Tag Archive | "renovation"

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Analysts Give Mixed Signals on Remodeling Outlook

Posted on 12 November 2015 by cradmin

Chart courtesy of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Chart courtesy of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University – Click To Enlarge

According to the firsthand accounts we’ve been hearing at CountertopResource.com since our last report, the state of the remodeling industry is incredibly positive. Both contractors and related subcontractors, including countertop fabricators and installers, are enjoying a steady increase in business and in profits. However, a few reports show that the boom may be slowing, and business owners may be facing new difficulties going into 2016.

NARI Says Growth Slowing

In early October, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) released its industry analysis, Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) for the third quarter of 2015. The RBP tracks current remodeling conditions and outlook, and it is professionally organized with data and research by the marketing firm Consumer Specialists.

The report revolves around a final rating that is supposed to be a conglomerate measure of the current conditions for remodelers. The rating is on a scale of one to nine, and a rating of five or higher indicates growth. The RBP rating for the third quarter 2015 was 6.03, which is a sure sign of fair growth. However, this is a decline from the second quarter rating of 6.48.

Breaking the report down into its individual components, declines were measured nearly across the board:

  • Inquiries declined 4.6 percent.
  • Requests for bids declined 4.0 percent.
  • Value of jobs declined by 4.6 percent.
  • Bid conversion remained unchanged.

The analysis provided by NARI states that the leading factor driving growth was postponed projects followed by an improvement in home prices.

“Our businesses are becoming stronger, and that is good, but not as fast as it once was. We are adjusting to slow sustainable growth and are less optimistic, more realistic about what the future will bring,” said David Merrick of the NARI Strategic Planning & Research Committee. “Our customers are being careful about budgeting and taking on bigger projects so leads may be down a little, but the leads we are getting are more focused and on target and budget oriented.”

The future outlook in the RBP showed a picture similar to the analysis of current conditions. The rating for the outlook dropped from 6.07 to 5.79. Fifty-three percent of respondents in the survey stated they see growth in the future while 15 percent they are predicting a decline in business.

Houzz Renovation Barometer Falls

Even though the Houzz Renovation Barometer for quarter three has declined from the previous quarter, the company states that confidence remains high among home renovators. The analysis is broken into six categories: architects, designers, general contractors (GCs) and remodelers, designers-builders, specialty builders-renovators and specialty landscapers.

According to the report, industry optimism by GCs & remodelers fell six points from 78 to 72 even though Houzz predicted only a one-point decline in the last Renovation Barometer. Specialty builders-renovators saw a drop of four points from 77 to 73, but Houzz predicted the category would rise two points to 79.

Even though these drops are quite significant, Houzz focused on the positive aspects of the report. The following stats reflect the year-to-year numbers:

  • New business inquiries increased from 63 to 74
  • Number of new projects increased from 66 to 74
  • Size of new projects increased from 60 to 69

All of these indicators of new business growth fell on a quarter-to-quarter basis, but this may be attributed to the annual winter slowdown.

LIRA Predicts Rise in Remodeling Spending

In October, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) was published by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. LIRA was developed to estimate national spending on home improvements for the current and three subsequent quarters.

According to the third-quarter report, home-improvement spending will fall from $149.4 billion in the third quarter to $148.3 billion in the fourth and $146.9 billion in the first quarter of 2016. However, by the second quarter of 2016, spending is expected to rise to $154.5 billion, which is an increase of 6.8 percent.

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DIY Countertops and Renovation

Posted on 12 December 2014 by cradmin


A trend in home improvement and restoration is seeing a growing number of people completing home renovations on a do-it-yourself basis. For the most part, this has traditionally been done by contractors and retirees, but new products and innovations are leading a new breed of homeowner to attempt these feats themselves. When it comes to kitchen renovations, nothing tops countertops, and while some DIY renovators have come up with some truly unique and impressive designs, others are simply buying epoxy or urethane overcoats. These products are marketed as a revolution in technology that gives buyers a like-new countertop for less than $100, but are they getting all that is being promised?


Unique Countertops from Scratch

While epoxy coating is being used by people of all types and skill levels in attempts to improve existing countertops, others actually have the talent, time and experience to create some truly unique designs. Some of these designs use concrete, and others employ backlighting technology, both of which are being routinely accomplished by contractors in every major city. However, others have built masterpieces that can be seen nowhere else in the world. Of course, some are completely novel, like the countertop made of pennies we featured in 2013 or this new countertop constructed of 20,000 Lego blocks.

The Backlighting Trend


Not everyone is savvy enough to complete their own backlighting projects, but at least one homeowner has done so using a new technology known as SLABlite from Tylerco, Inc. Other backlighting options are available, such as those from Nu World, Outwater and Evo-Lite, but none of them are as well suited to DIY projects. That being said, if reader interest here at CountertopResource.com is any indication, backlit countertops are dramatically increasing in popularity, and they offer aesthetic appeal and ambiance that is difficult to match in low-light environments.

Epoxy to the Rescue?

Now, the heart of the matter and the whole reason I developed this blog post is that homeowners are increasingly being steered to complete countertop restorations on their own with over-the-counter epoxy products. While, in my opinion, trying to save money on a kitchen rennovation by making or refinishing your countertops is a bad idea, it is happening. This trend has been reinforced by the concrete flooring industry, with which I have a marginal relationship through writing promotional material. Since polished concrete was “invented,” or more aptly discovered, in the 1990s, it has become a popular option for floors of all types, including those in residential living spaces. The companies that install polished concrete floors recommend that they be coated with epoxy for protection, texture or color enhancement, and this has seemingly carried over into the countertop industry.


Epoxy coatings are available in a variety of types, and some of the work people have done with them is extraordinary in appearance. For instance, this woman created an amazing faux marble countertop using a combination of paint, glitter and epoxy for less than $30. In addition, this epoxy coating distributor based in Grand Junction, Colo., offers classes for both contractors and DIY homeowners and has some impressive work displayed on its website. Not only that, but major home-improvement box stores, such as Home Depot are providing consumers step-by-step instructions for homeowners to complete this work without the help of professional contractors. Finally, the DIY guru himself, Bob Vila, teaches the process through written instructions and video tutorials.

What I am curious to discover, and what I hope my readers hope to know, is what, exactly is the stance taken by fabricators and professional installers concerning DIY epoxy countertop coatings? What do you tell customers who want this service? Do you steer them toward higher-end resurfacing or try to sell them on the benefits of a total replacement? Do you offer professional epoxy restoration? What pitfalls should homeowners be warned about with the products available off the shelf? Do you offer superior service or an epoxy product not available in the retail consumer market.

If you have any experience with this or if you can answer any of the above questions, we want to hear from you. Feel free to tell us your story in the comments below or drop me an email at [email protected]. I look forward to what you have to say.

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