Remodeling Survival Tips Help Smooth the Process

Remodeling can turn a house you like into a home you love, but we’re not going to sugar coat it; major remodeling projects are often messy and inconvenient.

The stress of change and disruption over several weeks is enough to test a saint’s patience and temperament. So before you begin, we suggest you sit down with your contractor to fully understand the remodeling process and your specific schedule. Then ask yourself (or sing if you remember the ’80s band The Clash) the all-important question: Should I stay or should I go?

If you have the means, you might live in a rental, check in to a residence hotel or stay with friends or relatives during your remodel. The first two options can be expensive but some contractors offer hotel discounts because having you live offsite saves them time and materials associated with extra dust barriers and daily cleanup. The third solution saves you money but it can sometimes put a strain on your relationship with the host family.

If you’re the adventurous and creative type, then you may choose to stick it out and stay during your remodel. Regardless of the project scope, you will need a good dust barrier between you and the work area. If you plan to gut the kitchen, tear out bathrooms and change other major living spaces, then living through a whole-house remodel when your house isn’t whole can be a lot like camping.

Depending on your project, you may need to set up some temporary cooking, cleaning, sleeping and bathing areas at your construction-zone campsite. We’ve known several families who converted their garages into impressive living room-kitchen-bedroom combos. You also can work with your contractor to remodel your home in phases so you can migrate within the house, reserving construction-free spaces as indoor sanctuaries to preserve your sanity.

If you’re remodeling your kitchen, eating out and ordering in can get expensive so maybe prepare a few meals in a slow cooker, barbecue in the backyard or set up a camping stove to keep costs down. Try to stage your temporary kitchen near a safe water source and your displaced refrigerator and keep food in air-tight containers to keep the construction dust out.

If the idea of camping sounds fun but you don’t want to wake up to hammers at 7 a.m., then hit the road and explore the great outdoors with your tent and sleeping bags in tow. Many homeowners plan their vacations or sabbaticals during their remodels. This is a great solution to avoid the mess. Just remember to stay in close communication with your contractor while you’re out of town.

Whether you live with family, stick it out or hit the road during your remodel, this nomadic arrangement is fun for awhile but can get old fairly quickly. Just remember that it’s temporary and keep a smile on your face and your eye on the prize – that beautiful living space in a newly remodeled home.

To see our column in the Coloradoan click here.