There is no better way to add value to your property than with a DIY home renovation! And similar to judging a book by its cover, people absolutely do judge a house by its exterior. So, renovations that focus on improving the key aesthetics of a home will yield the biggest return on investment.

That isn’t to say that some non-aesthetic upgrades aren’t essential or value-producing, but on the whole what catches the eye, catches the buyer! As with almost any renovation, labour makes up the lion’s share of the cost. So, where possible, do as much of it yourself to significantly boost your project’s ROI.

Here are some of the best value-producing home renovations you can do, plus a few cheaper alternatives that will net you a hefty profit when you sell. We’ve included links to some of the main materials and a few DIY videos to help get you started! If you’re brand-new to the world of DIY, check out our post on 11 Tools Every DIY’er Should Own.

Note: Cost and ROI estimates are based on contractor estimates. Any labour done by you will only increase the ROI above what is listed below.


1. Stone Veneer

Average Cost: ~$10,000 (varies by building size)

Average ROI: 98%

A natural stone veneer is hands down one of the most gorgeous and refined-looking upgrades you can make to a house. What is a veneer, you might ask? Simply put, it is a surface finish installed on the exterior of a building to greatly improve it’s aesthetic appearance. These upgrades look fantastic when transitioning from something like an older vinyl siding that is really starting to show its age. Depending on your level of experience, this might be one of the more “expert” DIY renovations on the list, but with a bit of planning and preparation, it will be a breeze.

What you’ll need to DIY

Stone veneerStaple gun
Veneer stone mortar mixAngle grinder
Moisture barrierTrowel
Galvanized metal lathGarden rake
Galvanized nails/ staplesGrout bag
Joint tool
Grout Brush
Safety glasses


2. New Garage Door

Average Cost: ~$1,500 (per car garage)

Average ROI: 95%

Aside from the house itself, a garage door is one of the most noticeable exterior features of a house. It is also one of the most overlooked renovations on this list. Over time, a garage door will take a beating and begin to look ragged and worn down, which is the last thing you want potential buyers seeing when they first pull up to your house. A new garage door should match the dominant colour of the house, or at least be complementary to it. A properly fitted new garage door can add a classy touch and make the house look bigger than it actually is.

What you’ll need to DIY

New Garage door4 in 1 screwdriver
Garage door kit*Adjustable wrench
Tension system*Cordless drill
Garage door stop*Ratchet set
Operator bracket*Level
LubricantLocking pliers
Safety glasses
*Not all materials may be required if only replacing the door itself

A cheaper alternative: Paint your garage door. If done properly, you’ll net almost the same value as you would by purchasing a brand new door, but at a fraction of the cost! Use a good quality primer and an outdoor paint that complements the rest of the house.


3. New Front Door

Average Cost: $1,100

Average ROI: 97%

Notice a theme here? Similar to the garage, our eyes are naturally drawn to the front door. Depending on the state of your door, it can either be a standout feature or a disastrous first impression. When looking for an upgrade, don’t give into your artistic side and get all creative. Instead pick something classy but subdued. The front door should flow naturally with the rest of the house.

What you’ll need to DIY

New doorMulti-head screwdriver
House wrapCircular saw
Caulking and sealerUtility knife
InsulationCordless drill
Wood shimsLevel
Drip edgeClaw hammer
Pry bar
Safety glasses

A cheaper alternative: A quick paint job will do the trick. For about $50 you’ll net over $400 in value. Use a good quality primer and outdoor paint.


4. Kitchen Cabinet Touch-ups

Average Cost: $600

Average ROI: 100%+

Forget about a full kitchen remodel! Not only will it cost a fortune and completely disrupt your daily life for weeks on end, but it may not yield the ROI you expect. Instead, opt for a few tactical upgrades including modern handles and hinges for your cabinets as well as anew paint job. Use a high quality prime & paint, and a high quality top coat material. If you want a professional look, you could use a paint sprayer but it will require additional equipment and preparation.

What you’ll need to DIY

New cabinet hingesMulti-head screwdriver
New cabinet handlesPaint brush
PrimerPuddy knife
Wood fillerPainters tape
Painters tray and liners
Paint roller
Safety glasses

5. New Appliances

Average Cost: $1000 per appliance

Average ROI: 70% (your mileage may vary)

OK, let’s re-phrase: SOME new appliances. There’s no point in buying brand-new, top of the line everything in a house that doesn’t need it or isn’t suited for it. And you certainly don’t want to have mismatched appliances throughout your house. The key here is to be tactical with your upgrades, so unless your kitchen is falling apart, just invest in one or two good quality appliances. A good starting point is the stove as it is one of the main focal points of any kitchen.

Note: be sure check with a real-estate agent on this one. In certain areas and for certain demographics, buyers may want to purchase their own appliances.


6. New Countertops

Average Cost: $30-100 per square foot (or $15-50 if you DIY)

Average ROI: 80%

Apart from a brand new stove, countertops are the main focal point of any kitchen. A gorgeous, brand-new countertop can elevate your kitchen game significantly, especially if you’re coming off an old or damaged one. You may be drawn towards purchasing something like top-of-the line marble, but avoid the temptation! Instead, opt for something that looks great, complements the rest of the kitchen, but won’t drain your budget. A simple granite, quartz, or even laminate countertop can look fantastic if done correctly. And while you’re at it, throw in a new sink faucet to really cement that polished look. Note: depending on your level of expertise, countertop installation may require professional assistance.

What you’ll need to DIY

New countertops (pre-cut)*Multi-head screwdriver
1 1/2 inch steel anglesCaulk gun
1 1/4 inch drywall screwsBelt sander
5/8 inch screwsCordless drill
Acrylic caulkingSafety glasses
Silicone caulking
Sanding belts
Miter bolts
*Where possible, have the manufacturer pre-fabricate the countertop to your specifications. This will significantly cut down on the tools, materials and labour required.

A cheaper alternative: Veneer your countertops. A veneer can replicate the look of almost any type of countertop, but at a fraction of the cost. Obviously, the kitchen should align with the rest of the house, and a veneer won’t be a suitable stand-in for something like real marble or granite countertops.


7. Re-Tile Over Your Existing Bathroom Tiles

Average Cost: $2,000

Average ROI: 65%

Bathroom renovations can be messy, intricate and time-consuming jobs! A complete gut job can take a lot of time and may require costly expertise should you run into difficulties. A much more simple and cost-effective solution is to just tile over the existing tiles for a brand new look – just make sure to repair or replace any severely damaged tiles. You’d be surprised how often the pros do this to save a little time and money.

What you’ll need to DIY

Ceramic tilesAngle grinder
Thin-set mortarBelt sander
SpacersDust mask
Sanding beltsNotched trowel
CaulkingShop vacuum
Safety glasses

A cheaper alternative: Re-gloss your tiles. It may not look quite as sharp as a brand new tile job, but it will definitely look better than your old, moldy, beat up tiles!


8. New Deck

Average Cost: ~$9,500

Average ROI: 75%

A great way to expand the functional living space of a house, without actually adding more “house”, is to build a deck. They are highly customizable and can be a wonderful place to socialize, play and relax outdoors. Existing decks can also be quite easily expanded for extra space at minimal added cost.

What you’ll need to DIY

2×6, 4×6, 2×8 pressure treated boardsMiter saw
Pre-cast concrete piersCordless drill
Joist hangarschalk line
Joist hangar nailsTamper
Galvanized framing nailsLevel
2 1/2 inch composite deck screwsLine level
Pre-fabricated stair risesShovel
Circular saw
Measuring tape
Safety glasses

A cheaper alternative: Opt for a stone patio instead. The added value won’t be quite as high, but they look great, cost less and can last forever.


9. New Flooring

Average Cost: $6-10 per square foot (as low as $3 depending on materials)

Average ROI: 80%

A home’s floors set the design tone for the entire house. Poorly chosen or damaged flooring can be a huge turnoff to new potential buyers. As such, in order to get the best resale value for your house, you’ll want to consider re-doing your floors where appropriate, especially in cases where there is damage. Hardwood will yield the biggest bang for your buck, but there are an absolute plethora of options out there. And for most engineered flooring, you don’t even need to use nails, the individual boards just snap together like puzzle pieces. So definitely consider this as an option for condos, basements and certain main areas.

What you’ll need to DIY

Wood or artificial flooringHammer
Nails (for wood floors only)Chalk line
New baseboards (optional)Circular saw
Baseboard nailsMeasuring tape
Speed square
Rubber Mallet
Nail gun
Shop vacuum and broom
Safety glasses

A cheaper alternative: Re-finish your existing hardwood floors (this can be an ideal solution for older, but high-quality boards that bring a lot of character to the house).


10. Paint…Everything!

Average Cost: $0.60-2.00 per square foot

Average ROI: 100%+

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, then you better get well acquainted with a brush and some paint! You may not need to paint absolutely everything, but baseboards and trim are a must, followed by any nasty areas that have dings, scratches, scrapes and marks. A new paint job just brightens everything up and makes your house look fresh and clean. Do not overlook this one!

What you’ll need to DIY

PrimerPaint brush
PaintPuddy knife
Wood fillerSandpaper
Paint stripperPainters tape
Painters tray and liners
Paint roller
Painter extension pole
Safety glasses

A cheaper alternative: Okay, there really isn’t much of an alternative here. But if you’re really not up for some serious pant jobs, get a few cloths and a couple magic erasers and get to work dusting, cleaning and removing scuff marks etc.

Disclosure: Please note that this post may include affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them. We only recommend products the we would use and any income received goes towards keeping this community supported and open to all.


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