Is Your Home Being Remodeled? Heres What You Should Do During the Renovation

You’ve probably looked at many websites and magazines while getting ready to renovate your home. Some gave you ideas for your kitchen, others gave you ideas for your bedrooms. Very few websites or magazines provide any advice on what to do with yourself, your family, and your pets while construction workers overrun your home to renovate it. This guide addresses those items, so you can prepare for the flux your home will undergo and still enjoy some semblance of a normal life.

How to Approach Renovations

Some renovations include a new bathroom or home office. When you add to an existing home, you create less of an impact on your own way of life while the renovation takes place. That’s because you can still use all of your existing home – the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen.

In other cases, renovating a home means tearing out some walls or adding new ones. You might have a carpenter build built-in bookcases in the den or add a second story. In these cases, you lose access to those areas while they remain under construction. You need to create an alternative space to temporarily take its place.

Creating Alternative Spaces for Your Kitchen

Most homeowners can easily create alternative spaces for their kitchens and dining rooms when renovating those areas. Move your coffee maker, microwave, and toaster oven into the garage or den. Set them up on a folding card table or other long table, plugged into a surge protector. Use disposable plates and cutlery for dining.

If you don’t already own a mini fridge, buy one, so you can refrigerate milk and other food essentials. Pack essential pantry items and a few pieces of cookware into a clear plastic-lidded container and relocate it to the temporary kitchen. Use TV trays for dining tables and eat sitting on the couch while your kitchen undergoes its transformation.

Bathroom Alternatives

If you decide to renovate the only bathroom in your home, you’ll need an alternate location for using the bathroom and showering. For this reason, contractors typically counsel homeowners with more than one bathroom to renovate them one at a time. That method provides a usable bathroom at all times.

When you only have one bathroom and want a full renovation of it, you’ll either need to rent a hotel room for about a week or rent a shower trailer – an RV that includes a full bathroom with a shower. Park it in your driveway and enjoy camper life for a few days. This choice makes life far easier than going to the toilet at the corner gas station and showering at the gym.

Family Room Alternative Ideas

Perhaps your home renovation includes your living room, den, and dining room. When you temporarily lose all the public areas of your home because they’re under reconstruction, create a temporary one outside. Contact a local tent rental company to obtain an enclosed tent.

Used for weddings and parties, these tents feature eight-foot ceilings or taller, four walls, a floor, windows, and a door. Many of these tents include an outlet in one or more of the tent poles, so you can plug in a portable air conditioner or television. You’ll provide yourself and your family with a respite from the sawing and hammering, plus an area where you can gather in relative comfort.

Temporary Garage Alternatives

Renovating your garage can increase its utility, but giving up the space for a week or more can cause some frustrations if you don’t plan ahead. You must empty your garage before your contractors can renovate it. Consider renting local enclosed trailers or PODS, so you can transfer your items from the garage to storage quickly.

Set up the trailer or portable storage rental POD on your grass because your contractors will need the driveway open. If you’re one of the few individuals who park inside their garage, you will need to find a parking alternative while your garage undergoes renovations. Ask a neighbor if you can park in their driveway or park on the street.

Whole Home Renovations and Additions

When your entire home undergoes renovations all at once, staying in a hotel or RV offers the best alternative. You can’t use the areas while contractors work on them. Neither your liability insurance nor theirs will allow it, and you risk getting hurt.

If your contractor feels certain that they can finish the job in one week or so, your well-timed vacation can work out well. If you reside in an area with iffy weather, rent an RV for a month or a month-to-month apartment in a business hotel. It’s worth the extra expense to have somewhere to bathe, use the toilet, sleep, and eat.

Plan a staycation or vacation for your renovation, so you can enjoy a bathroom, kitchen, roof over your head, etc. It’s the little things in life that matter, like avoiding a jackhammer first thing in the morning, that make a hotel stay so worthwhile. While you enjoy the hotel pancake and waffle breakfast, review your budget because you’ll need to hire a slew of contractors seemingly unrelated to your renovation.

Things You’ll Pay for You Might Not Know About

When you renovate the interior of your home, you might not plan on hiring lawn care companies, but lawns get torn up during renovations. No matter how carefully contractors do their jobs, they have to walk on your grass carrying heavy tools, building materials, etc. When you have your roof replaced, the roofers must do tear off first.

Your local roofer typically strives to damage your lawn as little as possible, but they have to rip the existing shingles or other roofing material off and toss it onto the ground. It creates a pile of shingles that they tow away at the end of their project, but the debris dropping on the grass can tear it up. The material pile can yellow the grass beneath it if it sits there for a day or so.

You’ll also need to hire a lawn service if your home renovation includes house lifting, foundation work, basement refinishing, or building an addition. Why? Your construction crew will use an excavator rental or excavation equipment of their own, and it will tear apart your yard. To do any of the projects mentioned, the contractors must excavate the ground around the perimeter of your home.

When they finish building, they replace the dirt around the house, but they don’t replant your grass, flowers, shrubs, etc. For that, you hire a landscaping service. Using sod provides the quickest way to get your yard looking normal again, but it costs more than grass seed.

Charges Related to Bathroom or Kitchen Renovations

Even the best construction crew turns out a slightly off estimate once in a while. You can find that your final charges cost more than the estimate or quote if you don’t answer plumbing or electrical questions in all honesty when you obtain the initial estimate. What big changes might you find on your final bill?

Your contractors may need to call in a well pump service if they find damage to your existing plumbing stemming from your well. In some cases, the well may not provide suitable water/water pressure, so it needs to be deepened. Similarly, you could see a charge for a septic pumping service if contractors find damage to your septic tank or discover that it hasn’t been pumped in ages. You’ll need healthy existing plumbing before expanding the bathrooms in your home or adding new ones.

Local water heater services might also appear on your final bill for bathroom or utility room renovations. If your area unionized, your plumber may not be allowed to work on the water heater, depending on their union designation. Your existing water heater may not handle the load of more than one bathroom. While plumbing and testing the new bathroom, contractors may uncover damage to the home’s water heater that they must address before moving forward or having the work undergo a final inspection.

Extra Insurance All Around

Of course, you expect your renovation contractor to carry insurance, but do you know what kind of insurance they should carry? Did you know that you should obtain extra insurance while they work inside or outside your home? Renovations carry with them special circumstances.

Your contractor should carry construction liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and a business insurance policy. They might also own a business owners’ policy (BOP), umbrella insurance, and property insurance for their equipment, which sometimes covers construction materials. Ask whether their policy covers your project materials if they get damaged during the project.

You need to obtain a temporary insurance policy called a rider that gets added to your existing homeowner’s insurance policy. Request a construction rider from your insurance agent. You will only need to pay an extra premium for this rider during the months that contractors work in your home. If you can schedule all the work for June, you’ll only need the extra coverage that month.

The construction rider protects you from financial loss in cases of damage to your home by the construction workers and liability coverage. Home policies only include a small amount of liability coverage and personal property coverage. They’re designed to cover homes from physical damage from perils and everything else is an afterthought.

If you have your home under renovation for a few months, consider purchasing an umbrella policy, too. This secondary type of insurance adds to the liability coverage in your homeowner’s policy. Although your contractor should carry liability coverage, if their policy lapses, you protect your own financial safety by carrying plenty of liability insurance.

Lifestyle Tips During Renovations

While every renovation website mentions heavy equipment rental, most don’t address the essential lifestyle changes you must undergo during the renovation of your home. During a whole home renovation, you won’t have access to most of the things you own for weeks to months. If you can stagger the renovation to tackle a few rooms at a time, you’ll provide yourself with a living space in your own home and access to your belongings.

If you need to move out of your home while the house undergoes its transformation, prepare for a few lifestyle changes during that time. What do we mean? Let’s consider a few things that change during a temporary relocation.

You may eat out for all meals. When staying in a hotel, most rooms won’t accommodate cooking full meals. The hotel may provide breakfast, but you’ll need to dine out for lunch and dinner. If you rent a temporary apartment in a business hotel, you might have a galley kitchen that lets you prepare meals.

Your commute changes. You’ll need to time your commute from your hotel to your workplace. Your route will change, and the traffic patterns could, too. This might shorten or lengthen your commute to work. If your commute lengthens, you’ll use more gas or electricity, depending on your type of vehicle.

Your shopping choices might change. A temporary relocation during a renovation can cut you off from your usual haunts. Do you really want to drive out of your way to shop at your usual grocery store or will you grab something at the one closest to your hotel?

Renting an RV or caravan requires maintenance. When you stay in an RV, you need to plug it into an electrical outlet to power it. Otherwise, you’ll need an alternative fuel source, such as propane or butane, to operate the appliances inside it. You’ll have to manually fill its water tank and empty its sanitation tank about once per week.

If you’ve never RV-ed before, this can come as a shock. The sanitation tank refers to the tank that catches the feces and urine from the toilet. Depending on how extensive your home’s renovations, you might stay in an RV for up to a month.

Preparing for Renovations

Home renovations prove exciting but expensive. Whole home renovations require added planning, so you have a place to live while your home undergoes its transformation. Arming yourself with the knowledge of the necessary temporary lifestyle changes can make it easier.


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