How to Safely Live in Your House During A Major Renovation

May 9, 2016 |

Safely Live House Renovation

This post was written for SafeWise by Jacob Hurwith from ImproveNet.com, a home remodeling and home improvement resource website.

You’ve finally signed an agreement with your contractor, decided on the perfect tile for the kitchen floor, and picked out a bright new paint color. Now for the big decision – should you live in or move out during your major remodeling project?

If you stay, you get to monitor the project’s progress, but you also have to deal with the dust and noise. If you move out, rental costs and eating out can easily add up. Naturally, most homeowners decide to stay put. If you plan on following suit, make sure you know exactly what you’re in for and how to safely occupy the home without getting hurt.

To Stay or Move?

Don’t let the live-in trend fool you, there are plenty of advantages to moving out that many homeowners do not consider until it’s too late.

Advantages to Moving Out

  • Avoid Dust & Noise: It will get very messy.
  • Live Comfortably Without Interference: Hotels or family homes are much more pleasant than a construction site.
  • Can Shorten the Project’s Timeline: Staying out of the way helps pros finish on time.
  • Could Potentially Be Cheaper than Living In: Some pros charge extra for families living in the home. Furthermore, the project will be cheaper if they finish early.
  • Gives You An Adventure Outside the Home: We all need a vacation once in a while.

Of course, there are always two sides to every coin.

Advantages to Living In

  • Usually Cheaper than Moving Out: Hotel bills add up.
  • Can Monitor the Progress of the Project: A certain piece of mind comes with knowing the exact status of the project.
  • In the Vicinity to Address Any Issues: Problems will come up. The faster you and your contractor address them, the sooner they’re fixed.
  • Don’t Necessarily Have to Spend Money on Restaurants: You can still cook or eat at home (depending on the project).

Projects that Require Moving

Before you make the ultimate decision, know that a few projects require no decision whatsoever. Due to safety, space or timeline concerns, the following projects require you to move out:

  • Major Roof Remodeling: Your safety, as well as dryness, is as risk.
  • Asbestos or Major Mold Removal: There are few issues more serious to your health than asbestos.
  • Wood Flooring Refinishing: You likely can’t walk on the floors for at least one or two days.
  • Any Remodeling Project Occupying More than Half the Home: Chances are, the hassle won’t be worth the savings.

If any of the above projects are minor, such as a small roof patch, you can possibly live in the home. Overall, if safety is ever a concern, the contractor will likely urge you to move out.

You’ve Decided to Live at Home: General Tips 

With all considerations out of the way, we can jump into basic safety tips and guidelines for any family living in the home during a major renovation. Once you’ve made this decision, the following tips will not only help ensure your safety, but your sanity as well.

  • Determine Construction Schedule: You should know exactly when workers are in the house. Besides privacy, this also ensures no one will trip your security system.
  • Seal Off Construction-Free Zones: Your home will get messy and dusty no matter what you do. Make sure you contain that dust to designated areas.
  • Turn Off HVAC: Dust tends to fly if air is flowing throughout the home. You can also run an air handler to filter it out.
  • Remove Fragile Decor: Belongings will break if they are near or in the construction zone.
  • Keeps Kids & Pets Away from Construction Zone: Remember, any delay extends the timeline.
  • Plan Your Project During Vacation: Just make sure you stay in contact with your pro.
  • Always Wear Shoes: You never know what’s on the ground of a construction site.

Kitchen Remodeling: Living In Tips

When it comes to home renovations, kitchen remodeling reigns supreme. Back in the day, the kitchen was just a place to cook or grab a snack. Now, it’s the center of every housewarming party or family get-together.

Unfortunately, living in a home does not get any harder than during a kitchen remodel. Food is off limits, the floors are a mess and the your dream kitchen looks like a nightmare. Luckily, there are certain strategies that can ease the pain.

  • Plan Your Kitchen Remodel in the Summer: This way, you can still cook outside and eat at home. It’s also cheaper to hire a kitchen pro in the summer.
  • Remove Necessary Appliances from the Kitchen: If the kitchen is off-limits, move the microwave so you don’t have to eat out every single night.
  • Move Old Cabinets to Temporary Kitchen Area: If you’re replacing your cabinets, place the old cabinets, with all appliances and food inside, into a designated area.
  • Label Everything: Once you remove all important items from the kitchen, mark where they belong. Organization is key with all kitchen remodels.
  • Go Out to Dinner: Give you and your family a break once in a while and go out to dinner.

Bathroom Remodeling: Living In Tips

Did you know that your bathroom is the most trafficked room in the home? Needless to say, a bathroom is pretty necessary for everyday living. However, if you must live in the home during a bathroom renovation, consider the following strategies:

  • Remodel One Bathroom at A Time: We all need at least one functioning bathroom in the home. Have your pro finish one bathroom before starting on the other.
  • Remove All Toiletries: Remove everything you need on a daily basis before the project begins.
  • Close the Door & Open the Windows: Make sure your crew closes the bathroom door and opens the bathroom windows to ensure all dust doesn’t impede into the rest of the home.
  • Shower at the Gym: If you belong to a gym, take advantage of their showers. They are probably cleaner than your bathroom at home at the moment.
  • Turn Water Off: Make sure your pro knows where the water shutoff valve. It should be off for a majority of the project.

Regardless of the project, you are now prepared to safely live in the home during your next home remodeling project. Whether you stay or go, you may also want to consider securing your valuables while construction is going on in your home with a monitored security system.

Written by Jacob Hurwith

Jacob is the content marketing manager at ImproveNet, which connects homeowners (for free) with local contractors. Jacob started his career with the Chicago Sun-Times, but has since worked in the marketing departments for various agencies and brands. Learn more

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