Stone veneer is among Seattle’s top-value home remodeling projects.

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Q: Which remodeling projects have the highest return on investment in the Seattle area?

A: The value of a good remodeling project is undeniable, particularly in a hot real estate market like Seattle. People wanting to sell their home often look for cost-effective improvements that will add to both the home’s curb appeal and value. And for some homebuyers, high prices might mean settling for a home to remodel, rather than buying the ideal home at a higher price.

But what are realistic prices for remodeling projects, and which ones offer the highest return on investment? Each year a nationwide Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling magazine compares costs and returns on investment for various home-remodeling projects.

According to the report, the top four Seattle-area remodeling projects on the 2018 list were the addition of manufactured stone veneer; replacement of a garage door; a deck addition; and a minor kitchen remodel. For the past two years running, adding manufactured stone veneer to a home was listed in the report as the No. 1 midrange remodeling project for cost-versus-value in the Seattle area.

A look at modern communities easily shows that major homebuilders across the Pacific Northwest incorporate some form of thin veneer such as natural stone, natural clay brick or manufactured stone onto home exteriors and interiors. Because of this, adding a classic Pacific Northwest craftsman element like veneer can be a great way to spruce up an older home for a more modern Northwest design.

What is stone veneer? 

Manufactured stone is part of a category of products called “thin veneers” that are used to enhance a home’s exterior designs and interior spaces. You can think of stone veneer as thin slices of stone, like a tile. The result is the look and feel of a solid stone area.

While luxury high-end homes typically use a natural stone, many homes with thin veneer may have a more budget-friendly option such as a manufactured thin stone veneer made from concrete or natural clay brick tile. This gives the appearance of a brick wall. All three of these thin veneer choices are commonly used in Pacific Northwest home designs.

(Courtesy Mutual Materials)
(Courtesy Mutual Materials)

Using stone veneer

Here are five remodeling ideas for using stone veneer:

  • Replace some of the siding around the bottom of a home with a stone veneer, giving the appearance of a stone foundation.
  • Turn your front door into a grand entryway by adding a stone veneer surround.
  • For covered porches, add a stone-wrapped base to existing columns or pillars.
  • Use stone veneer to cover outdoor fireplaces and cabinets in outdoor kitchens.
  • Add a thin veneer like brick or stone to interior walls for unique craftsman design features.

Remodeling can be a great way to imprint your unique style on your home. It can beautify your existing home environment, and sometimes it increases a home’s resale value. The most important element to keep in mind is creating something that works for your needs, whether that is a top-notch luxury design or a budget-friendly remodel.


Laura Hoffman works at Mutual Materials and is a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS), and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 3,000 members, write to