Some of your home improvements will contribute to raising the basis value against which your capital gains are calculated. Note, however, that capital improvements do not include maintenance or deferred maintenance (such as putting on a new roof).
So trying to clarify the above...it's either it was a capital improvement...(as in major renovation, adding a new floor or such), and became part of your BASIS in the property, (that is the amount you invested and calculated gain/or loss from at sale - albeit that amount may not actually be taxable under several deferral/exemption options for the sale of a primary residence). Any other amounts that didn't go to basis, like maintenance, are never a tax deductible expense. This follows the basic premise that expenses to take care of yourself or family...food, shelter, entertainment, etc) are not tax expenses.
Repairs only restore an asset to the value it previously had, while improvements increase the value of an asset. If the air conditioning unit in a house broke, its value would drop; once repaired, it would be restored to the same value as it had before it broke. But if an entirely new AC system was installed in a house that never had one (an improvement), it would increase the value of the home beyond its original value.
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