Experts say projects are delayed when temperatures drop because mechanical tools don't function properly. David Pekel is president of the Milwaukee chapter of NARI, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
"I think most people understand, but with a six-week delay in the schedule, people's patience (is) beginning to wear thin," Pekel told WUWM-FM.
The delays are also stressful for construction workers who have to file for unemployment if they're off the job, he said.
"It's really causing people to have to tighten their belts and to defer some of their own expenses, because they don't have the income that they normally would have and that they've budgeted to have because they were expecting to have steady work," said Pekel.
Pekel said the priority projects, despite frigid conditions, are emergency repairs, including plumbing and heating problems for which customers may pay a premium price.
"This is the time of the year when many manufacturers traditionally impose their price increases for the first quarter. Those price increases can range from anywhere, on the low end, of 5 percent, to the high end of 15 percent," he said.
In some cases, suppliers or the contractor may absorb some of the increase, Pekel said.