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How To Survive Remodeling

15 Tips to Help You Cope With Contracted Remodeling


Construction worker using drill inside a remodeling job

Stay out of the way during remodeling.

Photographer: Dana Neely / Collection: Taxi / Getty Images (cropped)

You're about to tear out walls, add new plumbing or perhaps even add a new room. How will you survive the rubble and confusion? These tips will help you keep your construction project going smoothly.

Time Required: Be forewarned: Remodeling projects often take much longer than expected

Here's How:

  1. Review the contract with your contractor. Make sure everyone agrees on the work that will be completed and how long it will take. Also be clear on the types of materials that will -- and will not -- be used.
  2. Find out what days and hours work will be conducted. Will carpenters show up on Saturday? Will plumbers ring your doorbell at 7 am?
  3. You may need to give out keys to your home. Find out which worker will be responsible.
  4. To avoid confusion, choose one person in your family to act as spokesperson.
  5. Store your stuff. What cannot be stored, cover with dropcloths.
  6. Prevent plaster dust from spreading. Hang plastic sheets over doorways to work areas.
  7. Show workers which bathroom to use and where to wash brushes.
  8. Lay ground rules. Let workers know whether they can use your telephone. Remind them to keep the volume on their radios down. Tell workers where they can -- and cannot -- park their trucks.
  9. Create a space for worker's tools and supplies. Consider setting up a coffee pot for workers.
  10. Preserve one part of your home as a work-free zone where you can live comfortably.
  11. Try to stay out of the work area.
  12. Check materials and fixtures before they are installed. Once the chandelier is hung, it may be too late to change it.
  13. Workers may need to turn off power or water for some jobs. Plan ahead.
  14. Expect delays. Your workers may encounter unforeseen problems. Materials may not arrive on time. One missing worker may throw the construction off schedule.
  15. When requesting changes, go through your architect. If you do not have an architect, speak to the General Contractor or supervisor.


  1. Living in the midst of a remodeling project is stressful. Plan some meals at your favorite restaurant. Spend a weekend at a romantic bed and breakfast inn.
  2. Friendly interest and words of praise will smooth out the rough spots. But, don't slow workers down with lots of questions.
  3. Happy workers are more willing to return later on when you need repairs. Your remodeling project is an opportunity to cultivate life-long relationships with carpenters, plumbers and electricians.

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