Things to Expect When Remodeling a Home

Renovating your home is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful time. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare and make it a little less painful.

If this is your first time to face such a big project such as a home remodel, one of the things you will need to consider is where you will stay while work is being done in your home. Do you temporarily move someplace else or stay in your house? If you ask someone who’s been in that exact situation, they will likely tell you to pack up and go, and this is actually a great piece of advice – if you have the financial means to do so. However, the reality is that most people don’t, and the only option in this case is to tough it out and put up with the inconveniences that come with the remodeling project.

The key to surviving living in your home while renovation work is being done (and keeping your sanity intact) is knowing what to expect. Having the necessary information can help you prepare for what’s in store. While the preparation won’t prevent inconveniences and disruptions, they can help you come out of the other side with less frustration and stress.

The following list reflects a few of the disruptions you can expect when renovating a home, and some things you can do to prepare for them.

It will get dusty – very dusty.

One of the things that surprises most homeowners is the amount of dust that accumulates in a home undergoing renovation. Another thing is that they can get in parts of the home that are far from the construction zone. They open pantry doors only to find a film of dust on all the food packaging, or find their clothes inside their closets covered with fine dust. It permeates everything. The one thing to remember is that you can’t completely stop dust, but there are things you can do to contain it.

You can hang plastic sheeting around the room or area where construction work is being done. You can also hang plastic sheeting over closet, cabinet and pantry doors to keep dust out of your belongings and food items. Make sure to vacuum around the doorways leading to the construction zone often to minimize the amount of dust tracked through the house by the members of your family and construction crew. You can also buy protective shoe covers or booties and use them when you need to walk from the construction zone to other parts of your house to minimize the amount of dust you track.

It will be noisy.

Most homeowners know this to be true, but what catches them off-guard is just how loud it can get and that it will be loud nearly all the time. There will be little to no peace and quiet for you and your family, as there will be saws whining, hammers pounding, and drills boring into the walls, among others. This means that you need to find an alternative place for your toddler to take a nap, or for you to work (if you work from home), unless you have a room that is far enough away from where the construction is taking place that the noise levels won’t be a problem.

Your privacy will be compromised.

There will be construction workers around at all times, usually from 8AM to 5PM. You have to be prepared to open your doors to virtual strangers and share the same space with them for weeks or even months. Find out exactly when the workers will be in your house. Make it clear to the contractor and his employees that you are monitoring your home.

Your plumbing will be turned off.

Especially if you’re having your bathroom or kitchen remodeled, the plumbing will most likely be turned off at times. Just ask your contractor to let you know when this will happen and for how long so you can prepare contingency plans. This is important especially if you have kids who will need to go throughout the day.

Things to Expect When Remodeling a Home

Surprises will arise – and not the fun kind.

If there’s one thing that you can count on in a home renovation is that there will be unexpected surprises once the work starts. Your home needs electrical rewiring, or the crew accidently hit the septic tank while digging; they’ve discovered termites while tearing out a closet, or the supplier sent the wrong cabinet size, and so on and so forth. Be aware that things like these can happen so you will be prepared if they do.

Change orders.

These documents record changes in the contract between the homeowner and the contractor. These will be required if you suddenly change your mind about an aspect of the remodel (e.g., a paint color), or your contractor puts forth a constructive suggestion which you ultimately agree to (e.g., that patterned tiles are better than plain ones), or some unforeseen circumstances crop up, as mentioned above. Sometimes, change orders can also be necessitated due to additional work required by village or city inspectors (e.g., bringing an old home up to code by adding smoke alarms). Renovation jobs without change orders are pretty rare, so you should expect it.

You will worry about the cost.

Even if you have the cost under control, you will inevitably worry about the amount of money you are spending. The anxiety will only grow as you encounter snags that bring the cost up. This is why experts recommend that homeowners include a surplus amount for emergency expenses when setting their budget. Having a buffer of at least 10 percent will help reduce the stress, 25 percent will significantly alleviate it.

There will be delays.

Workers get sick, your kitchen sink takes 2 months to arrive from the factory instead of the 1 month they promised, the weather won’t cooperate and it will rain or snow hard enough for work to be called off for a day or two. When you discuss your plans with the contractor before the work starts and the contract is signed, you will be talking about the timetable. Remember that the schedule is not written in stone and that you should probably tack on 10 to 15 percent more time than originally projected. This way, you will be more flexible when the schedule changes a bit.

You will need to make a lot of decisions.

Choosing a contractor is one of the first of many decisions you will make. You will be asked for your preference and opinion on numerous things such as door handles, showerhead height, location for the cabinet hardware to be mounted, patterned tiles or plain tiles, or shades of white (yes, there are many) to paint your wall with.

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