Since 2002, May has been known as National Home Improvement Month. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), with the backing of the U.S. Congress, created the initiative to celebrate home improvement and make it easier for homeowners to find experts to help them with their home transformations. Additionally, the initiative aims to help consumers learn about their homes and recognize signs that something may need to be fixed.
From DIY home improvement ideas to larger remodels that require a contractor, doing your research is the key to success.
Jan Burchett, Executive Director of the Kansas City NARI chapter, said that having a plan is the biggest thing anyone working on a project can have.
“You need to know where your limits are,” Burchett said. “There’s a lot of things to consider, from quality of materials to time and effort needed. If you’re worried about anything, it might not be a bad idea to at least talk with a professional about the job.”
If you decide a professional is the right choice, be sure to do your research. Burchett said that you should be able to see various qualifications on a contractor’s website, such as licensing and insurance, to help with your decision, but that the power of referrals shouldn’t be discounted.
Additionally, checking out the list of member businesses on a NARI chapter’s website is a great place to start, as they must have proper accreditation and certifications to even become a member.
“I still think meeting the contractor is the best way to go. You get a better sense of them and you can’t hide things when you meet face to face. You’ll be able to tell if they’re actually listening to you and taking the time to know not just what you want done, but why you want a project done.”
Jan Burchett | NARI Kansas City
The 44 NARI chapters around the country have put together countless resources to help as you start your planning, from inspiration courtesy of the Greater Charlotte chapter to a simple budgeting worksheet via the Greater Cleveland chapter.
Other helpful resources from various NARI chapters include:
Burchett said that the top projects around the home still tend to be kitchen and bathroom related. However, she added that outdoor projects are starting to pick up steam, too.
Additionally, NARI Headquarters suggests universal design — or home layouts that improve accessibility and safety — as a project to consider.
“With housing inventory at a low, more and more homeowners are choosing to remodel and stay,” said Elizabeth McKenna, Director of Marketing for NARI.
McKenna said that there are three things to consider when making home improvements: understanding your needs, identifying structural mobility changes and safety comes first.
“Before starting any remodeling project, take the time to define your needs. Ask simple questions such as: How do you live in your current home? What health issues, current and future, should be considered? How can a remodel help make your space safer and easier to use?”
Elizabeth McKenna | NARI Headquarters
Taking the time to think through your personal requirements is going to be the key to success, because getting partway through a project and hitting an unforeseen roadblock will not only cost you time, but more than likely dig into your budget as well.
Burchett agreed with McKenna, but added that simply thinking about projects you may want to complete is the key to National Home Improvement Month.
“Home improvement has to start somewhere, and it’s usually your mind. You know when you want to change something. We’re here to help with that. But you can’t even start that change if you don’t consider it.”
Jan Burchett | NARI Kansas City
If you’re looking for some projects to improve your home, click on the images below to find some of our in-depth DIY guides with tips from industry experts.
National Home Improvement Month is all about making your home better. But don’t forget that your home is exactly that: yours. If you want a new bathroom, go for it. If you like the wallpaper, leave it there. It’s your home and you should feel comfortable in it. So, whether you remodel a little or a lot during National Home Improvement Month, just make sure you have fun doing it.
Looking for some other DIY home improvement ideas to work on this month? Consider some simple projects like painting your walls, getting rid of wood paneling or choosing new kitchen countertops.