by | Construction, Safety |

It’s remodeling season in New England and throughout the United States, and, if you are a contractor, homeowners will be looking to your company to complete remodeling projects that increase the value of their home, make it more energy efficient, or improve its resilience against the coming winter.

Additionally, many looking to increase the value of their home look to make decisions that are both cost effective and provide the most value to their home, turn to the Cost vs. Value Report to see if a remodeling project is worth it.

The Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report ( breaks down the average costs to complete a remodeling project and compares this cost to the average value of the job, generating a percentage value of how much a homeowner recoups by completing the project.

Therefore, those looking to maximize the value of their home will likely turn to the following five projects, each of which pose certain dangers to the companies doing the work. We took a look at some of the projects deemed the ‘most valuable,’ along with some safety focuses your company can consider for each.

1. Attic Insulation

  • Job Cost: $1,292
  • Job Value: $1,858
  • Value (as %): 143.8%


According to Remodeling, the project calls for a pro remodeler to air-seal a 35×30 attic floor, adding fiberglass loose fill insulation until thickness equating with R-30 insulation value is reached.

Safety Focus: Heat Stress

Among the many well-known dangers that come while insulating an attic (confined spaces, falls, skin and respiratory hazards), one of the less-prepared-for dangers is that of heat.

According to a University of Michigan study, more than 90 percent of roofs in the U.S. have a dark color. Because dark roofs absorb rather than deflect heat, it’s not unusual for the surface temperature of a roof to reach up to 190° Fahrenheit.

This can create an attic environment as hot as 130°F, which, combined with the necessary personal protective equipment needed to install insulation, can create a dangerous environment for insulation installers.

2. Stone Veneer

  • Job Cost: $7,548
  • Job Value: $6,552
  • Value (as %): 86.8%


Replace vinyl siding from the bottom third of a house with manufactured stone veneer.

Safety Focus: Stone Cutting and Crystalline Silica

The dangers of silica have been known for nearly a century—silicosis, lung cancer, COPD, and other illnesses that come from fine particles generated when cutting or grinding stone.

To protect workers, employers must provide NIOSH-approved N95 respirators, with half-face respirators required if silica levels are 10 times the PEL, and full faceplate respirators in environments up to 50 times the PEL. Additional best practices include using wet-sweeping or HEPA-filtered vacuuming, use water spraying systems where a saw generates dust, and use hand tools with a shroud to minimize dust.

3. Kitchen Remodel (Minor)

  • Job Cost: $21,158
  • Job Value: $17,610
  • Value (as %): 83.2%


Replace cabinet fronts with new raised panel doors and drawers with new hardware, replace wall oven and cooktop with energy efficient models, replace laminate countertops, and add mid-priced sink and faucet. Repaint trim, add wall covering, and replace resilient flooring.

Safety Focus: Electrical Hazards

While remodeling a kitchen, it is important to reinforce electrical hazards among workers who will be using power tools, extension cords, and possibly cutting into drywall. It is important to focus on proper maintenance of tools, use of personal protective equipment when needed, use of insulation to slow or stop electrical current from reaching workers, avoid overloading or rolling over extension cords, and training employees to recognize and avoid dangers posed to them when working with equipment.

4. Siding Replacement

  • Job Cost: $14,871
  • Job Value: $11,429
  • Value (as %): 76.9%


Replace 1,250 feet of siding with new siding, including factory trim at all openings and corners.

Safety Focus: Falls and Scaffolding

In addition to hazardous silica dust generated from cutting fiber-cement siding, heat stress during installation, and more, proper fall protection and proper scaffold use need to be employed, as falls are the leading cause of death in residential construction.

In residential construction or remodeling, any worker engaged in construction that is 6 feet above lower levels must be protected by conventional fall protection, e.g. guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems.

5. Window Replacement (Vinyl)

  • Job Cost: $15,073
  • Job Value: $11,683
  • Value (as %): 77.5%


Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite vinyl windows.

Safety Focus: Hearing Protection

Among the dangers that exist (falls, fumes, heat stress, cuts, etc.), one thing employers should also watch among workers is proper use of hearing protection when removing and replacing windows. Exposure to noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing loss, and many if not all of the tools required to complete a window installation exceed this threshold. For instance, the average hammer drill operates at 114dBA, and many circular and reciprocating saws operate above 95 dB.

To protect against hearing loss, having the right hearing protection available to workers is critical to protect worker hearing. From earplugs to HPDs to administrative controls reducing time spent exposed to sound, there are multiple ways to reduce occupational noise exposure for employees.


It pays to keep your employees safe. Acadia specializes in providing business insurance to construction firms and specialty trade contractors throughout the Northeast. Learn more about Acadia’s insurance offerings and contact an Acadia Insurance agent for more information.

© 2016 Hanley Wood, LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at


Please note that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.  This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.

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