Monthly mortgage payments aren’t the only recurring cost tied to owning a home. Money spent on maintenance, renovations and repairs, particularly for older houses, can easily cost homeowners thousands of dollars.
The median amount Americans spent on home renovations in 2022 was $22,000, according to home improvement website Houzz. That’s up from $14,000 in 2018. Among the top 10% of homes that spent the most on renovations last year, the median spend was $140,000 or more.
Experts in residential construction told CBS MoneyWatch that no homeowner can escape home maintenance because appliances eventually break down and weather erodes parts of a home’s exterior. The higher annual spend is also a reflection of the higher cost of materials which have risen exponentially over recent years.
“A two-by-four may have been $7 and it went up to $15,” said Matthew Francis, who teaches building construction at Pennsylvania College of Technology. “A sheet of OSB (oriented strand board) was $10 and it went up to $70. Straight down the line, material prices just skyrocketed through the roof.”
Contractors that specialize in home renovations are also charging more because the cost of their employee health insurance, workmen compensation and liability insurance have increased, Francis added.
Most of the renovations that Americans with older homes completed in recent years involved replacing ceiling tiles, drywall, flooring, paneling, plumbing fixtures and water heaters, according to U.S. Census data released this month. These days, homeowners are also focusing on fixing and replacing things like toilets, sinks, shower tiles and pipe associated with those systems, said Alan Archuleta, chairman of the home remodelers council at the National Association of Home Builders.
“Kitchens and bathrooms have the most working products in them, so they have the most points of failure,” he added.
Exposure to elements
The most common exterior renovations homeowners included deck repair, window replacements, new doors and roof repair, the Census data shows. Archuleta and Francis said decades of exposure to rain, snow, sunlight and wind damages the wood used on decks, as well as window panes and roof shingles.
“Nowadays, they say shingles have lifetime warranties, but in 25, 30, 35 years you’re going to be replacing your roof,” said Francis, who spent 15 years as a project manager for a construction company. “The environment really does tear down the asphalt shingles and you’re going to need to make sure it’s waterproof.”
Archuleta and Francis said there are some renovations that homeowners can do on their own, which could save money, including interior painting, power washing the siding and clearing the gutters. And even if someone doesn’t get to repairing those areas immediately, your house will still be safe, experts said.
“The bones of your house are not going to go bad,” Francis said. “It’s the material that you put on your house or in your house that may go bad or you may want to change aesthetically down the road.”
Here’s the median amount homeowners spent on renovating specific areas of their home last year, according to Houzz.
- Kitchen ($20,000)
- Main bathroom ($13,500)
- Guest bathroom or living room ($5,000)
- Laundry room ($3,000)
- Main bedroom ($2,500)
- Dining room or home office ($2,000)
- Guest bedroom ($1,000)