The cheapest times of year to make home improvements – from garden clearing to fitting a bathroom

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  • Save hundreds on the cost of changes or repairs by hiring tradespeople at their quietest times

    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.

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    Instead, with some help from experts in their field, we’ve come up with a helpful timetable with 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.

    The best time of year to clear the garden – January


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    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.

    The best time of year to fit a new kitchen – February


    Image credit: David Giles

    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.

    The best time of year to replace or repair windows – March

    Image credit: Nick Pope

    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.

    The best time of year to sweep the chimney – April


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    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.

    The best time of year to clear guttering – May

    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.

    The best time of year to fit a new floor – June


    Image credit: David Giles

    Usually done: September to December

    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.

    The best time of year to fit security systems – July

    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.

    Related: Best smart home security systems for protecting your property

    The best time of year to replace the boiler – August


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Usually done: October/November

    During the summer, when our boilers aren’t working as hard and are therefore less likely to need running repairs, 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.

    The best time of year to fit a new bathroom – September


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    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.

    The best time of year to put up new fencing – October

    Dining area outdoor living room SAH June 17 p98 garden makeover

    Image credit: Jamie Mason

    Usually done: June/July/August

    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.

    The best time of year to paint rooms – November

    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.

    The best time to insulate the loft – December

    Berkshire village house

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    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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