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  • Safety first when picking home remodeling projects

    As Americans are greeted with warmer weather during the spring and summer months, many will venture into the home improvement market to add necessary upgrades or value to their homes.

    Wooden decks can offer a great return on investment for homeowners.For those that plan to do some or all of the remodeling projects themselves, it's crucial to remember that safety must come first.

    "Thousands of Americans are injured from cleaning and home improvement projects each year, and it is often because we fail to recognize the dangers of these seemingly simple, low-risk chores," said Gregory John Della Rocca, trauma surgeon and spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

    More than 511,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctors' offices and emergency rooms for injuries related to ladder use in 2013, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nearly 7,500 were treated for injuries related to power tools, while 301,425 people were injured from lawn mower-related injuries last year.

    "By recognizing the risks involved in using items such as ladders, lawn mowers and power tools - and knowing how to use them properly - you can reduce your risk of injury," Della Rocca said.

    With safety the top priority, let's take a look at another important aspect of home renovations: return on investment.

    What brings the best return on investment?
    According to Remodeling Magazine's Annual Cost vs. Value Survey, the highest return on investment for a home renovation project is a front door replacement. Remodeling Magazine noted that switching your entry door for a steel replacement typically returns 97 percent of a consumers' average investment of $1,162. Front door replacement is a popular project for many homeowners because it improves a home's curb appeal and is relatively cheap to perform.

    Other popular renovations
    The second best return on investment for homeowners is a wooden deck addition, according to Remodeling Magazine. This project returned 87 percent of the average investment of $9,539 on the project. Wooden decks remain a popular option because of their affordable price tags. Decks made of steel or PVC can cost triple the amount of a wooden deck, according to the Tri-County Times.

    "It's a battle between your wallet and low maintenance," Glen Schroeder, merchandise manager for Michigan Lumber, told the Tri-County Times. "You ask yourself, 'How much can I get away with?' when it comes to lowering the maintenance chores that come with a deck."

    Some homeowners are installing glass or metal railings to go along with their wooden deck. Glass railings are especially in demand for homeowners with a water view. The transparency of the glass railing offers an unobstructed view of the lake, river or ocean that home sits near.

    "We do a lot of these 'see-through' railings on the water," said Brian Petty, of Fenton Glass Service. "Usually, we add this feature for a homeowner who is replacing a wood deck with a more maintenance-free material and wants to add the glass feature as part of this renovation."

    The next best option for homeowners looking for a return on investment is turning their attic into a bedroom. This renovation is more costly than a wooden deck or replacing the front door, though homeowners can expect to see returns of 84.3 percent on an average investment of $49,438, according to Remodeling Magazine.

    This is a popular remodeling project because it adds square footage to a home, something that will never go out of style.

    Remodeling projects to avoid
    While a home office remodel might seem like a great idea - especially if you work from home - Remodeling Magazine cited it as one of the only remodeling projects to net less than a 50 percent return on investment.

    A home office remodel costs the average American $28,000. However, the cost recouped is just 48.9 percent.