For many people, staying in the house through a major project sounds unimaginable. While the process is never easy, we have 7 tips for living through a remodel to help make the experience a little more bearable. One of the first steps in preparing to live through a remodel is setting reasonable expectations. While we at Better Builders do everything we can to make the process easier, it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows the entire time, and we try to make sure you’re prepared for that up front.
Whether your project is big or small, living in your home while its under construction is a challenge for the whole family. You’ll have people in and out of your home all day, certain areas will become off-limits, and without thorough planning, life may feel like it’s in a near constant state of disarray. The best thing you can do is have a solid plan of action in place, and we do our best to help be part of the solution, not the problem.
7 Tips for Living Through a Remodel
Establish a Clear Schedule
Planning your life around a remodeling project starts with setting a clear schedule. At Better Builders we utilize a software called Builder Trend as a key tool in our Project Management. This helps our team maintain an updated schedule throughout your project and allows the homeowners to have constant access to the calendar. Defining a formal work schedule with dedicated start and stop times each day helps homeowners maintain project boundaries, stay on track with goals and create a manageable timetable.
Any remodel comes with many moving parts. While we make every effort to keep them to a minimum, we ask for our homeowners’ grace when unexpected schedule changes happen. When many different vendors and craftspeople need to be coordinated, we do our best to have an established plan of action to manage the unexpected.
Gather all Essential Items
Carefully analyze any areas you are having work done in and try to think of all the things you usually do and use in that space. Once you have a thorough list, try to think of your alternate plan of action for each item and activity on the list. Before the crew starts work, think of the essential items you may need to have moved to another temporary location in the house for convenient access. For example, you’re doing a kitchen remodel; you may want to move the fridge into the living room, move your coffee maker into the home office, and plan a dish washing strategy.
You should also plan to move any items that may be in the way of the work crew. At Better Builders we ask you to relocate any items that may be in the way as well as any remotely fragile items. This goes for everything from electronics like televisions, to art and keepsakes. Finding a separate are of the home for storage or even arranging off site storage for these important items is one of the first things we advise our clients do in the prep stage.
Keep things Clean
Even with serious effort, areas of your home may become dusty and dirty during a remodel, especially during the demolition phase. At Better Builders we take extra precautions to minimize the debris, including zip walls to separate the work areas from living areas and running HEPA air scrubbers to pull the debris from the air. While Better Builders tries to manage the “dirt” with these steps as well as daily cleaning, you can help manage the dust and debris too. If any family members are particularly sensitive to poor air quality conditions, it’s wise to sweep, dust and vacuum regularly. Above all, do what you can to keep your living spaces separated from the workspace by respecting the zip walls and partitions your builder establishes.
Separate Work and Living Areas
Majority of our clients choose to stay in their home throughout the execution of their project. The key to making this possible is having clearly defined boundaries between the living spaces and the areas where work is taking place. Your contractor should help you establish designated entrances for the work crew, manage the mess, have a plan for dust and debris and enforce a set work hour schedule. The best advice we can give is to make a plan and stick to it.
If you’re going through a bathroom remodel, you will be primarily relying on a secondary lavatory. Having only one accessible bathroom for your entire family is asking for a logistics nightmare, especially while everyone is at home! While certain things can’t be planned per say, it’s good to try and establish a schedule where possible. Making a shower schedule can help decrease bathroom congestion. It’s also important to remember there may be times when your main water has to be turned off for things like plumbing work. Your contractor will advise you of these interruptive events, but two little words are your new best friend: Plan. Ahead.
Temporary Kitchen Strategy
Living through a kitchen remodel is also a major interruption to your daily routine. The kitchen is referred to as the heart of the home for a reason. While your new kitchen space will totally be worth the wait, it may prove challenging to go without during the project. Regular cooking will be a challenge at best and impossible at worst. Having a strategy for meal planning, take out options and a temporary kitchen set up will be your lifeline.
Depending on the season, you may be able to pivot to mostly cooking outdoors (hello grilling season!). Other times you may have to rely on a bit more ingenuity. Hot plates, microwaves and toaster ovens may become your new best friends. As part of the Better Builders Project Handbook, we provide you with a thorough temporary kitchen plan and our Production team is great at helping people come up with a strategy for living through your kitchen renovation.
Get Out of the House
Maybe moving out during your remodel isn’t a feasible option but spending time outside the house definitely is! While your renovation is exciting, it can also get a little annoying after a while. When you work with a contractor you trust, you shouldn’t feel like you need to hang around and watch the action every day. In fact, we actually encourage you not to do that. Spending some time away from the chaos at your house will give you a much-needed break from life during construction. Plan a day trip or the occasional weekend away, pay a long overdue visit to family, spend the day at the beach or park, anything to take a break from all the action. Whether it’s a full-fledged vacation, or simply a few hours outside the house, taking a break will help you cope with the disruption to your home life.
While Better Builders do our best to make living through a remodel easier, it’s never truly easy. We hope these seven tips will help you prepare for the process that leads to your dream home!