Home Improvement

How to Prepare for Any Home Improvement Project

So, you’ve decide to start your next home improvement project. The time is right, and your home is in need of a big change. However, you can’t just decide that you want to renovate; you need to prepare for it as well. Failure to do so will only lead to extra expenses and hassles – all of which can be easily avoided when you think about everything ahead of time.

Here are a few things that you might want to add on your to-do list before diving into your renovation project.

Decide On The Project

What is it exactly that you want to fix or change in your house? Do you want to change the electrical lines? Do you want to take down those ugly walls that have been there since forever? Or maybe you want to build a new fireplace for your family to enjoy the Christmas warmth.

Regardless of your purpose for diving into the renovation, you need to know exactly what you plan to tackle and why you want to do it. Once you do this, you’ll be able to jump to the next step.

Prepare Your Budget

Now that you know exactly what you plan on modifying in your home, you might want to start preparing your budget – and don’t skimp. Nothing is generally as cheap as it might seem – so if you get a certain price for a certain service, round it up 20%. It’s best that you have a little wiggle room and a contingency fund (ie emergency budget) in case things go south and the construction drags out.

Prep the Space

When working on your house, things are bound to get dirty. The last thing you want to deal with after your renovation is finally done is massive clean up.

Spaces get particularly dusty anytime drywall or sanding is involved; the dust will get everywhere – under door cracks, into the grooves of trim, inside cabinets. Nothing is safe. And then there’s painting. Whether it’s rollers or spray paint, splatter is inevitable.

That’s why it’s so important to protect your space and belongings:

  • Ideally, remove any valuable furniture. At minimum, cover it really well.
  • Remove all belongings stored in cabinets, draws and pantries. Don’t forget electronics and power strips – dust will break these in a heartbeat. Everything must leave the area.
  • Cover all flooring, lighting fixtures and anything that could be exposed to paint or dust.
  • Protect adjacent rooms too. Remove belongings, cover fixtures and close the doors to those areas. Seal door cracks and spaces too by stuffing towels under the door and taping around the perimeter of the door to block out as much dust as possible.

Safety First

Don’t forget about safety too.

If you’re taking on the work yourself, that means eye goggles, gloves, hard hats, protective apparel and boots. It also means taking the time to learn how to safely use any equipment you’re unfamiliar with.

For little ones, it means keeping them away from dust particles and unsafe spaces.

If you’ll be painting in a home with children present, then you’ll need a plan for airing out the chemicals at the end of every day and for a few days when all the painting is finished to clear out any chemicals they shouldn’t be breathing in. (Also, use low VOC paints.)

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to remove the kids from the house altogether while the project is done. In addition to dust and chemicals, there could be unstable flooring, unsafe tools lying around and other hazards. Protect those kiddos from all these dangerous items with gates, locked doors, proper organization or, ideally, total removal of the children while construction is going on.

Prepare the Disposal

Speaking of dust and debris…don’t forget about the dumpster. When you’re renovating, there is bound to be a lot of waste to take care of during demo day and, possibly, beforehand as you prep your space and get rid of junk no longer needed. From materials taken down from the walls and demolished concrete to packaging leftover from supplies. All of this will pile up and you’ll be left wondering: “so, what am I supposed to do with all this trash?”

When you have major renovations going on, you need to work with a local leasing company to rent a commercial sized trash bin to eliminate all this waste in an organized fashion. If you hire the right company, they will not only deliver the unit, they will also come to pick up the waste. This way, you won’t have to take endless trips to the public dumpster.

Just check with your local municipality first to find out if any permits are needed to house a dumpster temporarily for a renovation project.

In addition to a large dumpster, also invest in a few cheap garbage cans to place around the construction area so that contractors have a convenient place to toss waste without having to run and back and forth to the dumpster mid-project. These cans can then be emptied into the larger dumpster periodically.

Acquire the Right Tools

If you’re hiring a contractor, this is a matter of simply discussing with them exactly how they will prepare. If you’re doing the work yourself, this becomes a critical step you don’t want to skip.

It doesn’t matter whether you rent, borrow or buy – just make sure you have the right equipment on hand. Nothing is more irritating than having to stop a project in full swing to run to the hardware store.

Do The Research

What tools and equipment will you need in order to go through with the renovations – a compressor and power tools, a heavy duty floor sander? Do you need to reach high places and, if so, will a ladder work or is a scaffold in order? What about supplies; if you’re painting, will you need rollers and brushes or a spray machine? Will any heavy items be coming in that could damage floors if dropped (ex. granite countertops) and, if so, do you have the man power or rolling carts needed to transport these items? Will drywall be installed? If so, you may need commercial fans to speed up the drying process.

Get Permission

Every town, state and country has different regulations regarding home construction. Some projects require permits and city approvals. Some towns even have historical guidelines when renovating an older home. And some projects are only allowed to be done by a properly licensed contractor.

If you are planning major renovating, it’s important to check with your local municipality to ensure you have the proper permits and licenses necessary for it. Some constructions will require safety checks and permits before you start the project and when you finish it.