The Best Time of Year to Tackle Major Home Improvement Projects
Take the calendar into consideration when planning your next big update.
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Timing is Everything
Home renovations are a major — and often costly — decision. Which makes it all the more important to get the timing right. Should you take on a paint project in the sweltering summer heat? If you kick off your interior reno in the fall, do you risk stressing about it through Christmas? The weather, holidays, contractor availability and material costs all factor into perfectly timing your renovation projects. While there’s no perfect timeline — ultimately the best time to take on a reno is when you feel ready to do it — here are 15 big projects where it won’t hurt to take the calendar year into consideration.
Deck: Early Winter
You want that deck to be ready by springtime, right? Deck builders tend to be less busy before the holidays and more inclined to provide clients a discount. Plus, a minor construction site outside won’t disrupt any of your indoor holiday plans. It’s also a good season construction-wise: cold, cloudy weather helps pressure-treated wood dry consistently and minimizes the odds of warping or cracking.
House Addition: Winter
Be sure to plan ahead for any type of house addition, including a garage, as it may require permits and collaborating with various professionals. Try to get everything in order to begin work in the winter. Frozen ground and dry air are better for digging foundations and pouring concrete footers, as opposed to muddy ground and humidity. Finishing before springtime means you’ll miss rainy days that could delay work.
Bathroom Remodel: Winter
According to HomeAdvisor, homeowners typically submit more service requests for bathroom remodels in July than any other month of the year. This busy season tends to last through September. So why not avoid the rush? Doing it in colder months will ensure a more efficient, more affordable experience with your contractor.
Interior Painting: Winter
Winter is undoubtedly the best time to paint inside your home, as you’ll get better deals from professionals and have more time to take on outdoor projects when the weather warms. If you live in a particularly chilly climate, the cold air helps cure the paint. Make sure you crack a window for ventilation and proper drying.
Here’s a renovation project where the rain isn’t a bad thing. Refinishing hardwood floors shouldn’t be done in the summer, as hot and humid temperatures can cure the finish too quickly and cause the sheen to dry improperly. Instead, take on this project in the cooler spring months, when the weather won’t interfere with the final result.
Paving Your Driveway: Spring
The best temperature for paving asphalt is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making late spring or early summer the best time of year for a new driveway. Since that’s when pavers get busiest, be sure to plan this project ahead of time.
Installing Windows: Spring
Window replacements are often done in the summer, according to HomeAdvisor. So get ahead of the curve by having yours repaired or replaced in the spring. It also means you won’t be freezing while they’re fixed up, and it doesn’t hurt that caulk adheres better in warmer weather than it does in the cold.
If you’re looking to refresh your yard, do it right before warm weather hits. The best time to begin landscaping and planting trees, shrubs and perennials is in the months of April and May, giving your plants the opportunity to grow and acclimate during summer and fall. If you’re too busy to make it happen then, start working in fall before the weather gets cold.
Kitchen Renovation: Summer
You’ll likely want to kick off a kitchen renovation the months you’re least excited to cook — namely, hot summer months. (Use the grill instead!) If the project extends until October, that’s when new dishwashers, stoves and appliances are released and discounts on older models start to appear. Just make sure to wrap up the project by Thanksgiving!
Exterior Painting: Summer
Exterior paint performs best with the least amount of temperature change between day and night. That time of year will depend on where you live, but in many places, it’s the summer months. (And hopefully you’ll avoid the rain.) If this project is DIY, track the time of day the sun hits each side of your home and paint shady areas accordingly. Or, hire a professional and ask for their advice given your local climate.
Roofers work year-round, but their busiest (and priciest) times of the year are late summer through fall. That’s because the weather is likely to be the clearest, ensuring a roof replacement can be done quickly. Roofing materials also must be exposed to higher temperatures to properly seal. But there can be an advantage to roofing in winter: you’ll have your pick of roofing companies, with more competitive pricing, as it’s a downtime for installations.
Installing or Fixing a Fireplace: Summer
Whether you're installing, repairing cracks or redesigning the mantel, you’ll want your fireplace to be ready to blaze by winter. So take the summer — a time nobody’s thinking about fireplaces — to quickly secure a professional. It also means seals won’t be affected by wet weather while drying.
Installing a Pool: Fall
The ground is typically drier during fall months, meaning that a pool installation will be easier and faster. Plus, building during fall gives you time to plan the landscape around your new backyard addition. By summertime, you’ll have a completely revamped outdoor hang out spot.
Central Air Conditioning: Fall
If you’re looking for a good deal, fall is your best bet to install central AC. You’ll catch contractors in a slow work season, between summer and winter HVAC repair service. That means it’s likely you’ll get a lower price on the air conditioning unit and installation.
Full Remodel: Plan Ahead
Say you’re kicking off a full, down-to-the-studs renovation. What then? In this case, planning is more important than time of year. Give yourself time to vet contractors and price out materials. (With a long lead time, you can also accrue materials when they’re cheapest, and store them until work begins.) With early planning and flexibility, you might be able to get your project in motion well before the remodel rush, allowing your contractor to work more efficiently and finish early.