If you’ve ever questioned the strength of your marriage, there is no test like living through a renovation. Late nights, lost sleep, planning, and more planning. The team at Kitchen Fashions has been a part of literally thousands of renovations, and we have compiled a list of what we feel are the top tips to help you make it through any renovation whether you have a contractor or you’re running the project yourself.
1 Selection battles
When it comes to picking finishes, accessories, styles, and colours, you and your spouse might not have the same style in mind. We often see couples visit our showroom and are shocked to find out that they have completely different tastes. Your spouse may say that they don’t care, that nothing would make them happier than you choosing what you like, but never, and we mean literally never, does that actually happen. There is always at least some compromise, so it’s good to figure those things out in advance. This will help to reduce major conflicts when the time comes to make choices and also help you more accurately budget your renovation. Visit a few design centers or hardware stores early in the process. Compose a portfolio of pictures on Pinterest, Houzz, online, or take pictures with your phone. Pictures speak a thousand words and it will make it easier for everyone to help achieve your goals.
2 Consider function before design
You want your space to look nice, but styles age; practicality lasts forever. You may or may not still like the design in ten years but we can guarantee you won’t like that cabinet door that can’t open the whole way.
3 Temporary kitchen
You know not having a kitchen will be bad, afterall it is the heart of the home, but until it’s gone people often don’t realize just how difficult it is to function without one. More often than not, the people who take the time to setup a temporary kitchen space are happier when the job is nearing completion. It may only take a couple of days to remove and install new cabinets, but stone countertops could be a couple weeks behind. Backsplash and trim often have to happen last. This can lead to a longer period without a kitchen than you expected. Eating take out for every single meal adds up, is a blow to your health, and it tends to loose the fun after the 10th time in a row. You’d be surprised at the meals you can prepare with a small bar fridge, bbq, toaster oven, and slow cooker. Set it up in a nearby room and don’t take it down till the job is done.
4 Single bath home reno
Sometimes you just don’t have a choice, that 1970’s tile and pink tub just has to go. Renovating a home’s only bathroom is near the top of the stressful renovation list. Using the bathroom outside might be fun at first, but it quickly loses its novelty. The tip here to making it through with your sanity intact is to use this as some time to get away. Take the family camping, go on that road trip you’ve been talking about, stay with a friend, or at the in-law’s place. The good news is that getting the bathroom operational again usually only takes a week or so, depending on how good you are at planning. However, sometimes it could be longer depending on the scale of your renovation.
5 A curtain wall goes a long way
Take the time before you start tear-out to put up a curtain wall, it will help to reduce dust throughout the entire home. Pick up a roll of thin plastic like vapor barrier, some tuck tape, and some quality masking tape. First apply masking tape to the area where you will be hanging the curtain wall, and then use the tuck tape to stick the vapor barrier to the masking tape. Masking tape itself isn’t sticky enough to grip to vapor barrier but on unmasked drywall tuck tape can do some serious damage when later removed. At the end of the day having a barrier to reduce dust is totally worth it.
6 Treat it like a move
Take the time to box up items from the renovated area. Mark the contents inside and store them far away from the space you’re renovating. When you inevitably need these items during the renovation, it will make them much easier to find, and will prevent them from being damaged during the project.
7 Get the right people on board
Whether you’re hiring a contractor or you are the contractor, getting the right people on board is not a place to save money. There is unfortunately no legislation preventing anyone from starting a contracting business. Do your research and ensure you’re making a decision based on more than just price. We’re not saying don’t use your friends, simply take the time to ensure they are actually qualified for the job. Sometimes a friend or family member can end up costing more money in the long run by causing damage or performing work improperly.
Equally important is verifying all trades have up to date worksafeNB accounts and their insurance is current in the case of an accident. If a contractor chooses to hire someone without workers compensation who is then injured while working in your home, the liability could come back on you.
Also ensure your trades can back up their work indefinitely. Horror stories of a contractor stealing money and running out can happen anywhere. Contractors can go out of business and leave you hanging high and dry. If a sub-trade places a lean on your home for an unpaid bill even though you paid your contractor there isn’t much that can be done. Truthfully the system is a bit flawed, and while we hope legislation may change in the future, for now it’s buyer beware.
8 Plan for the unplanned
In our experience typical renovations have less substantial surprises than TV makes it appear, but surprises do happen. It’s always a good idea to have some money in a “just in case” fund. We also advise you delay party planning till the renovation is actually finished. Surprises do happen, products get back ordered, and rushing your trades is never a good idea. Don’t plan that surprise party for the same night your renovation is supposed to finish. Leave a time buffer and have the party when the space is actually complete.
When scheduling a project most good contractors will allow for contingency days. This means if everything goes as planned, sometimes there will be days when nothing is happening on site. Those days are there in case a surprise comes up or a delay happens. Perhaps product is delayed in shipping, or trades are booked on other jobs. Progress might appear to be at a standstill but it doesn’t necessarily mean things aren’t happening behind the scenes. Ssually the best contractors and subs have other jobs on the go at the same time as yours. If your job is running smooth, they may be spending a contingency day elsewhere. Scheduling multiple jobs simultaneously allows them to be more cost-effective for you. That said, you can help to alleviate some delays but booking renovations in off seasons. Summer is of course the ideal time to renovate but it’s usually the busiest time in the construction world.
Although it might seem nice that your electrician likes animals, if he’s charging you by the hour; you are quite literally paying someone to play with your dog. Also, your home’s entrance will likely spend a lot of time in the open position and people may not remember to watch for a pet. So it’s always good to move them to a relative’s or lock them in the basement.
Just remember, it will all be worth it in the end! You may talk to people who have had good and bad experiences renovating but few would tell you that they wouldn’t do it all over again. You’ve added great value to your home, made it easier to sell, and the new space can be truly life changing. Not to mention the neighbors are totally going to be jealous. Rustic Butcher Block & Malbec
Thanks for reading, and happy renovating. -Pat Belding, Owner.