Milwaukee/NARI Suggests How Changes to Your Home Can Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Dec. 17, 2013

Changes to your home can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions, according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years. Members say remodeling projects can improve home function and organization, as well as create money savings in the area of energy efficiency.

“Homeowners like the idea of building a home gym as a way to meet their fitness goals and often the best location for one is in the basement,” said Jim Grote of Cream City Construction in Milwaukee. “If you decide to make this a New Year’s goal, there are simple changes that you can make to create a comfortable space where you want to work out. Since basements often have just a concrete floor, you should lay down a rubber pad with a carpet overtop to provide a durable and warm area for exercise.”

“If getting organized and building a home office are your goals, you might also consider creating a separate space in your basement walled off from your home gym,” said Grote “This provides a different atmosphere and privacy when you need to focus on work. The office floor can be wood veneer or laminate with a vapor barrier underneath. Exterior walls should be insulated to provide warmth and noise reduction. Good lighting is important, so I would suggest a combination of recessed lighting and desk lamps. You can also construct an egress window to let in some natural light, which helps psychologically if you spend a lot of time downstairs. To ensure the basement is warm enough, additional duct work may be needed. Finally, to help keep the room organized, you may want to construct an area for storage and shelving to fit the room’s décor and function.”

“Finding ways to save money is a popular New Year’s Resolution for many homeowners and one simple way is to add insulation,” said John Nehmey, CR, with Nehmey Construction, Inc. in Oak Creek. “It is a relatively inexpensive upgrade and provides a great return on investment. Your home should have a minimum level of insulation rated as R49. Homes built in the 50s and 60s don’t meet that standard. The blown in insulation that we recommend is rated R60. You have options of materials used for insulation from pink fiberglass to recycled newspaper, also known as cellulose.”

“Another part of the home where you can conserve energy through home improvements are your windows,” said Nehmey. “Today’s modern windows are made with Low-E insulated glass. The space between the panes of glass is filled with argon gas and that helps retain heat inside the home during winter. When shopping for windows, consumers can look for the U-factor rating. However, unlike insulation ratings, the lower the number, the more energy efficient the windows are.”

“For some homeowners their goals for the new year may include finding ways to pamper themselves after a hard day at work,” Nehmey said. “A popular remodeling job to accomplish this is to construct a large shower or a steam shower like the kind you find at a spa. Today, custom-sized showers are possible and can be designed to fit the space. People can also have in-floor electric heat added under ceramic floors. A control panel can also be installed to schedule the floor heat to be turned on an hour before you shower and programmed to automatically go off at a set time after the shower. The technology provides an added convenience and saves money on energy costs.”

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 725 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

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