Home improvement, home renovation or remodeling is the process of renovating or making additions to one's home. Building materials and hardware for home improvement projects are typically purchased at home improvement stores.
- 1 Types of home improvement
- 2 Professional versus do-it-yourself
- 3 Home improvement industry
- 4 Home improvement on television / radio
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
Types of home improvement
While "home improvement" often refers to building projects that alter the structure of an existing home, it can also include improvements to lawns, gardens, and outdoor structures, such as gazebos and garages. It also encompasses maintenance, repair and general servicing tasks. Home improvement projects generally have one or more of the following goals:
- Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
- Increasing the capacity of plumbing and electrical systems.
- Waterproofing basements.
- Soundproofing rooms, especially bedrooms and baths.
Maintenance and repair
Maintenance projects can include:
- Roof tear-off and replacement.
- Concrete and masonry repairs to the foundation and chimney.
- Repairing plumbing and electrical systems.
Additional living space may be added by:
- Turning marginal areas into livable spaces such as turning basements into recrooms, home theaters, or home offices – or attics into spare bedrooms.
- Extending one's house with rooms added to the side of one's home or, sometimes, extra levels to the original roof.
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 (see autonomous building).
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
Typically, there are three alternative 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.
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 Lowe's, 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.
Marketplace conditions that can motivate DIY home improvement include (1) the economic benefits of DIY, (2) a perceived lack of goods and service quality, and (3) the limited availability of desired goods and services. Besides a finished product, individuals can create higher order outcomes such as Producing a Better Life, Control in Life, Fun and Excitement, and a Sense of Self-Improvement.
Home improvement industry
Home or residential renovation is a $300 billion industry in the United States,[full citation needed] and a $48 billion industry in Canada.[full citation needed] The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000–15,000 in Canada.[full citation needed]
There are several types of companies that contribute to the booming renovation industry. Supply businesses such as Home Depot, Lowe's, 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.
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.
- Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario
- The American Institute of Architects
- American Society of Interior Designers
- International Interior Design Association
- National Kitchen & Bath Association
Perhaps the most important or visible professionals in the renovation industry are renovation contractors or skilled trades. These are the builders that have specialized credentials, licensing and experience to perform renovation services in specific municipalities. While there is a fairly large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed companies, there are those that have membership in a reputable association and/or are accredited by a professional organization. Homeowners should always perform a basic level of due-diligence prior to hiring a contractor to work on their house. At a minimum, this should include: verifying license and insurance, checking business references, contacting their local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to check complaint history.
Home improvement on television / radio
- Use a Programmable Thermostat, Common Sense, to Reduce Energy Bills, Brett Freeman, oldhouseweb.com
- Wolf & McQuitty (2013). Circumventing Traditional Markets: An Empirical Study of Marketplace Motivations and Outcomes of Consumers' DIY Behaviors. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice.
- National Association of Home Builders
- Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
- Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University