Time to Get Outside! Spring Projects For Your Home

Feature Project – Bookcase Part 2
March 12, 2016
Remodeling & Carpentry Projects
Feature Project – Part 3
May 2, 2016

What Makes a Good Springtime Project?

Every spring, the HomeLife Expo at Darmouth’s Leverone Field House in Hanover is a great source of inspiration for homeowners. The most recent show was no exception, with booth after booth of architects, designers, builders, painting contractors, roofers, landscapers, and more! Many visitors are almost overwhelmed by the flood of ideas for new projects and can’t wait to get started.

A problem with having the HomeLife Expo so early in the spring is that the weather is usually not quite ready to cooperate. Even this crazy year, so unseasonably warm, is proving to be very inconsistent. Temperatures are spiking into the sixties one day and plunging into the teens two days later – along with equally mixed bursts of rain and snow.

What kind of projects can you expect to get done in the spring? Decks, doors, windows, siding, and even exterior painting.

Decks Are In Demand


There’s always a lot of demand for decks, because folks are dying of Cabin Fever. They just can’t wait to get out of the house after Mud Season, and are dreaming of barbecues on their new deck as soon as possible, or sooner. We’ve talked about decks before (and porches and patios: click here for more), but the question now is how soon can we get started?

The support posts for decks are usually placed on concrete footings in Sonotubes, which should be sunk down to below the frost line. That means the ground should be thawed before starting the project. With Mud Season over and gone, all but the shadiest hollows should be ready by now.

For a full foundation, you can cut through frozen ground with a backhoe, but it’s still better to wait for the thaw to be sure the concrete will set properly. If time is an issue, we can use heaters and insulating blankets to get a jump-start on the season.

Other Spring Carpentry Projects

For some reason, people like to change their entry doors in the spring. Windows and siding are also possibilities, because temperature is not an issue for the materials. (In fact, these are common fall projects, too.) Doors and windows can be replaced one at a time, so no holes are left in the wall overnight, and it’s relatively easy to hang plastic walls inside to create an airlock and thermal barrier.

Spring is Good for Painting


Contrary to common wisdom, hot sunny days are not the best times for painting, particularly if the job is in direct sunlight. You’ll find that the lower sunlight and cooler days of mid to late spring are excellent for painting. For this reason, it’s the best time to paint or reseal decks, roofs, and south-facing walls, but it’s a fine time for the entire house, too. (And those doors might do fine with just a new coat of paint.)

However, low temperatures can be an issue for painting projects, and a sudden drop in degrees can mean missing a day or two in the schedule. Here are the important numbers:

  • Typical latex painting requires overnight temperatures to stay above 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Oil paints and stains need sustained temperatures over 50°F.

You also need a dry day, of course, and those famous spring showers (and snow squalls) can ruin a perfectly good painting schedule.

Speaking of scheduling, click here for an earlier article about what to consider when you want to schedule a spring project.

Now get out there and enjoy the season!


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