Remodeling can be a stressful endeavor, but with a few helpful hints you can avoid some of the typical remodeling horror stories. Kitchen remodeling is one of the most difficult to endure because of the “inconvenience factor.” The largest factor is the loss of running water and the difficulty of cooking during a kitchen remodeling project. We’ll discuss Bathroom remodeling in a future blog.
So for a kitchen project the first thing to think about is where can you set up a “temporary kitchen?” This is where you will move your existing refrigerator, microwave, etc. and ideally this area would have a source of running water, areas such as: a wet bar, laundry room, or even a garage. If none of these are options, you may find yourself having to wash dishes in your bathtub or vanity sink. I strongly recommend that you not storing any pots, pans or dishes in the bathroom. The “aerosol” effect of a flushing toilet spreads germs throughout the space. I’m guessing the couple in the photo obviously had no other choice?
The dining room could also work as a temporary kitchen, but it may be too close to, or part of the remodeling area. If you really have to have your existing range or oven available for cooking during the remodeling it is possible to run temporary gas and electrical lines in order to connect these appliances. But make sure your contractor includes this cost in the estimate.
OK, so you’ve decided on the location of your temporary kitchen, now let’s look at a few hints to help save you from some frustration once the remodeling actually begins. Remember you will have to remove all items from the cabinetry, countertops, etc. For items that you won’t need on a regular or daily basis you should place them in boxes and mark the boxes with the contents. And of course remove these from the entire remodeling area. Any items that you use on a regular basis such as: coffee makers, toasters, microwaves, or toaster ovens should be moved to your temporary kitchen. This is also a good time to do some “purging” of items that maybe you just really don’t need or use any more. Put questionable items aside and you can decide later whether to keep them, donate them, or sell them in a garage sale.
You are also going to have to remove items from the walls like clocks, pictures, etc. And don’t forget to remove items from BOTH sides of the walls. Hammering, cutting, etc. on the walls in the remodeling area can and will cause vibration through all the walls. I suggest removing expensive or sentimental items from walls not even surrounding the remodeling area.
Contractors should cover all your existing floors leading from the exterior doors to the remodeling area with drop cloths or some other type of floor protection. But it’s a good idea to also remove all area rugs in and around the remodeling area. This will prevent accidentally tripping over the rug, and make the rugs easier to clean when the project is completed.
Some other things to decide and discuss before the contractor shows up to start remodeling include:
• What do you want done with the old cabinetry, appliances & countertops? Are you going to try and sell them, donate them, or reuse them?
• Communicate to your neighbors that you will be remodeling and that there may be more noise and traffic in the neighborhood than usual.
• If you live in a condominium or townhouse, please discuss the remodeling with the association and your surrounding neighbors. Find out what the rules are concerning elevator usage and parking for the trades people.
• What bathroom facilities are available during the remodeling for your family and the trades people.
• Discuss access and security to your home. Is a lock box for house keys acceptable and what needs to be done with the security system?
• Where do you want the trades people to park?
• For safety reasons, please keep pets and/or children out of the remodeling area at all times!
• Trades people will not normally answer your telephone, but may at times need to use the telephone. Please discuss any communications concerns.
• Clean out an area in the garage so that it may be used as a staging area for materials delivered to the job-site prior to their installation.
Now the day of the remodeling has finally arrived, or maybe it’s the day before. There are still a few last minute things you still need to do. You’ve already boxed up everything and moved it to its appropriate location along with your microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, etc. And you’ve removed area rugs, and wall hangings. Now it’s time to empty the refrigerator and move the refrigerator to its new location. I usually have our contractor move the refrigerator for you, but you will have to empty the refrigerator and store items in a cooler and then reload the refrigerator after it’s been moved to the temporary kitchen location.
You or your contractor will also have disconnect the range or ovens and move those items, and or reconnect them in the temporary kitchen. Remember that all your existing appliances, cabinetry and countertops may need to be temporarily stored in the garage or other job-site location.
What’s left to do on the day the remodeling starts? Whether you’re working with a contractor or not, make sure you’ve addressed the bullet point items noted above. Then make sure you or the contractor seal up the doorways, close or seal heat registers and cold air returns in the remodeling area to help control dust during your remodeling. Dust can still travel throughout your house through the ventilation system and from open doors and windows, so cover furniture and floors in surrounding areas with sheets or plastic to protect them from the remodeling dust. And make sure floor protection has been installed wherever needed.
Hopefully these tips can help make your remodeling project less stressful and more enjoyable. It’s important to be prepared before the project starts and to have patience during the remodeling. Try to have tunnel vision and focus on how beautiful your home will be when your project is completed!