Does Building A Home in the Winter Make a Difference?

Posted by Jerad Cox on Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 7:10am.

Edmonton New Home Construction

Have you noticed the increase of new home builder continuing their building work in Edmonton's brisk winter weather? It is something that I have noticed happening a lot more frequently over the past few years. First of all, I shiver at the idea of working outside in the cold all day long. In my college days one of the jobs I had to get by was shoveling snow from commercial properties at 4AM after a snowfall. A winter new home build near my home got me to thinking about how building in cold temperatures affects the end product, if it does at all.

Traditionally, home building in Edmonton has been a 3 season job. Once December hits, it becomes a lot tougher to pour foundations and so much of the work that happens after the concrete pours, like framing, siding, window and door installation, etc. gets caught up and competed. It certainly makes a difference to the contractors involved, as they have to brave the cold Edmonton winter elements in order to do their jobs. There is also an issue with the dwindling amount of daylight to work under. In Alberta we are blessed with long summer days, but cursed with very short winter ones. This makes doing exterior work a lot more difficult.

However, over the past few years there seems to be a change in the home building philosophy. Modern day concrete foundation pours have allowed for cold weather installation as well - with new additives put into the forms that allow the concrete to cure and harden in much colder temperatures than traditionally assumed. Some builders are covering and heating their pours under tarps in order for the concrete to cure properly. This allows contractors to continue their work throughout the winter, albeit within the confines of a shorter work day. The home in the photo above was started in December - the foundation was poured in cold weather, and the framing and windows have gone up in January and February. I have a friend who sides new homes, and he prefers working in the cooler temperatures of winter, because it is quieter out on the job and there are less distractions. As long as the wind doesn't whip up, there are no issues.

As a Realtor in Edmonton the question I always get is - are these homes whose foundations poured and exteriors done in the winter better, worse, or the same as homes built in warmer temperatures? Better yet, would you be comfortable buying a home that whose primary construction happened in freezing temperatures?  For me, I think it's a case of answering the questions " You are able to do it, but should you be?".

Winter home construction is simply another wrinkle to consider when buying Edmonton real estate. The most important thing for you as a home buyer is that you do your research so that you can make an educated decision on whether winter home construction makes a difference to you.

2 Responses to "Does Building A Home in the Winter Make a Difference?"

KD wrote: When I built my first home, my dad advised me not to allow them to pour the foundation unless the temperature was above freezing and would remain so until it cured. We actually wrote it into the contract.

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 9:06am.

Jerad Cox wrote: KD - my dad worked in road construction for over 45 years and said the same thing.

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 10:28am.

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