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

The NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) 2012 Reflects the State of the Building Industry

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation

IBS 2012 is history!  Like all trade shows each attendee comes away with their own interpretation of how it was based on their reason for being there.  From the manufacturer perspective it was clear that attendees who came to our booth were looking for specific products or information.  They were not just window shopping. 

Anyone coming to a show like this in this economic climate was not just there killing time and spending money – they were engaged! And the folks I spoke to had very specific questions and were very interested in learning all that they could while there.

One interesting thing that I saw in the Show Village was –what I would call – an urban infill home.  It was a modular home that was narrow and would fit into a narrow lot.  This was a unique style for a modular treatment.  One of the interesting features in the design was a screened-in porch/deck that included screen under the decking to keep mosquitoes out.  Great idea especially in warm, moist climates!

There were many celebrities there such as Mike Holmes, Bob Vila, Vanilla Ice and Bronson Pinchot promoting their DIY Network shows. Radio talk shows taping for their audiences back home were out in force.

I had a chance to catch up with my friends from This Old House – Norm Abrams and Tommy Silva.  I just have to say that Norm knows more about wood than anyone I have ever met.  We had a great conversation about the difference between western red cedar and eastern white cedar and how you want to use them.  Great stuff!

We also talked about the lack of paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) especially in colors.  It led to an interesting discussion about our VOC scavenging gypsum product.

There seemed to be a large number of Brazilians and South Americans at the show this year.  It is not surprising since the economy in Brazil is very strong and building seems to be on the rise.  It has clearly become an international show.

Clearly we have seen changes at IBS but we remain hopeful for a return to the glory days!

IBS 2011– The Builders’ Land of Oz

Tom Silva from This Old House at CertainTeed's IBS booth

I spent January 12 – 15 at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, Florida. This annual event is sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). I was amazed how global the show has become over the years not only with exhibitors but with attendees as well.  While the show is not as large as it has been in the past and the attendance is down, attendees were there with projects. Hopefully this is an indication that industry recovery is on its way.

This show is truly the Land of Oz for builders who’ve survived the poppy fields of the past three years. The show booths are exquisitely designed and display products and processes that improve the quality of and the efficiency of the building envelope.  But it is not just products that make the difference in the design, execution or renovation of projects; it’s the interaction of the products in the assemblies and the knowledge to execute the construction correctly.

To this end, many exhibitors included training and demonstrations as part of their exhibits.  Providing the knowledge of how to correctly create systems for efficiency in the envelope is key to successful tightening of a building. I presented a series of trainings on “Sustainability and the National Green Building Code”, “Selling Energy Efficiency”, and “Moisture and Mold Prevention in Building Assemblies” at the CertainTeed booth.  We were honored to have Tom Silva, general contractor for This Old House speak at our booth again this year.  Tom answered questions from the audience and shared some great information for professionals. Some of the issues that Tom discussed will be featured in future blogs.

Among the high interest products and systems in our booth this year were AirRenew™, a wallboard that removes formaldehyde and other aldehydes from the air;  Diamondback Tile Backer a high-performance tile backer that features a bonding technology that makes tile installation simpler, faster and less costly;  EnerGen™, a photovoltaic solar power roofing product that integrates with traditional asphalt roofing and our hybrid insulation system, discussed in a previous blog, which combines spray foam insulation, blown insulation and a vapor retarder to create a cost-effective way to create a thermally superior airtight seal in the wall systems.

With more that 1,000 exhibitors at the convention it was a bit like stepping out of the dark woods of the past three year construction market and into a bright and sunny field of poppies. As tempting as it was to inhale deeply and lay down for a rest, we know that it takes friends, courage, heart, and wisdom to make it all the way to the Emerald City.  For this weary traveler, at the end of these events, there’s no place like home.

Stay tuned for future blogs which may discuss how Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon predicted our recent construction slump and what it says about future housing starts.

 

Lucas Hamilton

Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation

Take a Peek at the Future of Building Codes – International Green Construction Code

It’s about time! The International Green Construction Code (IGCC), subtitled “Safe and Sustainable: By the Book” has just completed the public comment stage.  The draft code is a joint effort of the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International. The AIA and ASTM have played a vital role in the development of the IGCC.

The AIA presence guarantees a focus on the AIA’s 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal. ASTM International, which carries a worldwide reputation as a standards developer, strengthens the scientific basis that will drive the Code. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) joined the ICC/AIA/ASTM team in reviewing and commenting on the Code.

This model Code focuses on new and existing commercial buildings and addresses green building design and performance. It creates a baseline for green building by making our basic practices more sustainable while leaving plenty of room for improvement. With many of the lessons learned from the sustainable construction evolution to date being made code, it gives us an opportunity to push the targets of more advanced programs “further down field.” Can you imagine what we may learn or what innovations may come from that?  You can download a copy of the proposed code for review or you can view the video.

We need a green building code.  Up until now, we have only had green standards to define and support the sustainability movement. A standard is just an agreement but a code can be enforced.  The USGBC and NAHB paved the way toward making a solid commitment to build responsibly but creating a Code on a national and international level really changes the game.

Once we have a Green Construction Code the states will need to adopt or amend it to suite their unique requirements. But at least now we have a model Code to put in front of them as a starting point. It couldn’t get here soon enough. 

What are your thoughts as to the pros and cons to an International Green Construction Code?

 

Lucas Hamilton

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

No Gambling In Las Vegas with Solar Roofing

Energen Display at International Builders' Show

Energen Display at International Builders' Show

Heading out to Las Vegas recently  for the International Builders’  Show (IBS), I was struck by a sense of excitement in the air.  Nothing scientific, nothing concrete, I could just feel the mood of the travelers was a bit lighter, the airport was a bit more crowded and the hotel was definitely busier than this time last year.
Thankfully, the dreary weather we experienced during our week there was not indicative of the mood of the builders who attended. 

 

When you look at the numbers, you wouldn’t necessarily think things were looking up.  Attendance was down from last year, from 60,000 a year ago to 55,000.  The number of exhibitors was down about 30 percent also.  However, our leads were up 30 percent over last year and were just shy of the number we hit in 2007. 

I have a couple of theories about why.  The NAHB made an excellent decision to shut down one of the exhibit halls and condensing the 1,100 exhibitors into two halls.  This made the traffic much denser.  However, while density gives you volume through the aisles, it doesn’t necessarily translate into leads. 

So what was it?  Solar.  It may have been raining and cold outside, but the interest and “energy” around solar and photovoltaics was definitely there.  Now, the fact that we introduced our new Energen Photovoltaic Roofing product (available this spring) at the show may have helped substantially in our lead count, however, you could see immense interest in this area.  We weren’t the only ones talking about it, but it was obvious that the crowds were drawn to what is becoming more and more of a hot-button topic in the green/sustainable movement.

It’s nice to see that manufacturers (ourselves included) aren’t shrinking and running for cover during the downturn.  When sales are down, innovate and ready yourself for the upturn; that seems to be what some in the industry are doing! 

Energy efficiency is the name of the game these days.  Look at our friends at Hearthstone Homes in Omaha, Nebraska who are focused on energy efficient home construction .  They’re doing innovative work like using 2 x 6 framing and guaranteeing energy bills to their buyers…or they pay the difference!  Builders like Hearthstone are getting serious about not only building quality, but adding real, tangible value to the homes.  We’re excited to be entering the solar frontier and proud to partner with folks like Hearthstone.

The industry’s heating up and in the end, the homeowner wins.

Mike Loughery by-lineMike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.