When is the Best Time for a Big Renovation Project?


There comes a time for a homeowner when everything smells like revamp spirit. You know your home needs major kitchen remodelling, you know that you want to style up an old bathroom, and you know for sure that this will finally be the year of patio installation.

What you do not know is when is that perfect, golden moment for a start off. On Monday? In a month? Right after the winter? Unfortunately, no one can tell you with absolute certainty when to catch a renovation train. Any time can be the right time if you are truly ready. However, with so many different aspects involved (like budget, materials, contractors, weather), figuring out this ‘’truly ready moment’’ is not an easy task.

That being said, for some projects certain times are definitely better than others, and knowing how to differentiate them can save you from possible complications. So, here are several things you need to comprehend before deciding when to put big remodelling project on track.

Think weather conditions


A common belief says that home renovations work out best in spring and summer. Spring/summer school of thought has a lot do with the myth that raw materials do not perform well at low temperatures. It is for sure much more pleasant to renovate while the trees are green, under the skies of blue than on days when it seems like the ice age is coming. However, the optimal weather for remodelling highly depends on a project you are planning.

For example, winter can be perfect timing for starting a deck or even room addition. Frozen ground and dry air are better for digging foundations and pouring concrete than muddy ground and humidity. Trench walls are less likely to cave in, thanks to the stiffness that frost offers them during winter months. Plus, you will have fewer rainy days - and nothing can kill a renovation buzz like rain.


Most of the kitchen and bathroom renovation projects can be done at any time since all the construction will be completed indoors. So, winter is not a bad choice for a kitchen or bathroom renovation neither. As long as you keep workspace and tools warm, jobs like flooring replacement, interior painting, lighting and plumbing can also be done in colder months.


On the other hand, you should probably save projects like exterior painting or roof replacement for sunny days. External paints that are water-based require specific conditions to dry well, and with the receding of the temperature water in the paint will evaporate more slowly, which affects how the paint holds up over time. Concerning roof replacement, the best time to do it is usually late summer through the fall months. Surprised? Well, the roofing material needs higher temperatures to seal. Furthermore, projects like deck and patio building are also good to plan for this timeframe.


Think supply and demand


To know when to remodel, you need to understand supply and demand relationship. And this one is… Well, it is complicated. The battle between those two might be constant, but you simply need to keep up with all the drama. Namely, a supply-demand ratio has a major influence on your renovation project cost.

The price of building materials like cement, lumber and paint fluctuates greatly throughout the year - depending on the demand. You should aim for times when raw materials are at their lowest cost. As it usually gets in life, materials are quite budget friendly when it might not be the best time of a year to remodel. Isn’t that ironic? Do not despair though. You could plan your project carefully in advance, purchase materials when they are at their cheapest and store them until you are ready to start. For example, in winter, flooring can be easy on the pocketbook, since it is directly related to the price of crude oil. Similar, raw materials and appliances are cheaper prior the holiday season. By the law of supply and demand, you will probably pay the most for materials in a period from April to July.


Now, the tricky part is the fact that prices are always fluctuating. They are, just like the weather is, uncontrollable. So, be geeky and careful about this one. Plan precisely, know what materials you would like in your house before starting construction. That way you can purchase supplies step by step when the prices are low. Calculated actions will make the renovation process much smoother.


Think contractors


For every virtue contractor, and trust us, you want an excellent one, there are periods when he is overwhelmed with projects. You might have to kill for a reliable professional between August and November. As you can probably assume, contractor’s busy times are not the best times for you to schedule a home revamp. Just as your burger is more likely to come without that extra cheese when you order it during restaurant’s busiest hours, your contractor is more likely to make mistakes when he is balancing several big jobs. Plus, the prices will be higher. Sometimes, contractors have so much on their plate during a busy season, that they are forced to turn away additional work.

Now, entering a project in the off-season can be a foolishly adventurous idea too. For example, installing a pool during a North Vancouver’s winter, when the ground is frozen solid, is probably a bad thought. However, there is no need for being extreme. With early planning and a bit of flexibility, you might be able to start your project in motion before the season rush. That deck you want to spend your summer Sundays on will need to be planned before it is constructed. So, you could contact a deck designer during the winter months. You will likely be the only project he is working on, and you will get an excellent service. Makes sense, right?

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Slightly off-season is a good time to remodel since quality contractors can be hired not only easier, but cheaper. Another great option for homeowners is schedule their remodels in advance, ideally 3-4 months, which prevents putting a project on hold.


Think budget


Homeowners often underestimate the cost of a big renovation project. The main suspects are hidden issues. Your home might look excellent on the outside, but huge imperfections could be lurking beneath the surface. You never know what is going to happen once you start knocking down kitchen walls.

Home renovation budgeting is pretty much like any other budgeting. You need to separate needs from wants. Take your time to make a detailed survey of your home. Be smart, be patient and prepare yourself well. It is rare for any big project to go completely without trouble. Always add at least 10 to 20 percent to your initial remodelling budget for unforeseen expenses.

The bottom line is that your budget is the main star in this home revamp play. Time of the year could be pitch perfect, contractors available and ready to rock, but if the budget is even remotely unstable, the show simply must not go on.


Think Opportunity Cost


Big renovation will unsettle you and your family in some way. You will have to devote energy, time and money to a project, and it will affect your schedule and lifestyle. This is known as Opportunity Cost. Let us say that you are a full-time housewife with three kids. Being without a place to cook during a major kitchen remodelling might cause inconvenience and stress. Solution? You could time to renovate your kitchen before or after the winter months so that your family can use outdoor kitchen rather than eating every meal in a restaurant.

Make sure to be honest with yourself and figure out when this Opportunity Cost is the cheapest. It might be a strong indicator when you should take on home renovation. A perfect moment to start any big project is, undoubtedly, after a project has been completely thought out!