Summer is the best time to engage in home improvement projects. True or false?
Most people will say that statement is “true” without much hesitation but as it turns it’s not quite as black and white as all that. Certainly from the perspective of weather summertime is undoubtedly the best time to be making holes in exterior walls or digging up the yard for an inground pool. But weather is not the only thing that needs to be considered when setting up a schedule for your home improvement project. Just as important, (and in many ways more important), is that the renovation occurs at a time that fits best with your family’s schedule and dovetails nicely with optimal financial conditions; both your own and those related to the cost of materials and labor.
The Law of Supply and Demand
The summertime may be the best time to open up the side of the house to create an addition but it’s also the contractor’s busiest time of the year. That’s because everyone wants their addition built during the warm weather. If you can wait until fall or early next spring you can likely catch the contractor at a slower time when they really need the work. Translation? You’ll get a better price. Waiting out the market can sometimes make the difference between being able to afford the renovation you want and having to settle for less.
Securing the services of a contractor at a reduced price is one great way to make your renovation budget go further. Another way is to take the long view on materials. If you know exactly what you want to do and you’re sure you can afford it you might find it to your advantage to wait and slowly gather materials prior to starting the project. This way you’ll have plenty of time to find bargains on the materials you’ll need. Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground for sales, clearances, closeouts and other promotions. Then purchase what you’ll be needing and store it away until it’s time to start work. You could wind up saving a substantial chunk of change this way.
The Ties That Bind
Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to home improvement project timetables is the family. The best time for the family does not always coincide with the best weather. For instance; if your son or daughter is home from university for the summer do you really want to be gutting the kitchen or knocking out the wall in their bedroom while they’re home? This should be a time of reaffirming family bonds and enjoying the time you have together. Not spending sleepless nights or watching her or him retreat to their friend’s house to escape the noise and mess.
Your Bottom Line
Most individuals as well as families experience fluctuations in their financial position throughout the year. As a result you may not want to start an expensive renovation project when you’re experiencing a cash ‘valley’. Since summertime is typically the time of family vacations you may find yourself pinched financially at a time when the weather would make renovations easy. A better time might be after the holidays and tax season are over but summer has not yet begun, or after summer vacation when you’ve had some time to replenish your bank account.
When Summer May be the Right Time
There are some projects for which summertime is the ideal time, regardless of cash flow or who is home for the summer. Take furnaces for instance. Most people don’t think about their furnace until the leaves start to fall. By then however you’ll have to both wait in line with everyone else and pay top dollar for maintenance, repair or installation services. Go against the grain and schedule your furnace service or new furnace installation for July instead of November. You’ll save time and money.
There are other projects that simply can’t be done any other time than the summer, like house painting. Once the temperature gets below 37° F latex exterior paints are worthless. But even if you’re painting when it’s 45° F outside it will still be too cold for fillers, caulking and the like. Interior painting jobs can be handled year round but think carefully before you subject everyone in the sealed-up house to the disruption, smells and inconvenience.
So going back to the original yes/no premise you can hopefully see that determining the right time for a home renovation project is not always a simple matter of waiting for the weather to warm up. There are other things and other people to consider, including the fact that whatever it is you do in the summer it’s going to cost you more. So think twice before scheduling your next renovation project for June, July or August. You might be better off waiting.