Major home improvement projects in the winter? Oh, yes.
The home improvement cycle is, for the most part, predictable. People tend to focus outside the home in the summer (window and door replacement, new roofs and gutters) and inside when winter comes (seal walls and windows, tune HVAC systems, install a new thermostat). Demand for specific types of work, as you would think, correlate with those seasons.
Don’t let the trends fool you, though — winter can be a fantastic time to tackle some of those so-called summer home improvement projects. If you’re selling your home this year, winter home improvement work is especially valuable.
Listing your home at the right time of year can earn you a higher sale price.
For example, listing in the first two weeks of May could increase your selling price by nearly $3,000 in Baltimore, Maryland. Your sale could net much as $4,100 in the Washington, D.C. area if you list in mid-April.
For most of the country, listing by late spring is a benefit. That means you may not want to put off for tomorrow what you can do today — even if the forecast calls for a little snow.
Home improvement is a year-round investment.
The early part of the year does bring cold weather to the northeastern United States, but it’s still considered to be the best time of the year for starting a number of projects.
Fall and winter are great times to complete a roof replacement. You can move forward with your plans for a new roof during the winter months as long as the weather’s not too cold or wet.
Contractors often have greater availability around the holidays and during the early part of the new year. The lighter workload should benefit your project schedule, despite the potential weather challenges.
“Our crews work year-round, but many clients don’t want to have work done in the middle of the holiday season and winter months,” says Jeff Caron, Long Fence and Home’s vice president of sales. “This means there’s potential for a better lead time if you’re able to schedule your roof replacement during these months. If the weather cooperates, it is possible to have your new roof installed even faster in the winter months.”
Window and Door Replacements
Windows and doors expand and contract. That’s why it is ideal to do window and door replacements in the spring and fall, notes Erin Vaughn of Modernize.com, when temperatures are milder in the north-Atlantic and mid-Atlantic United States (places like Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. would fall into these regions).
Spring and fall are much friendlier to home improvement products like caulk, for example, which will not set properly in very cold or very warm weather.
Winter can still a good time to schedule the window replacements. Many people assume that there will be a big, gaping hole in their wall and their home will turn into an icebox. This, however, is not necessarily true.
Kimberlee Shaw of Angie’s List explains that there are several benefits of winter door and window replacements, including:
- Improved contractor availability. As Mr. Caron mentioned above, the fact that winter is the off-season for many home contractors means that there will be more flexibility in their installment schedules.
- Instant improvement in energy efficiency. Why wait until next winter to have windows that actually keep the heat in and drafts out? You have an energy bill to pay today.
- Potential off-season sales and incentives. Again, use the off-season to your advantage. Contractors are looking for work and may be more willing to cut a deal.
Regardless of the season, good installers work quickly and carefully to get your windows replaced one-at-a-time so that the influx of cold air is kept to a minimum. They can use plastic barriers and keep interior doors closed to minimize cold air flow in your home. Your contractor can use a silicone-based caulk or other high-performance sealant to minimize temperature-related sealing issues.
Vinyl siding is a great way to add instant beauty to the outside of your home. Available in a wide variety of colors and styles, siding can be the primary exterior of your home or it can be used to accent wood or brick facade.
Another beautiful benefit: siding can be installed any time of year that is convenient to you.
The durability of vinyl makes it extremely weather resistant. Moisture and mild temperature fluxes are less likely to affect the installation. Insulated vinyl siding also reduces noise, which is a benefit that dated siding or other types of siding may not provide.
Like replacement windows and doors, new vinyl siding can improve your energy costs from the moment that it is installed.
Landscaping and Decks
Winter is also a great time to prune unsightly or overgrown trees in your yard. Trees are able to heal more quickly during the winter months. There are fewer pests to infect the cuts and they aren’t using their energy to grow — they are storing it to develop roots and repair damage.
As long as the ground is still workable, you can even plant trees in the winter.
Planting trees is a great way to go green, but trees also create curb appeal. In fact, homes on tree-lined streets actually tend to earn a better sale price—as much as 15% better!
Ready to start a home improvement project?
Roof, windows, doors, siding, and landscaping updates are all great ways to improve the feel and function of your home while improving curb appeal, regardless of whether you’re ready to sell.