The end result of a home renovation is well worth the investment of time and money. However, trying to continue your daily life in the middle of a residential remodel can be challenging.
There is no way to rush the work or completely mitigate noise and dust, but if you’ve decided to live in your home while the project is underway, there are several small measures you can take to cope with the construction.
Can You Live in Your Home During a Renovation?
Yes, you can. Some families decide to stay in a hotel or with friends while their residential remodel is underway, but you can remain living in your home while the project is taking place if you prefer. Dealing with construction is easier if you’re remodeling a single room or space in the house—such as your kitchen, bathroom, or master bedroom—but living on-site during a whole home renovation in Florida is doable. It simply requires more mental preparation and communication between you and your Alachua County home builder (or design-build).
The biggest concern for most families is safety, particularly if you have children or pets. You may also be concerned about dust and debris, protecting your furniture and personal items, and ensuring you can sleep and work at home when you need to. Here are a few strategies and survival tips to help you live comfortably at home during your renovation:
1. Stay Organized with a Planner
During your house renovation, you will be trying to keep track of what work is scheduled for a given day, when deliveries are being made, and any changes to the plan. It can be helpful to have a wall planner or journal dedicated solely to making checklists and jotting down notes regarding the project so you can feel organized and in control. Oftentimes your home builder will utilize a project management tool that has a web portal or mobile app that you can stay up to date with as well.
2. Create a Designated ‘Safe Space’ for Kids
If you have children, you know they have a knack for turning anything into play equipment—even a discarded bathtub, heavy machinery, or semi-constructed wall. While you can monitor them most of the time, there may be occasions where you need to chat with your superintendent or get chores done. Make sure there is at least one room that is completely safe for them to play in unchecked while you accomplish those tasks. It's also important before construction begins to have a conversation with your children so they know what to expect and why certain household rules may change temporarily. Also, rest assured your superintendent takes responsibility for containing and blocking off the main work area to keep your family and pets safe.
3. Set Up a Temporary Kitchen
If you are undertaking a major kitchen remodel, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to use the space during a majority of the project. While eating out can suffice for some people, others prefer to continue cooking at home. If you have the space, such as a garage or covered patio, your superintendent may be able to help you set up a temporary kitchen.
4. Keep Extra Beverages On Hand
When you are woken up to the sound of drilling, it can be difficult to remember that you and the remodeling crew are on the same team and have the same objective: Making an addition or renovating a space so it becomes more functional and beautiful. One way to contribute to a sense of camaraderie and solidarity with your renovation team is to keep a selection of tea, coffee, or soda on hand to share with them. You can purchase these beverages in bulk so you’re always prepared to make the most of any opportunity to have a down-to-earth chat with the crew.
5. Implement Dust Barriers
Dust can be a problematic byproduct of renovations, especially for young children or people with allergies or other respiratory problems. You can’t entirely prevent the creation and dissemination of dust and debris during your remodeling project, but key measures can be taken to mitigate it. Your renovation team will help with this, setting up temporary walls and covering up venting in the construction area to deter dust and debris from getting into your HVAC system and spreading to other parts of your house.
6. Communicate with Your Home Remodeling Team
One of the keys to not getting overwhelmed by a major house renovation is to communicate clearly and consistently with your remodeling team, and vice versa. During the project, your superintendent will become like part of your family, serving as a liaison to meet your needs while managing the crew and project. You and your family will also get used to seeing and interacting with the same team members as you’re getting ready for school and work or getting home in the afternoon. By establishing a professional relationship and good communication with them, their presence will feel like less of an intrusion on your daily life.
7. Limit Visitors During Construction
You are already going to feel cramped and slightly uncomfortable if you’re living at your home in Florida during a remodel. Save yourself the extra stress and choose not to host friends or family for the duration of the project. Instead, use meetups at their house or at local restaurants and coffee shops as an opportunity to get away for a few hours.
8. Plan a Vacation
Speaking of getting away, if you can plan a weekend trip or family vacation during the home renovation project, you should. Doing so will enable you to escape the mess for a few days and decompress in a comfortable setting. Just be sure you communicate with your superintendent, so they know you will be out of town and unavailable during those dates, and don’t schedule the trip for a time when your presence is vital.
9. Trust Your Crew
Your team members—from the superintendent to the trade partners—understand they are working at a home not a job site, and they treat it as such. While the word demolition evokes images of heavy-duty jackhammers, concrete breakers, and chaos, Robinson Renovation and Custom Homes takes a conscientious, contained approach to make sure the demolition is done correctly. Before demolition begins, your crew marks down what is staying and what’s going, as well as where plumbing and electricity need to run. The actual demolition is done in a nearly surgical manner with air scrubbers to limit dust.
Florida Home Remodeling Preparation
Two things will greatly impact your stress level and comfort during a home renovation: Your mental preparation and your remodeling team. If you go into the project knowing what to expect and focusing on the positives, you will have an easier time managing the inconvenience. Robinson Renovation and Custom Homes can help with that. Thanks to years of doing residential remodels in Alachua County, we have learned from experience how to help you prepare for your major house renovation and the best ways to communicate so you can have a positive experience along with a quality outcome.
Robinson Renovation & Custom Homes understands these things. You can rest assured that our team will take your needs into consideration before, during, and after your home makeover project.
Your Renovation Living Plan at a Glance
1. Use a day planner
2. Make a safe space for children
3. Have a temporary kitchen
4. Keep drinks handy
5. Use dust curtains
6. Maintain communications with the work team
7. Forgo or limit visitors
Assume a Camping State of Mind
The key to making it through strange living conditions while your home is under renovations is to always bear in mind the fact that it is temporary. That being the case, it's best to plan these types of projects for times of the year when you would ordinarily go on a camping trip or spend more time outdoors.
To make up for the square footage you'll be missing during the renovation, you may find yourself making more use of outdoor living spaces, especially if you're planning to remodel living rooms. You may set up some chairs around an outdoor grill, erect a tent on the lawn, and put together some food and drink supplies in a cooler.
In your day planner, you should have an outline of the work schedule of your renovation crew as well as any questions you'd like to ask. This should give you a good idea of where they will be working each day and during what hours. Of course, plans can change on any construction job. If they can't get supplies for one task, they may switch to another for that afternoon. So it's a good idea to talk with the head of the team each day for a daily briefing. This is just to help you and them to stay out of each other's way.
As long as the grocery stores stay open, staying fed during this period won't be a problem. What's concerning is the possibility of having a refrigerator full of food having to be turned off. In the final week before renovations begin, start paring down your stored perishable groceries to what can be kept in a camping cooler or mini-fridge. Curtail major shopping trips and start buying things that can be made easily. Think bachelor food.
It's also best to plan your food strategy out well. You don't want to end up eating KFC every night for a month. The key to avoiding those kinds of temptations is forethought and planning. Have a large cooler, maybe two, and use ice to keep quality food cold so that you don't have to resort to gas station sushi.
If you have a large side of beef in freezer storage and have to move it, consider asking a friend or neighbor to hold onto it for you. Donating food to local charities is also a good way to solve this problem.
Most pets will probably need to be relocated during this time. The one exception might be a large or medium-sized dog who you know you can trust to stick around and stay out of trouble. But, of course, even the most trustworthy pets could get hurt around the construction work. So consider a kennel, or asking a friend or neighbor to take your pet/s for a while.
Finally, it bears repeating that your home renovation project is a good time to take the family on a well-deserved extended vacation. Naturally, this means you'll have to plan accordingly. The best way to do this might be to plan your project a year in advance. Buy your travel and accommodations tickets/reservations a year in advance and schedule your renovation team to do their job while you're away.
If it means you don't have to be there when the work is being done, that's great. Imagine how cool it would be to go on vacation and come back to a brand new kitchen. But if your departure has to happen after the team's arrival, or your return precedes their departure, then some of the things we talked about will come into play.