Summertime and the Livin’ Is … Kind of Cramped and in Need of a Serious Remodel

Summer is the best time for barbecues, pool parties, beach vacations, and oh yeah, home renovations.

In fact, if you’re planning a home renovation, you’ll probably have to forgo the beach vacation in order to pay for it, but the rewards of a new kitchen or bathroom will last a lot longer than those pictures of you and your spouse on yet another boardwalk drinking beer and eating fries. (Although if you drink enough beer and eat enough fries, you may end up with a long-lasting souvenir hanging around your midsection.)

Why is summer prime time for ripping out the old and installing the new?

The weather is nice. Rain and snow can impact a construction schedule, even if the renovations are entirely inside. Saws and other tools are usually set up outside to cut down on noise and mess in your home, and bad weather can set progress back a few days.If any renovations are taking place outside — say if you’re getting a new roof or adding dormers, a porch or an extra room — the wet and the cold can have an impact. It’s not safe to go on a roof when it’s wet and slippery, which basically rules out April through June in this area of the country.

Nice weather also means your furnace isn’t working overtime trying to heat your front and back yards. The same goes for A/C, however, so if you’re tearing down walls or expecting workmen to traipse in and out every few minutes, you might want to try to avoid scheduling work in these dog days of summer.

More daylight hours. Contractors can get lots more done in the summer with all the extra hours of light.Your project can get be completed up to 25 percent faster if the company you hire stays late to finish faster. Let’s hope they do, since you want your house back, and you want the contractor you chose to be in-demand enough to have other jobs lined up that he wants to get to.

You won’t be home as much. True, you may have to cut back on your vacation budget, but you can still take off for a week or two and visit friends or relatives with extra bedrooms.Even if they live in Ohio, visiting them gets you away from the construction zone and gives you some respite from annoying household chores. You can sit in their living room, watching TV in the morning in your pajamas and not once think that you should throw in a load of wash or mow the lawn.

You can shower elsewhere. This is only important if some of your facilities are out of commission, of course. If you belong to a pool, you can shower there, even if you’re not using the pool at the time.It’s the same with a gym or health club too, and yes these are available year-round, but you don’t want to have to take the trouble to blow-dry before you go home or risk your hair freezing and snapping off as you make a mad dash to your car.

Remodeling contractors are usually busiest in the summer for all of these reasons. It’s best to stake your claim on their services early in the season, but you may not be too late. Jobs fall through. Schedules change. It never hurts to ask.

If you can’t get on the schedule until September or October, don’t fret. With our climate here in the D.C. area, we have an extended season. You won’t be using much heat or air conditioning in the fall, so climate isn’t a problem. You can still go out of town for a few days, although it’s harder if you have school-aged children. And though the days are getting shorter, you’ll still have more daylight in fall than in winter.

If you don’t already have a favorite contractor, ask your family, friends and neighbors for recommendations. This is the best way to go. Yelp is useful, but people who take the time to post reviews are usually angry, so it skews the results. And asking contractors for recommendations isn’t going to give you an accurate picture either, since they won’t give you the names and numbers of unsatisfied customers.

Don’t wait! Do your research, get your estimates, and take the plunge, so you can have the bathroom or kitchen or basement or bedroom of your dreams!

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