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Home Improvement

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Home improvement, renovation or remodeling is the process of renovating or making additions and improvements to a home.

Types of home improvement

While home renovations often refers to building projects that involves work on an existing home, it can also include improvements to lawns, gardens, and outdoor structures. Home improvement projects generally have one or more of the following goals:

Comfort

  • Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Increasing the capacity of plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Waterproofing basements.
  • Soundproofing rooms, especially bedrooms, home office and av rooms.

Maintenance and repair

Maintenance projects can include:

  • Roof tear-off and replacement to repair leakage.
  • Concrete and masonry repairs.
  • Repainting of interior or exterior of home.
  • Repairing plumbing and electrical systems.

Additional space

Additional living space may be added by:

  • Turning marginal areas into livable spaces such as garages, basements and attics.
  • Extending one's house by adding new structures.

Saving energy

Homeowners may reduce utility costs with:

  • Energy-efficient Thermal insulation, replacement windows, and lighting.
  • Renewable energy with biomass pellet stoves, wood-burning stoves, solar panels, wind turbines, Programmable thermostats, and geothermal exchange heat pumps.

Safety and preparedness

Emergency preparedness safety measures such as:

  • Home fire and burglar alarm systems.
  • Fire sprinkler systems to protect homes from fires
  • Security doors, windows, and shutters.
  • Storm cellars as protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.
  • Bomb shelters especially during the 1950s as protection from nuclear war.
  • Backup generators for providing power during power outages


Professional versus do-it-yourself

There are three main approaches to managing a home improvement project: hiring a general contractor, directly hiring specialized contractors, or doing the work oneself.


A general contractor oversees a home improvement project that involves multiple trades. A general contractor acts as project manager, providing access to the site, removing debris, coordinating work schedules, and performing some aspects of the work.
35% of homeowners, according to the Remodeling Sentiment Report bypass the general contractor, and hire tradesmen themselves, including plumbers, electricians and roofers.


Another strategy is to "do it yourself" (DIY). 67% of homeowners report they will do some work themselves when they remodel according to the Remodeling Sentiment Report. Several major American retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowes, specialize in selling materials and tools for DIY home improvement. These stores host classes and carry numerous books to teach customers how to do the work themselves. DIY websites also provide information, in the form of how-to videos, articles and step-by-step instructions.

Home improvement industry

Home or residential renovation is a $300 billion industry in the United States, and a $48 billion industry in Canada. The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000–15,000 in Canada.
There are several types of companies that contribute to the booming renovation industry. Supply businesses such as Home Depot, Lowes, Menards and Rona Lansing provide all the materials and tools necessary to facilitate home renovations. Many online companies and home improvement websites offer tips, guidelines and trends to give homeowners ideas for design and décor.

The remodeling construction industry is a very unique field where even though it provides an expert service, the most visible professions, the remodeling contractors, requires no formal education is required. It would be prudent to ask a contractor of his association memberships and accreditations as there is a fairly large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed companies, there are those that have membership in a reputable association or are accredited by a professional organization.

Associations

Playing a critical role are the professional associations created to represent the architects, architectural technologists, interior designers and skilled trades that provide specialized services to homeowners. These associations provide credibility, trade guidelines and useful information to help homeowners learn more about the trades they are about to hire.


Associations include:

  • Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario
  • The American Institute of Architects
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • National Kitchen & Bath Association
  • Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association
  • Gypsum Association
  • Portland Cement Association
  • Window and Door Manufacturers Association
  • Vinyl Siding Institute
  • APA - The Engineered Wood Association
  • Tile Council of America
  • Carpet and Rug Institute
  • National Wood Flooring Association
  • Resilient Floor Covering Institute
  • Home Ventilating Institute
  • North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
  • American Lighting Association
  • Brick Industry Association
  • National Paint & Coatings Association
  • Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association

 

 

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