Remodeling is a lot like watching a horror movie. If you don’t know what’s coming, you could wet your pants when it happens. If you know what’s coming, you can deal with it in a cool calm fashion.
There are several items that homeowners are surprised about once actual remodeling begins. We’ll identify some of them here to hopefully reduce the shock when it happens. No pants wetting here!
- There will be dust. Even with all the precautions we take to “minimize” dust outside the work area (plastic drops, zipper doors, negative air flow, dust sucking tools, etc.) most homeowners are truly “surprised” about how much dust does escape the work zone. Don’t let anyone tell you it will be dust free – there is no such animal! We strive for 95% containment.
- There will be noise. Lots of noise. If you work from home or you’re just trying to talk on the telephone, be prepared for the jackhammer to start-up, the air compressor to kick on or the hammers to rattle the chandeliers. Noise is a byproduct of what we do. And, no, we didn’t wait for you to answer the phone to do it – it just seems to happen that way.
- There will be changes in schedule. Strict adherence to the original schedule is a management technique known as: “Going down in flames – while under control”. The original schedule of the HVAC contractor before the plumber before the electrician is ideal. But, when the HVAC contractor is delayed, a good general contractor scrambles to adapt the schedule to the current situation. Putting the plumber on site before the HVAC contractor is not ideal, but sometimes it’s a necessity to keep the project moving.
- There will be unforeseeable and unpredictable events. There are the usual events everyone’s heard about: structural deficiencies, water damage, mold, weather, etc. But there are others as well. We completed a project last summer where the city shut down the street in front of the house for road work – for three days! Three days preceding the 4th of July weekend! A six-day work stoppage. With no warning! Sometimes stuff just happens!
- There will be disruption outside the work area. If we’re remodeling your kitchen, why would we need to go to the second floor or the basement? Sometimes we need to find the outlets an electric breaker controls. Sometimes we need to open a faucet to drain water out of the pipes. While most of the activity is confined to the work area, there will be the occasional need to invade other parts of your home. You should also consider storage of tools and materials in the garage or under the covered patio. If you’re doing a small addition, consider that the dirt excavated for the foundation takes up over three times as much space as it did when it was undisturbed. These intrusions outside of the work area should be minimal – but they do happen.
- There will be disruptions of normal life. There will be times we will need to turn the water off for a period. We may need to shut the electricity to the house off. We may need to shut the furnace or air conditioning off for a while. We’ll try to warn you of these things in advance – usually the day before – so that you can plan appropriately. We’ll save the story of when we shut the water off and the homeowner was in the shower for another time. We only bring it up here because hiring an experienced contractor has its advantages – we won’t make that mistake again!
- You will experience an emotional rollercoaster. There will be an incredible high when you see how much demo was completed the first day. You will then experience an extreme low for the next phase while framing, plumbing and electrical (remodeling infrastructure) gets done. You’ll then get pumped when the drywall is up and finished then get depressed because the project is idle waiting for countertop fabrication. You’ll then… I think you get the idea. There will be highs and lows, but if you know they’re coming, you’ll be stocked up on wine and better prepared to deal with them.
- You will be happy to see us leave – for a while. It always seems that the customer is glad it’s over and that we won’t be there tomorrow at 8:00. Then sometime later, we’ll talk and you’ll make a statement like – “we kinda miss you guys”. When you can make that statement, you know it’s time to tackle the next project!
Obviously, we’re not trying to scare you with the above. Remodeling does not have to be your worst nightmare. We’re only trying to set your expectations for the reality of remodeling your home. Over the years we’ve learned that if you’re aware of the above, you’re in a much better position to plan for the remodeling process and keep your pants dry.
Paul & Casie