Homeowners looking to recoup some of their home improvement dollars in 2015 were better off building pressure-treated wood decks than composite decks. That’s according to newest data released from the annual edition of REMODELING Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report, which compares the estimated cost of projects ranging from installing attic insulation to building a 2nd story addition with the value of those improvements at resale. The report provides a nationwide overview of average costs for 30 different types of projects, which is probably most useful for identifying general trends. But the report also breaks down estimated job costs and resale values by region and even by city, making it a useful tool for deck builders looking for insight into local markets.

For example, the national average cost to build a typical 16-ft. x 20-ft. PT deck was about $10,471 in 2015. A homeowner could expect to recoup about 75% of the cost of the deck if the property were then sold, or $7850. In Boston, where labor and material costs are higher, the cost to build the same wood deck was estimated at $14,000, and the resale value would have been $10,150 (a lower 72% return on investment).

In comparison, the national average job cost for an upscale composite deck was about $38,000 in 2015, with a resale value of only $22,000, or a 58% ROI. In fact, composite deck additions were among the five home improvement projects with the worst cost-to-value ratios last year, joining midrange bathroom addition, upscale bathroom addition, upscale master suite, and upscale bathroom remodel. The project with the best ROI? Adding insulation to the attic, which more than paid for itself in 60 out of the 100 markets included in the report.

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