< Back

Manufactured Stone Excels When It Comes to Curb Appeal

by Allie Roqueta

POSTED IN: Industry Trends, Featured Project

Curb appeal still reigns supreme when it comes to getting the best return on investment for home improvements and repairs. According to national data from Zonda Media’s 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, exterior renovations vastly improve resale value while typically costing just a fraction of major interior projects.

According to the report, manufactured stone veneer (MSV) ranks very highly for providing significant ROI, with 102.3% of purchase cost recouped in value following installation. This was large enough to secure the third spot on this year’s list, yet it represents a lower upfront cost and higher return than in 2022. In fact, the resulting value of an MSV renovation ranks higher in the 2023 survey than in any of the previous seven years.

Only HVAC conversion and garage door replacement, which claimed the top two spots nationally in 2023, and a steel entry door, which ranked fourth overall, also ranked above 100% in this year’s study.

Pictured: Echo Ridge | Country Ledgestone

Regional Results

Across the country, we are seeing the highest rate of return for MSV renovations in the South Atlantic and Middle Atlantic States. Other key figures include:

  • another chart-topping 9% return in the South Atlantic (Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C.), which tops the charts in that region and ranks higher than any other region or the national average
  • a 8% return in Middle Atlantic states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
  • an impressive 6% return in East North Central states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin)
  • a 2% return in West South Central states (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma)
  • a 5% return in the East South Central region (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee)


It’s (Still) All About the First Impression

For the fifth consecutive year, exterior projects drove more ROI than interior projects according to the results of the Cost vs. Value Study. In 2023, seven of the top ten positions are dedicated to exterior renovations. This includes each of the following investments among the top 10:

  • garage door replacement (#2 nationally)
  • manufactured stone veneer (#3 nationally)
  • steel entry door replacement (#4 nationally)
  • vinyl siding replacement (#5 nationally)
  • fiber-cement siding replacement (#6 nationally)
  • vinyl window replacement (#8 nationally)
  • wood window replacement (#10 nationally)


Apart from a full HVAC conversion, which took the top spot overall across the country, two interior remodeling projects also made the top 10: minor kitchen remodels with a midrange price point, which yielded a 85.7% return nationally, and midrange bath remodels with a 66.7% return nationally.

“The reason for high returns on exterior projects stems from what real-estate professionals regularly witness from buyers: If their first impression is a run-down exterior, they tend to enter the property wary and reluctant to spend large on the property,” Remodeling reported. “If, on the other hand, the home looks well taken care of, they enter with a more positive view from the outset.”

Pictured: Wheaton | Country Ledgestone

MSV Project Size

Manufactured stone’s ranking is based on replacing a 300-square-foot continuous band of existing vinyl siding from the bottom third of the street-facing façade with manufactured stone veneer, sills, corners, and address block, along with outlining the entry archway and adding an 8×10-inch keystone and soldier course of flats on either side.

This representative installation includes two separate layers of water-resistive barrier laid over bare sheathing, corrosion-resistant lath and fasteners, and nominal ½-inch mortar scratch coat.

To read more analysis and see additional results, including those broken down to metro area, visit the 2023 Cost vs. Value portal.