Home improvement is the repair, maintenance or restoration of residential real property. It encompasses a wide range of improvements, including but not limited to painting, refinishing hardwood floors and installing tile. The term also can refer to reworking the interior of a house, such as adding or subtracting rooms, installing new cabinets, flooring and appliances, or modifying existing plumbing, electrical and heating systems.
A common reason homeowners undertake home improvement projects is to add functionality. For example, they may want to install a dishwasher to make mealtime easier or a security system to help deter intruders. Others prefer to upgrade a home’s aesthetic, which can be achieved by refinishing woodwork, installing a fresh coat of paint or replacing worn carpeting.
Another important home improvement goal is to increase a home’s value by making it more attractive to potential buyers. The return on investment for these projects can be high, depending on the scope and quality of the work done. Adding energy-efficient features, such as new windows and a more efficient heat pump, can be cost-effective and pay for themselves in lower utility bills.
Home improvement is a large and growing industry. It includes national, regional and local chains that specialize in building materials and home furnishings, as well as independent contractors who perform repairs or upgrades. Independent contractors typically are licensed and bonded, and some have established reputations in their communities. They often operate out of a fixed commercial location and can provide references from previous customers.