Surviving Remodeling

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					Surviving Remodeling
As homeowners prepare for remodeling, they often plan for everything
except the experience itself. Budget planning, material selection,
contractor negotiations are all very important, but just as important are
plans for living through the event.
Remodeling projects can last weeks or even months. Take steps before the
work begins to prepare your family. Start communicating with your
contractor from the beginning by setting up a list of rules that will
work best for your household. Know the earliest workers will arrive and
how late they may stay. Instruct your contractor on where workers may
park and which entrance is to be used. Don‟t forget to identify who will
have the keys to your home. If you have pets or small children, discuss
how you‟ll handle things like open doors and nap times. Everyone in the
family should be told to stay out of the way of the workers. Most
remodeling is, well, messy. Ask your contractor where materials, tools
and equipment will be stored and when cleaning will take place. Should
you expect cleaning to be done at the end of each day, state that
upfront. The contractor may only plan to clean once per week.
„Houseguests‟ will abound during your remodeling project. Workers will
need the basics covered while they are in your home. While many contracts
have mobile phones, make arrangements with your contractor for telephone
access if needed. Decide which bathroom the workers will use or have your
contractor supply a port-a-let. If you don‟t want the workers to eat
lunch at your antique dining room table, let them know where they can
take their lunch break. Try offering a pot of coffee or some ice tea as a
way of letting the workers know they‟re in a home, not just on a job
site. Also be sure to inform your contractor and workers which parts of
the house are “off-limits”. During this time, family space and privacy
will be critical.
Protect valuables during your remodeling project by renting a storage
unit. If available, ask a friend or family member with garage or basement
space to help store furniture, collectibles, rugs, and paintings–anything
not replaceable in the event of an accident. Most contractors will use
protective covers for furniture and carpeting, but double-check before
hand to avoid the cost of cleaning after the job. While the project is
underway, send out window coverings for a cleaning.
Communication is the key to a successful project. Ask your contractor
when and where he may be reached. Get all phone numbers, in case you need
to reach your contractor with during an emergency. Keep those numbers
next to each phone in your house, and on speed dial in your mobile phone.
Give your contractor all your phone numbers so you may be reached at all
times. Set a plan for communicating with the contractor. Decide in
advance how often you‟ll be updated on work progress, delays, and
material deliveries, and when you‟ll be able to ask questions. Having one
point of contact between the contractor and the homeowner helps avoid
miscommunications during the project.
Try to keep your cool during stressful times. Plan a „reveal‟ party for
your family to enjoy after the workers leave and the paint dries. As your
project progresses, remind yourself and family members of your goals.
Keeping your eye on the prize will help keep your mind off the mess!
Jennifer Mackinday is a public speaker and writer focusing on home
improvements and repairs. Jennifer has over 15 years experience in
marketing and public relations, and is also the owner of Hoosier House
Help, a free contractor referral service.