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The Marling Blog

How To Remodel a House

You’ve done it - made the decision to have that remodel done. The design is great, you have your contractor picked out and you are ready! Or are you? Sure, you think you’ve got every detail planned - but stuff happens. So, despite your best efforts to be prepared for everything, prepare to be flexible. 

Here’s some tips and information you need to take care of and remember about a remodeling project. You’ve done it - made the decision to have that remodel done. The design is great, you have your contractor picked out and you are ready! Or are you? Sure, you think you’ve got every detail planned - but stuff happens. 

So, despite your best efforts to be prepared for everything, prepare to be flexible. Here’s some tips and information you need to take care of and remember about a remodeling project.

Communication is the Key
Find out all of the contact information for your contractor and any subcontractors that might be used. No, you aren’t going to use it to call and chat after a day’s work - but you need it in case of an emergency. For instance, all three kids come down the stomach issues because of something they ate and you are going to have to cancel a day’s work. Who do you call?

Or you come home and the water is off. Is it supposed to stay off or did they forget to turn it back on? Make sure one person from the crew has your key and your alarm code. Go over the timeline and make sure you understand it. 

When the contractor says: “and we will be putting in the tile on the third day.” Do they actually mean “and we will be putting in the tile, you can’t walk on it and we will finish the next day?” Because when you have a kitchen or bathroom or family room with “set” tile sitting waiting to be grouted and you think - hey, what’s the big deal I can walk on that” - here’s why it’s a bad idea. 

You are doing to push some tiles flatter than others when you walk on them and even if they slide ever so slightly to the left or right or forward and backward, that makes a BIG difference in how even and flat your floor is going to be. Make sure you know drying times.

Grout, finishes, adhesives need time to dry. Is it going to take a day? Six hours maybe? Are the fumes going to be bad and you should be ready to ventilate? Is it going to hurt your pets to stay in the house with the smell? 

Here’s some information the crew is going to need: where to park, what bathroom will they be using, is smoking allowed in a certain area, can they use the outdoor faucets, how loud can they play the radio and what are you doing with your pets? What exactly is the cleanup procedure each day? Are they going to expect to leave tools, lumber, unfinished small projects sitting or will things be stacked and packed away?

Pack it Up
Move items in kitchen or bathroom cabinets out. Is it time to de-clutter and donate? Should you maybe get a storage unit? Remember whatever you leave out is going to get dusty no matter how careful everyone is.

Let’s take a minute to talk about dust. It’s going to be everywhere. Cutting lumber and tile makes dust even if it’s done in the garage. Porcelain and ceramic tiles have fine dust that floats EVERYWHERE. There’s dust involved with drywall and with lumber. 

Opening a box will cause dust to float around. And it’s a fine dust that settles and seeps into everything. Reconcile yourself to the idea that you will open a cabinet or drawer weeks after the remodel and there will be - dust.

Pack up those knick knacks even if they are in a room not involved in remodel. Pack up kitchen appliances like the toaster and blender that might usually sit out. Take pictures off the wall because dust will settle on the frames and on the glass. And, when the remodel is done, be prepared to, you got it, dust.

You can hang drop clothes in doorways or ask your contractor to and that will help, but there will still be dust.

When you are moving furniture out in preparation for the remodel, keep this in mind. You can’t put it in the garage because that will likely be used for the items needed in the remodel as well as tools, sawhorses and equipment. You can’t put it in the basement because you are going to have plumbing and wiring issues and they are going to need to get into the basement.

So, be very cognizant of where each and every item in your house could be stored to avoid that ever-present dust.

Temporary Useful Areas
It’s summer time you think, we’ll just grill out for dinner. Good plan, tough to grill coffee, though. Set up an area with a microwave, coffeemaker, crock or hot pot and a dishwashing station.

Store household or kitchen items in plastic tubs. Set up an area where the kids can play. If you need to, put runners down to protect the floors where the work crews will be walking. If you have a large piece of furniture you can’t move, tarp it.

Establish areas where the inevitable construction debris will go. There are small boxes that contained fasteners, wraps that were on lumber, boxes from cabinets, containers that the grout were in, boxes from the tile - lots of debris and don’t just assume they won’t throw everything in the recycling bin because it’s close. Make sure they know where the trash goes and who’s responsibility it is to get rid of it.


And Here’s the Flexible Part
That tile you ordered and it all came in undamaged boxes; you didn’t realize somewhere along the line someone dropped the box and five tiles in the middle of the box cracked. You are going to need more and that’s going to push the timeline off. 

Someone accidentally puts a box against the new drywall and it makes a dent, we’re going to have to do that over. Even though the box is clearly marked that it’s the grout you ordered - you open it and it’s the wrong color. Heaven forbid, the contractor gets sick; there’s a death in the family - things will happen you didn’t plan for. Roll with it. The angst will fade away when you are enjoying your new space.

So, while its impossible to plan for issues that could postpone parts of your remodel, try to schedule out a few days or weeks of buffer time depending on the size of the project. That will help keep your expectations lower and prevent 

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