You’ve heard the adage “Time is money.” That’s especially true now. Inflation has hiked the cost of just about any home improvement project. The sooner you get a job done, the less it’s going to cost. Period.

Some people or their contractors delay projects due to winter weather. But I’m about to share with you some stories that may inspire you or your contractor to keep working despite the elements. Think weather has to cause delays? That’s pure poppycock.

My first lesson in how to work around difficult weather came from the pages of Fine Homebuilding. I’ll never forget when I turned to the rear cover of the magazine’s fifty-first issue: There, I saw four photographs showing a new house under construction in the Hamptons region of Long Island, in the middle of winter.

The homebuilder knew that at least 30% of each day’s productivity could be consumed dealing with Mother Nature. It was to his benefit, and the owner’s, to build the house as fast as possible. So how did the builder deal with winter weather? The builder had access to an inflatable structure designed to cover a tennis court. So he used the structure to keep the house dry during construction. As a result, during the project the workers were safer rather than miserable, and the owner got a much better-built house.

Fast-forward in time, and a special painting crew came to my house to satisfy a warranty claim on my windows. They had to do extensive work to remove the window sashes and then paint parts of the remaining frames with a special automotive fade-resistant paint.

The three painters had a huge trailer that functioned as a traveling workshop with all the special spray-painting equipment. It was also filled with every imaginable tool they for any situation they might encounter. One day rain was forecast. The painters, in less than half an hour, fabricated a moveable lean-to out from a sheet of heavy translucent plastic and lumber from the trailer.


They constructed the lean-to so it tucked up perfectly under the roof overhang and extended far beyond their work area so rain wouldn’t get inside my house or dampen the window frames they needed to paint. The lean-to allowed them to get the job done a day earlier than anticipated.

Earlier this fall, a Seattle entrepreneur scheduled two phone consultation calls with me. He was ready to start building a wood foundation for a stunning cedar shed he purchased in kit form online. The fall can be very wet in the Pacific Northwest, though, so he asked me how he could keep the project moving without slowdowns due to rain and while keeping the cedar dry. I told him how he could build a very simple pup-tent design using a giant fiberglass tarp, some rope, and a few 4 x 4 posts. He built an inverted V-shape shelter in less than two hours. The finished shed under the tarp was resistant to both wind and rain and it brought a smile to my face, to say the least.

Lastly, here in my town in rural New Hampshire, crews have been working for months on a foundation for a giant new garage and service center for the town public works trucks.

Two weeks ago, I saw workmen building an ingenious triangle-shaped structure around the poured foundation in order to create a warm environment in which to lay concrete blocks. The project is behind schedule because of a pier-drilling mistake, so at this point not a day can be lost to the weather.

The laborers did a fantastic job building this simple structure from sheets of plastic and lumber. It turned out to be windproof, and with heaters running under the plastic sheeting the temperature resembled a balmy June day — great for pouring concrete block.

Should you decide to build shelters as I just described, keep the wind in mind and make sure your structure won’t blow over or into shreds. There are plenty of online videos out there that give you tips on how to prevent this. Good luck and get ‘er done!

Tim Carter has worked as a home improvement professional for more than 30 years. To submit a question or to learn more, visit