Seasonal Construction Tasks for your New Home

Home School Building 101

For many new home buyers, it is easy to assume that when the cold weather and snow arrive, the construction work on your home slows down as crews wait for warmer weather. These buyers will be happy to hear that in fact, the home building process does not slow at all! No matter the weather, a dedicated builder will always be working hard to get your home built on time.

Though the work never stops, there are some elements of the building process that your builder simply cannot do in the colder months. In home building, these are called “seasonal tasks.” Here, we break down the different tasks that are included in seasonal construction and the reasons they can only be done during the warmer months.

Seasonal tasks include building activities such as pouring concrete for sidewalks, driveways or patios, rough and final grading, landscaping and smaller tasks such as exterior painting and stone work. With over 55 years of home building experience, we have seen first-hand the problems that can occur if these tasks are done at the wrong time of the year.


One seasonal task that is always at the top of the list for homeowners is concrete. Your builder cannot start concrete until the ground has totally thawed. It would be even better if it has rained a few times to help the ground settle. Once it has firmed up and temperatures are constantly above freezing, then concrete can be poured.

Rough & Final Grading

Rough grading is the process of shaping the lot using clay or loam. This process makes sure water runs away from the home’s foundation. Final grading is when topsoil goes down prior to landscaping. It is critical that grading is done after the ground has thawed and settled. If grading is done too early, it is possible that once the ground actually thaws and settles around the home, water may not run away from the foundation anymore. Over time, this can do damage to your home.


Much like grading, basic landscaping requires thawed ground and warmer weather to complete. If the ground is still frozen, it will not be possible to do any landscaping on top. Waiting until everything thaws ensures new landscaping like trees, shrubs and sod can spread roots and become receptive to water.

Exterior Paint

For any exterior paint work to turn out as planned, it is very important to have optimal conditions. Paint used for homes is water-based and that means it will freeze in colder weather. When painting a home, multiple layers are applied and it takes time for the paint to dry all the way through. It needs to be at least 5 degrees outside, and it cannot drop below freezing at night.

The seasonal task window

Due to the long Alberta winters and lingering cold weather, the calendar to do seasonal work is not very long. At Morrison Homes, our seasonal window starts right after May long weekend, and goes until about mid September. It may be a year where there is warm weather before the long weekend, but it is quite likely that there is still frost below the earth’s surface. Much of the seasonal work that goes into home building cannot be done until all of the frost has thawed and there are constant temperatures above zero. Some builders may start seasonal tasks earlier, but to ensure homeowners get the best possible quality, we choose to err on the side of caution at Morrison.

Importance of patience

Though a warmer temperature is the most common reason for doing seasonal tasks, there are multiple other reasons for only doing these tasks in warmer months. Executing seasonal tasks when it is warmer leads to increased efficiency and cost effectiveness as well. For a home builder to tarp and heat a concrete driveway, it would become a very expensive project for the homeowner.

Consistency of warmer temperatures is just as important as anything else. If temperatures drop below freezing, paint will freeze before it dries, landscaping won’t settle in properly and when it does get warmer, the ground will settle more which is one of the reasons causing concrete can to crack.

Lastly, safety of construction crews and homeowners is always a paramount consideration. When things are still frozen, or just starting to thaw on-site, crews are putting themselves in a dangerous situation, as are homeowners if they are ever on-site. For the builder and customer alike, the benefits of doing these tasks within the seasonal window are too significant to ignore.

Builders are always working hard to ensure that your home is completed on time and sometimes, it can be challenging to be patient when you can’t wait to move in and enjoy your new home. Unfortunately, the building process is often at the mercy of Alberta weather and other factors out of the builder’s control. At Morrison Homes, we will never compromise on quality. By being patient through the seasonal process, homeowners are sure to get a beautiful new home built to the highest of standards that they can enjoy for decades to come.