In Colorado, we are blessed to have four amazing and distinct seasons! If you’re not from this beautiful state, you may imagine that winter means blizzards and snow-packed roads. However, the reality is that aside from a few major snowstorms, which can result in snow lingering for days (or occasionally weeks), sunny days really do prevail and the snow melts away quickly!

As a custom home builder, I often get asked, “Can you build in the wintertime?” The answer is yes…and no… A few phases of the custom home–building process are more affected by cold and snow than others, but we are used to working around Mother Nature. As soon as we get the home “dried in,” we are good to go—even if snow is flying. “Dried in” signifies that the house is water tight, that windows and exterior doors are installed, that the roof is on, and so on. At this point, we can heat the interior of the home, and if the weather is bad outside, we can still keep working inside.

The bottom line is this: if you are considering starting your custom home just before or during wintertime, plan on weather delays and increased costs.

Weather Delays

Because we have only a handful of snow days each year when it’s not possible to get to and from job sites, we do build homes year-round!

The most difficult phases of building in the cold are excavation/earthwork and concrete work. Once frost sets into the ground, excavation becomes more difficult and concrete work requires additives to help the concrete cure and blankets to protect it from freezing. So if you decide you would like the construction of your new home to start during winter, plan on being patient and be aware of the possibility that there may be a few days when it is too cold or snowy for us to work effectively. As I write this, the weather is very mild—mid-50s and gloriously sunny…and we are building. But two weeks ago, it snowed twice within a few days and the temperature was in the single digits. A home we currently have at the foundation stage had to sit for about a week until the weather broke.

Increased Costs

Several factors can increase construction costs in cold weather: temporary heating and fuel, construction utilities, blankets and additives for concrete, snow removal, and lost time due to mud and frost. While I can’t put an exact dollar amount on these additional expenses, I would recommend budgeting for an extra ten to fifteen thousand dollars.

When is the ideal time to start construction?

If I could write a perfect time line, we would start construction between May and September. (Our typical custom home build takes about seven months.) But that being said, we work with the time line best suited to our customers and start projects every month of the year!