It's June, and that means, for nearly all parts of the country, that battles with snow and ice are at least four or five months away. The effects of this past winter's weather, however, are still being felt by remodelers in the nation's hardest-hit areas.
Philip Busse, president of American Eagle Home Improvements, is one of those contractors. He's based in Baltimore, where a blizzard dumped more than 2 feet of snow in mid-February. "We were down for about three or four days," he says, noting that his crews had trouble getting to jobsites. Busse says that once they did get back out in the field, it was difficult for them to work with all that snow around.
But the strain on the schedule didn't end with the cold temperatures. "We're still slammed," adds Busse, who says his customers normally have to wait only a couple of weeks for their projects to begin. "Now, people are waiting two months or more" to get their projects -- many involving repair of damage caused by the storm -- under way. Mother Nature hasn't done Busse any favors of late, either: He was rained out for an entire week this spring, the first time he remembers that happening.
Max Isley, CMKBD, of Hampton Kitchens of Raleigh (N.C.), has had to exhibit some patience himself. An ice storm in December left the area looking like "a war zone," with some residents going without power for more than a week, and the storm caused significant damage to houses. As a result, says Isley, "priorities changed." Home improvement dollars originally slated for interior projects -- Isley's specialty -- had to be used for other repairs. Isley says two of his clients decided to put off their projects indefinitely, while another two jobs were delayed by a couple of months.
Isley says he was able to cope with the severity of winter because, after almost 30 years in the business, he's learned to expect the unexpected. "In the South, everything just shuts down. All of us know that we're going to lose a few days. You have to plan for weather situations and work around them."