It’s decided. You love where you live, and you want to stay a long time, so you’re going to tackle a major home renovation. All you can think about is the completed result and you can’t wait to start the project! Now pause. Before you write the first check, think about this: should you stay, or should you go during the work?
Demolition and construction cause lots of dust. Even if the renovation is closed off with a plastic zip tent and has its own air handler or filter (highly recommended), anyone coming and going will track fine dust on their shoes. Plus, the dust released every time the area is opened hangs in the air for a long time.
If anyone in the home has lung or breathing issues such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the decision is already made for you: You really need to move out during construction.
Other reasons to plan for a temporary rental or sharing a home with friends or family include installing a new roof or another floor, if baths are being remodeled, or when more than half the house is being done (such as after a disaster like a fire). Having a baby or toddlers is enough reason too, as are pets, for safety reasons.
The 3W Design/build team does our utmost to “zip” construction dust away from the rest of your home. But you’ll still have daily noise to deal with: hammering, sawing and drilling, which can set your teeth on edge and make pets anxious
How long does it take?
After creating a comprehensive plan with you, your contractor coordinates everything: arranging for permits, debris removal (picture a Dumpster in your front yard), subcontractors including licensed plumbers and electricians, material deliveries, construction and inspections. Because of so many factors, any estimate is subject to change.
A kitchen remodel consisting of a full gut and moving/installing plumbing or electrical, could take six to eight weeks. If you decide to stay, there’s a lot to think about. Can you relocate the fridge and set up a kitchen in the garage? It depends on the season, and if the builder needs that space to measure, cut and saw.
Or maybe the refrigerator moves to the dining room. Appliances that will be your best friends may include:
- Toaster oven
- Electric skillet (great for eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese)
But be careful what surface you have the appliances on. Unlike kitchen counters and a stove top, your dining room table’s hand-rubbed finish can’t stand the heat. Fire up the grill and eat outside when feasible.
Use paper plates and disposable cups whenever practical, but you’ll still need access to a sink for washing—maybe a laundry sink?
Got kids? Make it fun!
When it feels as if the kitchen job is dragging on too long, make it a challenge to eat at or get takeout from a different ethnic restaurant each night for a week: Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mexican, French, Japanese, etc. You may discover a new favorite! Or, hit a diner and have breakfast for dinner once a week. Chances are the kids aren’t as wigged out as you are over the construction chaos.
If we’ve learned nothing else from HGTV, it’s “expect surprises.” Those surprises usually have a price tag accompanying them, and virtually always add extra time to the job.
So, if you’re redoing your living or great room and/or expanding your kitchen and formal dining room for a milestone anniversary party or small wedding, leave a couple of months “wiggle room” in the contracting schedule.
Older Homes with Hidden Surprises
When the dining room of one 1765 colonial was opened to fix water damage from an upstairs bath, the contractor discovered the whole wall was rotted from foundation to rafters. Faced with an unexpected cost, remind yourself that you’re remodeling because this is your home and you hope to live there a long time.
A delightful surprise in an antique farmhouse was discovering stone walls behind the drywall in a bathroom redo. They were left exposed for a unique shower enclosure.
Plan to avoid scope creep.
Beware of “scope creep” and yes, we’re talking to you, the client. Homeowners are notorious for changing plans, adding items that aren’t on the original plan of work, and then wondering why the job comes in late and over budget.
To circumvent this, be prepared to spend plenty of time with 3W design’s team before a single work truck pulls up. For example, you may have your heart set on a Mexican tile, but if it’s back ordered, you may be asked to select something else you like that’s available sooner.
Once it’s in, typically early in the process, plumbing and electrical can’t be moved “a little to the left” or fixtures changed without delaying everything else—and incurring extra cost.
Time to Celebrate!
Remember the before-during-and-after’s—photos, that is. We like “during” the project pictures to document the progress and provide some architectural history of your home. In a few months you’ll be enjoying your addition, new bathroom or kitchen so much that you’ll forget what it used to look like and wonder how you got along without it.
Waking up in the remodeled home you love is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give to yourself and your family.