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Remodeling Your Home During the Holidays: What to Expect

Whether you travel over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house or stay home in front of the fire, the winter holiday season can be a joyful, if chaotic, time. For those who choose to start remodeling over the holidays, this period of time comes with special considerations. At Gilmer's Home Improvements, we’ve helped homeowners navigate this time during a remodel and have some tips. If you are thinking of remodeling your home during the holidays, here’s what to expect and how to prepare.

The unique challenges of a holiday home remodel  

While remodeling your home at any time has its challenges, the winter holiday season adds a few to the list. Even if you are lucky enough to have a slower work schedule during the winter months, other holiday obligations quickly fill in that downtime. You might also be coordinating visits with family members, travel plans across the country (or across town), and hosting holiday gatherings.

In addition, weather delays can be significant when it comes to remodeling during the holidays. Even if you are celebrating in the winter climate of PA, your building materials may be sidelined by a Midwestern blizzard that shuts down travel for days.

This doesn’t mean that holiday home remodeling is a no-go. Extra time off work means you can actually address many of these challenges more smoothly than if you chose to remodel at another point in the year. It’s good to be aware of potential sticky spots so you can plan accordingly for success, though.

How to successfully manage a holiday home remodel

Successfully managing a home remodel is possible with careful consideration before the remodel starts. In general, there are nine simple steps to minimize the disruption of a holiday home remodel (and to deal with whatever curveballs come your way!):

  1. Consider how much chaos you can tolerate

  2. Make a list (and check it twice): Plan, plan, plan

  3. Expect holiday gatherings to move elsewhere (and plan accordingly)

  4. Plan for winter weather delays

  5. Work with a contractor who prioritizes communication

  6. Prepare your budget

  7. Plan around downtimes

  8. Move the decorations elsewhere

  9. Make your spirits bright

Let’s look at each of these more closely.

Consider how much chaos you can tolerate

A holiday home remodel can consist of anything from adding shelves and repainting a room to a full kitchen renovation or bathroom remodel. So how much chaos can you handle over the holidays?

If you are used to juggling multiple projects, schedules, and people and have a high tolerance for interruptions to daily life, then your holiday home remodel might look different from a person who prefers peace and quiet over the holidays.

Before you move forward with remodeling over the holidays, consider what you will realistically be able to tolerate. Maybe you start with a smaller remodel over the winter holidays before moving into a larger renovation in January or February.

Make a list (and check it twice): Plan, plan, plan

As with most things holiday-related, planning is crucial when it comes to remodeling during the holidays.

Setting target dates for milestones in the project can help you get ahead of schedule, so holiday stressors don’t derail your project.

Expect holiday gatherings to move elsewhere (and plan accordingly)

Are you the holiday hotspot when it comes to large family gatherings? Do you typically host a formal holiday meal for dozens of family members? If you are planning on remodeling during the holidays, you may need to find another place to host this year’s gathering.

You might also consider keeping the feast at your house but having the meal catered or hosting a potluck outside around the fire instead of preparing a multi-course spread.

Think of this as a pause in the festivities while you prepare for an even bigger celebration when the renovation is done. Your family and friends will understand and work with you to modify your holiday plans.

Plan for winter weather delays

With average winter daytime temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees, Pennsylvania weather is mild and mostly dry during November and December. We don’t get much rain in these months, and although nighttime temperatures hover around freezing as we move into winter, building over the holidays is usually possible.

However, weather delays for your wintertime PA home remodeling often occur in the states that border the coast or mountains. Snow in central PA can cause significant weather delays, for example, as can heavy rains to our east and north.

The possibility of rain and snow mean that building materials stored on site need to be protected. It is also rare but not impossible for our region to experience tornadoes starting January. Heavy rain and wind can damage construction materials. Work with your contractor to plan for delays and protect building materials in case of weather.

Work with a contractor who prioritizes communication

Do you notice a trend here? Communication is key when it comes to remodeling any time, but holiday home remodeling projects require an extra touch.

GHI provides regular logs on our progress and upcoming milestones for all of our residential and light commercial projects.

Clear, consistent communication is important, especially when remodeling during the holidays. This keeps everyone on the same page and allows the work to flow smoothly. It also avoids any stress since you know exactly where everything is.

Prepare your budget

Preparing a budget for your remodel is the next step in a holiday home remodel. Getting estimates for the work you are planning can help you develop a realistic idea of what you can expect to pay. Keep potential delays in construction in mind, and add a 10% buffer to your budget.

You may need to adjust your gift budget, too. Consider a beautifully renovated home as this season’s gift to your whole family.

Plan around downtimes

There is no avoiding downtimes.

Just as you will want a break from the noise and dust of renovation, so too, will your contractor want some holiday time with their families. Discuss this downtime and holiday days off in the planning stages of your project so there are no surprises.

If you do travel for the holidays, consider scheduling the noisiest and most disruptive parts of the project for those times.

Move the decorations elsewhere

You want to make your holiday home remodel as easy as possible for everyone involved. If your home looks like it came straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, with every inch inside and out decorated to celebrate this season, this might be a good year to scale back. Contractors will have a hard time doing their job if they have to dance around delicate figurines and strands of twinkling lights and tinsel every time they walk into the construction area.

At the very least, restrict your joyful decorating to the areas of the house (inside and out) that are not being remodeled. Not only does this keep workers safe and allow them easy access, it also protects your decorations from damage during construction. This might be a good time to clean, renew, and repair any holiday decorations that need a little maintenance, too.

Make your spirits bright

The noise, dust, and inconvenience of remodeling during the holidays can be a bit discouraging at times. Even the most well-planned and executed renovations can be challenging during an already-challenging time.

But, think of it this way: the end result of your holiday home remodel is a bright, warm, beautiful home to share with your family for all of the holidays to come. The dust will settle, and your home will once again welcome family and friends in to share many seasons of joy.

Your Holiday Ho-Ho-Home Remodel Starts Here

Gilmers Home Improvements can help with your Central PA home remodeling needs all year-’round. We work closely with you and communicate effectively to ensure that your remodel stays on time and on budget. Our goal is to help you create a home you’ll love with minimal interruptions and downtime.

If you are thinking of remodeling during the holidays, get in touch today to start planning your project!


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