When it comes to major home renovations, you need everything to go smoothly, and that takes planning. Much thought and hard work goes into a home renovation during the planning stages, from deciding what changes to make to finding and vetting contractors. But to make your major renovation truly painless, you need to prepare your home and your family to weather the storm of noise, mess, and contractors coming in and out all day long. Here’s how.
1) Remove Delicate and Valuable Items from the Work Zone
You shouldn’t interfere with your contractor’s work zone once work has begun, but you should definitely prep the area by removing any items that you don’t want to get dirty, broken, or stolen during the construction process. Move delicate and valuable items from the work zone beforehand. Move them to non-work zones where contractors won’t have access.
2) Remove Large Furniture and Appliances from the Work Zone
You should also take large items out of the work area. This can include large furniture, like sofas, cabinets, tables, or bookshelves. It also includes large appliances, rugs, and large electronics, such as your flat-screen TV. Once you have removed your large items from the work zone, protect them with tightly sealed plastic drop cloths. If you can’t move your large items from the work zone entirely, talk to your contractor about where to move them so as to minimize inconvenience for the workers.
3) Decide Which Areas Are Off-Limits to Contractors
Just because you’re having contractors work in your home doesn’t mean it’s not still your home. You’re still entitled to as much privacy and security as ever. And that means that you should decide in advance which parts of your home are off-limits to the work crews.
Usually, crews will be restricted to the parts of your home being remodeled. Other rooms, including the kitchen and dining room, should be off-limits (unless, of course, you’re renovating them, too). Some homeowners choose to give contractors access to a powder room or half-bath for their convenience. However, don’t feel obligated to do this. Most contractors can easily order up a portable bathroom for the crew to use during your home renovation project, especially if the project is going to be a large-scale one. If you do choose to give contractors access to a bathroom, you may want to remove your nice towels and offer paper towels for the workers to use instead.
4) Have a Plan to Keep Pets and Children Out of the Way
If you have kids, you’ll want to talk to them beforehand about the home renovation project, answer any questions they may have, and allay any fears. Some kids won’t care at all about the noise and chaos of a home renovation project, but others may be upset or frightened by it. Still other kids may be excited about the ongoing construction work and may even get in the way. You’ll know best how your kids will react, and how to keep them calm and out of the way.
You should also consider keeping your pets in a safe place during the renovations. Pets may be frightened by the noise and uncomfortable with strangers in the home. Having a team of contractors traipsing in and out all day presents the perfect opportunity for indoor pets to escape unnoticed. If you can, it’s best to confine your pets in a non-work area, leave them with a friend or relative, or board them at a kennel for the duration of the project.
5) Protect Non-Work Zones from Dust and Debris
Home renovation projects typically cause quite a bit of mess, so you’re going to want to take steps to make sure the rest of your house doesn’t fill up with dust and debris. While you may be able to rely on your home warranty coverage to repair most failures of your home’s appliances and systems, keeping construction dust and debris confined to the work zone can keep your HVAC filters and ducts cleaner, and protect your furniture, carpets, and other possessions from damage.
The most effective way to protect the rest of your home from construction debris is to install plastic zipper doors around the work zone. These are a little more expensive than simply hanging plastic drop cloths, but they’re worth it to protect the rest of your home. You should also cover lamps and furniture in adjacent rooms, just in case. Boxing up pictures, knickknacks, and other small objects in adjacent rooms will protect them from vibrations that could cause them to fall off the wall or shower dust on objects below.
Remodeling any part of your home is always going to mean putting up with some level of discomfort and inconvenience while the work is done. With the right preparation for your home and family, your major home remodeling project will be much easier to bear, and you’ll be able to start enjoying your home’s new features sooner.