Deciding to build a house in winter

Deciding to build a house in winter

Your dream house blueprints are already drawn up, and you are desperate to break ground and start building. While it may seem hard to believe, it is possible to build a house in winter, and sometimes it may even be cost effective. However, there are plenty of caveats to this project.  If you really want to get started in making your floor plans a reality, consider these aspects of home building in winter.

How it's possible
As The Washington Post wrote last year, a home can be built in practically any kind of weather. One of homeowners' greatest concerns is that snow and rain will somehow rot out the wood as it is being framed, due to the fact that everything is open to the elements. While some wood may swell if it is not properly protected, it all will dry out over the course of the building process. Remember that there are rainy days in the summer and homes are still built then. Concrete may be harder to pour and the ground may be frozen solid, but the use of ground heaters can likely fix that problem.

Saving money
How Stuff Works has made the claim that building in the winter could even save money. The thinking goes that contractors can get lower prices from subcontractors, and may even offer their own discounts when business is slow. If you live in a warmer climate, where snowfall is irregular and the weather is relatively temperate, then some of the hassles associated with winter construction – such as having to clear snow or hold off building because of a storm – can be avoided.

Challenges
While there is some truth to the possibility of saving money, you shouldn't rely on that as a guarantee. Cold weather means slower workers, more dangerous working conditions, potential difficulties transporting materials to the building site and the obstacle of breaking frozen ground. Those heaters that make it possible to break frozen ground aren't cheap. Also, even the most experienced builders can have difficulty working in cold and possibly slippery conditions. If they aim to do their job right, it will probably take longer and end up costing more.

If a house is going to be built in the winter, then it's still best to break ground and lay the foundation in the fall. Best of all is to get the house under roof before winter storms, so that builders can work inside over the season. Otherwise, wait until later on in the winter, when storms are less frequent and the days get longer.