Building a custom home is a big decision and an even bigger investment. Any delay in the construction of your new home is frustrating, but it’s important that the lines of communication remain open, so you understand how weather affects things.
Is Spring the Best Time of Year to Build a New Home?
It would seem like it, but the truth is there are pros and cons for building a home in any season. The obvious pro for spring is the mild weather. The temperatures are more tolerable, so there's less risk of heat-related delays.
On the other hand, spring showers can raise the water table and that makes excavation almost impossible. When the builder starts digging out the spot for the foundation, as soon as he hits the water table, every hole will fill up. Even once the water table starts to drop, the soil will remain saturated.
Laying a foundation in water-saturated soil affects the quality of the foundation. As the soil dries, there will be erosion and scour. Every rainy day means a potential building delay at certain stages of the work.
What About Summer?
The heat of summer reaps havoc on concrete needed for the foundation. In order for concrete to set properly, the cement and water create an exothermic reaction and generate lots of heat in the process. Setting the concrete in extremely hot temperatures can affect the strength of the foundation because it changes the way that reaction works.
When the air is hot, the exothermic reaction happens quickly and the concrete becomes hotter than it would in a lower temperature. Concrete that gets as little as 18 degrees hotter than normal will lose 10 percent of its strength.
It also becomes difficult to keep all the concrete to maintain a stable temperature and dry at the same rate. One side of the foundation may be stronger than the other, causing cracks to form.
How About Building in the Winter Months?
There are some obvious problems with winter home building. It's possible to build during this time of year, but it can cost more money. Professional builders know they have to take steps to properly prepare the ground and to protect the concrete during extreme cold. The foundation will require insulation as it cures in order to maintain the proper strength of the concrete and prevent quality issues.
There are added labor costs as well, as the builders take the precautions necessary to keep the materials safe and the concrete at the right temperature. Once the foundation is complete, it will be critical to use heaters during the drywall, painting and tile work.
And That Leaves Fall?
Fall has fewer extreme weather problems than the other seasons. Wind and falling leaves can be a consideration, though. As the leaves cover the ground, even a light wind can blow them into wet cement or paint.
Fall is also a busy time for builders because the weather is more construction-friendly. You might end up paying extra for labor to compensate.
So, When is the Right Time to Build a Home?
The contractor who says you can build a home anytime during the year is not wrong. What’s important is to check out the reputation of the builder. If there are a lot of complaints against the company, it may be that it doesn’t take the proper precautions to protect the quality of the foundation in extreme weather.
Also, once you pick a builder, listen to what he says. He is an expert, so if he thinks it's better to wait a few months before excavation, understand there is a reason for the delay. If your builder tells you to make decisions about what you want as quickly as possible, it’s because there is no way to control weather delays. The builder could watch many good weather days pass by while the homeowner is making choices.