Home show ready to inspire

Homebuilders and homeowners will meet at The Tacoma Dome this weekend for the Fall Home and Remodeling Show.
Homebuilders and homeowners will meet at The Tacoma Dome this weekend for the Fall Home and Remodeling Show. The Olympian

As the South Sound succumbs to the rain and cold, ambitious homeowners turn inward, wondering which projects to tackle in the shelter of their home.

The Tacoma Fall Home & Remodeling Show can offer direction for existing projects or provide inspiration to lengthen the to-do list.

More than 400 exhibitors are expected at this year’s show, which runs Thursday through Sunday in the Tacoma Dome.

New to this year’s show is a series of talks by 40 remodelers, contractors, and home builders from the Pierce County Master Builders Association. The professionals will discuss their products and services, and the latest developments in home remodeling. The talks will run daily at the festival’s MBA Showcase.

Topics include “Kitchen Trends,” “Bath Trends,” “How to Choose a Registered Contractor,” “Winter Plant Gems” and “Building and Remodeling: How to get Started.”

Another series of workshops targets people who want to do the work themselves.

Clinics on putting up blinds, laying tile, installing stone and veneer walls and patios will run daily at The Home Depot’s 5,000-square-foot booth. Vendors and staff from The Home Depot in Fircrest will lead the sessions, said Home Depot assistant manager Debbie Fox. One of the talks will focus on a new Martha Stewart product line that provides easy coordination of paint colors, carpet, window coverings, cabinets and other items.

Children can keep active at the Home Depot’s Kid’s Corner, making tile art, painting pumpkins and doing other projects.

Visitors can admire landscaping and display gardens from SK Landscape, Marenakos Rock Center, and the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals.

Sara Lambert, an estimator with a small construction firm named Met Tacoma, is among the speakers at the MBA Showcase.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, she will discuss “The New Age of Remodeling,” the trend toward hiring one contractor to oversee all remodeling phases from design to installation to finishing. It’s called hiring a “full-service contractor” or seeking out “production remodeling,” Lambert said.

Contractors offering the comprehensive service generally have a designer and craftsmen on staff, subcontractors readily available and samples of paint colors, flooring and other materials at their own showroom, Lambert said. Homeowners can save time searching for, and working with, separate designers and subcontractors, and running to stores to look at materials.

“It’s a streamlined remodeling process. ... The customer only deals with one person to have everything done,” Lambert said. “Ultimately, it ends up being less expensive in the long run because you have the contractor who focuses on these production items. They have more buying power with suppliers. They can offer a better price.”

In traditional remodeling arrangements, customers might go to a supplier’s showroom and choose a flooring or some other finish without knowing the price. The supplier sells the product at the wholesale price to the contractor, who sells it at the retail, or near-retail, price to the homeowner, Lambert said. The problem, however, is that customers don’t know if they can afford the counter top or cabinet when they fall in love with it.

The sticker shock issue is avoided when working with a contractor who has a showroom and gives the prices up front to the customer, she said.

Debby Abe: 253-597-8694