Quick Rules of Renovation
It’s one thing to dream up a major makeover for your house, but it’s another to really sit down and carry it out yourself. Here are some things to remember before knocking down the walls of your house:
Survey your space.
Don’t just glaze over your warped floor or mildewed ceilings—be critical and inspect every room of your house, and find out which needs total overhauling and which needs minor repair. On that note, remember how much you paid for the house and calculate your remaining mortgage, so you can realistically draw up a plan on how to finance the renovation. Face it: This mission to turn your house into a magazine-worthy number can put a dramatic dent in your wallet.
Unless you hold a degree in House Rescue and Repair, you need to consult a professional on how to go about the renovation. You can’t just head straight to the battle without arming yourself with the dos and donts. This person will warn you about the renovation’s repercussions on heating, plumbing, wiring, and electricity, help you take accurate measurements, and keep you from implementing unrealistic changes around the house.
Divide and delegate.
Who are you kidding? Of course, you’d be needing a contractor to do the dirty work…unless you’re not averse to going up the roof and installing shingles yourself. But don’t leave all the work to the hard-hatted men. There are some renovation tasks that you can hack on your own: replacing towel rods, painting your bedroom wall—the minor, less life-threatening stuff, really.
Get the boring—but important!—stuff out of the way.
We know you’re excited to jump into action, but take care of the necessary paperwork first. This means securing building permits, setting a schedule or a timeline, listing down your priorities (which should be fixed first: roof or flooring?), producing multiple copies of your budget spreadsheet (handy reminders on how not to get carried away), creating a contingency plan. Grab a folder and chuck everything in there.
Mount a pre-renovation party.
Before tearing down your windows and doors, host a barbecue and gather your friends and neighbours who have been in the business of renovating, and soak up as many pieces of advice as you can. Having people who will readily tell you “I told you so” as they pat your back when things go awry is something you will absolutely look for mid-renovation.
Delve into details.
Now that you’re done mapping out the big-picture plans for the house, zero in on the small and precious things you’re dying to add to your pimped-out space. These pretty and less fussy details will get you psyched up when you’re just too tired to go on.
Again, it’s easy to lose yourself in the process of renovation that you end up buying whatever looks fancy, whatever you’ve seen off the pages of Country Living. Restrain yourself: Shop for only what you need, and scout for and compare different types of windows, doors, wall-coverings, and floorings, to get the bang out of your buck. Warning: Never scrimp on materials! Buying cheapo renovation staples will hurt your house in the long run.
Unless you’re perfectly fine with inhaling sawdust and listening to drilling 247, consider moving out.
Setting up camp in a temporary abode sounds like a smart choice. Not possible? Then, segregate the construction area from the rest of the house via polyethylene sheeting or tarps. Also, keep less affected rooms or areas in the house guarded. Protect hard floors with laminated crafted paper or taped boards, plaster plastic film over the windows, place a liquid mask over tubs and sinks.
Be BFFs with your contractor.
Establish great partnership with your contractor who will translate all your floor plan designs to reality. Communicate openly. Tell him your worries, suggest solutions, and ask about potential problems. Don’t hesitate to be tough on them, but be flexible enough to forgive slight delays.
Complications? What complications?
Not to scare you or anything, but Murphy’s Law pretty much has a strong hold over the universe of renovation and restoration. Even with the carefully crafted and well-detailed plans, something is bound to go wrong. So, in times of distress, take a deep breath, suss out the lessons from the situation, and carry on.
Cover photo courtesy of Indo Jersey