Your Place: As economy improves, so do home-improvement projects

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The nation’s remodelers say that kitchen and bathroom redos remain the most popular, and that homeowners’ top motivation for renovating is to upgrade with newer, better features in their homes.

"As the country’s financial footing improves, clients are better able to realize their home-design dreams," said Robert Criner, chairman of the NAHB Remodelers.

"While remodels prompted by repairs remain common, homeowners have more discretionary funds available for upgrades, so better style, comfort and safety motivate more home-improvement projects," Criner said.

Bathroom and kitchen remodels were up 6 percent and 7 percent from 2013, respectively, rebounding strongly from historic lows in 2010.

Bathroom remodels were cited as a common job by 78 percent of remodelers, a return to an all-time-high level.

From simple projects such as window and door replacements to complex plans for whole-home remodels and transforming basements into living space, most project types increased in popularity from 2013 levels. Repair and replacement of old components and the desire for upgraded amenities were cited as the top reasons for hiring remodelers.

The NAHB Remodelers survey also found that a need for more space and a reluctance to move to a new home were popular reasons for remodeling.

After baths and kitchens, the most popular remodeling categories were window or door replacements, whole-house remodels, room additions, property-damage repairs, and handyman services.

Pulling the plug: Electrical Safety Month, in May, is over, but I suggest taking a look at the Electrical Safety Foundation Institute’s effort to make our lives a bit safer.

Nearly half the nation’s houses were built before 1970, and there is a risk of overburdening an older home’s electrical system, leading to fires or electrocutions, institute president Brett Brenner says.

To identify the risks and what to do about them, go to "That Old House, the New Update" at http://tinyurl.com/ogytfdc .