10 Surprising Facts About Your Remodel

home at last - remodelAfter a year-long (and counting) remodel, I’ve learned a few things.  Some of them I learned the hard way, and others are the result of whispered advice from ladies who cared.

I was prepared for the standard bits of wisdom.  I knew it would go over budget.  I knew it wouldn’t be completed on time.  I even knew we’d expand the scope of the project.

If you have ever dreamed about remodeling, know someone who is going through a remodel, or just like to watch remodel shows on television then you need to read my list.

Some of these things don’t show up on HGTV, and it was a bit of a shock (at least for me).

10 12 things you might not know about a remodel

1.  At some level, you are moving.  Whether it’s one room, one wing, or the entire house, you are moving.  You are packing up boxes, sorting through clutter, and your life is in transition.   One day, you’ll wake up and realize that your house no longer feels like your home because it has been overrun with strange noisy people.

Relax.  When it’s all done you get to move into a new house!  Your house will become your NEW home.

2.  Do Not Watch HGTV or DIY shows if you are unhappy.  When the remodel is going badly is not when you want to watch House Hunters.   Once you have finalized on paint colors (or tile or whatever) is NOT when you want to watch a show that completely changes all your decisions.

Watching remodels gone bad on television can either frighten you or make you feel superior.

3.  Remodels are noisy.  Something always makes noise, but it’s worst during the “framing” stage where there are lots of hammers and saws.  The flooring stage is also noisy thanks to all those tile saws or sawing expensive wood flooring strips into pieces.

They don’t show the noisy part on television.

4.  Remodels are messy.  Sheetrock dust gets everywhere.  Even if they seal an area off like you request.  Turn off any air conditioning or heating systems to prevent that sheetrock dust from getting into all the ducting.  I have FOUR giant HEPA filtration systems running right now that scrub the air.

I still have sheetrock dust in places you don’t want to know about.

5. Remodels are trashy.  Oh my word!  Everything arrived in boxes or on pallets, and all that generated trash.  All the old stuff was beyond reuse.  Add in all the scraps of building materials and  it’s enough to fill a dumpster or two.

Dumpsters are magnets for little boys.

6. Something will go wrong.  No matter how carefully you plan, it will happen. It may be that the tile you fell in love with is on backorder.  Or maybe the painter mis-read the chip that you gave him.   It’s going to happen.

Relax.  Your contractor has handled this mistake before.

7. You will need to make odd choices, quickly.  I was given a one hour window to pick baseboard and molding.  I’d never looked at the stuff before.  I was asked if I wanted the potty installed with grout or silicon caulk.  (no clue).  You will get “decision fatigue” and just not care any more.

Go with your gut, or defer to your husband.

8. Divide and conquer.  Hubby and I each had areas of the remodel that we were passionate about. There were other areas that we didn’t really care about (like the whole caulk versus silicon thing for the toilet).   We each “owned” our areas completely.  We also kept out of the way of the other person.  I picked paint colors without his input.  When he was asked to comment on them, he declined.

Make a point of regular meetings to communicate with your spouse.

9. But stay united. No matter what happens, your marriage should be the top priority.  Remodels are notorious for putting stress on marriages.  Some of it is financial.  Some of it is stress.  Some of it is just plain fatigue.   At some point, you will be arguing on whether it’s more important to go over budget on amazing tile or electronic doohickies.

Make a point of banning remodel conversations from the bedroom or on dates.  

10. It’s OK to take a break.  When the stress and noise and mess and chaos are getting to you, it’s OK to take a break.  That may mean walking away from the house for the afternoon.  It may come in the form of a weekend away.  It may even mean you put a pause on the whole project for a week.

Your mental and emotional wellbeing is important.

11. Accept help when offered.  When your life is torn up and you are clearly stressed out, true friends notice.  They care.  They want to help.  It felt odd to carry dirty laundry into a friend’s house, but sitting in the quiet of her home was the best medicine she could have given me.  The coffee and companionship helped too.

You need a support system.

12.  You’ll learn new stuff.  Even stuff you didn’t plan on learning.  I can now have intelligent discussions about tools and construction requirements.  When I was single I used to use a red high heeled pump to hammer picture hangers in place.  I own my own hammer (it’s pink) now.  Beyond that, I understand how the physics behind why a heavy hammer is better for some jobs, while a tiny hammer is better for others.

Learning new stuff is good.  Enjoy it.

In the end, the remodel was worth it.  It’s been an amazing journey to watch our dreams evolve into a plan and then finally into reality.

Do you have any words of wisdom on the subject?  Anything you’d like to know?

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. my advice.. RENT, LOL just kidding, if we ever do own a property again, I will keep these tips in mind. It can be quite hectic to remodel, but it is true that you need to stay united to survive

  2. staying united is the key to anything stressful, don’t you think?

  3. Do Not Watch HGTV or DIY shows if you are unhappy. – I agree on this part since television affects your mood and decision making.

  4. Wow Susan,

    These tips could NOT have come at a better time! My wife and I are JUST starting to plan our re-modeling and are already taking some of these steps into account with our planning.

    Thanks again! You’re a lifesaver 🙂

    Jeff

  5. I’ve had clients try to use their kitchen when I was in the middle of a complete tear out. They refused to pay for a temporary kitchen set up in their garage. I actually had to tell them that i would set it up for free, if they promised to keep their dirty dishes out of my work area.

  6. Remodeling your house doesn’t need to be expensive. It can always be affordable with the right contractors. And it increases your home’s value a lot.

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