The Home Remodeling Survival Guide

When your house is under reconstruction, it’s like living in the middle of a construction zone, and while everything will be better after all the work has been done, you have to ask yourself whether you and your family will be able to handle the daily chaos.


You’ll actually need a basic survival strategy to make it through these trying times.

When your home is undergoing a major remodeling, should you go or should you stay? Do you camp out in a part of the house untouched by the chaos or do you pack your bags, fill up your cars, and flee the scene?

There is no single right answer. It all depends on a number of factors.

The best way to make a decision is to consider three different scenarios: stay; go; or stay, then go.

Scenario One: Stay

If you stay, you will not have to disrupt work schedules, your kid’s school and extracurricular schedule, or your community engagements. It will be life as usual—other than a lot of noise and dust—when you and the workers are both at home at the same time.

Another benefit of staying is that you will not have to spend money on renting a new accommodation nor will you have to ask for friends or relatives to give you a roof over your heads.

Additionally, you can get a portable storage container to temporarily store appliances, furniture and other large items. United Mayflower offers an online space calculator to make sure you get a pod that meets your needs. This option will clear spaces in the house to give both you and the workers plenty of room to move around. You’ll have more space to live in and they’ll have more space to work in.

You may have to make some adjustments—like creating a temporary kitchen, where you cook with a hot stove, microwave, and so on. You can basically outfit your bedroom or living room to resemble a college dorm with small amenities for cooking. You can also wash dishes in the dishwasher and takes clothes to a Laundromat.

Since there will be quite a bit of dust floating around during the remodeling, you should ask the contractor to use an air handler. This will filter out the dust, making it easier for you.

Another thing to consider is that during those times when the workers are making a noise and raising dust, you and your spouse will be at work and your children at school.

Scenario Two: Go

While staying will save you money by not renting a place, it may cost you money if you do decide to stay. The contractor may charge more for the additional cost of working with your family in the house. His workers will have to clean up more often, and the electrical and plumbing work will have to get done faster because you will need both working as soon as possible.

Sometimes, too, staying will not even be an option. If your roof has to come down because you’re building another floor, then there will be no safe harbor in the house. Sometimes, too, remodeling may be so extensive that it will take a long time for air conditioning, heating, electricity, and plumbing to get fixed fast enough to live in the house. If the contractor starts talking about using a huge blue tarp then it’s your cue to move out.

While you can make-do with a provisional kitchen or eat out if the kitchen is being remodeled, what about the bathroom. It will be very difficult to live at home without a functional bathroom.

Children and pets might make it necessary to leave as well. If your children are very small, then they will need their nap time and they will be disturbed by the constant hammering and whine of power machines. Additionally, if your cat or dog is sensitive, the constant noise may induce them to flee. In fact, some contractors have a special clause for pet owners that disclaim any responsibility for runaway animals.

Finally, if anyone in your family has dust allergies, it may be better to leave, rather than taking an unnecessary health risk.

Scenario Three: Stay, then Go

Sometimes it is possible to stay for part of the construction, and then move out when the heavy construction phase starts. In some instances, this will be three quarters into the project, which will allow you to only spend a quarter on rental costs. Usually, when the hardwood floor is being done, you may have to leave because the fumes require a period of zero occupancy.

When deciding whether to stay, go, or stay for some of the construction, you have to evaluate costs and convenience. You should stay if the renovations are not too disruptive to your well-being because they are not extensive or long enough to warrant the cost of moving. You should go if it is more expensive and inconvenient to stay. Finally, you may find it best to stay for the quieter and less disruptive aspects of the renovation, then leave when the heavy work begins.