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What to consider before constructing an outdoor living spaceJune 5th, 2015 by
Photo credit: Durante Home Exteriors
Upgrading your home’s exterior by adding an outdoor living space can be an expensive endeavor, but a proper outdoor living area can enhance your lifestyle and increase the value of your property.
In a post-recession period, prudent spending hails supreme. Instead of putting hard-earned cash inexpensive room additions, the wisest homeowners will quickly invest in cost-effective exterior remodeling projects to boost the appraisal value of their home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value report of 2015, an outdoor living space can add value by providing another enjoyable living area to the home at a lower cost per square foot as opposed to adding another interior space or addition.
This statement could entice even the most zealous indoor enthusiasts. However, there are many considerations to be aware of before constructing an outdoor living space. So before you put your work gloves on, here are three things you need to keep in mind before adding an outdoor living area to increase your bottom line: Budget, Labor, and Materials.
Knowing the costs associated with making your ideal outdoor living space a reality is an important first step. Set a realistic budget that will cover your minimum expenses, then establish the maximum amount you would be willing to pay for extra additions. To be safe, make a checklist. Will you be hiring a contractor or “DIYing” it? Are you using traditional wood or alternative lumber? What enhancements will you include? These questions are great to ask yourself when drafting a budget.
Your initial budget should include the costs for design, materials, labor and any extras you will use to enhance your space. The size, shape, elevation, and built-in accessories added to your outdoor living space, such as benches, hot tubs, lighting, or fire pits will greatly affect the total cost of your project. However, do not be afraid to tweak your budget as the need arises. Ultimately, flexibility is important when taking on any home remodeling project.
Quality is also a key element to factor into your budget and an outdoor living space tends to lose value over time. Though a newly built outdoor living space may recoup 70-80% of its initial cost, this figure steadily declines through the years. To get the most monetary value out of your space, choose elements of quality that depreciate slowly instead of trendy items that lose value and popularity quickly.
Overall, the amount you spend on your project will play a big part in determining how much value your outdoor remodeling project will add to your home. Knowing your needs before you start, calculating the costs and sticking to a budget will save you significant amounts of time, energy, and most importantly, money.
Selecting the right method to construct your outdoor living space is crucial. Whether you are hiring a local contractor, “DIYing” it yourself or enlisting a deck installation company, the quality of the work needs to be impeccable to enhance the value of the space for years to come.
If you are a seasoned “DIYer”, constructing an outdoor living space without enlisting a professional can be a viable option. But remember, safety is key! Even if you are confident in your construction skills, always wear personal protective gear, familiarize yourself with local building code regulations and know when to ask for professional backup.
Homeowners who are not familiar with the nitty-gritty details of construction safety, permitting restrictions and building code compliances or simply do not have the bandwidth or expertise, consider hiring a pro to help you out. A professional contractor can manage complex projects that require a fine-tuned level of skill. Before hiring a professional contractor, be sure to do your research to ensure that they are the right contractor to fit the specific needs of your project. Many websites have an array of project inspirations that contractors post to entice potential leads. However, it is important to spend time reading what past customers have to say about their contracting experience. Often, review sites act as social networks comprised of former patrons who write reviews to help others make more informed decisions before hiring a contracting professional. Having their input on a similar project you may be considering can save you from making a costly mistake in the future.
When constructing an outdoor living space, materials matter! Determining the needs of your space and lifestyle is an important first step when choosing materials. Any expert in the decking industry would recommend selecting materials that are designed to withstand the elements and everyday wear and tear if you want to get the most value out of your outdoor living space.
According to industry studies, traditional wood leads the pack when it comes to materials that homeowners select to construct an outdoor living space. For many thrift-minded homeowners, wood is a cost-effective material that boasts a high return value. According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for 2014,” 87.4% of the cost of building a wooden deck may be recouped during resale.
However, a wood versus composite decking study conducted by Fiberon, a leading decking manufacturer, reveals that homeowners spend on average $450-$850 maintaining a wood deck each year.
Wood decks are highly susceptible to rot, deterioration, pests and discoloration, factors which account for its high cost. On the other hand, composite decking recoups 74.3% percent of the cost upon resale. But unlike wood decking, composite decks require less upkeep and have an annual maintenance cost between $5-15 over the lifetime of the deck.
In order to make a cost-effective decision, in this case, it is important to consider which material best fits your budget and lifestyle. Still, if you are not satisfied with wood or composite lumber, consider materials like aluminum, stone, and PVC which are excellent alternatives that fit a wide range of needs and lifestyles.
Regardless whether or not you built your outdoor living space to increase your property value, you deserve a space where you can build lasting memories. After all, one of the best ways to measure the true worth of your outdoor living space is assessing the value it adds to your life and sense of well-being. So put down the calculator! Have a realtor or licensed appraiser assess the monetary value of your addition while you spend well-deserved time enjoying it with family and friends.
Photo Credit: Fiberon Decking