Choosing to live in your house while renovating is a big decision. Of course, you may not have a choice in the matter for budgetary reasons. Whether you’re looking to do a major remodeling project or a minor upgrade, your family will likely face dust, noise, and an overall disruption to your everyday life. Rooms and essential spaces like the kitchen and bathroom may suddenly become inaccessible while everyone will have to adjust to working and living at a busy construction site.
Keep in mind that the end result will obviously be worth the inconvenience of the project itself. If you’re nervous about living at home while remodeling, careful planning, a bit of creativity, and ample flexibility and patience will go a long way. Here are five essential tips to help you survive living at home during a major renovation.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about living at home during a remodel – here are some ideas & tips to get you started.
Use a Calendar
Living at home while renovating your house can be a hassle. You still need to go about your day, get a good night’s sleep, and make sure your family can safely live amid a construction zone. For that reason, it’s critical to work with a trusted contractor to ensure you know what’s happening during every step of the project, setting milestones to keep your renovation on track.
Maintain a calendar detailing when deliveries are expected to arrive, who will be coming in to work on the renovation on which days, and when the prospective end date is for wrapping things up. A calendar is also a great way to improve communication and coordination and make your project go more smoothly.
Remodeling can be tricky, and with so much movement going on at one time, you should always remain flexible.
Set Money Aside for Takeout
According to the 2021 U.S. Houzz and Home Study Renovations Trends report, kitchen remodels accounted for 27% of home interior upgrades.
Your kitchen is one space in your home you absolutely need. Unfortunately, if you’re remodeling your kitchen area, you’ll face several challenges. How do you prepare meals? Where do you sit down to eat with your family? How do you keep food protected from construction dust and other contaminants? What do you do without a refrigerator?
Homeowners living at home during renovations will have to get creative when it comes to meals. Plan ahead and budget for frequent takeout and dining at restaurants throughout the remodeling process.
Generally, you may need to alter your menu from homecooked meals to somewhat processed foods. It would also help to stock up on nonperishables and disposable plates and utensils. Likewise, consider barbecuing if the weather is appropriate and invest in a mini-fridge to store cold items, such as lunch meat, drinks, and fruits and vegetables.
Set Work, Play, and Live Zones
If you decide to stay put during remodeling or while building a home addition to your house, you’ll probably feel that you’re being uprooted regardless. Once you know when the project will start and which areas of your home will be under construction, it’s essential to begin planning which rooms will be designated for living, working, and playing.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, about 59% of employees have worked remotely, either full time or partly. There will likely be a lot of noise and dust throughout the renovation process. Find ways to repurpose other rooms in your home as a work or homework station by setting up a card table. If you have kids, designate a safe space for them to play and unwind. Even during a major renovation, you still need to get through the day with a semblance of normalcy.
Practice Safety First
Home renovations can pose a severe safety risk for professionals and residents alike, particularly if you intend to live on the premises throughout the remodeling project. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 32% of 79,660 nonfatal construction injuries included falls, slips and trips in 2019. This underscores the importance of creating significant safety measures to protect you and your family from dangers.
Your contractor can recommend containment measures to create temporary barriers and alternate routes for your family to use, such as hanging plastic sheets to block off rooms and prevent the spread of dust and chemicals. Other respiratory safety measures may include air filters, vacuums, and proper ventilation to keep you safe.
If you have children living at home with you, try to spend as much time away from your house as possible when workers are on-site. Stray nails can puncture the skin and cause infections, while other hazards can lead to serious bodily injury.
Is there a park nearby or an afterschool activity program? Perhaps you can take your dog for a long walk or even play in your backyard if the renovation does not impact it.
Create a Bathroom Strategy
Say you’re renovating one or more bathrooms in your house, leaving only one for your whole family to use. This could present several problems, especially considering bathrooms are often in high demand.
Speak with your contractor about renovating one bathroom at a time to prevent a traffic jam. If your family is on board, it’s a good idea to create a daily schedule for showering, washing up, and brushing your teeth. A loose plan is particularly beneficial if everyone needs to get ready for work or school in the morning.
Counter space may also become an issue. Ensure you only keep essentials in the bathroom area and store all other products away and off the vanity countertops to free up space. One way to prevent clutter may be to get everyone a caddy they can bring to and from the bathroom during your renovation.
You might also want to take advantage of other opportunities for bathing. If you have a close friend, family member, or neighbor nearby, perhaps they’d be open to allowing you to borrow their shower. Likewise, consider showering at your gym before coming home after a workout.
Rethinking Your Way of Life During Renovation
Overall, living at home during a remodeling project requires you to rethink how you live. Planning is of the utmost importance if you intend to stay put during your renovation project. However, if everyone works together, you’ll make exciting memories to share and look back on as a family.
When it comes to remodeling your home, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next remodel project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com
Rose Morrison is a home & construction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s the managing editor of Renovated, a web magazine for the real estate industry. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.