One of the most common questions we get from clients is “Can I Live At Home During My Remodel?” The short answer is “yes!” Here are some pro tips on how to survive and thrive at home during your remodel project.
You’ve made the decision to remodel part or maybe even all of your home. The designs are being finalized, the plans are being drawn up, and you’re excited to have the work get started. Then it hits you, how are you going to get by without a kitchen or a spare bathroom (or maybe even your only bathroom!) for several weeks?
The fact is, living through a remodel can be challenging. But your contractor can take steps to make the process as comfortable and safe as possible, whether you’re doing a kitchen remodel, a bathroom makeover, or even remodeling your whole home! It all starts with protecting your space.
Separate out the remodel space
One of the first things your contractor should do is create a clear separation between the space being remodeled and the rest of your home. The goal here is twofold: safety and cleanliness. Separating off the remodel space will help prevent dirt and dust from going back and forth, and it will keep pets and small children from entering the work area.
At Lamont Bros. we often erect a pole zip-wall or magnetic wall system to create a sealed off space. This allows for entry when necessary but also for a secure, closed-off area when work is underway.
To minimize dust and keep your home clean, we use an air filtration system like a HEPA filter that constantly filters the air, plus we’ll cover up any ducts in and around the work area so dust doesn’t get inside them. The last thing you want is dust being blown throughout your home due to unprotected air ducts.
Once that’s done, we can look at ways to set up temporary areas outside the work space to make living through the remodel easier.
Tips on living through a kitchen remodel
One of the most difficult remodels to live through is a kitchen project. We’re in our kitchens constantly: cooking, doing dishes, putting away groceries, and of course, eating! While you can expect to be out of your kitchen for several weeks during the remodel, here are some key tips that can make the transition easier.
Set up a temporary kitchen
Creating a temporary kitchen space not only helps cut down costs of eating out during the remodel, it can also provide a semblance of normalcy while your main kitchen is off limits.
One of the most important items you’ll want to include is the refrigerator. Rather than buying a mini fridge, ask your contractor if they can move your existing one to your temporary space. This will go a long way to making meal time easier. Other key items we recommend are:
- One- or two-burner hotplate
- Toaster oven
- Instant Pot
- Coffee maker
All of these will give you the tools you need to cook a wide range of meals at home.
Consider a temporary sink and portable dishwasher
Along with small kitchen appliances, you’ll also need access to a water source so you can wash dishes (you don’t want to wash your dishes in your bathtub!).
Your contractor should be able to hook up the sink to an existing plumbing source in your home, though it may not be in the temporary kitchen space you’ve set up. If you have a laundry or utility room nearby with a sink, you could use that as an alternative. Just be sure not to discard food scraps down that sink if it doesn’t have a garbage disposal unit.
To help make things easier overall, consider investing in a portable dishwasher.
These usually cost $200-$300 on Amazon. Together with the rest of your appliances and sink, you’ll have a well-functioning temporary kitchen to help you survive your remodel.
Tips on living through a bathroom remodel
When it comes to living through a bathroom remodel, we have some good news… and some not so good news. Let’s start with the good. If you have multiple bathrooms, surviving your remodel can be pretty easy!
We’ll simply use the separation methods outlined above to isolate the bathroom being worked on, and you can use other ones in the home as needed. There may be a few days here and there when plumbing in your home may need to be turned off preventing you from using any water sources, but the plumbing will typically be turned back on by the end of the day.
Now for the not so good news. If you only have one bathroom, things can get a little tricker. We’ll often have clients who live through the remodel even if it’s the only bathroom in their home. Some of the things we can do to help accommodate this situation include:
- Setting the toilet back at the end of each day. Going without a working toilet is no fun. If we need to pull it up to complete part of the project, we’ll make sure it’s put back and operational before we end each day.
- Helping to set up a temporary shower. Chances are, your main shower will be out of commission for several weeks. We can set up a temporary shower in an unfinished basement, or one with an enclosed curtain in your backyard, weather permitting.
While you’ll likely very much be looking forward to having your own, and updated, bathroom back when the project is over, these types of accommodations can help you remain in your home while your remodel is underway.
Tips on living through a whole home remodel
While the previous examples looked at living though a single space remodel, what if you’re doing a whole home remodel? Believe it or not, it is still possible to live in your house during this type of project.
The first step is to figure out a plan or strategy with your contractor on how the work will be done. At Lamont Bros., we break the remodel into stages. For example, we may start with doing the kitchen and one bathroom, so you can keep using your master bathroom and a temporary kitchen we can help set up. When those spaces are complete, you’d be able to use them while we tackle the master bathroom.
That said, typically during a whole home remodel, there will be a period of several days to a couple of weeks when you’ll need to be out of the home completely. This is particularly true if you’re refinishing floors. Even after the refinishing is complete, you’ll need to be very careful not to damage the new floors, so that means light traffic and no shoes while walking on them.
All in all, if you’re willing to live with a little inconvenience, it can make a lot of sense from a budget — and peace of mind — perspective to remain in your home during your remodel.