There's no avoiding the regular maintenance our homes and gardens need, but you can at least do something about the cost. And no, we're not talking about you donning your overalls and attempting to do all the work yourself. Or getting caught out by cowboy workmen with their knockdown prices.
Instead, with some help from experts in their field, we've come up with a helpful property advice timetable, detailing the cheapest times of year to make home improvements.
Whether you're looking to clear you garden of weeds, insulate the loft or sweeps chimney, picking the right moment could mean you have a larger selection of tradespeople. And you'll avoid paying over the odds for services that are in big demand at certain times of year.
Cheapest times of year to make home improvements
1. January is the cheapest time to clear the garden
Usually done: March
Don't wait until the warmer months to have your garden cleared – it's far easier in winter because the foliage has died back. Less work (and potentially, a smaller skip) means a smaller bill for you. We estimate that a clearance job in winter would cost around £150 less than it would in the spring.
2. February is the cheapest time to fit a new kitchen
Usually done: May/June
February is especially quiet for kitchen fitters, since most people want to get their kitchens revamped in time for Christmas, or don't want the disruption when they have their kids at home in the school holidays.
Negotiate, and you should be able to get at least a 10 per cent reduction on a fitter's rates at this time. This also applies to kitchen extensions.
3. March is the cheapest time to replace or repair windows
Usually done: September/October
From March onwards is an ideal time to get your glazing and/or frames replaced. Lots of people will leave it to the autumn, when they begin to feel a chill, but you might find a longer wait for your first-choice contractor.
The better weather means you won't have to deal with issues caused by damp and condensation, either.
4. April is the cheapest time to sweep the chimney
Usually done: October/November
Generally, chimney sweeps are run off their feet between September and March. Appointments are more readily available in the quieter summer months and there's more of an opportunity to negotiate rates.
Also, lighter, warmer and drier conditions help when your sweep is examining the exterior chimney conditions.
5. May is the cheapest time to clear guttering
Usually done: October
Contrary to popular belief, you should clear your gutters at the end of spring when you can be sure that the worst of the weather has passed.
May is the best time of year – though we'd recommend that a professional cleans your gutters twice a year to prevent the build up of leaves and rubbish.
6. June is the cheapest time to fit a new floor
Demand for flooring trades steps up from September as we move our focus from outdoor projects back indoors. June is therefore a great time to have new floorboards and carpets installed as everyone else will be more preoccupied with their gardens.
At the very least you'll be able to cherry-pick who will fit your flooring and when, and you might be able to wangle a discount, to boot.
7. July is the cheapest time to fit security systems
Usually done: October/November
It's only human nature to start thinking about security lighting and alarms as the nights get longer. But at that time of year several factors – including bad weather – make installing systems harder and therefore more expensive.
As such, it's generally cheaper to have the work done in the summer. Choose from one of our best smart home security systems for the greatest protection from thieves.
8. August is the cheapest time to replace the boiler
Usually done: October/November
During the summer, when our boilers aren't working as hard and are therefore less likely to need running repairs. So if you're looking to fix or replace a boiler you'll find it far easier to get the appointment slot you want.
Also, we'd estimate that you can make a 10-15 per cent saving when the market is less competitive.
9. September is the cheapest time to fit a new bathroom
Usually done: January/June/July
Booking a bathroom fitter in a quieter month could save you around 10 per cent in costs. September is a good time as the kids are back at school and people have just returned from their holidays, so they might not have the cash for a big project.
10. October is the cheapest time to put up new fencing
Usually done: June/July/August
Looking to realise your garden fence ideas? During the summer, your garden is looking its best, so having fencers coming in and trampling down your borders and lawn isn't ideal.
Get hard landscaping jobs done later on when all the plants are dormant, and you might also find availability is higher and costs are lower.
11. November is the cheapest time to paint rooms
Usually done: June
Summer isn't a great time to get hold of a decorator, because they are usually busy, particularly with exterior painting jobs. You might think it's a hassle to get the painters in just before Christmas, but a quick prep and two coats should take two days at most.
12. December is the cheapest time to insulate the loft
Usually done: September
It's tempting to get this done at the first signs of cold weather. But if you can hold out, it's worth it. At Christmas, your loft will be clear of decorations – and an emptier space means a quicker and less expensive job!
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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