May 17, 2022

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Home remodeling booms as NARI Milwaukee prepares for annual show

3 min read

The 60th annual NARI Milwaukee Spring Home Improvement Show takes place this weekend in the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

NARI is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The show comes as NARI members are almost universally busy, amid a jump in demand for home improvement work, spurred at least in part by people spending so much time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vendors set up exhibits for the 60th NARI Home Improvement Show that takes place this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis.

“Homes weren’t meant to be utilized the way they are being utilized,” said Diane Welhouse, executive director of NARI Milwaukee. “They were not meant to be cafeterias, offices, schools, day cares — everything else.”

That has led homeowners to renovate for functionality as well as aesthetics.

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The trend is not expected to slow, at least for this year. Annual spending on remodeling in the U.S. is forecast to top $430 billion this year, Welhouse said. 

The display for home improvement contractor Tight Seal is shown on the exhibit floor at the 60th NARI Home Improvement Show that takes place this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis.

Contractors are busy. Some “are booking projects a year out,” Welhouse said. 

The pandemic and its resulting supply chain issues have somewhat changed the way projects are done. Now, contractors try to avoid starting a project unless they can be sure all the components — windows, doors, lighting, plumbing fixtures, for example — for the remodel are available and ready to be installed. 

Marcus, left, and Nate Lech prepare for the 60th NARI Home Improvement Show that takes place this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis.

“I’m not going to rip up your house and then make you wait for months on end to complete the project” because needed supplies aren’t available, Welhouse said.  

NARI show is a good place to start

As for the show itself, “It’s a great way to comparison shop,” Welhouse said, when trying to decide, for instance, what type of replacement countertops you might want in a kitchen or bathroom.

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