Model scheduling: Here’s how to get your remodeling job done at the right time

This 1960s ranch boasted a great location near downtown, but its outdated floor plan needed to be modernized. Scott Abbott removed a few of the walls and raised the ceilings. Photo: Christian Hommel This 1960s ranch boasted a great location near downtown, but its outdated floor plan needed to be modernized. Scott Abbott removed a few of the walls and raised the ceilings. Photo: Christian Hommel

Quick. Call a contractor. It’s remodeling season!

Your intuition has long told you the best time to upgrade your home is during the warm months. And local contractor Scott Abbott of Abbott & Company General Contractors confirms your suspicion. Not only is cold ground unyielding, but cold weather means moist earth that freezes, thaws and repeats.

“When it’s wet, it complicates things for dirt work and excavation,” Abbott said. “The quality is at risk. You really have to do it the right way when it’s cold.”

That means major renos that involve adding structural elements or trying to throw in a porch to enjoy this summer definitely have to wait till spring. On top of the foundation-laying concerns, Abbott advised that insulation is difficult to apply properly when the air is cold.

Remember, though, that you won’t be the only person looking to take on your dream home jobs as the ground warms and dries. Spring is the second busiest season for contractors behind fall, when projects are wrapping up. So here’s a somewhat academic tip at this point: Plan ahead!

“For a lot of projects, you want to start working really early on like in January,” said Howie Hilsinger, a remodeling consultant for Integrity Home Contracting. “There is a lot of planning involved in doing something like that—you’ll want to walk your way through the design, selection, ordering and permitting processes. That takes a couple of months.”

Hilsinger said to budget about four weeks of planning for a project like window replacement. Once everything is measured and ordered, the actual job shouldn’t take more than one or two days. The same goes for the work time on doors. Both projects are best suited to milder temps, so again you’ll want to aim for spring or fall.

Painting contractors are also busy as pants turn to shorts, though Hilsinger advised there’s typically a lull in exterior jobs, which should take about two weeks, in July. Interior painting jobs can be left for winter, he said, as paint companies are putting out products with reduced fumes that don’t require as much venting. Indoor drywall projects are likewise ripe winter fare, and Abbott said attractive pricing might be available from some contractors.

Flooring is another year-round job, Hilsinger said, though the fumes are far worse than with paint. “We do a lot of that kind of work when people are on vacation,” he said. “They go away, and when they get back it is done.”

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