Return on renovation costs: How much will you get back?


Return on renovation costs: How much will you get back?

By Isabelle Ducas

Projects that can increase — or decrease — the value of your home.

Canadians are investing in home improvement like never before: According to an Ipsos-Reid survey, two-thirds of homeowners intend to undertake renovations this year. While most plan to spend reasonable sums, others say they’ll go all out: luxurious materials, home theatres, a Jacuzzi on the patio…even $60,000 kitchens are not that unusual! But how much of their investment will be recovered when their house sells?

Homeowners tend to embark on renovation projects to meet their needs, improve their quality of life or simply pamper themselves with a little luxury. But even if you’re renovating primarily for your own sake, you should try to assess the post-project increase in the value of your house, just in case you ever want to sell.

Every year, the Appraisal Institute of Canada surveys its members and compiles a list of renovations that yield the best return on investment. Year after year, refurbished kitchens and bathrooms head the payback list: 75 per cent to 100 per cent of the outlay for these projects can be recovered upon resale. Adding a pool, on the other hand, is far less advantageous. Still, pool vendors did a booming business this past summer…

Such positive evaluations don’t always hold true, however. For example, a kitchen that has been renovated to the tune of $25,000 but in appallingly bad taste could adversely affect the sale of the house. If renovating in order to sell, you must plan for changes that will meet the needs of a majority of potential buyers and ensure that the modifications are suitably up to date and will appeal to the maximum number of people.

“A house that looks nice inside will sell at a slightly higher price, but above all, it will sell faster,” says Guylaine Barakatt, a real estate agent and housing consultant. “It has to be fashionable and in line with current trends; people are increasingly inclined toward luxury.” At the same time, though, beware of passing fads.

One rule seems to apply in all cases: avoid projects that will set your house apart from other properties in your neighbourhood.

The Appraisal Institute of Canada posts this warning on its website: “If the value of your house exceeds the average market value in your neighbourhood, your renovations will not yield much return. But if your house value is below the average, you can recover a larger part of the renovation costs.”

Also bear in mind that the amount spent on renovation projects should be relative to the value of the dwelling: A $30,000 remodelled bathroom does not belong in a $100,000 house.

Percentage recovered upon resale:

Kitchen upgrade: 75% to 100%

Bathroom upgrade: 75% to 100%

Interior painting: 50% to 100%

Roof replacement: 50% to 80%

Replacement of furnace or heating system: 50% to 80%

Expansion (addition of family room): 50% to 75%

Doors and windows: 50% to 75%

Deck: 50% to 75%

Installation of hardwood floor: 50% to 75%

Construction of a garage: 50% to 75%

Fireplace (wood or gas) 50% to 75%

Central air conditioning: 50% to 75%

Finished basement: 50% to 75%

Wood fence: 25% to 50%

Interlocking paving stones on driveway: 25% to 50%

Landscaping: 25% to 50%

Asphalt driveway: 20% to 50%

Pool: 10% to 40%

Skylights: 0% to 25%

Read more in Homes and Renovating

Plygem 3 things to know

3 Things You Should Know About Energy Efficient Windows

The single most important aspect of your windows is how they help insulate your home. But, did you know there are several factors that can effect your windows’ energy efficiency? Before you replace your windows we want you to be knowledgeable of these factors and what they can do for your home.

Energy Efficient Windows

Here are three things you should consider when choosing energy efficient windows.


There are several materials that can make up your window.

Energy Efficient Windows

Here are a few of the most popular window materials.

Vinyl windows are known for their ease of maintenance, colors that coordinate with any exterior palette, and their energy efficiency. These windows have a high level of insulation, eliminating loss of air and keeping the muggy summer heat, or frigid winter winds, out.

Wood windows require a bit more maintenance. However, wood is an excellent insulator, making wood windows extremely energy efficient.

Aluminum windows are low-cost and low-maintenance. When considering these windows in terms of energy efficiency, it’s best to look for thermally-broken aluminum windows. A thermal break is a low-conducting composite material that separates the aluminum on the outside of the window frame from the aluminum on the inside and is designed to reduce the transfer of heat or cold between your home and the outside.

Composite windows combine multiple window materials to take advantage of the benefits of each. Although these windows typically perform well, they are the most expensive window in the market.


Glass packages have the greatest effect on your window’s energy efficiency. You may pay a little more for a great glass package up front, but you’ll also save more in the long run.Joplin1_Cottage_UpperStoryEaveShake_9012

Here are some glass options to keep in mind.

Low E – Reflects infrared light keeping heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It can also help keep your carpets and furniture from fading.

Gas Fill – Either Argon or Krypton can be placed in between glass panes to provide greater insulation than regular air.


ENERGY STAR is a government supported program that uses a specific criteria to define an energy efficient window.

How does ENERGY STAR determine what makes energy efficient windows? By measuring four different parts of the window: the glass, the gas, the spacer and the reinforcement. The combination of these factors influences the unit’s U-value and solar heat gain, both of which are drivers for meeting ENERGY STAR performance level.NC_FrontAngle_Alistair_9115lr

To be labeled as an ENERGY STAR product, the U-factor and SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) ratings must be less than or equal to those established by ENERGY STAR.

  • U-value The U-value or U-factor is commonly described as the amount of heat transferred through a material. The lower the U-factor, the slower the rate of heat flow and the better the insulating value.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)  The SHGC refers to the amount of heat from the sun that windows and doors allow into the home. The lower the number, the greater the ability to reduce the amount of heat absorbed into the home.
door handing

Door & Lever Handing

door handing2

When you purchase doors or levers, keep in mind handing. Doors can be left handed or right handed. To determine the handing of a door, face the outside of the door as though you are entering a room. If the hinge is on the left, the door is left handed. If the hinge is on the right, the door is right handed. Some handles are reversible, which mean they are positionable in either the left hand or the right hand configuration.