When is the Best Time for Big Projects?

by Jon Nunan

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Home Remodeling

In many places around the country, summer is the season for remodeling. It's true that sunny days and warm weather are very beneficial when it comes to working outside, but there is much more to consider when planning a remodeling project than the temperature. In many cases, knowing when to remodel is likely to save you money as well as time during your project. While spring and summer might be the most popular seasons for home improvement, the best time to remodel is when your hassle (and budget) will be at a minimum.

Know When to Remodel: Understanding Supply and Demand
The battle between supply and demand is constant, and is one of the main factors in how much we pay for just about everything. Just as Halloween decorations are a steal on Nov. 1st, the price of building materials like paint, lumber and cement fluctuates depending on the time of year and the demand for that particular material. The best time to remodel is not always when the price of these materials is at their lowest, but by planning your project well in advance, you may be able to accrue materials when they are at their cheapest an simply store them until you are ready to begin working on your home. Additionally, when every contractor within a 6 mile radius is putting in orders for hardwood flooring or replacement windows, there's a greater chance that orders will get delayed or mixed up, causing everyone involved a little more aggravation!

Contractors' Busy Times Are Not the Best Time to Remodel
Have you ever been to a restaurant during the lunch or dinner rush? Maybe sat through rush hour traffic in a major city? If so, you are well-aware that there are certain times of the day when things just seem to work better. Knowing when to remodel is not just about material cost but about contractor availability, too. Just as your sandwich is more likely to come without the extra pickles you ordered during a restaurant's busiest hours, your contractor is more likely to make mistakes when he or she is juggling several other, similar jobs. On top of that, contractors have busy seasons where they are turning away work and times of the year when they can't find enough.

Now, in many areas of the country, it is actually foolhardy to enter some projects in the off-season. For example, installing a pool during a Vermont winter when the ground is frozen solid is probably a bad idea. However, with some early planning and a little flexibility, you might be able to get your project in motion well before the main rush, allowing you to finish a little earlier and allowing your contractor to work more efficiently, as he or she won't have any other projects to contend with. Since you'll be providing work for your contractor when little is available, you are likely to get excellent service. Since the mistakes and backtracking are likely to be greatly reduced, the "slightly off-season" is one of the best times to remodel!

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When to Remodel: Season By Season
The best time to remodel is, of course, going to change depending on the project you are planning. In most cases, it is a good idea to have your project take place a month or two before or after everyone else will be calling for the same project. Since furnaces are generally ignored before fall, have your system checked (and altered, if necessary) in mid to late summer. As window replacements are often summer projects, try and perform this task in early spring. Air conditioning units might quickly be serviced in late fall, saving you from being wait listed and making sure your system hasn't been overworked during the summer. That deck you want to build when the weather gets nice will need to be planned before it's constructed, so why not contact a deck designer in the winter when you'll likely be the only project he or she is working on?!

It would be impossible to list every project for every slightly off-season in one article! Just remember that knowing when to remodel is often more about planning and less about the weather. The best projects are mostly (if not completely) solidified well before the actual work begins. One axiom you can always count on no matter what the season. The best time to remodel is always, without a doubt, after a project has been thoroughly thought out!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.