Will Outdoor Improvements add value to your property?

When it comes to developing your home, modifications made to the building itself will usually have an aim not just to enhance your living space, but to add value on your property. To ensure to maximise your best potential value of your home, consider the additional value of maximising your outdoor living space.

Making sure your home is looking good makes sense. That includes both the front and back of the property. Creating useable outdoor living space is a great way to maximise the appeal of your home, usability and maximise enjoyment. It has also been shown to improve your house price, but do the costs outweigh the benefits?

Over the last couple of years house prices have fluctuated with increases, some downturns and larger periods of levelling off. Riding this wave of price fluctuations has been a difficult thing to do especially if you need to sell your home. Even if you’re not selling you want to know that any improvements add value to your home.

The outdoor space available at a property is high on the list of what buyers want, and maximise this space can make all the difference for those looking to invest in a new home. UK based studies over the last few years have discovered that homes that have improved their garden reap the rewards when it comes to selling. In a survey that listed the types of improvements that can be made outside, patios and decking areas came second top of this list as the most desired things that can be made. Estate agents estimate a nice garden can add as much as 20% to the value of the home.

People also like to imagine themselves relaxing in the garden during the summer and any extra room that can be utilised can only improve this vision. So adding a outdoor living space such as a patio, deck or terrace can add as much as £10,000 to the price of an average home, while a similar investment needed to create a lofty extension might add up to £25,000. This makes the investment for your outdoor space a great investment in terms of rate of return, recouping around 85% of the cost of installation. More money will also be made by considering low maintenance options.

Why add an Outdoor Living Space?

Having the ability to add the feeling of being part of the garden, has great benefits in terms of heath and the feeling of well being. Having a space that flows effortlessly from indoors to the outdoors is more popular these days. Event in the winter months, log burners, chimney’s and patio heaters extend the use of these areas throughout the year.

Your outdoor space has become an area to entertain in, especially with alfresco eating becoming more popular in the UK. Also with relaxed planning permission rules over recent years, garden structures and small extensions to properties can be built without the need to apply for permissions, that has resulted in a boom in outdoor living. Having a deck or patio added to the rear of your property, acts as a stepping stone from one environment to the other. With the addition of an awning this area can often be comfortably used even in wet weather.

What are the best options in maximise investment in an outdoor living space?

Positioning of your deck, terrace or patio can maximise the use of that space and its overall appeal. Enjoying the sun peacefully early on in the day, or to have that social space in the evening while bathed in the setting sun can dictate the positing of your outdoor living space. A well used area will help to release the satisfaction of the investment made.

The use of quality materials are also important. Any area built will need to last for years to release the value from any investment. Also you will not be happy if you spent most of your potential relaxation time, maintaining, repairing or rebuilding your outdoor living space. New modern building materials for the garden, can enhance the look and quality of your space while keeping their look and appeal for longer.

The days of crazy paving and wobbly decking are lone gone. The look of clean line, no trip hazards and materials that have that look of quality are key. Is it easy to keep clean, resistant to rotting, algae or mould growth are questions to ask. Will the materials use resist fading, UV stable and require no repainting, varnishing or staining?

Composite Materials

Over the last few years the technology use for the manufacture of composite materials have greatly improved. Some older composite products such as decking, fencing and cladding where made from lower grade materials, such as low percentage mixtures of softwood fibres and low density plastics. This lead to the products absorbing moisture, becoming brittle over time, while cracking due to expansion and contraction during hot and cold spells.

Modern composites use advanced extraction profiling designs, to enhance the strength and durability of the product. Square hollow profile boards use less material but lowers the strength of the boards, leading to cracking and failing. Solid boards can warp and twist with age, causing fencing panels, decking and cladding to fail and come loose. It is recommended round hollow profile boards are used, which maximise strength, reduce warping and misshaping. The round holes are like the arch of a bridge, distributing the load of the board evenly and making it stronger.

The quality of the materials is also key. Ideally recycled hardwoods and high density polymers (HDPE) are recommended. Mixtures of these 50/50 enable the product to exhibit the best
characteristics of each material such as low water absorption, low expansion contraction, and workability. A good composite product will work like a hardwood and smell like hardwood. Colouring additives ideally should be UV stable preventing the boards to fade or crack. If the same colour goes right through the board the better, as this will also lead to less marking and scratches on the board.

At Elite Outdoor Living we offer high quality Composite products. Our three ranges of decking boards, Resortdeck, Regency and Urban all are made from the same high quality fix of hardwood fibres and HDPE. The Resortdeck and Regency ranges are also co-extruded giving each board a capped finish, reducing the water absorption of each board to a fraction of a percent, while increasing its UV stability and long lasting no fade colour. Years after installed our decking will always look as goods as the day installed.

Aluminium Substructures

Qwickbuild Aluminium Sub-FrameAll our decking solutions, be it Deck, Turf or Tile all can be installed on a Aluminium sub-structure. The advantages of these are huge. Unlike traditional timber substructures, these will not rot or warp and will not get insect infestation. This will also extend the life of the deck above as a structural solution, will not make the boards above move, crack or fail.

When adding a decking to a membrane roof or balcony the aluminium can sit on a roof space without breaking the membrane, while helping airflow and drainage off the roof. This also supports low height thresholds with a screw free fix of the boards to the frame. At Elite Outdoor Living we supply a solution called Qwickbuild. Using easy to install Twist Clips to secure the boards, the framework can also be designed to cantilever unto 50% of its span, or support integrated glazed balustrade. This is the only Decking sub-structure worldwide that can do this, exclusively designed and supplied by Elite Outdoor Living using our Elite Balustrade Systems.

The Qwickbuild frame also has a turfing board solution that allows Artificial turf to be installed on its deck. It will also accept the use of structural tiles, providing a high quality luxurious finish to any deck, patio or terrace area.

Structural Tiles

The use of tiles internally in houses are becoming more popular. Easy to clean with a quality finish and lustre. Many of the porcelain tiles now produced these days come in natural mineral or qwikbuild a subframe for stable exterior tiles 3stone finishes, with the body of the ceramic being the same colour as the tile surface. This means you can achieve a finish of real stone such as polished granite or marbles. Even textured stone finishes are achieved such as slate, basalt or dark limestone flag finishes.

This means using 20mm thick structural tiles you can extend that look of internal tiles to your outdoor space, making that stepping stone from inside to outside merge.

So long gone are the days of rough concrete flags, crazy paving and slippy stone flags. Porcelain is a cost effective solution for an outdoor flooring area, with a quality finish of any millionaires mansion terrace.

How much will all this cost?

Cost is not just measured in the upfront investment, but in its longevity and low maintenance qualities. The real investment is the quality of the finished look which will last for years without deterioration in its appearance. The use of high quality modern materials will pay you back quicker that cheaper alternatives. This will also enhance the payback on the valuation of your home. So if you look at an investment for an outdoor living space over a 10-15 year period using high quality composite decking, Qwickbuild substructures, high quality artificial turf, and structural porcelain tiles, you will pay less than using timber, concretes or stone. You will also save lots of time enjoying your outdoor space and not maintaining it.

Composite Decking Prices: Ideally a good quality composite deck will cost about £60 to £70 per square. Compare this to a timber deck these can cost from £20 per square metre for low quality budget solutions, to medium quality decking at £50 per square metres. Hardwood decking can cost in excess of £90 per square metre.

You will see you can achieve a hardwood quality finish with our composite decking boards for a cost 20 to 30% cheaper.

Decking Substructure Costs: A basic timber substructure with joist centres at roughly 300mm apart will typically cost £40 per square metre, with additional time needed for cutting, setting and assembly. You would expect an experienced decking contractor to build 10 square meters of substructure a day at a cost of £150 per day.

In comparison a typical low level Qwickbuild sub-structure can cost between £60-£90 per square metre. But this investment will last for a lifetime as compared to timber, with an estimated install of 20 square metres being achieved each day. So installing 10 square metres of a Qwickbuild structure will cost £600 for the materials and £75 for installing (only half a day). This means that the additional cost of a Qwickbuild frame is only £12.50 per square metre, while your can save £30 a square metre on composite decking as compared to hardwood decks. So on a typical 35 square metre project you can save over £600 using high quality modern materials.

Structural Tile Costs: The cost of flagging per square metre ranges from £14 -£40 for low quality flags and £40-£57 for high-quality flags. For labour cost alone estimate to pay between £75 and £100 per square metre for the preparation and to lay the flags on a mortar mixture.

The typical cost of a Structural Porcelain tile is about £50 per square metre. This is comparable to the price of medium to high quality flags, but with a much higher quality finish. If used with Qwickbuild subframes, you also save on materials needed ton prepare the ground such as sand, concretes and tiles adhesives. A Qwickbuild frame for 60cm square tiles typically costs £55 per square metre. This will save also save time and labour costs.

So, if you are thinking of ways to improve the value of your home, and hope to do so at a reasonable cost, composite decking, aluminium subframes and structural tiles is a great start.

The evidence is clear that you can add as much as 20% to the value of your home, get more people in for viewings, and, hopefully, get more offers that are closer to the price you want. If all else fails, at least you have an outdoor living space that will stand the test of time, and one you can enjoy while you wait.

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