Slideshow: The Real Cost of Home Improvement

By Ben Steverman - 2012-11-26T19:03:24Z

Photograph by David Papazian/Getty Images

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Average cost: $2,596

Though perhaps the least exciting of home improvement projects (not that a roof is a big thrill either), proper insulation can save up to 20 percent of a house's heating and cooling costs, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. About 30 percent of homeowners do the work themselves. Insulation should last a lifetime as long as it's kept away from water and ultraviolet (UV) rays and not punctured, cut or burned.