Reality is never quite like its depicted in the movies or tv shows, right?
And this couldn’t be any more true than during a home renovation.
It takes much longer and is much more of a pain in the butt than you will ever see in a tv show. Is it worth it in the end? Absolutely. But let’s talk about a few things you can expect during your renovation to better prepare you for what’s coming.
Let’s keep it simple and discuss the renovation most folks would be doing, a kitchen renovation.
A. It’s going to be a mess
This is an absolute guarantee. Not only the mess of having to clear your countertops and move all of your cabinet contents to another room and having to live like that for a few weeks, but the fine dust from any sheetrock or wood work (that seems to get everywhere). You will think that hanging plastic or drop cloths will help contain the mess, but you would be wrong. You will still have to dust and vacuum everything when it’s all done. So just plan on it.
You’re basically going to be living on a construction site, if you’ve never been on one, it ain’t pretty. If you can tell yourself ahead of time and remind yourself often that its going to be a mess, and not fight it or try to control it, you’re going to have a much better renovation experience.
Just embrace it, (yes, I realize how difficult that can be) clean up when you can and remind yourself its part of the process. No, really!
B. It will be inconvenient
You don’t realize how much you use your kitchen sink until you don’t have one. You also don’t realize how difficult to is to cook without a sink. My best advice is to plan your meals way in advance for the days you will be without a sink and countertops, than add a few days so you don’t lose your mind when the schedule gets extended. Also, get paper plates, cups and plasticware and plan for as few meals as possible where you don’t have to use the sink or stove. (You want to be real careful with what you allow to wash down your bathroom drain.)
I set up a few tables in my dining room (during our reno) with the dishes and cups etc. that we use most often but I ended up using disposable items the majority of the time.
Also, you will want to set up a table with food and items that you use everyday, like vitamins, cereal, bottled water, snacks, etc..
C. It’s not going to go as planned
This is probably more important than anything else I write here. The reason things will not go as planned is because you’re working with humans. Plain and simple. LOL
Get a schedule laid out with your contractor of what is happening and when, but understand that it will likely just be a guideline.
Let me give you an example, today is Wednesday, I typically write a post every Wednesday night in my downstairs office. But right now I’m in my dining room and the guys that were supposed to install my countertop on Monday (a date we set three weeks ago) are walking back and forth from my front door to the kitchen, installing my counters.
They didn’t work on Monday because it was Labor day, we found out on Monday. Then they called to say they weren’t going to be able to make it on Tuesday either.
So here we are on Wednesday, it’s after 5pm and I’m a little concerned. Why you ask? Because the guy who is coming to spray the exterior of our cabinets is coming at 6pm today and they still have a ways to go, plus I still have to tape off the cabinets in the kitchen. My painter/cabinet maker is coming today because he could’t come yesterday as planned.
These are all great guys, they do good work and we recommend them to others but things come up and other jobs take longer than they should and that means it might take longer to get to your house than planned.
Don’t take it personal, expect that there will be hiccups, plan for possible delays and you will sail through your reno like a pro.
D. If you are a DIYer, know when to hire out
There are no brownie points for killing yourself. I totally understand saving money when you can but know what your limits are and hire out when you can.
Another example, I knew we could handle sanding and painting the inside of the cabinets and shelves but I knew right from the start that I wanted the outsides to be professionally sprayed with lacquer paint.
I also knew we could handle floating the walls but wanted to leave the cabinet crown molding to our cabinet guy who does it every day. I wouldn’t let anyone but me touch our 100-year-old doors and casings that needed to be restored but we will likely hire out the floor refinishing.
It would be better to save up to have someone else do the jobs you don’t feel 100% qualified to do than to waste a heck of a lot of time and energy and still have to hire someone to come in and do the job properly, after you ‘finish.’
E. ‘Install day’ is going to be crazy
Install day is when your cabinets and counters are installed. If you want to help the process go smoothly, try to stay out of the way. lol
Don’t hover and watch their every move, let them do their work so they can get out of your way. Stay close by if they have any questions but this ain’t their first rodeo, trust them to get the job done.
Having said that, don’t settle if you don’t like the way something is going. Find out who is in charge and politely ask questions if something is different than what you agreed to. You don’t have to live with poor craftsmanship, communicate your concerns before they leave for the day.
Install day is also going to be when you want to go back and read A. again.
Remember, things often will look worse before they look better.
It’s going to be noisy, dusty and crazy pants. Your cabinet guys and your granite/countertop guys are all going to be coming and going and tracking dust everywhere. Try not to focus on it, it’s part of the process, let them finish and then you can clean to your heart’s content.
As with everything, keep your eyes on the prize! Don’t get distracted by the dust and inconvenience, much like it is, I’m sure with having a child, once the child is born the pain of childbirth is long forgotten.
I hope these tips have been helpful!
Have you been through a kitchen renovation? What would you add to my list?