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 gardens
and 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.
- Adding new flooring such as carpets, tiling, linoleum, wood flooring, or solid hardwood flooring.
- Upgrading cabinets, fixtures, and sinks in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Replacing siding and windows
- Improving the backyard with sliding doors, wooden patio decks, patio gardens, jacuzzis, swimming pools, and fencing.
Maintenance and repair
Maintenance projects can include:
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 roof.
Homeowners may reduce utility
Safety and preparedness
safety measures such as:
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.
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 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.
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, Home Hardware 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.
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 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 House
starring Bob Vila
The sitcom Home Improvement used the home improvement theme for comedic purposes.
American cable channel HGTV features many do-it-yourself shows, as does sister channel DIY Network and the competing Discovery Home.