When springtime comes around homeowners often start thinking about how to update the look and feel of their houses. Remodeling season is soon to arrive and now is the time to plan out those home renovation projects.

Jim Cutter, owner of Cold Spring’s Cutter Construction, has seen a lot of remodeling projects over the years, from simple tasks such as widening a front doorway to fully tearing down and rebuilding homes. Cutter has noticed a few predominant trends in residential remodeling.

Chief among them is demand for all-season outdoor spaces, often functioning as an extension from a kitchen or family room. These patio areas tend to be fully enclosed with screens, windows or full-length glass walls. Homeowners want the option to relax or entertain in their backyard while having the space still be climate controlled.

“Almost every new home we build and every renovation we do generally has some phase of that involved,” Cutter says.

Expanding interiors and opening up floor plans are also popular remodeling trends.

“Everybody still wants large, open rooms for gathering, generally incorporated off the kitchen,” Cutter notes, adding he has seen a lot of jobs recently where homeowners have requested for entire walls to be removed, such as opening up a separate dining room into the kitchen area or subtracting a spare bedroom to expand a family room.

But Cutter advises to be aware of the hidden costs of expansions. As homeowners tire of 8-foot ceilings in favor of higher ones, he points out the extra construction that can be involved with making that happen.

“Even in a lot of older homes we’re being asked to raise the ceiling,” Cutter says, “which a lot of times generates the need to take the roof off.”

It’s also important for people to consider the mechanical strain that an expansion can place on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Homeowners may not realize their equipment may not be able to handle an extra 800 or 2,000 square feet to heat and cool.

“Almost everybody that we meet with tells me what they want the room to look like, where they want the light, the windows, the finishes—they’re excited about all the things they live in and look at,” Cutter explains. “What they tend to forget is the climate control and that is a really big component of a remodel or renovation.”

The question generally comes down to if the heating and cooling system needs to be replaced entirely or supplemented with auxiliary equipment to help with controlling the climate throughout the home and expansion, especially if the existing system is already several years old. Cutter advises people who are about to expand their homes to consider this before committing to their dream remodel, though it can also be an opportunity to replace an older climate system with one that is more efficient as well as capable of heating and cooling more space.

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