Remodeling your home comes with a list of challenges and obstacles to overcome. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is unfortunately one of those challenges. Although not every remodel requires extensive work outdoors, the weather does impact every remodel to some degree. Due to our notoriously wet winter season, many Portland homeowners find themselves asking, “When is the best time of year to remodel my home?”
At Lamont Bros., we’ve worked on hundreds of homes year-round and in every type of weather imaginable. Even in Portland, there’s no time of year when it’s impossible to remodel a house. However, some seasons offer more favorable weather patterns for remodel construction.
This article will discuss how seasonal weather affects home remodeling. Here, you’ll be able to read about the different types of remodeling projects that work best at different times of the year. You can read about:
- Seasonal weather patterns in the Portland area
- How weather patterns can affect your lifestyle during a remodel
- What effect the time of year has on your remodel cost
- How to decide what time of year is best for your remodel
Why do weather patterns matter for remodeling?
The Pacific Northwest is known for its temperate climate and heavy rainfall. While the greenery during the spring and summer months is unparalleled, it requires a lot of precipitation to sustain. In fact, Portland is the 3rd rainiest city in the US, with an average of 164 rainy days per year. The wettest months of the year are from November to March, while the driest months run from June to September.
This information is important because it paints a clear picture of when outdoor work makes the most sense. Not all remodels require exterior work. The most common types of remodels that involve outside work are additions, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and outdoor living spaces. Most kitchen, bathroom, basement, and whole-home remodels are primarily indoor jobs.
While June through September is the most convenient time to do exterior remodeling work, it is by no means the only time. Working in inclement weather is part of the job description for remodel carpenters. At Lamont Bros., our teams have worked outside in the rain, snow, and heavy winds. Though few people enjoy it, completing an exterior remodel in the dead of winter is completely achievable. It simply becomes a question of whether you want to spend the winter months stuck inside with a remodel going on around you.
How will the season of your remodel affect your lifestyle?
Rather than look at it from the perspective of how the weather will affect the project, first consider how it will affect you. Due to the rainy weather, most people spend more time in their homes during the wet season. If there’s a remodel going on in your home at the same time of year when you usually spend more time inside, how will that affect your lifestyle? Here are a few things to consider.
Are you remodeling a summer home?
Do you live in the home you’re remodeling year-round? Most people do. However, if you’re a snowbird who only lives in the Pacific Northwest during the summer months, congratulations! You’re one of the few cases where the rainy season might be the best time of year to remodel your home in Portland.
One of the greatest challenges for homeowners is living through a remodel. If you’re going to spend a season away from your home, then it’s probably best to remodel while you’re away. That way, you don’t have to worry about the remodel getting in the way of your life, or vice versa.
Do your kids spend much time in the home?
The more time your kids spend in the home, the more difficult it can be to remodel during the winter months. During the summer when the kids are out of school, it’s often easier for families to go on vacation while their home is under construction.
Any remodeling project is going to put limits on the amount of space you can use in your home. The more people you have in your home, the more you’ll need that space you don’t have. As a result, it’s easier for families to remodel during the summer when the kids can go outside to play. Being stuck inside during the winter is no fun. Being stuck inside while your home is being remodeled is enough to make most kids go at least a little stir-crazy.
Do you work from home?
Like the kids, you’re probably going to want to spend as little time at home as possible during construction. If you work from home, that automatically means you’ll be shut inside for half the day. During the dry season, you’ll still have the other half of the day to get out and do something.
How do the seasons affect remodeling cost?
The time of year can also affect the cost of a remodel in Portland. As a general rule of thumb, wet weather creates more work for the construction team, which results in a higher cost to you. However, work that takes primarily indoors is less affected by the rainy season.
Safety & site protection
Water is one of the most common sources of damage in the construction industry. Most residential buildings are framed using wood. When wood gets wet, it rots. As a result, professional build teams go to great lengths to protect their work from leaks.
Avoiding water damage is one of the most obvious reasons why construction teams prefer to do exterior work during the summer. When it’s dry out, there’s less of a chance that moisture will get into the structure before it’s properly weatherproofed. If it does get wet, the builders must make sure to dry the structure out before sealing it. Otherwise, they’ll trap water inside the structure, which is a great way to make the wood rot faster.
This isn’t to say you can’t do exterior work during the rainy months. Builders do it all the time. It just takes a lot more preparation and preventative maintenance to achieve the same result. Some teams will cover the structure with tarps or plastic barriers to protect the shelter from the rain. Wall coverings, protective mats, and industrial floor dryers are also common precautionary measures you’ll see during the winter months. These materials cost more money, which means a more expensive remodel in the end.
Once a structure is ready for permanent weatherproofing, our team at Lamont Bros. uses the Zip System® wall sheathing. This enables us to waterproof the exterior walls faster, leaving the framing exposed to the elements for a shorter period of time.
Labor in inclement weather
Another issue to consider when it comes to cost is how the wet weather can affect your labor costs. Working in a wet environment isn’t just uncomfortable – it’s also dangerous. There’s a higher slip hazard when working on a ladder or roof. There’s also a higher electrocution risk due to the water.
As the build team works to complete a remodel, they have to be more conscious of the risks posed by inclement weather. This often means working a bit slower than usual. It should be no surprise that the wet season can significantly slow the progress of a remodel. In our experience, the slower a remodel progresses, the more expensive it becomes.
On that note, the same can be said for weather-related cancellations. Sometimes, the weather becomes too hazardous to work in. We’ve canceled work days due to snow and ice in the winter. We’ve also had to cancel during the summer due to wildfire smoke and extreme heat. Bottom line: inclement weather can cause a remodel to take much longer than it would during the dry season.
How to decide on the best time of year for your remodel
If you want to know whether you should remodel your home in the rainy season or wait for drier weather, consider the following questions.
How much space will your remodel take up?
The larger your remodel, the less space you’ll have during construction. The less space you’ll have, the more likely it is you should remodel in the dry months. A simple bathroom remodel can run for a few weeks and be out of your home relatively painlessly. A whole-home remodel can take months, during which you may have to hop from room to room as the build team completes one and moves to the next.
This is why additions, ADUs, and other outside projects sometimes make more sense for the winter. When you add a room to your house or build a new structure on the property, the construction zone doesn’t encroach much into the existing home space. In these cases, you retain the use of almost all of your home. So, if you’re willing to pay the extra cost for moisture protection materials, the rainy season can be a great time to do exterior remodeling.
Will you have things to do/places to go?
Any you approach it, a remodel is an invasive process. In the end, you get a custom-designed space where you can thrive, but the process leading up to the big reveal can sometimes be uncomfortable.
Living at home through a remodel is a challenge. Many homeowners find themselves feeling stuck at home, wishing they could use the space. To avoid cabin fever, many homeowners plan vacations, short day trips, or family outings during their remodel. One of the most effective solutions is to include an “escape” fund in your remodel budget. That way, when you’re feeling trapped at home, you have some money set aside to “un-trap” yourself.
Can you afford to wait to remodel?
Many homeowners are concerned by the higher cost of remodeling during the wet winter months. However, there’s another factor to consider before deciding to wait for summer to roll around. That factor is economic inflation, and it’s already driving the cost of remodeling up.
The concern many homeowners have is that, if they wait until the summer to remodel, the cost won’t go down. They’re afraid that the money they save by remodeling in the summer will be lost to price increases that take place in the meantime.
This is a totally legitimate fear to have. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. On the one hand, a remodel in Portland during the rainy time of year is relatively unpleasant and costs more due to the weather. On the other hand, remodeling prices could increase between the winter and summer, negating whatever costs you might have saved by waiting.
Want to learn more about remodeling?
Now that you understand more about how weather patterns can affect a remodel, you should have a good idea of when the best time of year is for you to remodel your Portland home. Don’t stop there — take the next step! If you want to learn more about the cost of remodeling and how to accurately estimate your remodel costs, you’ve come to the right place. You can find all the remodeling cost information you need on our website.
Are you ready to start designing your remodel? If so, recruit some assistance from some of Portland’s leading designers. Click the button below to schedule a free design consultation with a member of our design team. We’ll work with you to help create a customized remodeling design plan.