There’s a general perception that the winter months are downtime for the construction industry and building trades. While work does indeed slow down, this season can still be a great time for diving into remodeling or renovation projects around your home.
Why Start Winter Projects Now?
According to several contractor resources, these are the best types of projects to tackle during the winter months:
- Interior painting, replacing flooring, and updating lighting and plumbing are all easily done in the winter months, as long as the workspace and tools are kept warm. This may be the perfect time to tackle a kitchen or bathroom remodel.
- Basement remodel.
- Garage conversion or deck addition.
Frozen ground and dry air are better for digging foundations and pouring concrete footers than wet, muddy ground and humidity, so even a room addition is not out of the question. Many contractors don’t believe in pouring concrete when it’s cold, but with new warm mix products and different winter pouring protocols, there is no consensus on this issue within the construction industry. Many contractors work with methods of pouring concrete right through the winter months.
Three Colder Months Advantages To Consider
This list above notwithstanding, wintertime is a good time for almost any remodeling project, with a few notable exceptions such as exterior painting or (arguably) pouring foundation footings. Here are a few of the reasons to consider winter home renovations.
1. Contractor Availability And Other Scheduling Concerns
Winter months tend to be less busy for builders because the weather can be unpredictable, and their summer season is so busy. Also, homeowners tend to wait for spring and/or tax refunds to begin their home renovation projects. The contractor or trades person who could barely find the time to return your phone call in the summer months may be free and more than happy to do your work come January or February.
If you take a holiday or winter vacation, otherwise disruptive or inconvenient work can be done while you and your family are away. This works well for contractors also – most of them would opt to not having families underfoot during remodeling. Because the work will be contained more firmly indoors, especially if the crew utilizes negative pressure fans and plastic barriers and zip doors, mess and abatements can actually be easier to manage.
2. Avoid Spring Price Hikes
You may be able to take advantage of reduced prices by scheduling your project for the winter months. If you are remodeling your kitchen or laundry room, you can usually find year-end close-out prices on appliances before manufacturers typically launch new models and increase prices for the spring rush. Lumber products, windows, and cabinetry especially all seem to exhibit price spikes in the spring. During the winter, or around Black Friday or Boxing Day and New Year’s sales events, manufacturers often feature special inventory-clearing offers.
3. Permit Approvals
Due to the low activity overall, permit approvals may come through more quickly during the winter months. For the same reason, inspection appointments may be expedited. This can make for an extremely efficient building process. If you are renovating in advance of selling your home during the peak spring months, winter is also a great time to bring on a realtor to plan staging and marketing strategies.
Although it may feel counter-intuitive, don’t dismiss the idea of launching a home renovation or remodel project in December or January. scheduling it for the low season could make for a shorter, more productive, and less expensive process with your contractor and building team. It really depends on what kind of winter your part of the world is having. Obviously, outdoor work is not viable or safe in periods of freezing rain or extreme cold, ice and snow. But even the harshest winters have some weeks of mild, fair weather during which all kinds of building work is possible. Plan ahead, but be ready for periods of non-activity should the weather turn severe. With any luck from the meteorologist, you’ll be able to complete your winter remodel project in record time and under budget.