Stuck at home and spending more time working virtually, Galveston County residents joined homeowners across the nation in remodeling their houses and building pools during the pandemic.

Only somewhat dampened by soaring lumber and material prices, the trend has kept contractors around the county busy.

Texas City resident Kimberly Pevoto and her husband, Toby, jumped on the remodeling trend and renovated their closet and master bathroom.

The Pevotos decided to do the whole thing themselves, so it’s taken a while, but they’re finally on the last steps, she said.

Pevoto and her husband worked from home during much of the pandemic and that time in their own space gave them the inspiration they needed to do a project they’d thought about for years, she said.

“That’s kind of where the vision came from,” Pevoto said. “When he was working from home, he had the time to see and know what he needed to accomplish the goal.”

It’s been a busy 18 months for Johnny Flores, owner of New Image Remodels in Dickinson.

“From last year to this year, it’s probably been about a 200 percent increase,” Flores said. “It hasn’t gone down from there.”

A lot of homeowners are requesting kitchen remodels, covered patios or, like Pevoto, upgrades to bathrooms, Flores said.

Flores has had projects across the county, but the most active area has been Galveston’s West End, he said.

Other residents have been focusing their efforts on their outdoor space.

Randy Bartosh and his family decided during lockdown it was finally time to build a pool at their Tiki Island home, a long-time wish list item.

“We feel less able to get out and do our routine, our lifestyle,” Bartosh said. “There’re more things to do at home with the pool. I just thought that we’re a little more restricted in what we’re doing. Having a pool here, there’s more fun to do at the house.”

Since the pool’s installation in February, Bartosh’s family has been in it every day, he said. With two kids and a dog, it’s a nice way to enjoy family time, he said.

“Family starts to matter more,” Bartosh said.

Gulf Coast Pools, which constructed Bartosh’s outdoor oasis, has had a wave of new clients requesting pools during the pandemic, Stuart Trahan, an owner, said.

“People at home need something to do,” Trahan said. “People mentioned neighborhood pools getting closed.”

The types of pools people are building range from standard to custom and everything in between, he said.

The building boom has had some setbacks.

The cost of lumber and other materials shot through the roof last year, an expensive trend that has continued for months.

Those costs slowed down Pevoto’s bathroom and closet projects, she said.

“The price of lumber, I mean, ‘hello?’” Pevoto said. “It went through the roof. Everything was bought in stages, slowly.”

Since April 2020, the rising price of lumber has added nearly $30,000 to the price of a single-family house, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Supply chain issues skyrocketed the price of lumber and made building materials harder to find. The costs definitely slowed down the otherwise upward construction trend, Flores said.

Paint also was hard to come by, he said.

“They’re having trouble getting the raw materials to produce the paint,” Flores said.

It’s also taking longer to build pools because shipping disruptions have made equipment hard to come by and many subcontractors are busy with so many projects going on, Trahan said.

Before the pandemic, he told clients he could build them a pool in six to eight weeks. Now he’s telling people 10 to 12 weeks, he said.

Just recently, prices have started to drop, Flores said. Eventually, the trend will slow down, he said.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Flores said. 

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri. 

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