Remodeling is exciting in the beginning, but as the excitement of the renovations begin to take longer than you expect, you struggle to avoid going insane among the chaos. As a former carpenter and Building General Contractor, I have been on numerous remodeling projects. Any of them that lasted longer than 1 month almost always without exception had challenges and friction, regardless of any company I worked for or crew I worked with, for the simple fact that most people don’t feel comfortable having someone in their home for any extended period of time.

Living among the ruins is more difficult than first anticipated. But do not worry too much about it though, because there are practical ways to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. Try applying a few of the following ideas.

Clearly Communicate with Your Contractor:

  1. Make sure everyone is on the same page as to when the project will be completed and what materials they will/will not use.
  2. Discuss what their work hours will be and when other contractors are scheduled to come.
  3. If the contractor is given a key, make sure they know you are giving them responsibility.
  4. Give guidelines for all workers to follow. Can they use the phone? Where should they park their trucks? Can they listen to the radio, and if so, how loud?
  5. Create a space for the workers to keep their tools and supplies and make sure they know that space is for them.
  6. Specify to them which bathroom they can use and where they can clean brushes.
  7. Alert the workers to schedule times when the power or water will be turned off, so that you are aware.
  8. Expect delays. Unforeseen problems such as a missing worker, late arrival of materials, and such will keep your project from on time completion.
  9. If you have to make changes to something the contractor has already done, go straight to your architect, contractor, or their supervisor.
  10. Offer the workers something to drink and perhaps a snack. Workers that are happy, work harder, go the extra mile, and are more willing to return later when you need repairs.

Renovating Wisdom:

  1. Have one person in your family be the spokesperson to the contractor. This will limit confusion and delays.
  2. Store as many things in the work area as possible.
  3. Cover everything else with drop clothes.
  4. If possible, try to at least keep one part of your home ‘work-free’, so you can feel at rest in at least part of your home.
  5. Keep plaster dust in the work area by hanging plastic sheets over doorways between the work area and the rest of your home.
  6. Plan to go out to eat more frequently and ordering delivery a bit more (stock up on coupons too).
  7. Perhaps you could plan to take a week-long trip or a weekend vacation during the renovations.
  8. Check all fixtures to make sure they work before they get installed.

If most of your home is under renovation, you may want to move out for the first month or two for the following reasons.

  1. The contractors can then work uninterruptedly and not have to worry about working around you.
  2. You will not have to deal with the thick dust that will coat your house.
  3. The dangerous debris could seriously injure you.
  4. If you have children, you have to constantly be making sure they are away from the “under construction” areas.
  5. Nails always escape initial clean-ups that easily cut into feet.
  6. Dangerous tools may lie around your house or fall off “out of reach” places that allow little ones access.
  7. The contractors feel more at ease with you not looking over their shoulder and quite frankly work much faster and safer without you in their way.
  8. Little one’s naps will be constantly interrupted by the noise contractors need to make in order to renovate with hammers, saws, electric dusters, scrapers, etc.
  9. You can enjoy a better relationship with your family if you create this time out as one to always remember. Perhaps you should go to Yosemite or some other National Park and enjoy a holiday.

Most importantly remember you are likely the one who wanted to do the remodeling in the first place, so think about how the project will be and how much you will enjoy it once your home is finished and always keep a smile on your face!

 J

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