By Lance McCarthy
Well folks, it’s official. We have entered pumpkin spice season. If you like the taste of orange, this is your time. The world is your gourd. Take your pick. You want pumpkin spice coffee? Easy. How about pumpkin spice Oreos? We got that. Pumpkin spice Doritos? Are you kidding me?! Enjoy. This is the season.
You think you know your pumpkin spice? Try this Pumpkin Spice Real or Fake quiz. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped.
So that got me thinking, what’s the right season for home projects?
Maybe you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, or maybe wanting to add a deck or replace windows or maybe build new? There are time factors.
The three factors that I think are most important to timing a project:
- Weather (although this is becoming less of a factor every year–thanks global warming!)
- Availability– the construction industry has peaks and valleys, so if you time it right, this can help a bit
- Convenience– it is nice to do a project when it has the least impact on your life, or when you will be able to enjoy it.
Let’s look at some common projects:
Bathroom remodel: Really any time
- Weather isn’t a factor, unless your bathroom is out in the yard and has a moon cut out of the door.
- Availability. Usually the two slowest times for a contractor are Jan-Feb and Aug-Sept. It probably won’t give you much of a discount, but it might help the project move a little faster.
- Convenience also is probably not a factor, unless you can time it when you are out of town.
Kitchen remodel: Any time but Thanksgiving/Christmas
- Weather isn’t an issue here
- Availability is about the same as with bathrooms.
- Convenience is the kicker on this one. Using a temporary kitchen can be a major hassle, so if you are one of those families that has 30 people over to drink egg nog and eat monkey bread on Christmas morning, it is probably not the best time to have hazard tape up. Figure about a month for design and 2-4 months for the construction on this one and plan accordingly.
Deck, pool and patio: Late fall or early spring
- Weather is big here, but not in the way you might think. Concrete needs to have a window of a few days above freezing ideally, but the last few seasons have been so mild that we have still been pouring foundations in December and January. Rain is a much bigger bugger. April-May have been horribly wet the last couple of years, and this can really drag a project out.
- Availability. Deck and patio crews are usually really slow in winter, so the closer you can get to that time the better. This really could lead to a good discount.
- Convenience is probably not an issue here, except for the downer of having your yard torn up in grilling season.
Roofs, siding, gutters: Refer to decks and patios
- Addition or Attic conversion Not deep winter or late spring
Weather matters a lot if you are putting holes in the side of your house. Cold is an issue, but not as much as rain. Every spring I don’t sleep from April through May if we have any roofs off because even the house is tarped well, there is still a lot of risk of leaks until everything gets buttoned up. Deep winter is do-able, but just means a higher heating bill.
- Availability–These projects take long enough that it doesn’t usually help to time the slow season.
- Convenience–This is going to be a big hassle no matter what when so much of your house is turned inside out. Just stock up on wine and enjoy the ride.
Basement finish Take your pick
- Weather isn’t an issue obviously
- Availability–these can be great projects for the late winter or late summer slow times that a contractor hits occasionally.
- Convenience–it’s the basement. You weren’t using it anyway, right?
Hope that was helpful. Have other questions? Give me a call or email. I’ll be happy to answer them, or just discuss how crazy pumpkin spice is.
This weekly sponsored column is written by Lance McCarthy of ReTouch, a full-service, client-based contractor specializing in home remodels. For more information about their services, or to view samples of their work, visit their website.