Building Materials

While stick building remains the standard, remodelers are taking a cue from new home builders' use of pre-assembled trusses when it comes to big jobs. Manufactured roof and floor trusses can ease and expedite the process of installing the roof and floor systems in an addition, and more importantly, provide time, labor and material savings in the process.

The new owners of this ramshackle rental cottage in Columbus, Ohio, intended either to fix up the house or to raze and replicate it, then sell. During four years of permit battles, design brainstorms and evolving building plans, the owners became so attached they moved into the redone cottage themselves.

Your average house is a very noisy place to live. Forget crying babies and vocal teenagers; think of all the fans, blowers, pumps, HVAC equipment, washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers — cycling on, cycling off, all day long. Home offices and media rooms add to both the noise level and the need for quiet.

Where new-home technology ventures, existing-home technology often follows. According to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association and the NAHB Research Center, more than 42 percent of new homes built in 2002 included structured wiring, making it the most widely incorporated technology in new homes.

Even in the age of potfillers and second sinks, body jets and soaking tubs, some homeowners care about water conservation. They'd like to reduce their water bill, or their area is experiencing a drought forcing reduced usage.

With more people using more energy, we're in a high-cost energy cycle that's not going to end soon. It's time to help your customers curb those costs by offering them smart choices when you remodel their homes. Energy-efficient choices can range from windows and solar glass to insulating sealants, ventilators and fans.

Remodeling clients are leaning toward products that are not only functional and beautiful but also easy to clean and in need of little upkeep.

Showers aren't just for washing anymore; they've become in-home spas, replacing the whirlpool tub in the heart of homeowners.

Creativity doesn't simply extend to remodelers' bump out ability and wall placement strategies. Remodelers' products are an expression and reflection of their experience and credibility. Products are what you leave behind, and they speak volumes after remodelers have walked off the site, especially if something is wrong.

A client more concerned about finish details than the budget? For some remodelers, that might be a nightmare. But if your focus is architectural integrity, it's a dream come true. These homeowners could only use their existing screened porch in nice weather, and their deck needed an upgrade. They wanted to replace both with something punchy, something unusual.

Now more than ever, your home is literally your castle. Spas and fitness centers, imported fixtures and customized, hand-made interior finishes have become the territory of Everyman, not the stuff of fairy tales. With the country's aggregate home equity reaching $9.6 trillion in 2004, it's clear that consumers are sinking more of their resources into housing.

Cooks become careless in the kitchen; old electrical wiring arcs; wildfires burn out of control. The result is the same: Home fires that can devastate the lives of the residents. Home fire property damage totaled nearly $6 billion in 2003 not including the Southern California wildfires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Denver's older neighborhoods have what every city-dweller longs for: great parks, homes with timeless character, and easy access to a complete range of urban amenities. The only drawback: The homes are small, usually at or below 1,200 square feet, with little room to grow. Most are brick bungalows, Victorians or Denver squares with cramped rooms built for working-class families of the early 20t...

For centuries, people have been warming their homes — and their feet — with radiant floor heating. Warm, clean, and efficient, radiant floor heating is increasingly popular in new homes, but it remains a rarity in remodeling, as many contractors believe radiant heating is impractical to install in an existing home.

Hurricanes in the south, unprecedented levels of construction material demand in China, record oil prices and a host of other issues drove up material costs in 2004. Ongoing increases in labor, insurance and general overhead expenses squeezed margins from another angle. How do you generate an acceptable profit when pricing seems out of control?

Widely used in Europe and Japan, tankless water heaters offer on-demand hot water and lower water heating bills. These units are so small they can be installed under a sink, on a wall or even on the exterior of the home, yielding space savings for the homeowner. A larger model can be used in place of a storage tank to supply hot water for the entire home; a small point-of-use water heater can b...

The hurricanes that pounded the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in 2004 left contractors and their customers pondering how to avoid damage when the next storm blows through. "There's no better time than when rebuilding to incorporate construction changes that will make a property less vulnerable to wind or water," says Bill Carwile, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Age...

Superior customer service is the number one way remodelers can (and should) differentiate themselves from inferior competition. In the ongoing battle for customers' trust and — ultimately — referrals, remodelers must distinguish themselves in everything from quality of materials and workmanship to the professionalism of sales personnel and work crews.

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