How do the holidays affect remodel construction?

The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner, and if you’re in the process of a big remodel project (or considering one), you might have some questions about how the holidays could affect your construction timeline. 

At Lamont Bros, we get a lot of questions about the holidays, and with good reason. Homeowners want to know if their project will get delayed, or if they’ll be able to cook Christmas dinner in their remodeled home. 

We’ve been through the holiday construction season enough times that we know how to plan for the busy rush that it brings.  So, instead of leaving you to fend for yourself, Lamont Bros is here to show you what to expect from your remodel project this Christmas. 

At the end of this article, you should understand how the winter holidays affect construction project timelines. Then, you can plan ahead and enjoy time with your family this holiday season instead of stressing over your remodel. 

Will the holidays affect my remodel timeline?

Short answer – yes. If a remodel is scheduled to begin before Thanksgiving and end after the New Year, it will almost certainly take longer than if it were scheduled at any other time during the year. There are three main reasons for this: staffing shortages, longer lead times, and inclement weather.

Staffing Shortages

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas sees a mild shortage in staffing across most industries, including construction. However, we typically experience about a 50% workforce reduction during the two weeks around Christmas and New Years.

Why? Well, that’s usually the time that kids are out of school. A lot of families like to use the opportunity to take some vacation time. Construction staff are no exception to this. At Lamont Bros, we usually budget a 1 – 2 week delay in most projects that break over the holidays. We do this to plan for the likelihood that our workers will take a vacation. 

Material Lead Times

The American economy surges for Christmas shopping between November and December – 30% of all retail revenue is made during the holiday season. The influx of demand for goods and materials puts a seasonal strain on the shipping industry. This is especially unfortunate this year due to an already overloaded supply-chain system. 

If any materials are scheduled to be shipped between November and December, expect them to take longer than usual. This includes cabinets, appliances, flooring, lumber, and trim. It might be a few days wait, it might be a few weeks.

Also, consider how the previously mentioned staffing shortages might affect lead times on materials. For example, we work with a cabinet company that observes traditional Jewish holidays. This year, Chanuka lasts from November 28th to December 6th, and no cabinets get built or sent during this time.

Inclement Weather

Dreaming of a White Christmas? If so, you’re also unwittingly wishing for your remodel to get delayed. 

Any exterior work on a remodel during the holiday season is already more difficult due to cold temperatures. Snow, hail, and freezing rain can often make exterior work nearly impossible. If you’re planning to remodel the exterior of your home, be nice to your build team. Schedule it during the spring.

Unfortunately, bad weather doesn’t just affect outdoor work. Why? Well for starters, your build team still has to get there. For any construction company, having drivers on the road in hazardous conditions is a huge liability. Simply put, it’s often not worth the risk. 

At Lamont Bros, our company vehicles aren’t equipped for winter driving conditions. We’ll choose our employees’ safety over a job’s timeline any day of the year, and twice on Christmas.

When should I start my remodel if I want it done by Christmas?

A lot of homeowners want to have their remodel done by the holidays so that they can entertain guests. We love that idea, and there are definitely a few ways to make that happen. 

The question, however, shouldn’t be “When does the project need to start?” The better question is “When should it end?” 

Obviously, some remodel projects take longer than others. Therefore, it is best to first figure out the scope of the project and how long the remodel will take. That way, you can plan on starting with enough time to finish the project well before you actually want to have full use of your space.

We usually recommend finishing a project anywhere from 1-3 months before the day you would absolutely need it done. This method leaves enough time to budget for delays and gives you time to get used to your new space. 

So, if you’re planning a pull-and-replace kitchen remodel and want it done by Christmas, shoot for a project completion date of November 25th or earlier. These type of kitchen remodels typically take anywhere from 5-7 weeks, so you’ll want to start in early to mid-October. 

However, given the same deadline for a whole home remodel, you’d be looking at an entirely different ballgame. Whole-home remodels can run anywhere from 5-8 months, and sometimes even longer, depending on the extent of the work. If you want it ready by Christmas, our advice is to start your project as close to the beginning of spring as possible. 

Late spring to early fall are the most favorable months in terms of weather, and your project is the least likely to experience weather-related delays during this time.

Bottom line: the earlier you plan for completion, the less likely the holidays are to affect your remodel.

Want to spend next year’s holiday season in a remodeled home?

If you’re considering a remodel and want to have it done by next Thanksgiving or Christmas, check out some of Lamont Bros.’ recent remodeling projects to start gathering ideas of what your remodel could look like. If you’re ready to talk to a design consultant about how to have your dream home for next Christmas, click the box below to schedule a call.