Summer Jobs vs Winter Jobs

Takeaway: The timing of your project can affect the price, the quality and the length of the project I write this with the weather patterns of Portland, Oregon in mind. However, the theories apply to every region, just the timing will be different. The time of the year can make a big difference to your project, probably bigger than you think. I mostly do bathrooms, decks and fences, I do other projects here and there but those are the specialties I really like to do and I know I do them well. They also are seasonally complimentary projects. Bathrooms are perfect winter jobs, while decks and fences are perfect summer jobs. Building a fence in the midst of bad December weather is not something I like to do. On the flip side a bathroom in August can be a painful, hot sweaty experience. I once learned an interesting "fact" about cars. It turns out it's based in fiction, but the adage goes, don't buy a car made on a Monday or a Friday as the workmanship is poor due to absenteeism and performance. The same is the case in construction; work performed in circumstances that are not ideal will likely be sub-par for all manner of reasons. A worker or installer working in the rain or the heat is likely to rush or cut corners just to get done quicker. Also, the weather can reek havoc on the final product, weakening product and even lengthening a job. Concrete poured in the rain or the cold is likely to be imperfect, as is grout put in tile in a poorly or unevenly heated bathroom. So seasonality and the related integrity of your builder matter to the quality of your project, what about the price? A fence or a deck in July is likely to be a premium priced project, as is a bathroom or kitchen heading into Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is not just the demand that drives up the price of labor at these times but the materials for seasonal projects tend to be higher at the peak times. So my tip is to look on the edges of those seasons. A deck in April or October is good timing as is a bathroom in January or February. There are always exceptions to these guidelines, and you can always hunt around for the right bids and the right materials at the right prices. A final tip is to plan. Plan what you want to do a year or two out. Coordinate with your contractor, they will appreciate it. If you know you are doing a deck next Spring plan ahead and buy the materials this fall a a steep discount at the end of season sales. The same goes for tile and bath fixtures, outdoor furniture and kitchen materials.
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