As a professional contractor, it’s easy to get a little bit of hyperfocus. You’re concentrating so hard on the project at hand that you can’t see the forest for the current kitchen remodel. But consumer trends impact business, of course. And promoting the renovations customers want can certainly go a long way to win you new clients from your solar, HVAC, windows, or roofing lead generation efforts.

The good news is that the overall outlook for the 2018-2019 home improvement market is pretty optimistic. Consumer spending has been on the rise since 2012. And thanks to a healthy economy and a shortage of new homes, experts predict a second coming of the home improvement boom seen prior to 2008. In particular, there are several popular projects that homeowners will be extra enthusiastic about this year. Here are our predictions for those jobs.

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Accessibility Improvements

Currently, one in three Americans is over the age of 50, and by 2030, one in five will be 65 or older. And this next wave of older Americans is determined to remain in their homes for as long as possible. According to an AARP survey, 71% of adults aged 50 to 64 wish to age in place at home. But when you look at ages 65 or older, that percentage jumps to 87%. While the population’s median age has been slowly crawling upwards over the last decade, 2018 seems to be the year where the effects have finally clicked into place, at least where the home is concerned.

Accessibility accommodations like wider doorways, first-floor bedrooms, accessible showers and toilets, and ramps and railings will be a major driver in 2018 remodeling. Especially if you work out of Maine, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, West Virginia, Michigan, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Ohio and Alaska, since these areas have the highest concentration of older adults. Such remodeling efforts average around $6,000 per project, so they’re certainly a lucrative specialty to add to your portfolio.

Unusual Materials

Homeowners may be feeling a more natural look, but in 2018, at least one industrial material made a huge comeback: concrete. And it’s not just counters and sinks that will be getting an overhaul. Concrete is so popular right now that experts say they’re seeing it used for wallcoverings and furniture, like molded desks and coffee tables.

And thanks to the popularity of shows like Fixer Upper, millworked materials like shiplap will continue to pop up in home remodels. Shiplap is nothing new, but commercial manufacturers have finally caught onto the trend, giving homeowners an out-of-the-box alternative—what we like to call the Magnolia Market effect. Expect to see plenty of these offbeat wall coverings in kitchen and living room remodels this year.

Lastly, we’ve seen the appearance of high-tech materials, as well, such as antibacterial kitchen and bathroom surfaces. These tiles contain built-in semiconductors that kill germs through a photoreaction with light. Now there’s something revolutionary!


Luxury Updates

Homeowners are always looking to make improvements to their master bedroom. But this year, renovators have zoomed in on the master suite as a way to improve sleep and promote wellness at home. More homeowners are adding luxury baths and walk-in closets to bedrooms to create a complete master suite effect.

This is part of a larger trend toward more remodeling in general. Tight housing markets have made it more difficult for homeowners to simply pick up and move. Instead, they’re adding the desired features by renovating. In addition to master bedrooms, finished basements, enclosed patios and converted garages should see major movement as homeowners work to add more space to existing residences.


Sustainable Homes

Eco-friendly homes are nothing new. Homeowners have been steadily investing in energy-efficient updates and sustainable materials for the last decade. And in 2017, there was an explosion of nature-focused interior design in the home as well. Indoor greenery, wood finishes and open, well-lit spaces ruled the remodeling scene.

This year, we’ll see a continuation of those trends, as homeowners continue to make functional and aesthetic changes that honor natural spaces. In particular, we predict many updates that mix luxury design and comfort with practical sustainability, such as installing solar energy systems with home storage devices, adding stylish LED light fixtures or replacing outdated appliances with unique, energy-saving smart home products. The preference for sustainability should only gain in popularity as concern over the environment grows, so you certainly won’t be doing yourself any harm if you begin to specialize in this area now!

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