When a skyscraper is being built in the middle of the city, there are fences and yellow caution tape everywhere to keep people out. When you embark on a remodeling project, it could feel like you’ve thrown a party in your home for the construction crew.
While remodeling your home doesn’t typically required cranes and bulldozers, some of the same dangers exist, and if you have kids or pets, keeping them safe during the project will be a high priority. To keep your safety and your sanity intact, here are ten steps you can take to ensure your project is safe and enjoyable.
Make a Plan
If you’ve done your homework and hired a professional contractor, this won’t be their first rodeo. Before construction starts, ask them to describe their process and plans for keeping your family safe and for containing the impact of the construction activities. With their years of experience, they’ll be able to customize a strategy for working in your home that everyone can live with.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of never-ending remodeling projects, and there’s no better way to keep your sanity during a project than to have a clear start and end date. Ask your contractor for a written schedule for the work, and for regular updates to keep you informed about progress and changes. Understanding and planning for times when you may not be able to use parts of your house can give you a chance to plan for the disruption. Refinishing your hardwood is exciting, and it can also mean you have to live somewhere else for a week. Knowing this weeks in advance makes planning much easier. Hey, it might even be a great excuse to take a little vacation.
Construction activities are inevitably dusty, but what many people don’t realize is how easily that dust can circulate throughout the rest of your home. In addition to be irritating to your allergies, it can be damaging to things like furniture surfaces and electronics. Be sure to talk to your contractor about their methods of containing dust during construction, and for cleaning up at the end of the project. Strategically placing dust walls and controlling traffic patterns will make a big difference in how much dust gets spread around.
Change your Filters
Speaking of dust, with all that work going on there’s going to be a lot of extra dust flying around in the work areas that could get sucked up in your furnace filter. Talk to your contractor about how they’ll keep the dust in the work areas from getting pulled into your furnace and blown around the rest of your house. Sometimes blocking off return registers or adding filter materials over them is necessary to keep the mess where it belongs. And with all the activity in you home, now is a good time to stock up on furnace filters and plan to change them once a week during construction. Too much dust can clog filters up quickly and prevent your furnace from running at its best. Not to mention your air will be cleaner and healthier to breathe!
Hide the Tools
Construction tools can be dangerous things for curious kids. Check with your contractor to see what their policy is for their employees to clean up their tools at the end of the day. If tools are left at your home during the project, make sure they unplug corded tools and take the batteries out of cordless models.
You won’t realize how much time you spend in your kitchen until someone removes it. Before construction begins make plans to set up a temporary kitchen in another room of your home if possible. This could consist of a small refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, and a coffee maker. Stock up on easy to make meals or maybe even pre-cook and freeze some things that will be easy to heat up later. Eating out every night can seem like fun at first, but it does get old pretty quickly. If possible we recommend setting up near a sink, possibly a laundry sink or a hall bathroom, to make clean up a bit easier.
Let’s Eat Out
Okay, let’s get real, without a real kitchen, cooking is going to next to impossible. Include “Eating Out” in your project budget if you’re losing your kitchen during the process. Ever feel like you’re in an eating out rut? Now would be a great time to ask your friends and family for their list of favorite restaurants and have some fun trying new things. Who knows, you may find a new favorite dinner spot, and you’ll get some variety into your dining out options.
Prepare for Impact
It’s pretty obvious that you’ll need to remove furniture and décor from the areas being remodeled. What’s not so obvious, is that adjacent rooms are at risk as well. A carpenter’s hammer can create enough vibrations to shake pictures off the wall in the next room, so make sure to walk around all of the rooms that share walls with the work areas and take down any photos or decoration. Having a one of a kind family photo crash to the floor will make for a bad day for everyone.
There’s no getting around having strangers in your home during a remodel which can be stressful by itself with the feeling of no privacy. The best way to combat this is to get a clear understanding of work times and access points. Which doors will the crews use to enter your home and what areas are off limits and for your use only. Also, keep in mind that crews are people too. Have a cup of coffee with the craftsman working at your home. Getting to know the team you’ve invited for a daily visit will make you feel much more at ease with them having the code to your garage door.
Have The Talk
Okay, not that talk. By the time construction starts you will have had many conversations with your contractor and hopefully covered every detail before work starts. It can be easy to forget that the rest of your family may not have been in on this process. Have a brief, but specific, discussion with your spouse, kids, cleaning lady, and anyone else who lives in or visits your home regularly will help everyone stay safe and informed. This is especially true for times when you’ll be unable to use parts or all of your home.
Setting some good ground rules with kids will help them stay out of harm's way and ensure their safety during construction.
There are many things to consider and prepare for when remodeling your home and hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable project. Please share any questions or comments below and feel free to give us a call if you’re ready to start your project planning!
Live in an older home? Check out our blog related to dealing with lead in your home and the impact of the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting regulation. You can read that here.
Remodeling a kitchen? Check out our blog with more specific information for preparing for a kitchen remodel here. You can read that here.