Plan Now for Summer Home Improvement Projects

Home improvement surged during 2020. Spending so much time at home caused people to notice things that needed sprucing up.

As cases of COVID-19 are surging nationwide going into the winter months, contractors leery of indoor work may only accept projects that they can complete entirely outdoors, despite cold temperatures.

By the time warm weather returns in the second half of 2021, expectations are that enough Americans will have received vaccinations to make gathering indoors. However, wearing masks as a precaution will still be necessary until public health officials confirm that the danger of transmission has subsided. Nevertheless, contractors whose businesses tanked during lockdowns will be eager to take on work. Plan now for summer home improvement projects to get in line because lots of people are thinking the same thing: When summer comes, we’ll finally be able to remodel and add on to the homes we’ve felt trapped in for so long.

During the summer of 2020, the demand for pool installation surged, as did the construction of upscale backyard sheds to serve as schoolrooms, offices, or she-sheds for gardening and relaxation. Many expect the trends to continue as more companies and employees found that remote work was productive and effective for them.

Look for Contractors Now, and Find Out About Permits

Whether you’re seeking a kitchen remodeling specialist or a full-service design-build firm, check references thoroughly. Ask about the company’s current roster of future projects: Would they be able to take on a project like yours and finish it on schedule? Get a detailed estimate based on photos of your home or a virtual walk-through with your webcam until it’s safe to have contractors inside your house next year.

Confirm that any contractor you consider has the proper licenses and insurance. Get details about their safety practices because, once work begins, your house becomes a construction zone.

If you’re planning a DIY project, you’ll be responsible for complying with applicable permit requirements and building codes. You should also familiarize yourself with rules for safely using nail guns, electric saws, and other power tools like drills.

Set a Budget and Look for Financing

Online calculators on sites like Home Advisor or Remodeling Cost vs. Value can help you figure out how much a renovation like the one you’re planning should cost in your area. The cost vs. value calculator gives you some perspective on whether your project will provide a solid return on investment should you decide to sell your home.

Once you’ve set a budget for materials and labor, add at least 20 percent to your budget to cover contingencies. Surprises happen, and surges in demand for materials from DIYers during the spring and summer of 2020 caused some shortages.

Planning now for summer remodeling projects and getting on your preferred contractor’s project list now will ensure that you don’t miss out on what could be a very busy post-pandemic remodeling season.

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