What time of year is better to start building a house?
When to start building a house? This is one of the main questions that face the future owner of a private home. The answer to it begins long before the construction itself – starting with the purchase of building materials and the choice of contractor. In this case, the answers may vary for different stages of construction – whether it is laying the foundation, construction of bearing walls, insulation of the house or the final decoration work.
Also, many people do not perform the entire construction in one approach, but divide it into phases. When it is better to suspend construction and continue – are also important moments that matter for the cost, as well as the quality of construction. Read our expert Kirill Yurovskiy article about all of this.
When to buy materials
Basically, between the selection of the best time to buy building materials refers to the winter and summer periods – that is to choose between the intervals “May-September” and “December-end of January. It is between these dates that there is the greatest difference in price and quality of materials put up for sale by firms. Here are some basic tips for purchasing materials:
- The vast majority of construction work begins in late spring or summer. Accordingly, it is at this time that the demand for building materials increases, and as a consequence, so does their price. Any block materials are always better to take it in the winter, so you can save up to 40-50% of their cost, and the lack of shelf life makes the winter purchase is fully equal in terms of quality.
- Wooden materials are also always better to buy in the winter. This is both economically important – see the previous point – and related to the peculiarities of the life cycle of wood. With the onset of cold weather all biological processes in wood slow down, sap movement stops, and wood fibers become harder. The lack of sap movement leads to the fact that the wood cut in winter is much less subject to shrinkage, which is especially important in the construction of wooden houses. Thus you can accelerate the period of settling and completing the final finishing works for a year, if not more. The increased amount of moisture that begins to stand out in the summer, can lead to rapid decay of the material, the spread of wood fibers destroying their microorganisms.
- In this case, you should always pay attention to the quality of the materials themselves. The fact is that often sellers sell in winter those building materials, which, for some reason or another, could not be sold in summer. This can be of poor quality, defective and faulty building materials. No less attention should be paid to the expiration date. If for block or lumber it is not so important, then the bulk materials – cement, putty, etc., it is very important: it is the shelf life determines the suitability of such materials for use.
Of course, the winter purchase of material involves some difficulties. So, you will need to ensure that all building materials are in suitable storage until the start of work. This implies a shed or other utility room, dry, well-ventilated and warm. It is desirable that such a room be guarded, as theft cannot be ruled out. Bulk materials, as well as blocks, require storage in special pallets, under a waterproof shelter.
When best to start construction
Despite the fact that the choice when to build a house, usually lies in the “summer-winter” range, and it is usually decided in favor of the summer, there is an alternative view. Let’s consider all the advantages of summer and winter construction to get an objective idea of the most favorable time for the beginning of work. So, the advantages of building in the summer are:
- Ease of delivery of construction materials to the place of work. Often transportation of heavy materials – for example, reinforced concrete blocks, as well as laying foundations, involves moving heavy trucks or construction equipment on country roads. In winter, it can be complicated by snow and changes in terrain. This significantly increases the cost of delivery, and in remote areas can even make it impossible.
- Softness of the soil. If construction requires digging a pit, or change in topography through any work on the vertical layout, the soil to be worked with, should be as soft and friable. With the onset of cold weather it hardens, which requires more effort. However, if vertical leveling is not required, and the foundation is a monolithic slab that does not require deep excavation, this ceases to matter.
- Work comfort. Minus temperatures, especially in northern regions, can make prolonged work impossible, which will lengthen construction and may increase its cost. Summer work eliminates this completely.
At the same time, the opposite approach is gaining in popularity. A huge number of customers are now choosing winter construction. In addition to the more favorable purchase of materials (about this – above), the following advantages of this approach can be highlighted:
- Finding a good construction crew that would be available and ready to get to work for you is much easier in the winter than it is in the spring or winter, during the peak season and peak orders. In summer nearly all construction companies and crews are “at work”, in winter works, as a rule, the most viable and deserved a certain trust among its customers. So you make your choice easier and get some quality assurance.
- There is no need to antiseptic construction boards. The drier boards, which are not susceptible to the development of bacteria and microorganisms, as well as rotting, save you from having to do additional costly work.
- Lack of queues. If you order the building in the spring or summer, when most of the good construction companies can hardly cope with the influx of customers, the interval between the contract and the immediate start of construction, can take up to several months. In winter, however, it is not uncommon for a company to be ready to begin almost immediately after the agreement is made. The same applies to the design of houses.
- A more individual approach on the part of the contractor. Any construction company in the peak season seeks to gain as many orders as possible. This leads to the appearance of third parties – subcontractors – in the relationship between the client and the builder. As the result it can cause chain transfer of responsibility for delays and poor quality work, which is not easy to untangle. Besides, this “conveyor” approach reduces the quality of any activity. In winter, when there are significantly fewer clients for any builder, everything – from design to final finishing will be done with more attention to the customer.
- Weather conditions. It is paradoxical, but despite the cold, in many ways it is much more pleasant to work in the winter than at other times of the year. In spring and summer in most regions it regularly rains, the roads are washed away, there is mud and slush. These factors are completely eliminated in winter.
What time of the year to pour the foundation
There are 3 main problems associated with the construction of foundations in different months and seasons:
- Air temperature. Too low temperatures (below 5 degrees Celsius) adversely affect the hardening of concrete, and too high (over 30 degrees) will also require additional measures to cover the not yet cured mass.
- Groundwater. This parameter greatly affects the process of laying the foundation and its subsequent operation – especially if the foundation is sunk – for example, of pile type. According to statistics, the driest month is March, the wettest – July.
- Frost penetration of soil. With subzero temperatures increases the complexity of breaking the ground, respectively – the time of such works and their cost. On the one hand, it is sometimes easier to drive on such soil, but still the best time for excavation work is summer.
Thus, you can lay the foundation in the summertime, and then cover it until winter – when it is better to perform all other types of construction work.
What time of year to insulate your home
- With the insulation of the house, regardless of the insulation materials, everything is somewhat more unambiguous than with the seasonality of other works. We unambiguously recommend insulating your home from late spring to late summer (April-September). Here are a few reasons to do so:
- Timeliness. By the beginning of winter, if you are planning to move in, you will hardly want to spend time on insulating your house as the heating comes on. Most of the insulation work is done outside rather than inside, consequently, in the cold. While the insulation is being done, you could be spending a lot of extra money to heat your home that you could have saved if you had done it all in the summer.
- Weather. Many insulation materials have excellent water-repellent properties, but there is no reason to risk exposing them to moisture unnecessarily. Work done in the dry season outside will guarantee a longer life of the insulation. And for materials such as mineral wool, direct exposure to moisture is completely contraindicated.
- The effectiveness of adhesive mixtures. Most of the heat insulation materials are mounted with glue, which is generally not designed for subzero temperatures. In conditions below -2-3 degrees no one can guarantee the quality of thermal insulation works.