Although the question may not be at the top of your list when considering a home improvement project, taking cost vs. improved home value may be a factor in your decision.  Remodeling can help you protect the investment you've made in your home from two standpoints - preserving it physically, and protecting and improving its financial value.

If you're wondering where your proposed project registers with this regard, Remodeling Magazine has released its report on the top 36 interior and exterior renovations, which range from a low point of 42% (sun room addition) to a high of 85% for a steel entry replacement door.  Roofs and windows also are in the upper level of returns.

This online tool is helpful to get an idea of what you invest in a remodel should deliver in terms of increased home value.  The figures given on the main page are national averages; you can click on a region of the country to get more detailed and local figures.  For instance, the region which includes Minnesota has breakout figures which list percentages for more than one type of material.  An example is siding, which lists both foam-backed vinyl and fiber cement such as James Hardie.  Fiber cement siding delivers a much better return on investment.  Window replacement includes figures for both wood and vinyl.

Although you may be planning a home improvement project such as replacing your roof or windows because of maintenance issues or even improved aesthetics, a report such as this can help you make informed decisions, especially if you are considering a couple of different materials.