As Minnesota’s summer winds down and temperatures slowly drop, now is a good time to think about home renovations you’d like to complete before the snow flies.

Making plans now for autumn improvements should give you plenty of time to gather funding, hire a contractor and make changes in your routine that could make the process more efficient. In many cases, planning ahead will also let you show off your renovations in time for the holidays.

“The first part of (the fourth) quarter is ideal for outdoor work and new construction starts,” advises Rick Thomas on “This is a good time to schedule anything from an addition to a kitchen remodel. Business is slower for contractors and materials may be less expensive — however, shipping may take longer, so work those extra days into your timeframe.”

Some suggestions for fall renovation projects:

Finishing your basement. Minnesotans seeking a retreat from the colder temps of the winter season tend to appreciate the extra usable space offered by a fully finished basement. Whether you opt for a guest suite, a game room, a man cave, a hobby area or a home theater, a lower-level renovation can add much-needed square footage when you’re snowed in, but your family wants to spread out and relax.

Repairing or replacing your roof. Worried about how your aged roof will hold up to the ravages of winter? Now would be a great time to hire an experienced, professional crew that can assess leaks and fix any problems safely and quickly. Depending on the quality and composition of your original shingles, they may need replacement in as little as 12 years. On average, a roof replacement should glean an ROI of 61% to 68% upon resale, according to Remodeling magazine.

Repairing or replacing siding. Many homeowners don’t notice how badly their siding has deteriorated until surrounding trees and shrubs have dropped their foliage. You may wish to upgrade the look of your home with a higher-end siding material in a newer shape, pattern and/or color, or you may wish to install a variety with added insulation. Happily, new siding reaps an average ROI of 76%, reports Remodeling.

Replacing windows. The last thing you want in a Minnesota winter is drafty old windows that inadvertently bring the outside in. Fortunately, glass with multiple panes, spacers, or filler gasses can solve such problems while taking a big chunk out of your heating bills. “Today’s best dual-paned windows are about twice as effective at retaining heat and air conditioning as the single-paned units installed just a couple of decades ago,” notes Josh Garskof on He recommends matching the look of your original windows as closely as possible in terms of material and panes per window.

Sealing gaps and adding insulation. Consider a home energy audit through which an auditor evaluates your home’s caulking, weather stripping and insulation. Older homes are infamous for lacking adequate insulation; if yours isn’t 10 to 14 inches deep throughout your home, you could be leaking expensive heat and air conditioning.

Cleaning and repairing your fireplace and chimney. To check for creosote build-up in your fireplace, Family Handyman advises wearing a dust mask while looking inside and scratching the above-damper surface with a poker. Build-up of 1/8 inch or more requires cleaning; build-up of 1/4 inch or more means further usage without cleaning is unsafe. Hire a chimney or fireplace professional to clean it while checking for blockages, ill-functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry and/or missing or damaged flue caps.

With a little planning before the weather turns, you should be able to kick off the holiday season with your home renovations blissfully complete.

“While you were on summer vacation, your home was hard at work battling the elements,” advises Manasa Reddigari on “After enduring intense heat or seasonal thunderstorms, your home deserves a little TLC to get it ready for the colder months ahead.”

Considering a remodel that includes all or some of these renovations? Talk to the experts at Titus Contracting (952-746-7817) for advice on getting everything done before cold season hits.