In shorts lounging on the patio, you knew you’d fix the driveway. You had all summer. Surely you would get to it at some point, right?
But now you’re out in a fleece jacket watching your breath hit the air…and all the time in the world is vanishing.
If you’re warming up a cup of cider while reading this, there’s no need to pitch it and make plans in a panic. But if you do have unfinished projects that fall under the categories below, you’ll want to act soon so to avoid winter home improvement emergencies.
Landscaping – This may sound pretty obvious, but there are more benefits to hiring a landscaper now than you might realize. Ever try to get a landscaper in the spring? You’ll need to wait in line.
This year, the best landscapers were booked servicing their returning customers for the entire summer – even before the snow melted. One homeowner contacted me in early May and said every landscaper they called was busy until October. With our rebounding economy, homeowners need to be prepared for a shortage of quality workers.
Remember, we’re talking about good landscapers – ones that provide full design, installation and maintenance service. Many of the best landscapers also do great paver stone work. So if next year’s plan includes a new or modified paver stone patio, or if you want some trees planted and flower beds designed, here’s a little tip: Hire a landscaper NOW to do some fall cleanup. It’ll also put you on their list for the spring.
Even if it means hiring a contractor to do some things that you might ordinarily do yourself (like trim trees or put up protective barriers around your sensitive rose bushes), becoming one of their clients now can mean getting a big job done early in the spring. Not only will you protect your property over the winter—you’ll be on their radar for next year.
Concrete – You know that small crack in your driveway last fall that grew over the winter? It’s going to get bigger this as it turns cold this year. If you repair it now, your chances of reducing costs are dramatically improved. The cooler, drier fall climate is ideal for proper concrete projects.
On a recent Hire it Done jobsite visit, Geoff Sargent of G. Sargent Construction was pouring a brand new sidewalk. I asked him how cold is too cold to pour concrete. He told me that although you can pour concrete as long as the ground is not frozen, but you need to take special precautions once the air temperature gets below 40 degrees.
“If the concrete has any chance of freezing when it’s still wet, it won’t have the same compression strength,” he explained. “We can use hotter water, accelerators or even heaters and thermal blankets. Unfortunately for the homeowner, these things just drive up the price. We like it when the temperature is in the 50s.”
So if you need that concrete driveway, patio or sidewalk repaired, get to it before it gets too cold. Or you might have to either pay a premium or wait until spring.
Roofing – Roofing season in Michigan is usually between March and November. But after the severe winter of 2014, roofing season didn’t really start until almost May this past year.
Before everyone starts talking about “ice dams” again, now is a great time to get a roof inspection. This is an area where prevention can really save you money. Even if your roof didn’t experience ice dams last year, an inspection can identify any areas that could cause huge problems over the winter and early spring. If it’s determined that you need a new roof, best to get it replaced now before the winter freeze and thaw.
I spoke with Tony Lupo of Coverall Construction. He told me, “Early this past spring, we had calls from homeowners with heavy damage due to the harsh winter. Our customers who got new roofs in 2013 were in great shape. The ones who ignored their roof issues in the fall were blindsided this spring.”
Don’t forget: when your roof leaks and you aren’t prepared, the damage can ruin your drywall, insulation, paint, floors and much more. Take the time to get a proper roof inspection before it gets too cold! You’ll be glad you did.