Living in a Home During a Remodel: 13 Proven Tips

Undergoing a home addition or remodel can be an exciting experience, yet it can also feel a bit daunting, especially when living in a home during a remodel. The process brings a mix of anticipation for the new space and the challenges of dealing with construction noise, dust and temporary living adjustments. However, you can navigate this period smoothly with proper planning and communication. We want our families who decide to stay in their homes during a remodel to be comfortable, so we’ve developed this list of tips for living through a remodel.

Planning Ahead

Tip 1: Pre-Planning and Selection

The first key to living through a remodeling project is to understand the scope of the work. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of what areas of your home will be affected and which rooms will still be accessible during the home renovation project. There is a lot of information to absorb, so if it ever becomes unclear, ask.

Another key to any successful remodel begins with meticulous pre-planning. One of the first steps is making all necessary selections upfront, including cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, tiles, and other materials—additionally, knowing how you want items installed, such as the tile pattern and required clearances, such as appliances around cabinetry..

It’s also essential to have subcontractors visit the site before construction begins to avoid surprises that could slow down the project. Knowing these details beforehand helps prevent delays and ensures a smooth workflow.

Researching materials early is another crucial aspect, especially for older homes where matching existing materials can be challenging. For instance, finding a match for faded or out-of-production siding, brick or shingles requires early action to find alternative solutions.

It is important to find solutions for these areas before the project even starts. That way, you have an accurate number for your project and know the solution going into it, which means fewer delays.

Tip 2: Developing a Roadmap

 should expect your remodeling contractor to provide a “game plan” for your project – before the first wall comes down. In this plan, the timeline should include a written schedule with a clearly defined duration as well as start and end dates. It will help you anticipate any inconveniences and make necessary arrangements beforehand.

For example, if your remodel involves replacing appliances, the best practice is to order them well in advance to avoid any last-minute hiccups, like a backorder. In one instance, we discovered that a client’s chosen appliances had no future arrival date. Still, because we were planning for these several weeks before installation, we could find the appliances they wanted from another source, keeping the project on track.

Managing Environmental Impacts

Tip 3: Temperature Control

Remodeling projects can significantly impact your living environment, no matter the season. If you have animals or plants that require specific temperatures, you’ll want to make temporary arrangements beforehand. For larger projects involving significant structural changes, we may need to shut off your heating and air conditioning systems temporarily.

One such example was during a project that involved removing the roof in winter. We constructed a temporary insulated wall to keep the family comfortable. This wall maintained indoor temperatures and was repurposed later, demonstrating efficient resource management.

💡PRO TIP: If you plan to have new hardwood floors installed in your home, the materials need to acclimate for several days inside. If you turn your AC/Heat on and off or have the windows open frequently, this will impact the humidity levels within your house. It is important to keep a steady temperature for at least a week, ideally two weeks, before installing new hardwood.

Tip 4: Dust Control

Dust is another major concern. One of our top tips is to place air filters over return vents to prevent dust from spreading throughout the building site (i.e., your home). This simple yet effective measure ensures that dust is trapped at the source and not carried throughout the house. 

Tip 5: Temporary Living Arrangements

Depending on the scope of the remodel, you might need to set up temporary living areas. For instance, planning an alternative cooking area by setting up a temporary kitchen with at least a hot plate, ice maker, and coffee maker is essential to surviving a kitchen remodel. Sometimes, you can set this up in the dining room; other times, the garage works well. Another option is to set up a living space in the basement. Having clear communication about when and how different parts of your home will be impacted helps you plan these temporary arrangements effectively.

If you plan to remodel several of your bathrooms at the same time, the conversation of parallel versus linear remodeling needs to happen early. There are perks to remodeling everything at once, but keep in mind that isn’t the ideal situation for each household. If you plan to live in your home during a remodel, it is important to have an operational bathroom. Be sure to have this conversation early with your remodeler and reflect on the schedule once it is available. 

If your schedule is completely opposite of most, such as a night nurse or photographer, it is important to understand when crews begin and finish their days. For example, we worked for clients who slept during the day and were awake most of the night. A few ways to help mitigate disruption is to have a dedicated space, possibly in the basement, away from construction and set up lock boxes/keypad codes for entry and exit. 

Communication and Coordination

Tip 6: Clear Communication

While homeowners should expect their daily routine to feel disrupted, clear communication of what to expect during a remodel and a clear roadmap of the remodeling process – from start to finish- will help reduce stress levels. Regular check-ins and updates with your remodeler or on-site project manager will help keep everyone on the same page and minimize surprises.

Tip 7: Coordinating with Your Construction Crew

Don’t be afraid to ask your remodeling team questions, express concerns or make suggestions. They are there to guide you through the renovation process and should be readily available to provide any needed information. When issues arise, address them promptly with your remodeler instead of letting them escalate into larger problems.  It is a common practice to have a punch list as the project moves along. By having weekly meetings, you can discuss items on your list you would like addressed rather than waiting until the end of the project.

Tip 8: Utility Disruptions

If utilities need to be shut off, this should be communicated well in advance so you can plan for those days accordingly. This is especially important for those working from home or for older family members with medical needs, such as being reliant on oxygen or with mobility needs. Your project manager can sometimes coordinate with electricians or plumbers to minimize disruption.

One of our projects involved finding a creative solution for a client with mobility issues. We were renovating the first-floor bathroom, and the client could not go up and down the stairs to use the facilities. We got a wheelchair-accessible portable toilet for him while the bathroom was being remodeled, and to shower, he used his country club, which was close by. This is just one example of how your remodeling contractor should work with you to find the best solution for your needs.

Tip 9: Communication with Neighbors

Remodeling can sometimes impact the neighborhood. Informing neighbors about the construction starting/ending timeline and when to expect potential disruptions, such as heavy traffic, helps maintain good relationships. A simple notice can go a long way in keeping the peace and ensuring everyone is prepared for any temporary inconveniences.

Special Considerations for Homeowners

Tip 10: Furniture Storage

Another logistical consideration is finding a place to store furniture during the remodel, especially if the “construction zone” includes several rooms where new hardwood could potentially be installed. Since living room and bedroom furniture are typically large and heavy, options include using the garage or renting a self-storage container (e.g., a POD) to be placed in the driveway. You’ll want to remove these valuable belongings to protect them from dust and damage during the renovation.

💡PRO TIP: If using a moving company, make sure they come ready with their own floor protection and furniture protection. It is important to know how they handle complaints. While hardwood floors can be repaired, those repairs can be limited or potentially stand out from the rest of the flooring. You can’t even tell if anything happened for some repairs, and at other times, you can.  

A ginger cat sits under a bed, looking towards the camera.

Tip 11: Pets

Pets are loved ones and an integral part of the family, so it’s important that we take safety measures to protect them from the work areas, too. As part of the project management plan, we can make sure that everyone on the work site is aware of their presence and take extra precautions to ensure your four-legged family member stays inside. 

Now, there is a small chance that curiosity can get the better of them.  For example, one of our client’s cats explored a kitchen soffit (the cat was fine). 

Tip 12: Noise Management

Job site noise can be disruptive, particularly for those working from home. Communicating when the loudest construction phases will occur allows homeowners to adjust their schedules. If they work from home, they might choose to work from a coffee shop or a friend’s home during these times.

It can be especially tough for families with little children during nap time. It is important to talk with your remodeler on how to address noise and what to expect during construction. 

Tip 13: Choose a Remodeler You Can Trust

Above all else, you need to select a remodeling company you feel comfortable with and trust. We often refer to this as “dating” because you will be “living” with this team for several weeks or months. This can distinguish between a smooth, enjoyable renovation experience and a frustrating ordeal.

Living in your home during a remodel can be challenging. Still, if you have a team behind you that provides thorough pre-planning, clear communication and practical strategies, it can be a manageable and even rewarding experience.

Are you ready to explore a home renovation? No matter how far along you are with considering options, contact us and schedule a consultation. We’re happy to hear what you are looking for and share a bit about us, too, to see if we are a good fit. Tell us about your project.

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