Yes, you can build a home in winter!
Among the many unsolicited opinions that one will receive, when discussing the possibility of building a new home, is that you should not have a home built in the winter months. If you can’t get the structure up with the roof on by the first snowfall, you had better wait until spring. This advice, like most free advice, is worth what you’ve paid for it. You can build your home in winter and look forward to moving in, in the warmer months!
Many myths have perpetuated over the years about winter building, and like so many other myths, what seems to based on common sense becomes, over time, accepted as fact. Let’s look at a few of these myths and clear up some common misunderstandings.
MYTH # 1. You can’t pour concrete in the winter.
Calcium chloride is added to concrete to accelerate the curing process in cold conditions. It is essential to understand that the concrete with additives is not significantly different in strength compared to concrete without additives. Concrete walls with additives in the mixture must still meet building code requirements. Adding calcium chloride has been successfully used for many decades, and I would classify it as a proven approach in cold weather.
And obviously, there are low-temperature limits which make pouring concrete no longer feasible. It’s crucial to pick a day that the temperature is above 30°. As long as its at least 30°, blankets and straw can be used to protect the concrete as it cures.
MYTH # 2. Cold weather ruins lumber
If only I could build homes in San Diego, where every day is 70° and sunny, with low humidity. Alas, this is the Midwest where we are less fortunate, inclement weather is more common than beautiful weather. As a result, the lumber industry continues to develop procedures used in the milling process that affect the effects of poor weather. Long story short, lumber is better than it used to be.
Framing lumber is kiln dried and delivered to the job site at 19 % moisture content-this is the case throughout the entire year, and it is when ambient humidity becomes a factor. When the predictable rainy day occurs, some of that moisture gets absorbed by the lumber. In the summer, it is more common than not to have high humidity, day and night, that doesn’t allow this moisture to evaporate from the lumber throughout the project. Air conditioning can help expedite the drying process but rarely used during construction. If used, it is at the very end of construction.
Conversely, lumber will be exposed to fewer rainy days in the dead of winter and has a chance to lose the absorbed moisture during the remainder of the construction process. You heat homes under construction in winter, and in conjunction with the low humidity, the drying out gets accelerated.
Snow has no adverse effects on lumber as long as you remove it before melting.
MYTH # 3. Because workers are fighting the elements, homes built in the winter aren’t as good.
Construction workers tend to be pretty tough. And well everyone wants to work in comfortable, beautiful weather, that’s not reality. Seldom are conditions perfect, and that’s just part of the job. No matter the time of year, there always seems to be some challenges to overcome, like wind, rain, sweltering heat and humidity, or numbing cold. It may be difficult to believe, but there are a fair amount of workers who prefer the cold to working in heat and humidity.
MYTH # 4. It’s more expensive to build in winter
There are additional expenses to get a project completed in the winter, namely propane for temporary heat, heaters, and fans. These expenses are relatively insignificant when compared to the overall cost. These additional costs may be preferable to the average increase in material cost that usually happens in early spring. These price increases can easily exceed any other expenses related to cold weather construction.
Do you have any myths about new construction in winter? If so, please leave them in the comment section below, we would love to hear them or feel free to start a conversation over on Facebook.
We hope this helped answer some of your questions about building a home in winter.
Now that you know you can build a new home in winter, are you looking for a new construction home in West Michigan? Macatawa Homes is a leading home builder, specializing in energy-efficient and stylish designs to help you save money throughout those long West Michigan winters. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind of new home construction and the latest innovations in building practices. Shoot us an email or schedule an appointment so we can sit down and get your dream home started.