Remodeling still going on despite economy

Feb 25 2013 - 1:39pm

Slower economic growth has led to consumers being more economical with remodeling choices.

Red House Remodeling owner Adam Stevens explained that people are still willing to spend money on home repairs and remodels, though they are being more conscious of their choices and the impact on their wallets.

"They are not putting a ton of money on projects, but they are still doing stuff," he said.

While a good majority of what is being done is maintenance and upkeep, Stevens said another focus of his customers is updating bathrooms.

"People are staying economical," Stevens said. "If the toilet works, they are keeping it. They want to do the project but keep it economical and save a couple of dollars."

A standard bathroom remodel can cost between $8,000 and $15,000, he explained. When people are doing a master bath, the cost even goes beyond that.

The costs are the result of a lot of materials being needed for such a small space. Stevens explained that people have to not only worry about the visible features -- such as cabinets, tile and fixtures -- they also need to worry about plumbing, which can be costly because of materials and labor.

"It is such a small space, but there are a lot of products there," he said. "This is different from basements, where there is a large area, but not a lot of projects."

As people try to save money doing it themselves, he cautions them to be smart by only doing jobs they are really comfortable doing.

He has seen people try to do tile, but end up doing it twice to get the desired look. People are lucky, in cases like that, if they are able to reuse the same tiles, because sometimes the tiles get ruined when being removed after the first install.

Stevens said painting, which many people can do, is a way to save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself.

Economy is playing a role as people choose supplies too, but that doesn't mean going with just laminate as a primary choice.

Stevens explained that a big change is that people are choosing granite. Before, people leaned toward solid surface products like Corian and other acrylic-based products.

"The price of granite has become so reasonable," he said. "It's a good upgrade for the cost."

Advantages of granite include a solid, durable product that doesn't burn or scratch easily. Stevens added that it does not require a lot of upkeep, just a spray-on sealer that wipes off easily.

Another new trend in design has been a shift away from the standard earth tones that have predominated homes for the last 10 years.

"We are starting to see people break away from that," Stevens said. "For the last 10 years, it was a lot of brown going into homes. But now people are saying they do not want it all brown. They don't just want beige. They want color in there."

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