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Friday, August 14, 2015

Problems to overcome when building in the colder months

By Ken Uhrich

There was a time when trying to build a home in the winter was not only ill advised, it was impossible. Most homebuilders simply shut down during the winter months, preferring to wait till the spring time. While this isn’t the case, there are still some issues that you might run into when deciding to build a home over the winter months.
  • Breaking ground- With colder months comes harder ground. Breaking frozen ground to lay the foundation can be more difficult than when the ground is thawed. However, with the right construction equipment this isn’t as much of an issue as it was in the past. You might also have to import topsoil to replace what was lost which can add to construction costs.
  • Pouring the foundation- One of the biggest issues you can face in the winter is when it comes time to pouring the foundation. Special care needs to be taken to make sure the cement cures properly, otherwise you might have to deal with cracks in the foundation which can lead to problems down the road.
  • Slower production- As you get deeper into winter, the daylight hours get shorter. This means less time during the day for construction. Weather can also create delays, especially if you find yourself in the middle of a snowstorm. Keep this in mind when it comes to setting a timeline for building.
  • Freezing water can be an issue- Special care needs to be taken when laying water pipes and setting up water filtration systems. As water in pipes freezes, it expands which can lead to cracking, damming and other issues.
  • Timing is critical- It’s important to be mindful of timing during the winter months. While external construction can be done during 20-30 degree temperatures, that’s only if there’s no ice. If you’re able to get the external construction done before freezing becomes an issues, internal construction can worked on even when it’s freezing outside.
  • Higher costs- Building in the winter might be more expensive than building in the summer time. Some construction companies charge a premium to work in the cold as it requires extra considerations to make sure that there aren’t any issues with the work, as well as having to work in the cold. The flipside, however, is that some companies might offer a discount as it means they have work during a typically slower season. If you’re planning on building in the winter, make sure you discuss this with your contractor.

File:Farm buildings in the snow - geograph.org.uk - 1625797.jpg

While trying to build in the winter time adds to the amount of considerations you need to make when it comes to planning, it’s not impossible. Sometimes, winter construction is necessary as sitting on building permits can be expensive. There are also some advantages to building over the winter months as it means that your home is done being built by the spring time. Building during the spring time means your yard is torn up usually until the end of summer, which creates an eyesore in comparison to your new home. Having construction done by spring gives you the chance to actually enjoy your new home during the summer months and your family can be better settled come next winter.

About the author+Ken Uhrich likes houses. In fact he lives in one. You can drop him a line at the Custom Home Group website.
Image: Ian PatersonLicense: CC BY-SA 2.0