The Home Remodeler’s Survival Guide
When you make the decision to remodel any area of your home, it is important to take stock of how the process will influence daily life. It’s an exciting time filled with anticipation of the new look and feel of your home, but it is also the beginning of a tumultuous period of controlled chaos; at least you hope it’s controllable.
The most important tactic to surviving the remodel is planning in the areas of mental and emotional preparation, setting goals and agreeing on rules with the contractor, and physically preparing the site and creating a sustainable living situation for your family while the work is being completed.
Mental and emotional preparation:
It’s vital for the family to agree on a team strategy. Try to put a positive spin on the experience, highlighting the adventure aspect of the following time period and turning it into a group challenge. Know that it will take patience and flexibility to successfully survive during this time. Expect frustration and conflicting feelings, as well as a general mess and household disorder. Having realistic expectations will go a long way to help you and your family get through the remodel process.
Set goals and come to an agreement on basic guidelines with the contractor:
As a matter of course, the determination of time to complete the job and an agreement on costs are of utmost importance, but there are other rules, or guidelines, with which you should come to agreement for your peace of mind. Guidelines should encompass rules about where workers will take breaks and should include a predetermined smoking area, if permissible, any off-limit areas, parking, work hours, music volume, and who has key access to the home. At this point it is recommended to talk to your neighbors to notify them of the nature of the work, the hours of operation, and the expected time frame. An informed neighbor is much more likely to be supportive and tolerant of any inconvenience.
Preparing the site:
Before the work begins, pack-up the area to be remodeled. Use this opportunity to rid yourself of all un-needed, unnecessary, or unwanted items. Group your packing into two types: Those items to be stored, and those items with immediate and current need during the remodel. Attach Visqueen, or other plastic sheeting, to doorways and access points to avoid the spreading of dust and close-off limited areas of the home (this may be included with the scope of work). If necessary, relocate pictures, vases, artwork, computers, landline phones, and collectables for safety. And don’t forget to move plants to areas where they will be shielded and easily maintained.
Create a sustainable living situation:
In Georgia, the kitchen is the most common area for remodel as the cabinets, countertops, and design of the kitchen are most often the main source of reduced usefulness and desirability due to outdated design features (functional obsolescence). Cabinet refacing is one of the many ways homeowners update the look of their kitchen.
Move small appliances to an area that will serve as a makeshift kitchen. A slow cooker, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, electric skillet, and even relocating your refrigerator to an area with easy access is invaluable. Other essentials, including a can opener, water bottles, eating utensils, disposable plates and cups, napkins, and paper towels can be kept in a container and stowed for use as needed. For easy cleanup, purchase a small tub to be designated for washing any pots or dishes. It is suggested that your remodel budget include a sum set aside for eating some meals away from the home. If this is an option, it will help to ease stress around the remodel and will get the family out of the home and away from the process.
If a bathroom is being remodeled, advanced planning should include where you will be able to take showers and having appropriate mirrors and lighting while getting ready, among other obvious necessities.
Power outages and having a loss of water are two very real potential outcomes at times. Be prepared with lanterns and candles, bottled water, and flashlights for these instances.
Above all else, remember that there is an end in sight. With proper planning and preparation, the remodeling process will become a memory of a time that you pulled together, and maybe had a little fun.