The holiday season is a mixed bag of early snow and winter wonderland, followed by weeks of dreary skies and long commutes to work. It’s a time to spend with friends and family for sure, but many people have very different ideas about the best place to spend the holidays. Sometimes, you’re just ready for something different. If you live in Boston, maybe you’re ready to take this winter off altogether by moving the family down to Florida for an extended holiday break with your parents. Or maybe you live in Southern California, and you’re ready to experience the winter wonderland that Hollywood depicts so vividly by spending time with the part of your family who lives in Minneapolis.
Spending the holidays traveling may dovetail nicely with the perfect time to take on a major home improvement project. Maybe your kid heads back early to start school and stays at a friend’s house, while you spend another month traveling and waiting for the work to be finished. A kitchen remodel, bathroom renovation, porch addition, or major deck install may only take 4-6 weeks in an ideal situation, but most of the time, it’s crucial that you build extra time into the schedule.
Why Leaving Extra Time is So Important
- Even the pros can make mistakes. Maybe the main contractor isn’t onsite to supervise that day and the crew fails to account for the fact that your main living area connects rooms and corners that aren’t at perfect right angles. Or maybe you’ve hired someone with a little less experience who makes what the National Wood Flooring Association calls one of the hardwood flooring installation sins.
- If your renovation involves tearing down a wall, plan for things to go wrong. Maybe the teardown reveals the load-bearing structural support isn’t as robust as the contractor had hoped. Having the time to consult an architect or structural engineer can help identify the best solution for your hard-cap budget. Maybe there’s an unused gas line that needs to be removed. These are just a few of the possibilities that explain why the pros suggest leaving an extra 20% of the project budget to deal with “whatever they find behind the walls.”
- Even in a best-case scenario, the contractor is likely to appreciate having work without being in a rush, especially right around the holidays. Number 16 on its list of 21 ways to save on a home remodel, This Old House reports that you can expect to save right around 5% on a bathroom remodel simply by waiting till the new year to get the work done.
Avoid Popular Myths about Scheduling a Remodel
Maybe you’ve been told exterior work, like a deck installation, is tough-sledding when the ground’s frozen-over. Yet, for a major deck build or home addition, the opposite conditions can be even worse. Wet, soft ground can complicate efforts to install concrete footers and a solid, level foundation in general. After the deck installation is complete, a landscaper can come in during the early spring thaw—before peak spring season hits—and add the sod, plants, trim, and other decorative elements to make the overhaul of your home facade or backyard complete.
Sometimes, it’s not the myth but the herd that you’re looking to avoid. If you can afford it, don’t wait for Uncle Sam to get started—or at the very least, do your tax returns as early as possible. Just as much as the weather, this is why early spring is often peak season for homeowners looking to take on a major addition to their home. If you don’t have the savings, it can make a lot of sense to finance a major home improvement project of this nature.
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