What Is Home Improvement?

Home improvement is the renovation or upgrading of the interior and exterior of a residence. This includes paint, wallpaper, carpeting, flooring and appliances. The industry also encompasses the sale of building materials and home improvement supplies, as well as the services provided by contractors and tradespeople who perform these improvements. Home improvement is a large and growing business, particularly in recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased consumer interest in improving their living spaces.

A wide range of renovations qualify as home improvement, but the best projects will add long-term value and improve livability. Many homeowners upgrade to meet specific needs, such as adding a kitchen island or installing a new master bathroom. Others may wish to increase their home’s energy efficiency, with the added benefit of lower utility bills.

Choosing the right contractor is essential. A good start is to request references from past clients and look for a membership in a professional association. A contract should clearly describe the work to be performed, including the materials and estimated dates when the project will begin and be substantially completed.

Consumers should be wary of contractors that require advance payment for home improvement work. It is a good idea to receive estimates from several companies before selecting one. In addition to price, consider a company’s reputation, length of time in business and commercial location. Maryland law requires all contracts for home improvement to be in writing and signed by both the consumer and the business.