Is living in your home during construction right for you?
How to Live in a Home Under Construction – Living in your home during construction can be a great money-saving option and is often simpler than moving to another place. Even a small renovation can be disruptive in your daily life and the bigger the project is the more relevant the question of where to live becomes. Smaller renovations such as a bathroom remodel may be inconvenient for a few days though if you have a family and no other bathroom things as simple as shower before school and work become an issue. While a single guy might just run to a friend’s house that’s not so easily done with kids in tow.
Consider your daily routine, what is necessary for you and others you live with.
Is the project taking up a large area of your home for a significant amount of time? If large areas of your home are not accessible that can make life difficult. Sleeping in the living room when bedrooms are closed can be an adventure for a night or two but if the project stretches more than a few days the adventure quickly fades with the lack of privacy and comfort of beds.
How does the contractor’s schedule mesh with yours? If you work nights and are accustomed to sleeping peacefully during the day the noise and maybe even vibrations traveling through the floor could keep you awake.
What are the possible health hazards of the project? Many older homes still have outdated materials containing toxins such as asbestos and lead which are dangerous in the form of dust, especially for children. Your contractor should inform you of such dangers.
While there is clearly a downside to living at home during construction with some careful planning there are also many benefits. For one, you can save on the cost of a hotel or renting in another place. Simply living at home, even in the chaos, may still preserve more of your daily routine than living elsewhere. Also being on-site allows you to monitor the progress as well as address any questions that come up; for many this adds peace of mind to the process.
What to expect living in your home during construction
Living in construction undoubtedly changes the environment of your home. Whether it’s waking up to see the dust on your coffee maker or coming home to greet the crew as they clean up for the day, life, as usual, can be hard to find. Contractors will be focused on the job at hand, doing their best not to disturb you, none the less your house becomes a shared space.
Communicating with your contractor to coordinate schedules, such as knowing when a delivery is coming so can you park your car out of the way, helps keep construction on track. It is also nice to know how early to wake up for things like a peaceful shower or breakfast.
Be prepared for sound and lots of it. Not everything is loud but power tools, hammers, things like removing old concrete with a jackhammer are unavoidably loud. Asking if there are particularly noisy stages in the project and planning out of the house activities like errands or visiting a friend bring relief, otherwise a little music on headphones never hurts.
Controlling dust can feel like a never-ending battle, most construction creates plenty and it always seems to find the hard to clean cracks and corners. Seal off the work area from the rest of the house. Use plastic sheeting and tape (masking tape and 1 mil or 2 mil plastic work nicely) to close off hallways and other openings that don’t have doors. Also avoid using your forced air system as this will spread the dust. Some dust will always sneak in but this will keep most of it under control.
Removing any breakable items away from the work area before construction starts will save you the worry of accidents. This also keeps your contractor happy, they don’t want the risk of working around fragile items.
When you enter the work area watch for hazards, it’s not the same as the livable areas. Wear shoes, (stepping on nails, it’s not fun!) be aware of places you could fall such as an access hole in the floor and watch your head, sometimes materials or equipment are right at head height.
Living in your home under construction is not for the faint of heart but with careful planning can save some cost and be a rewarding experience. Consider your daily necessities in context of the size and timeframe of your project. Compare your schedule to your contractors and ask if there are any expected health hazards. You are now well on your way to making the decision right for you and, if you so choose, successfully living in your home throughout the construction process.
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