Investors in many real-estate-related companies are worried. The housing boom we've enjoyed for a good while now shows signs of evaporating. For Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), this conjures images of empty aisles in home improvement centers. For construction materials companies like USG (NYSE:USG), Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST), and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A), it raises fears of empty factory floors and laid-off workers. (You may not have realized it, but Warren Buffett's megacompany is a housing giant, with subsidiaries producing insulation, paint, carpeting, and much more.)

All this hand-wringing may be overblown, though. According to Jerome Idaszak at, the majority of homes in the U.S. were built more than 25 years ago. They'll soon need big-ticket maintenance, including siding, roofing, heating and air-conditioning, and energy-saving windows. Remember, new construction isn't the only kind of construction that matters.

Even recently built homes often get remodeled, especially if they've changed hands recently. Our fluid society these days keeps lots of people on the move, relocating from town to town and state to state -- and buying and selling homes in the process.

In addition, as the housing boom cools and prices fall, "flippers" will likely generate considerable buying and selling, aiming to buy properties at low prices, spiff them up quickly, and sell them for a fast profit. That kind of effort will also involve remodeling.

Idaszak estimates that while the share of residential construction money going toward remodeling fell between 1995 and 2005, during the new-home surge, remodeling will likely stage a comeback in the coming decade. It's already worth some $300 billion -- nothing to sneeze at.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Home Depot, Fastenal, and Berkshire Hathaway. Home Depot and Berkshire are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.