Remodeling usually involves tearing out old walls, windows, cabinets, or other pieces of your home that once seemed permanent. But this dirty, noisy, and disruptive process doesn't necessarily mean you'll be tearing out your hair, too.
With careful planning, it is possible to survive major renovations. Even though your daily routines may be derailed, you can minimize the inconvenience and give yourself room to collect your thoughts even amid a storm of drywall dust, flying wood chips, and noxious odors.
The tips offered below can help you anticipate the problems that can arise with almost any remodeling project. Use that knowledge to short-circuit the stresses that are a natural part of changes to your home.
Plan for everyday life. Your house may be in shambles, but you'll still want hot meals, a snug bed, a refreshing shower, and clean clothes. Seek safe harbor away from the confusion by staying at a motel, taking refuge with a kind relative, or even moving into a travel trailer or recreational vehicle. But don't go so far away from home that you lose touch with the project.
If you can, or must, live at home during remodeling, rearrange rooms before work begins. To prepare for a kitchen makeover, move your microwave and refrigerator to a place where they can still be used. If the water will be turned off for long periods of time, order bottled water and scout out a place for showers. A bedroom may even become a combination living room/kitchen for awhile.
Keep waste in its place. There's no way to avoid a mess when remodeling. But the tide of rubble, trash, and dust can be contained. Before the swing of the first hammer, work out waste logistics with your contractor. Hang tarps in doorways to seal off rooms where remodeling is under way. Establish a plan for handling waste materials so they will be routed away from sensitive areas, such as gardens or porches, and hauled away on a regular basis. If floors need protection, see to it that they are covered up.
Defend against air pollution. When determining the timetable, pin down the periods when glues, finishes, or other odorous materials will be used. Make certain the house will be properly, even excessively, ventilated when smells are at their peak. Escape to Grandma's.
Protect your property. Some dust will always drift out of work areas. Electronic equipment, fine furniture, or other valuables should be covered or removed. Also, keep expensive telephones out of the remodeling area.
Communicate with contractors. Keep the lines of communication open and stick to your plans as much as possible. Midcourse project changes often lead to unexpected service charges.