Tips for Celebrating Memorial Day in Your Own Backyard

CB_SpringLake_house_morning_FlagMemorial Day presents an opportunity to remember those who have served our country. Remembering that service
and sacrifice is often symbolized by hanging a flag from a porch or patio.

It also marks the unofficial beginning of summer. We at CertainTeed love to take advantage of outdoor living
spaces and we want you to get the most out of yours. Usually when a household is expecting guests, the rule of thumb is to start with cleaning. This includes your outdoor living space. Power washing a patio, deck or siding is an effective way to remove dirt and debris – leaving the intended area ready for enjoyment.

And it may just be time to take on that major renovation project you’ve been putting off. Choosing new, fresh siding or trim can give your home a much-needed face-lift. If you’re unsure how a certain style, profile or color may appear, online design tools are available that can assist with the visualization process. While exploring the different options, you might also start dreaming about stretching the budget for a new roof, deck or railing that suits your home’s unique look.

Warmer weather drives the desire to enjoy the outdoors without reservation – so embrace it! Take full advantage of your yard by installing a privacy fence. String lights around your extended living space; gather around a fire pit and you have the perfect additions for entertaining or just kicking back and relaxing.

Q and A at International Builders’ Show (IBS) with Expert Ron Hazelton

During IBS our Meet the Experts sessions gave show attendees the opportunity to get their questions answered.  Our MC, Ted Brunson talked with TV’s “House Calls” host Ron Hazelton

What trends are you seeing with regard to Home Improvement?

???????????????????????????????One of the reasons I enjoy coming to shows like IBS is because consumers are becoming very savvy buyers. They spend much more time researching products for their home than depending on building professionals only to guide their buying decisions.

I am always looking for new products that solve problems in the home such as indoor air quality, acoustics, energy savings and comfort to share with my viewers if I believe that they will benefit them and their homes.  CertainTeed always has innovative products that I can share with my viewers whether they are building professionals, DIYers or consumers.

Home Remodeling Month: A Time to Shine

Home-Remodeling-Projects-wpckiPinterest, Houzz, Facebook, Twitter — each and every day I see amazing home transformations that delight and inspire. I’m constantly in awe of the skill and craftsmanship behind these remodeling projects. And, while smaller scale projects are suitable for ambitious DIYers, there’s something to be said for hiring a professional remodeler and getting the job done right.

Both the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) issue a rally cry during the month of May to recognize the work of professional remodelers and encourage homeowners to tackle a long-awaited renovation or needed repair.

Coined “National Home Remodeling Month,” both NAHB and NARI offer a host of resources to help remodelers shine and boost their bottom line. From logos, to social media posts to press release templates, there’s a myriad of tools that remodelers can use in their local markets. All of these promotional materials offer a unique way for remodelers to sharpen their competitive edge.

Also, this is a great time for remodelers to revisit the annual Cost vs. Value Report published by Hanley Wood and share this valuable information with their customers. The report outlines the remodeling projects that result in the greatest return on investment. For example, here’s a rundown of a few high-ranking projects from the most recent report:

Type of Project Return on Investment
Entry Door Replacement 96.6%
Deck Addition 87.4%
Garage Door Replacement 83.7%
Attic Bedroom 83.4%
Vinyl Siding Replacement 78.2%

Overall, remodelers bring curb appeal, comfort and value to our homes and that’s certainly something to honor and recognize during the month of May. Do you have an interesting remodeling project currently underway? If so, share you story here!


Homeowner Trends: Remodeling is In

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 3.38.39 PMHouzz indicates that the vast majority of homeowners prefer to remodel their home rather than move. In a webinar hosted by Qualified Remodeler magazine, Liza Housman from Houzz — an online remodeling and design platform —  provided an in-depth look into their annual Houzz & Home study, which included the participation of more than 155,000 homeowners. A few key highlights…

  • 91 percent of homeowners said that reviews and recommendations are a top priority in hiring a contractor. A valuable reminder that customer service should always be top of mind!
  • 5 percent of homeowners spent more than a year researching a remodeling project — a sign that remodelers might need to exercise more patience in closing the deal with some customers.
  • Top remodeling projects included kitchen (31%), bathroom (27%), and patio (22%).
  • The highest-ranking replacement projects involved flooring (26%), window and door (21%) and roofing (15%)
  • For kitchen and bath remodeling, more than 40 percent of projects entailed framing or structural work — which definitely caught our attention since any project that guts to the stud is a great time caulk, seal and insulate in addition to aesthetic improvements.

Overall, the survey uncovered great opportunities for growth potential. Let’s get to work!

Generating Buzz for Professional Remodelers

NAHBRemodelingMonthTo help promote the benefits of working with a professional remodeler, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has designated the month of May as National Home Remodeling Month.

Websites such as Pinterest or Houzz might make home remodeling projects look like a breeze, but there’s something to be said for bringing in a professional remodeler to get the best results. After all, how many of you remodelers have been called to bail out a homeowner with a botched DIY remodeling project? These sites can also be a good way to showcase you work.

Add this with compelling signs that homeowner demand for remodeling projects is on the rise and it couldn’t be a better time to proactively educate homeowners on the value of a professional remodeler.

An article from BuildingOnline reports strong growth indicators for remodeling in the first quarter of 2013. It’s reported a main contributor to this is that many homeowners now need to address projects that they had postponed for a lengthy amount of time. A recent study by the NAHB shows kitchen and bathroom projects remain the most popular remodeling jobs—both projects were up 17 percent from just a few years ago.

Whether it is the experience a professional can provide or the accurate costs and timeline, homeowners should recognize when it’s necessary to call in the experts and get the job done right the first time.

The NAHB also provides a recap of tools available to help advance your remodeling business. The materials can easily be adapted for use on an ongoing basis.  Remodelers should also research manufacturers for special programs that can help reduce costs on projects.

May might be National Home Remodeling month, but the opportunity to promote the benefits of a professional remodeler is a message that resonates 365 days a year.

Eric Nilsson is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation

Are We Entering a Decade of Growth for Remodelers

Rosemary Hayn

Rosemary Hayn

Every two years, The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University publishes a report supported by the companies and organizations who participate on two of their committees; the Policy Advisory Board and the Remodeling Futures Steering Committee.

The most recent report, A New Decade of Growth for Remodeling provides some insights that can help building professionals as they continue to struggle with a sluggish housing market.

If you follow the industry to great lengths, as I do, these reports provide a great deal of factual information from an historical perspective but only a small amount of forecast data.

For example, it is a given that older metropolitan areas have older stock that need energy efficiency upgrades while growth areas in the South and West have newer inventory. The number of remodeling opportunities, therefore, will be more abundant in older parts of the country.

When reading this report the questions one should ask are:  What’s new? What’s different? What do I need to know? 

Here are a few highlights:

  • Green projects will continue to provide important growth opportunities.  The results of the National Green Remodeling survey indicate that important projects where homeowners specified green features increased by 25% over all projects. Tax incentives due to energy efficiency, under the Federal Stimulus, helped support that increase.
  • The share of replacement product systems upgrades that support energy efficiency will continue to grow.
  • Energy efficiency upgrades for new and existing homes offers a huge potential for remodelers.
  • With the economic downturn, immigration has slowed but as the economy recovers, new immigrants will contribute greatly to the remodeling industry over the next decade.
  • Homeowners will continue to invest in small upgrades that provide a quicker payback or have incentives attached to them.  With the reduction in the 2011 Economic Stimulus to $500 the projects could remain very small in scope.

From 2000-2005 there was a  7.3 percent growth rate for homeowner improvement spending, followed by a five year trend showing a -1.4 percent in spending.  The report anticipates a 3.5 percent annual growth rate in home improvement spending which puts the 2010-2015 period in the middle of the two previous five year periods.

Also, in the next five years the number of households moving into 55 – 64 and 65+ age ranges will be preparing for retirement.  If they plan to age in place they will, most likely, need to make renovations to their home to improve the energy efficiency and lower the maintenance needs of the structure such as increased insulation or low maintenance exterior cladding. This will be another opportunity for remodelers.

From 2002 – 2007 there was a 23% increase in specialty contractors and self-employed remodelers but since then, remodelers have struggled due to declines in homeowner spending and the increased competition from builders-turned-remodelers. 

What we don’t know, because the data isn’t collected annually, is how many have survived the economic downturn. Clearly those who diversified their services or moved into niche markets, such as energy efficiency upgrades, most likely, have survived.

Rosemary Hayn is Manager, Market Research and Planning for CertainTeed Corporation

How the Customer of the Future Will Affect the Home Improvement Industry

Rosemary Hayn

Rosemary Hayn

I recently attended the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Conference in Chicago, Illinois.  HIRI is a membership based, independent, not-for-profit organization of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry.  Its mission is to be recognized as the primary authority for effective, useful information about home improvement products and services in North America.

One of the sessions shared results of a study on consumer trends conducted with HIRI and The Futures Company a leading consumer research company.  The purpose of this study was to provide building professionals with consumer lifestyle wants and needs for the home.  The survey group included 26 – 41-year-olds. The results provide food for thought for manufacturers, retailers and building professionals in selling to the changing consumer:

There were five key trends that emerged from the survey:

  • More savvy, intelligent consumers, want products customized; want best deals; seek reviews and recommendations; focus on real, tangible benefits; want luxury at accessible prices. This is considered Consumers in Control.
  • Return to simple, less ostentatious living; products that withstand the test of time; making old classics with modern production standards; value transparency as mark of trust; interested in people behind the products. This illustrated The Genuine Article.
  • Focused on waste reduction; recognize challenge of a resource-constrained world; better solutions without compromise on performance or price; making positive contribution to community. This translated to Making a Difference.
  • Rediscovering life’s simple pleasures; desire intensified sensory experiences; solutions that save time and make life easier; maximizing performance of body, mind and spirit to attain goals. Referred to as Life, Well Lived.
  • Turning to trusted networks; coming together to share knowledge; connecting with local communities; value traditional forms of connection; mix of new influences on identity and tastes. Examples of Cultivating Connections.

Consumers clearly desire to have conveniences in the home to make living easy but are very focused on reducing waste and having more efficiency in their building envelope and appliances.

As I reviewed the statistics associated with the preferences, I discovered some interesting trends: 

  • Consumers say an important reason for them to do home improvement is to make their home better fit their lifestyle. (83%)
  • Say that price is more important than brand name. (76%)
  • Are doing more comparison shopping before buying – this includes those whose household income is $100,000+. (62%)
  • Wish they knew more about the home improvement products they purchased and how to maintain them. (73%)
  • Say their happiness doesn’t depend on how many possessions they have. (78%) 
  • Have learned, through the recession, to improve their home without spending a lot of money. (65%) 
  • Agree that you can depend on brands that have been around for a while. (87%) 
  • Feel it is important to know what is in a product in order to make a buying decision. (69%)
  • 52% have installed energy efficient appliances and 16% plan to.

This is just scratching the surface of the information in this study.  This information is very valuable in determining what products as well as product features and benefits the consumer of the future will expect and prefer. 

Are you starting to see these trends among clients or potential clients?

Rosemary Hayn is Manager, Market Research and Planning for CertainTeed Corporation

Home Improvement on NBC’s Today Show: How Blow-in Insulation can boost a home’s R-value

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton

On Wednesday, October 21, home improvement expert, Lou Mandfredini of HouseSmarts™ will appear on NBC’s Today Show during the 8:30 a.m. hour to share some tips with homeowners on how adding insulation to their attics can improve overall energy efficiency and lower energy bills while enabling them to benefit from the federal tax credits. Each week, Lou provides the answers to questions that homeowners have about their homes. Lou is uniquely qualified to do this as a former remodeling contractor and home builder. Lou and his wife are also the owners of an ACE Hardware store in suburban Chicago.
Lou Manfredini

Lou Manfredini


During the segment, Lou will discuss the benefits of adding energy efficient insulation to attics and offer hands-on installation tips. Specifically, Lou will demonstrate how the CertainTeed TrueComfort Blow-in Insulation can be used to boost a home’s R-value.  He will also share the best way to add fiberglass batt insulation to an attic floor. If you haven’t seen any of Lou’s previous home improvement segments, you’ll love how he explains projects and materials in ways that everyone can understand. This is one of the qualities that make Lou so effective.


Improving the energy efficiency of your home will help to lower your energy costs and your carbon footprint. If your home was built before 1990, you might want to conduct an energy audit, a careful walk-through of your home to identify any air leaks along the baseboard or edge of the flooring, at junctures of the walls and ceilings, or at electrical box openings and plumbing penetrations.


Check your local listings for your local NBC channel and tune in to Lou on The Today Show, Wednesday, October 21st at 8:30 a.m.


Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications, for CertainTeed Corporation