10 tips to survive a reno

Advice on budgeting, dealing with neighbours, cleaning up and more.

Red tool box; Masterfile

Red tool box; Masterfile

Our associate home editor, Julia Black, welcomed a new addition to her family whilst undergoing a massive renovation on her 1,200-square-foot townhouse. Here’s her advice when doing a reno:

1. Get out if you can

If and when the demolition part takes place, try and find shelter elsewhere. We were lucky enough to live with Andrew’s (her husband) parents for the messy part of the reno.

2. Organize your goods

You’re going to want to organize your furnishings and decor into groupings. Anything that can be tucked away into enclosed cabinets organize accordingly. If you have expensive and precious items its best just to remove them all together and keep them someplace safe from the construction.

3. Take cover

Cover and seal your groupings (above) with plastic tarps so the inevitable dust storm won’t settle on them — which will make cleaning up more difficult. If you can, seal off rooms that aren’t undergoing the reno. For example, our basement wasn’t in our plans so we did our best to seal it off, along with our basement washroom and laundry room.

4. Budget the unforeseen

Just to avoid panic and financial headaches, be conscious of the cobwebs that might be living behind your walls. This means that there may very well be issues (especially in older homes) that your contractor cannot see or plan for, at least not with 100 percent certainty.

5. Be prepared

Make sure all the necessary permits are in place beforehand. You don’t want anything to come to a halt. This coincides with hiring a credible, professional and trustworthy contractor. (It also helps to be married to one 😉 )

6. Be patient

Don’t hover over the job being done, it will only stress you out. Visit the site when needed and let the pros do their job. Understand that sometimes there are weather and/or product shipment delays that cannot be controlled.

7. Insurance

See what your insurance company’s requirements are and have an open conversation with them. For example, can the house house be left open and unlocked?

8. Set up for temporary living

If you’re moving or staying in your home while construction still persists, set up a temporary lifestyle so you’re not frustrated.

9. Be a good neighbour

We had a lot of action around our house so we felt we should treat our neighbours to a bottle of wine every now and again, thanking them for their patience.

10. Cleaning up

Dust is your worst enemy. Put aside a little extra money for professional cleaners. After a massive reno, it’s well worth it.

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