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The concept of home improvement, home renovation, or remodelling is the process of renovating or making additions to one’s home. Home improvement can be projects that upgrade an existing home interior (such as electrical and plumbing), exterior (masonry, concrete, siding, roofing), or other improvements to the property (i.e. garden work or garage maintenance/additions).
Types of home improvement
While “home improvement” often refers to building projects that alter the structure of an existing home, it can also include improvements to lawns, gardens, and outdoor structures, such as gazebos and garages. It also encompasses maintenance, repair, and general servicing tasks. Home improvement projects generally have one or more of the following goals:
- Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
- Upgrading rooms with luxuries, such as adding gourmet features to a kitchen or a hot tub spa to a bathroom.
- Increasing the capacity of plumbing and electrical systems.
- Waterproofing basements.
- Soundproofing rooms, especially bedrooms and baths.
Maintenance and repair
Maintenance projects can include:
- Roof tear-off and replacement.
- Replacement or new construction windows.
- Concrete and masonry repairs to the foundation and chimney.
- Repainting rooms, walls or fences
- Repairing plumbing and electrical systems
- Wall papers
- Furniture polish
Additional living space may be added by:
- Turning marginal areas into livable spaces such as turning basements into recrooms, home theaters, or home offices – or attics into spare bedrooms.
- Extending one’s house with rooms added to the side of one’s home or, sometimes, extra levels to the original roof. Such a new unit of construction is called an “add-on”.
Homeowners may reduce utility costs with:
- Energy-efficient thermal insulation, replacement windows, and lighting.
- Renewable energy with biomass pellet stoves, wood-burning stoves, solar panels, wind turbines, programmable thermostats, and geothermal exchange heat pumps (see autonomous building).
Safety and preparedness
Emergency preparedness safety measures such as:
- Home fire and burglar alarm systems.
- Fire sprinkler systems to protect homes from fires.
- Security doors, windows, and shutters.
- Storm cellars as protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.
- Bomb shelters especially during the 1950s as protection from nuclear war.
- Backup generators for providing power during power outages.
Home improvement industry
Home or residential renovation is an almost $300 billion industry in the United States, and a $48 billion industry in Canada.[full citation needed] The average cost per project is $3,000 in the United States and $11,000–15,000 in Canada.
Professional home improvement is ancient and goes back to the beginning of recorded civilization. One example is Sergius Orata, who in the 1st century B.C. is said by the writer Vitruvius (in his famous book De architectura) to have invented the hypocaust. The hypocaust is an underfloor heating system that was used throughout the Roman empire in villas of the wealthy. He is said to have become wealthy himself by buying villas at a low price, adding spas and his newly invented hypocaust, and reselling them at higher prices.
Perhaps the most important or visible professionals in the renovation industry are renovation contractors or skilled trades. These are the builders that have specialized credentials, licensing and experience to perform renovation services in specific municipalities.
While there is a fairly large ‘grey market’ of unlicensed companies, there are those that have membership in a reputable association and/or are accredited by a professional organization. Homeowners are recommended to perform checks such as verifying license and insurance and checking business references prior to hiring a contractor to work on their house.
Johnstown is a city and the county seat of Fulton County in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 Census, the city had population of 8,743. The city was named after its founder, Sir William Johnson.
The city of Johnstown is mostly surrounded by the town of Johnstown, of which it was once a part when it was a village. Also adjacent to the city is the city of Gloversville. The two cities are together known as the “Glove Cities”. They are known for their history of specialty manufacturing. Johnstown is located approximately 45 miles (72 km) west of Albany, about one-third of the way between Albany and the Finger Lakes region to the west.
Johnstown, originally “John’s Town”, was founded in 1762 by Sir William Johnson, a Baronet who named it after his son John Johnson. William Johnson came to the British colony of New York from Ireland in 1732. He was a trader who learned American Indian languages and culture, forming close relationships with many Native American leaders. He was appointed as the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, as well as a major general in the British forces during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War). His alliances with the Iroquois were significant to the war.
As a reward for his services, Johnson received large tracts of land in what are now Hamilton and Fulton counties. He established Johnstown and became one of New York’s most prosperous and influential citizens. He was the largest landowner in the Mohawk Valley, with an estate of more than 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) before his death. Having begun as an Indian trader, he expanded his business interests to include a sawmill and lumber business, and a flour mill that served the area. Johnson, the largest slaveholder in the county and perhaps in the state of New York, had some 60 enslaved Africans working these businesses. He also recruited many Scots-Irish tenant farmers to work his lands. Observing Johnson’s successful business endeavors, the local Native American inhabitants dubbed him Warragghivagey, or “he who does much business.”