- Home improvement
Home improvement or home renovation is the process of renovating or making additions to one's home.
Types of home improvement
While it most often refers to building projects that alter the structure of an existing
home, home renovation can include improvements to lawns and gardensand outbuildings like gazebos and garages.
Home improvement projects generally have one or more of the following goals:
Beautification and added features
Wallpapering and painting walls or installing wood panelling.
flooringsuch as carpets, tiling, linoleum, wood flooring, or solid hardwood flooring.
fixtures, and sinks in the kitchenand bathroom.
backyardwith sliding doors, wooden patio decks, patio gardens, jacuzzis, swimming pools, and fencing.
heating, ventilation and air conditioningsystems (HVAC)
*Increasing the capacity of
Soundproofingrooms, especially bedrooms and baths.
Maintenance and repair
Maintenance projects can include:
Rooftear-off and replacement.
Concreteand masonryrepairs to the foundation and chimney.
Additional living space may be added by:
*Turning marginal areas into livable spaces such as turning basements into recrooms 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
Homeowners may reduce utility costs with:
*Energy-efficient insulation, windows, and
Renewable energywith biomass pellet stoves, wood-burning stoves, solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal exchange heat pumps (see autonomous building)
afety and preparedness
Emergency preparednesssafety measures such as:
*Home fire and burglar alarm systems.
*Security doors, windows, and shutters.
Storm cellars as protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.
*Bombshelters especially during the 1950s as protection from nuclear war.
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.
general contractoroversees 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.
Sometimes homeowners bypass the general contractor, and hire tradesmen themselves, including
plumbers, electricians and roofers.
Another strategy is to "do it yourself" (
DIY). Several major American retailers, such as Home Depotand 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.
Home improvement industry
residentialrenovation is a $300 billion industry in the United States,National Association of Home Builders] and a $48 billion industry in Canada. [http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/ Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation] ] The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000-15,000 in Canada.Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University]
There are several types of companies that contribute to the booming renovation industry. Supply businesses such as
Home Depot, Lowes, Home Hardwareand 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 designand 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.
* [http://www.chba.ca/ CHBA]
* [http://www.arido.ca/ ARIDO]
* [http://www.nkba.org/ NKBA]
* [http://www.cca-acc.com/ CCA]
* [http://www.ecao.org/ ECAO]
* [http://www.roofingcanada.com/ CRCA]
* [http://www.nari.org/ NARI]
Perhaps the most important or visible professionals in the renovation industry are renovation contractors or skilled trades. These are the
buildersthat 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 or are accredited by a professional organization.
Home improvement on television
Home improvement was launched on television in 1979 with the premiere of
This Old Housestarring Bob Vilaon PBS.
American cable channel
HGTVfeatures many do-it-yourself shows, as does sister channel DIY Networkand the competing Discovery Home.
Repair and maintenance
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