Home Remodeling Spending to Accelerate

Reposted from the Boston Business Journal by Thomas Grillo, Real Estate Editor

Improved home sales and record low interest rates are driving projections of strong gains for home improvement through 2012 and into the first half of next year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity released Thursday by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The survey said the seeds for what appears to be a very robust remodeling recovery have been planted, with annual homeowner improvement spending expected to reach double-digit growth in the first half of 2013.

“Strong growth in sales of existing homes and housing starts, coupled with historically low financing costs, have typically been associated with an upturn in home remodeling activity some months later,” said Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center, in a statement. “While the housing market has faced some unique challenges in recent years, this combination is expected to produce a favorable outlook for home improvement spending over the coming months.”

Harvard’s study comes as the nation’s largest home improvement stores reported mixed results last quarter. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) reported its per-share profit was $1.01 in the second quarter. That was considerably stronger than the year ago number of 86 cents and topped forecasts of 97 cents. Total revenue was up 1.7 percent, while same-store revenue was up 2.1 percent.

Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW) posted per-share income of 68 cents last quarter, flat from last year and 2 cents shy of expectations for 70 cents this time around. Total revenue fell 2 percent in the wake of the company’s decision to closing 27 stores.

Posted in Boston Home Remodeling

Air Leaks: How They Rot Houses and Waste Energy

Reposted from www.finehomebuilding.com by John Straube

One third of the energy you buy probably leaks through holes in your house

When it comes to conserving energy in your home, one of the best things you can do is identify and seal air leaks. In this article, building-science specialist John Straube outlines the various ways in which a house can leak conditioned air, wasting resources and ultimately your money. Wind pushes drafts through a leaky house, a definite problem in the cold winter months. The stack effect can be problematic in both summer and winter. In winter, rising warm air leaks through the roof and is replaced by cold air sucked in through the bottom floor. In summer, warm air is pulled in through the roof while cool conditioned air is forced out of lower floors. In a house, mechanicals also contribute. Devices such as gas fireplaces, dryers, furnaces, water heaters, range hoods, and bath fans remove conditioned air. The best solution is to build tight and ventilate right.

Posted in Boston Home Remodeling

Built Wrong from the Start

Reposted from www.finehomebuilding.com by Joseph Lstiburek

A builder with a Ph.D. in building science explains why even the best materials can ruin a house if installed improperly or implemented as part of a poor design. Complete with detailed pictures and illustrations, this list includes more than just simple tips; it highlights the causes and solutions of many common but overlooked problems. This author addresses problems related to basement insulation; vented crawlspaces; attic ducts and air handlers; frame rotting; pan flashing windows and doors; brick and stucco drainage; air conditioning pathways; toxic gases; and gas space heaters and fireplaces.

Posted in Boston Home Remodeling

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