Planning a renovation project in your home can be especially challenging if you're living there while the work is being done. Add a couple kids and pets to the mix and you've got yourself a very chaotic household. Whether you're doing the work yourself or hiring a contractor, once your project is underway even simple tasks will be difficult. Personal items will be moved from their usual spots, tools and equipment will block well-traveled traffic areas, and work zone noise and dust will permeate your entire home. To reduce the stress associated with your disrupted routine you'll need to take these crucial steps BEFORE you start these home renovations: The first thing you'll want to do: Set up a temporary family staging centre in an area away from construction. Designate a spot near the exterior door you'll be using where you can keep the objects you'll need every day. Mornings will be less rushed if your keys, cell phone, charger, backpack, purse, and pet leash are all in one easy-to-find location. Next, careful planning of the most common room-specific reno projects will provide a smoother project with less frustration:
KitchenAs you might imagine, large and small renovations to the heart of your home can be the most disruptive of all. If you're doing a major overhaul, allow several weeks for the job to be completed. These steps will help your kitchen reno become an adventure instead of a nightmare:
- Set up a temporary kitchen. Eating out every day can create problems for family nutrition and the budget. If possible, move your refrigerator to another part of the house with easy access. If not, invest in a mini-fridge to keep vital beverages and foods cold. A small microwave will help for quick meals with minimal clean-up needed. Don't forget to move the coffee maker, toaster oven, microwavable dishes, aluminum foil, closable plastic bags, serving utensils, a few spices, and a potholder. An outdoor grill will work well too, if weather permits.
- Keep a supply of disposables. To ease cleanup while your kitchen is down, plan on using paper plates, napkins, paper towels, plastic cups and utensils. Get a box of garbage bags and dispose of trash in an outdoor can.
- Buy more goodies. Making snacks available will help fill in-between meal gaps. Stock up on peanut butter, cereal, trail mix, crackers, canned fruit cups, and a few of your favourites
- Get a folding table and chairs. Invest in or borrow a set for a temporary dining area. You'll only need to open it up at mealtime and it'll keep your family room coffee table from collecting leftover food and garbage.
- Room prep. Make sure to remove everything from the countertops, cabinets (if you're replacing them), walls, and floor area and store items in another part of the house. Starting with a clean, clutter-free work area will help the reno move along faster.
- Order appliances, cabinets, countertops, flooring or other components for your renovation. Many of these items require lengthy lead times.
BathroomThe second most-challenging space to renovate is the bathroom. If you only have one and you plan to live in the house while the work is being done, you'll want to fine-tune the schedule for a fast turnaround.
- Like the kitchen, remove all personal items from countertops, vanities, bathtub, floor and other components in the room. Relocate everyday toiletry items and towels to a guest bath or store in a travel bag for easy access.
- Locate water shutoffs, lay plastic sheeting in traffic areas to protect flooring, and set-up screens to separate the work area from your private area.
- Consider extra lead time for ordering bath fixtures. Many items are not kept in stock and will require ordering.
Laundry RoomHaving an in-home washer and dryer is very convenient, so travelling to a Laundromat while yours is being renovated will be frustrating. Before you decide to make this a DIY project, look at the overall requirements for moving gas lines, running plumbing fixtures or electrical wires, or installing a dryer vent. These jobs should be reserved for a licensed professional to handle. Select and order appliances, countertops, and cabinets before work begins to shorten the construction schedule.
BasementBoth waterproofing and creating a finished basement living area will take some time to complete. While you may not think your basement work will affect your daily activities, the prep work required can be extensive. Every homeowner can protect his or her investment by following crucial steps before finishing a basement.
- Interior waterproofing or finishing will require that all items be moved away from the foundation walls or out of the work area entirely. Take out shelving, furniture, workbench, storage boxes, carpeting, and anything else that's in the way.
- Seal off cold air returns upstairs and keep the door closed to prevent fumes and dust from circulating throughout the house.
- Protect floors in the traffic areas with plastic sheeting.
- Exterior waterproofing work will require removal of plantings around the perimeter of the house. Designate a staging area for work vehicles, material deliveries, excavation soil, and gravel.
- Make sure the work zone, especially any trenching, is cordoned off to keep children and pets from entering the work area.
Window ReplacementBefore you embark on this project, compare window replacement companies and their products to determine the best options for reducing your high energy bills, improving the aesthetics of your home, or increasing its value. Consulting with a window professional will help you avoid window replacement misconceptions and help the project run quickly and smoothly. You can help the process if you:
- Provide easy access. Move furniture, window treatments, decorations, and anything else that may be in the way.
- Protect your belongings. Cover floors and furniture that may get dirty when they're exposed to the outside elements.
- Open up. Make sure your contractor can have full access to your home. If you're replacing a lot of windows, it may take several days to finish the work. Make arrangements for someone to house sit if you can't be there yourself.
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