Homeowners Ready to Spend on Improvement Projects . / Credit: Tools image via Shutterstock

Homeowners are cautiously optimistic about 2012 and 2013 and plan to boost their spending on home improvement projects to keep their homes comfortable and well-maintained, a new survey shows. This will be good news for contractors who specialize in complex repair and remodeling projects such as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) replacement, which requires a contractor 95 percent of the time. On the other end of the spectrum, contractors who do interior painting won’t be as lucky; 70 percent of homeowners handle interior painting themselves.

More than 80 percent of homeowners said they expect to invest the same or more in home improvement in 2012 and 2013 than they did in 2011, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. and Canadian homeowners conducted by Principia Consulting, a marketing firm specializing in the building products industry. And more than 38 percent said they expect to spend "a lot more" or "somewhat more."

In 2011, nearly two-thirds of surveyed homeowners completed an average of 1.4 home improvement projects. In 2012 and through 2013, nearly 90 percent of homeowners surveyed indicated their intention to upgrade their home and anticipated completing an average of 1.7 projects during that time.

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The project focus has shifted somewhat from the "to-do" lists in 2011 in terms of what homeowners intend to accomplish around the home in 2012 and 2013. Outdoor decking will be up the most dramatically, with the number of homeowners expecting to complete some form of decking and railing repair and remodeling work in 2012 and 2013 nearly doubling from 2011.

Other major projects making high use of contractors include roof replacement, room additions and siding and window replacement.

When it comes to advice regarding home improvement projects, word-of-mouth was the hands-down winner, the survey found, with friends and family, contractors (once selected for a project), sales people at point of purchase and neighbors being the top influencers.

The least influential sources were "social third parties" such as blogs, Angie's List and Facebook.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.