Photos: James Bombales
With the summer heat behind us and the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, we typically think of autumn as the season for sweater weather, fall foliage and brisk nature hikes. It’s also a time for renewal, making it an ideal season to tackle those home improvement projects that you put off over the spring and summer while simultaneously preparing for the cold winter ahead.
“Any outdoor related projects are perfect, as it’s not too hot or too cold to get the projects done,” Jordan Spear, Contractor and featured speaker at the upcoming Toronto Fall Home Show tells Livabl. “If going the DIY route, you’ll find you are at your most productive when you’re not sweating or freezing.” Here he shares six reasons why fall is the best time to start thinking about home improvement.
1. Moderate temperatures and fair weather
Not only is autumn’s cooler air more comfortable to work in, it’s also more suitable for building materials. “Some materials just don’t install well in the hot humid days of summer, nor do they install well when temperatures are below freezing,” according to Spear.
2. It’s an opportunity to prepare for the spring real estate market
“If you’re planning to sell your home in the spring market, fall is a great time to get a jump on those projects you want to complete prior to listing,” says Spear. “Unsettled spring weather can lead to setbacks, which could delay listing your home.” If your home is in need of significant repairs, Spear says fall is the best time to take on these projects. “Major issues like roof leaks or foundation repairs are much better addressed before the snow and drizzle hits or before the ground freezes.”
3. Contractors have more availability
With thoughts of summer barbecues and get-togethers on their minds, many people like to plan major home renovations in the spring. This can make it difficult to book your preferred contractor. “Contractors are sometimes less busy during the fall and winter months, so while you may not get a discounted quote, you may be able to get that project started earlier,” explains Spear. It’s important to note that top contractors often have several projects on the go, so make sure to book as early as possible.
4. Winter weather is coming
Canadian winters can be tough on a home. Completing exterior maintenance projects before the
snow falls can go a long way toward avoiding major headaches. Simple tasks like cleaning out the eavestroughs and window wells can prevent ice buildup and flooding during the winter months.
“Sealing up holes and cracks in your driveway or patio can prevent water from entering and causing settling, heaving or degradation when the water freezes,” says Spear. “Removing fallen leaves from your deck surface will also prevent staining of the surface, which can be a pain to remove.”
Spear also recommends addressing any air leaks and heat loss in your home. “Replacing old drafty doors and windows is a great way to save on heat during the winter, and replacing worn out weather stripping is an easy DIY project that can help in preventing cold air from entering the home.”
5. Fall is the time for energy-related improvements
Maintenance repairs aren’t the only way to prepare your home for the cold winter months. Fall is ideal for making energy-saving improvements or upgrades, like installing a programmable thermostat. You may even be eligible for government rebates and incentives that help to offset the cost.
“Home heating generally leads to warm dry air in the home, which can lead to dry throats, dry noses, and cause furniture and trim joints to shrink,” explains Spear. “Installing a whole home humidifier is a great way to increase the comfort inside the home.”
For older houses, Spear says adding or replacing insulation is one improvement that will save you money in the long term. “Some old homes even lack insulation in the walls, so if your plan is to add insulation to those void spaces, fall is a much better time to do this than in the freezing days of winter.”
You may also want to consider replacing an old furnace with a newer, more efficient model that will keep your home warm and toasty. If your budget doesn’t allow for such a splurge, having your existing furnace and ducts cleaned and serviced can prevent problems — which are most likely to surface on a frigid day.
“Furnaces sit idle during the warmer months, so it’s good to give it a checkup prior to running it daily during the winter,” says Spear. “Leaky ductwork can lose as much as 30 per cent of the heated air running through it, so addressing those leaks with duct mastic or sealant tape can prevent the furnace from constantly running, which has a big effect on your wallet.”
6. Fall is the time to plan for winter renovations
If time constraints or budgetary reasons prevent you from taking on a fall home improvement project or reno, it’s still a good time to plan for the future.
“A new kitchen or bathroom always has a good return on investment, and are not really season dependent,” says Spear. “By taking the time now to plan for winter, spring or summer renovations, you’ll allow yourself time to plan for every detail, shop for materials/finishes, and get your trades/contractors hired, so that you’re ready and within budget when the project starts.”
You can catch Jordan Spear at the Toronto Fall Home Show from September 28th to 30th at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place. Tickets to the Toronto Fall Home Show are now FREE courtesy of RenoMark. For more information visit fallhomeshow.com.