(ARA) - Home remodeling and improvements totaled a record $275 billion in 2005, an almost 20 percent increase from the previous year. And, according to Kermit Baker, a senior research fellow at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, remodeling now accounts for 40 percent of U.S. residential construction annually. "We expect that share of activity to grow," Baker says.
Baker said that "remodeling seems to be showing more strength than new homebuilding at present and as new home construction eases over the years ahead, remodeling is going to hold its own." The National Association of Home Builders projected that home remodeling, including everything from room additions to appliance upgrades, will rise by about 5 percent over the next few years.
Kitchens and bathrooms are still at the top of homeowner remodeling lists. Expanded laundry rooms, larger and closer to living areas than in the past for additional convenience, are also growing in popularity.
According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager for VELUX America, "All of these rooms are getting more attention with regard to natural lighting and ventilation since they are subject to higher temperatures and humidity than other areas in the home due to cooking, bathing, and washing/drying activities that generate heat and moisture."
Patrick says that energy-efficient skylights are being utilized to a greater degree in remodeling, as well as in new construction, to provide more natural light and ventilation. "Skylights, in concert with vertical windows, can cost-effectively provide more balanced natural lighting in all areas of the home, helping to reduce power bills," Patrick says. "And venting skylights in kitchens, baths and laundry areas remove stale, heated air quickly and quietly with no added energy costs.
Plus, remodeling dollars spent in kitchens and baths bring the best return on your investment for your own use as well as when you're ready to sell."
In areas where traditional skylights aren't needed or won't fit, Sun Tunnel skylights can bring natural light into hallways, closets, smaller interior baths and other areas of the home. Less expensive in many cases than traditional skylights, they can be installed in a morning by a handy DIYer and are used extensively in areas of the home where a view to the outside is not required. Courtesy of ARA Content