job. Finding a good contractor involves: • Getting referrals • Doing your research • Meeting the roofer face-to-face • Getting everything in writing

Keep in mind, too, that the cheapest quote won’t necessarily be the best. You also need to ensure that your preferred contractor has adequate insurance (a definite non-negotiable) and is, as much as possible, locally based. During the job itself, make sure to communicate your wants and expectations to your contractor clearly to avoid any potential problems. Aside from roofing, another roofing-related home improvement project you might want to consider is gutter replacement. More on this in Part II.


It’s important to have a good roof, but it’s perhaps equally important that you install a good gutter system on your home. Rainwater is a natural element that can wreak havoc on your home unless you properly install and maintain your rain gutters. Having a good gutter system installed helps ensure: • The soil around the house is stabilized • Foundation problems are avoided • Flooding under the house and in the basement are prevented • Erosion can be prevented, preserving the turf and your landscaping • Water damage to siding and water staining on brick and stone masonry are prevented • Less settling and cracking of sidewalks, patios, and driveways • Preservation of exterior doors and garage overhead doors Gutters bring the above benefits to homeowners simply by efficiently directing water away from the home.

If you suspect your gutters have been improperly installed or if they’ve rotted away or have sustained some sort of damage, it’s necessary to have them attended to as soon as possible. But how do you tell if your gutter is in need of repair or replacement?


Well, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll need replacement if you’ve got sagging gutters or gutters pulling away from the house. Some less obvious signs are cracks or splits of any kind (these can quickly grow bigger, presenting more serious issues), peeling paint or flecks of orange (indicating the beginnings of rust), pooling water or signs of mildew (that indicate that water is not flowing away as freely as it should), water damage or water marks beneath the gutters (that indicate that leaking or overflowing water is escaping the gutter.) Overflowing water can damage your soffit and fascia board. In recent years, homeowners have begun to discover the advantages that seamless gutters offer over the standard sectional gutters. Let’s take a quick look at what seamless gutters bring to the home:

Seamless gutters minimize leaks. Sectional gutters are more apt to allow water to escape the gutter system as the sealant on gutter seams wears away over time, Seams also form ridges along the gutter that encourages debris to form and water to back up. Seamless gutters don’t present these problems. Even better, they are more pleasing to the eye: they offer a smoother uniform look because they’re made from a single sheet of metal. Apart from no to fewer leaks, less clogging, and better aesthetics, seamless gutters offer the added advantage of needing virtually no maintenance. If you’ve already got seamless gutters installed, then another high-value exterior project may have more appeal. We tackle siding repair in Part III.


It’s certainly important that your home be sturdy and capable of withstanding all sorts of conditions that the weather and the environment may throw at it. Over time, however, the home eventually wears down. As the home grows older, rotten, missing or severely cracked siding begins to pose a threat to the “soundness” of your home’s structure. Compromised siding allows water to seep into the home’s sub-structure and weaken its foundation. It’s for this reason that siding repair and replacement is one of the top priority projects among homeowners.

It’s easy to tell when your siding requires replacement or repair, because your home itself will tell you so. Here are some of the most common indications:

• Frequent repainting of the home is needed • High heating and cooling bills • Rotting or warping • Cracked or loose siding • Peeling paint or loose wallpaper inside the home • Fungus, mold, and mildew • Severe fading • Bubbles in siding • Holes in siding • Dry rot


The good news is, isn’t too difficult to find the best siding material for your home. Preferred by the majority of Americans because it’s both affordable and easy to maintain, vinyl siding leads the pack of favored siding materials, for many reasons. For one thing, vinyl siding installs quickly, and is much more affordable than other siding materials on the market. Moreover, the material isn’t just easy to install, you can even install it over existing materials. It is a good retrofit option that helps you save significantly on labor costs. Vinyl siding doesn’t need any painting, so contactors can avoid paintingrelated scheduling delays that are often caused by cold and wet winters. It’s low-maintenance and only requires periodic (annual) cleaning with mild soap and water. Moreover, it is not susceptible to problems associated with rotting, cracking or insect damage. The material is available in a great variety of colors and faux wood grain finishes to mimic natural materials. Newer generations of vinyl are also less prone to fading. Vinyl is durable and can easily withstand high winds. It’s also resistant to heat, cold, and moisture, boasting consistently high performance capabilities over long periods of time.


Insulated vinyl is also considered a green option with its ability to reduce thermal bridging. It’s on the list of building products that can help you meet the requirements as an ENERGY STAR® Qualified Home. Apart from cheaper material costs, vinyl siding also has the lowest total installed cost of any exterior cladding. It boasts the lowest life cycle cost over the life of a home. Not suprisingly, as with roofing and gutter replacement and repair, siding projects are ranked among the top home improvement projects for recouping cost at the time of resale.

This brings this 3-part e-book to an end. Here’s to the successful completion of whichever of the three projects you choose to take on!

Nelson Contracting 811 2nd Street, Milford, NE 4108 Progressive Ave, Suite 6, Lincoln, NE (402) 374-4233 nelsoncontractingllc.com