Home remodeling booms as NARI Milwaukee prepares for annual show

The 60th Annual NARI Milwaukee Spring Home Improvement Show is taking place this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

NARI is the national association of the conversion industry.

The show comes as NARI members are kept busy almost everywhere, amid a surge in demand for home improvement, fueled 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 being held this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.

“Homes shouldn’t be used the way they are used,” said Diane Welhouse, executive director of NARI Milwaukee. “They shouldn’t be canteens, offices, schools, daycares – everything else.”

This has prompted homeowners to renovate both functionally and aesthetically.

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At least for this year no weakening of the trend is to be expected. According to Welhouse, annual US remodeling spending is expected to top $430 billion this year.

Contractor Tight Seal's display will be on display in the exhibit area at the 60th NARI Home Improvement Show being held this weekend at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.

Contractors are busy. Some “book projects a year in advance,” Welhouse said.

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

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

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

The NARI show is a good start

As for the show itself, Welhouse said, “It’s a great way to do comparison deals,” Welhouse said when trying to decide what kind of replacement countertops you might need in a kitchen or bathroom, for example.

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