There are few things in life that are more stressful than a home renovation project. It always seems like a great idea – an extension might add a brand new dining room, a new kitchen will improve the value of the house, another bathroom will mean you won’t have to bang on the door during your teenager’s epic showers – but when it’s actually happening, home renovations are a lot of work and upheaval. Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely. But here are some tips on keeping your head when everything feels like it’s complete chaos…
Ask For Recommendations
It can be extremely hard to find good builders and contractors who will do a great job on your home. Everyone has heard horror stories about builders who have taken months and months of extra time to get projects finished, charging exorbitant amounts of money and leaving the house in a poor condition when they are ‘finished’. In truth, the best way to find a great builder or firm of contractors is through recommendations. If you have a friend, family member or neighbour who has had work done on their home that they are happy with, ask for the number of the company that did it. Likewise, ask your friends and family if they know anyone who knows an excellent contractor. The best way to find one is through contacts.
Have A Vision
When you talk to your chosen contractor, you should have a clear picture in your head of what you actually want. Do your research online, go to kitchen showrooms to figure out what you want, and also make sure that you have a clear picture in your head of what you don’t want. It may be the case that your ideas don’t quite work for the space that you have, but knowing what you want will help to make you feel as though you have control over what’s happening in your home and give you ownership of the project.
Create A Calendar
It’s a good idea to talk to your contractor about how long they think it may take to finish your home renovation. With them, plan out what should be happening week by week. Chances are, you won’t be able to keep to that exact schedule. A lot of unexpected things happen during renovations – extra work needs to be done, bad weather happens so they can’t work on the outside of your house, timelines change, materials need to be purchased, and so on. But having a rough schedule will help your mind feel more at ease when you’re worrying about what exactly is happening and how long it should be taking. If you know when the kitchen cabinets are being replaced, you can plan for how to start using the kitchen properly again. Similarly, if you know when the PVC shower panels will be fitted, then you can start to formulate your plans for the newly-protected bathroom. Make sure you keep checking in with your contractor and communicating about where they are in your plans and schedules.
Keep Your Doors Shut
When the renovation is actually taking place, one of the most important things to remember is that you should keep all your internal doors shut. Chances are, your entire house won’t be worked on at the same time, and so you need to cordon off an area of your home that isn’t full of dust and building materials and implements. Dust seems to get everywhere, and it will definitely feel as though your entire home is filthily coated with it for a while, but keeping the doors shut will keep that dust to a minimum in certain areas of your house. Although you may feel the urge to constantly go around sweeping and vacuuming up, remember that you’re fighting a losing battle: so long as bathrooms and kitchens are hygienic and no one in the house is suffering from breathing problems, you should be fine.
Plan For Food
Renovating your kitchen is an exercise in patience and deep breathing. Not being able to get in there and cook is incredibly frustrating – even if cooking isn’t one of your favourite chores, you’ll be very excited about getting back in there once the renovation is completed. Try to put your microwave and a mini fridge in another room so you can store and heat food. This is one of the few times in your life that pre-packaged foods are great. Buy that microwave meal with no guilt whatsoever – and remember that you’ll probably be spending extra money on takeout and going out to eat, so put some money in your budget aside for that.
Make Sure Your Kids And Pets Are Safe
When you’re having a renovation done, your house tends to turn into a building site. Tools are everywhere, wires are hanging out, there are suspicious holes in the floor, and of course you’ll find that your kids and pets are entirely intrigued by the whole experience. If you can, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family to take care of your dogs and cats while the renovation is being completed: cats particularly have a habit of sneaking into small spaces, and you don’t want them to end up getting trapped under the floorboards. Likewise, ban your children from letting pets like hamsters and guinea pigs out of their cages during home renovations. You also need to remember that while anything potentially dangerous is going on, you need to watch your kids like a hawk. Make sure they know where exactly in the house they’re allowed to play, and alert your contractors to the fact that you have young children so they’ll be on the watch out.
The best way to get through a house renovation – other than a lot of wine – is plenty of preparation and planning, along with making sure that you have extra money set aside for additional expenses or when the project inevitably runs for longer than it was supposed to. You should remember that your contractors will be around for a long time, and in the end they’ll feel like members of the family, so why not treat them as such? Offer them food and drink, and ask them about their own families. Home renovations can be stressful – but these tips should help make yours a lot easier.