After major prep work and some initial heavy lifting, you’ve reached the fourth and final phase of your home renovation project.
In Part 1: Planning Your Home Renovation, you learned about project planning and inspiration. Next Part 2: Budgeting for Your Home Renovation, covered crafting a budgeting plan for your remodel. Then Part 3: Assembling Your Renovation Dream Team, tackled the topic of finding contractors.
Laying down the grunt work required some effort, but what was once just a vision is now shaping into reality!
With planning and research complete, budgeting and financing handled, and a contractor dream team assembled, it’s time to get started on the renovation.
You’ve reached the final post in our four-part home renovation series. Now it’s time to discuss working with your contractor, keeping your family safe during construction, and how to handle your post-renovation checklist.
Noisy construction and streams of workers coming through your home might start to get the better of you, but hang in there—the end is in sight. Before you know it, you and your family will be enjoying your new and improved abode.
It’s been a long road, but you’re finally here! It’s time to complete your home renovation project.
During Your Renovation
When work commences and your project gets underway, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind during renovations to help things run smoothly.
How to Work with Contractors
Learning how to work with your contractor can be a delicate balance, but with the right communication tips in your back pocket, you can make the renovation process as easy as possible for you and your family.
Pro-Tip: If you haven’t found a contractor quite yet, check out our post on tips for finding good contractors.
Once you’ve enlisted the help of a home improvement professional, here are some helpful pointers on how to work with your contractor.
Check in with your contractor
Learning how to work with your contractor can mean striking a balance: you want to give them room to do what they’re best at, but at the same time you want to stay involved by asking questions and checking in on daily progress.
By proactively asking questions and working with your contractor, you can stay in the loop and understand exactly how your home renovation is going.
Failing to stay on top of things can leave room for projects to fall behind, leading to missed deadlines that require you to shell out more money and inch closer to maxing out your budget.
You need to strike the right balance between overly-involved and uninterested. Ask questions—in the right tone, at the right frequency—and stay up-to-date throughout the completion of your project.
When figuring out how to work with a contractor, communication is a top priority.
Establishing an open line of communication is helpful for conflict prevention and resolution. Be upfront with your expectations from the beginning and establish realistic, well-defined goals.
Revisit important details and check in on goals throughout the project.
If at any time you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with some aspect of the renovation, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s your home and your money.
You’ve dreamt of your home renovation for quite some time, and working well with your contractor can help your vision come to life.
A little kindness goes a long way, and the saying has never been truer in terms of working with your contractor.
Show your appreciation for your contractor’s hard work with small gestures of kindness. Treat them to a glass of lemonade on a hot day or serve up some baked goods for a surprise pick-me-up. At the very least, offer them ice water, greet your workers in passing, and create a positive work environment they can enjoy.
Dealing with change orders
You may receive a change order if there is an update to the scope of your project. Imagine getting a call from your contractor, who explains that extra work has arisen due to unforeseen conditions, such as discovering a damaged pipe once exposed. Depending on the scope of the change, it may or may not cut seriously into your budget and pose a major impact on your renovation project. It also might extend the timeline of your project’s completion, which can present a number of problems—especially if you chose to pay rent in a temporary living space.
Change orders take serious consideration - how are you going to proceed? Change orders may expand the cost and timeline of your project. To help make sure you best understand and document the changes, ask your contractor to put in writing.
Note: You might call for some change orders yourself, if you decide mid-project to opt for higher ceilings, new appliances, or similar upgrades the cause a change in plans.
Organize your receipts
Staying organized, although not exactly fun, is a crucial part of your home remodel. That way, you can return any décor, appliances, or fixtures that didn’t end up making the cut in your renovations.
You can learn how to protect floors, secure your home, work with your contractor, and master dust control during renovation, but hiccups may happen all the same. Whether it’s bad weather, installation issues, or a situation in which you need to re-order supplies, unexpected delays can happen.
Project setbacks may cause you to feel frustrated. Above all else, try to keep your cool. Continue working with your contractor and maintaining clear communication.
Your attitude plays a huge role in the success of your remodel, and can help reduce your stress levels in the long run (preventing a few gray hairs along the way). Just keep daydreaming about how wonderful your remodel will be and how it’ll be well worth your wait.
Protecting Your Home During Renovations
Follow these tips to help keep your home safe and sound during your renovation.
Keeping your home secure
Whether you’re moving out while construction happens or staying in place, it’s important to make sure your home is protected. Here are a few tips to keep your home protected throughout your remodel.
Clean up everyday
Work with your contractor and double-check that they’re locking up your house at the end of each workday. Make sure your contractor and their team take the time to clean up, packing up all visible tools and equipment, and most importantly, securing all entrances to your home.
Store your belongings
Even if you choose to remain in the property during renovations, it’s a good idea to move your valuables and items of sentimental value to a different area of the home. Secure important items in a safe, and consider moving larger items of worth into a storage unit until your home is ready to go.
Pro-Tip: Ask your contractor about any additional safety tips he or she might have.
Preserve air quality
Dust control during renovations may be one of the top challenges with respect to home protection. Demolition dust can pose a threat to your furniture and flooring, and it’s important to figure out how to protect your floors, walls, and valuables during construction.
Demolition dust may also be a factor in air quality, so it’s important to determine ways to control the dust kicked up during construction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers suggested practices for indoor air quality control during remodels which you should consider following in order to protect your home and family.
Instead of trying to figure out how to protect floors from dust and debris during construction, try to minimize the problem from the beginning. Low-dust work practices, such as misting surfaces before sanding or scraping, can help save you some trouble. Ask your contractor about their plans to keep dust to a minimum before demolition gets started.
When dust can’t be avoided during demolition, make sure your contractor is using barriers such as tarps to keep the dust contained to immediate work areas.
Despite your best efforts to follow these tips for dust control during a remodel, pesky particles may still make their way into the air and circulate throughout your home. Exhaust vents may help remove dust and pollution during construction, but keep in mind that products like paint finish and flooring may still produce “off-gas” pollutants for several days after completion.
The Great Debate: Live In or Move Out During Renovations?
When demolition is underway, many families have to consider whether it’s time to head out or best to stick around. There’s no one-answer-fits-all, but there are a number of factors you may want to consider to help you determine your best course of action.
- Money: You played around a lot with your budget during “Part 2: Budgeting for Your Home Renovation”—were costs of accommodations factored into your final number? Whether it’s a short term vacation rental, extended hotel stay, or temporarily leased apartment, these costs can add up.
- Logistics: How much will your family actually be impacted by your remodel? Noisy construction might be something you can learn to live with, but if the project requires your contractor to shut off water, electricity, or HVAC, you might consider alternative living situations.
- Dependents: Do you have children, or perhaps furry children? Kids and pets are more susceptible to harm caused by pollutants in the air during significant demolition—it’s a good idea to get them out of the construction zone and out of harm’s way.
- Peace of mind: What’s more important: quality of life, sleeping in past 8:00 AM, reliably running water, or feeling confident in the progression of the project? If you’ll have better peace of mind overseeing the job, it may be best to sacrifice a few comforts and to live at home during the renovations.
- Plan family activities outside the home: If you decide it’s in your best interest to live at home, you may want to plan some fun family activities that can get you out and about during construction hours.
- Picnics in the park: Kitchen out of commission? You’re probably finding yourself heading to restaurants and eating out more often than usual. While convenient, such spending isn’t exactly budget friendly. Consider saving some money and adding a little variety to your family meals by heading to a local park with a basket filled with picnic-friendly fare.
- Play tourist: If you’re trying to work with your contractor by staying out of their hair, play tourist in your own city for a change. Scout out all the places you haven’t been yet and go explore—you might be shocked by the amount of untapped places you have yet to take advantage of!
- Have a staycation: Paying to stay in a prolonged living space can be pretty expensive, but an occasional staycation at a local hotel could be just what the renovation doctor ordered. When you need a break from the constant hammering and whizzing, have an overnight stay at a hotel and indulge in amenities like swimming pools and dinner buffets.
Final Phases of Home Renovation
Congrats! Your hard work is almost over, and that renovated bathroom, converted bedroom, or garage remodel is almost ready for you and your family to enjoy. There are just a few more things you’ll want to keep in mind as you wrap up your renovation and complete its final phase.
Keep a Project Journal
A project journal is like a detailed ledger of all processes, tasks, activities, and operations related to your renovation. While work is underway, you might want to write down daily progress in your journal that includes any questions you might have for your contractor the following day, such as “Why’d we hold on staining the cabinets?” or “Did you notice the dent in the granite slab?”
You’ll want all of your delivery dates recorded in case there’s an issue in the future. While you’re at it, write down all the product numbers as they arrive—this information could come in handy if you ever need to make warranty claims with manufacturers.
Provide a Review for a Job Well Done
You’ve reached the end of the road—your renovations are complete! At this point, hopefully you’re sporting a grin that spreads from ear to ear.
The last step in the final phase of your home renovation: say thank you to your contractor—in the form of a glowing review! Help other homeowners and potential renovators find someone they can trust and rely on by giving honest feedback about your experience.
Home renovations can be a daunting challenge, but with the proper execution, they might not be as scary as they once seemed. Explore your various home remodel financing options and follow Parts 1- 4 of our renovation series.