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How to Survive a Remodel

Are you planning a remodeling project this spring and picturing yourself knee deep in dust and debris, while living on take-out food for months? It's true that living through a remodel and having your house filled with even the best contractors can be stressful. If you plan in advance and use these tips on how to cope with the stress of a renovation, you'll have a better chance of surviving the project with your sanity and sense of humor intact.

Communication is Key

When you're planning a remodel, good communication is a key to success. Whether you're using an architect or working directly with contractors, be sure to have a written agreement where all the details of the project are clearly laid out, including start dates and completion dates. It should be part of your contract that any changes to the project should be put in writing and signed by both parties. Once the project begins, you'll find it useful to get as much feedback as you can. Make it part of your routine to meet with your contractors every morning to review the work in progress and discuss what's planned for that day. That way, if your water or electricity needs to be turned off, you'll have advance notice and be able to plan accordingly. And if any problems crop up during the project you can adjust your plan and budget to deal with them so you won't have unexpected surprises when the job is done.

Kitchen Creativity

If your kitchen is among the areas of the house that's going to be remodeled, you may find your access limited while the renovation is in progress. Pack up your kitchen goods and label the boxes for easy retrieval later. Try to find a space in which you can make snacks, school lunches and some simple meals so that you don't spend a fortune on eating out. Ideally, the space should be within range of a sink. Set up your temporary kitchenette in the garage, basement or a room out of the way of the contractors. If possible, move your freezer into the basement or garage before the remodeling and fill it with pre-cooked meals. Stock up on snacks like peanut butter, canned fruit, and granola bars, and also on disposable paper plates, cups, and cutlery. If you have children, they are probably used to running in and out of the kitchen all day so put safety first and be sure to keep the children away from the construction area as much as possible.

Bathroom Blues

Is the bathroom among the rooms in the house that's going to be remodeled? If you're lucky, you have another bathroom that can be used by family members during the renovation. If part of the project is to install a second bathroom, you may want to wait until the second bathroom is usable before your first bathroom is put out of commission. If you don’t have a functioning bathroom during the remodeling, you might consider renting a portable toilet; make sure it arrives before the first day of the work begins. This would also be a good time to get that family membership at the gym you’ve been dreaming about so you can use their showers and other facilities.

Take a Break from the Muss and Fuss

If the construction is going to be a lengthy process, you should consider taking a break to get away from the remodeling. Even if it's only a few days in a local motel, it will get you out of the house and ease your stress. If you have children, you should ask the contractors about what amount of dust might be produced during the construction. It's a factor to take into consideration for your children's health—if you're concerned, you may want to think about having children stay with family members during the entire remodeling if possible. It's more than likely that your pets will be stressed by the remodeling and will need extra patience and TLC during this time. If there are family members that pets can board with during some or all of the renovation, that might be a good option for both you and your animals.

Clean Up

Clean up after the remodeling should be included as part of your contract. Debris should be carted away by the contractors as well as all garbage such as nails, glass and putty, and all obvious signs of construction should be removed. You will probably want to carry out your own cleaning in order to make sure that there are no traces of potentially harmful construction dust left in your house. Wipe down walls and other surfaces, vacuum thoroughly and don't forget to remove vent covers and clean inside the vents. Wash windows, blinds, floors and baseboards. If drapes or other window treatments were not removed before the renovation began, take them down and have them washed or dry-cleaned. Use an air-filtering system to remove airborne dust that may not have settled on surfaces yet. Hiring a professional cleaning service is a great way to recuperate from the stress of remodeling. Let the pros do the dirty work, so you can relax and appreciate your newly renovated house.

Now that you have a plan for surviving your remodel, use the BizPals Home Services Directory to find top contractors. And use our handy checklist to help ease you through the hiring process, and get you started on a successful renovation project.