Americans are in love with renovating. Television networks such as HGTV and DIY run 24 hours a day with shows like “BATHtastic!” and “Design Star.”

Magazines, websites and blogs feature happy homeowners gushing over perfect room makeovers. And with a continuously challenging economy, more homeowners have decided to stay in their current home longer, which has created higher demand for remodeling.

A survey released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in 2012 shows that common remodeling projects have increased, compared to a similar survey from 2010. And nearly 50 percent of remodelers report seeing an increase in the number of homeowners who undertake remodels to avoid moving, compared to the 2010 findings.


Bathroom and kitchen remodeling remain the two most common types of jobs, as they have been consistently since 2001. After 2009, however, bathroom and kitchen remodeling switched places — bathrooms became the most frequent type of job for professional remodelers. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents cited bathroom remodeling as one of the most common jobs, an all-time high.

Homeowners are frequently asking for a high-end spa feel in their new bathrooms, with features and materials such as television screens built into mirrors, exotic wood finishes, recycled glass tiles and sophisticated lighting systems. Other popular features include those that enable a homeowner to stay in their home as they age, including step-in tubs and shower-stall benches and rails.

Both kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects were up 17 percent from two years ago.

Other popular jobs were window and door replacements, room additions, handyman services and whole house remodeling, although whole house remodeling is down significantly since its peak in the mid-2000s.


The motivation behind many homeowners’ decision to remodel has changed as well. The top two reasons for remodeling were the need to repair or replace old or outdated components and the desire for better and newer amenities. More than 50 percent of remodelers said that these two reasons for remodeling have become more common over the past two years.

In contrast, more than 20 percent of remodelers said there was a decrease in customers remodeling to increase home values as an investment or to prepare for a sale (whether distressed or not). Remodeling to accommodate a change in the number of people living in the home also received low scores.

Whether they are inspired by the amazing makeovers shown on television shows, or their changing lifestyle necessitates repurposing spaces to make more efficient use of their home’s square footage, homeowners are turning to professional remodelers to help improve their home.

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Karen Nakamura is executive vice president/CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.