8 Ways to Minimize Mess During your Home Renovation

Mitigate dust and damage to protect your home during a remodel

Protect your home during a remodel paper floors covered bannister

Discuss site prep and protection with your contractor

As you prepare for a major renovation, it’s easy to overlook plans for site prep and protection. How you manage the process can have a big effect on your home during and after the project is completed. Sweeten offers a look at ways to protect your home during a remodel before work gets underway.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and secure deposits—for free.

Contractors generally work with you on protecting the existing space. However, these protections usually prevent damage rather than block dirt and grime. Therefore, your floors shouldn’t be scratched or dented, but they may be dusty, streaky, or even sticky—and will need to be cleaned up after the fact. Have a discussion with your contractor about your expectations for cleanliness over the duration of the renovation. As with many aspects of home renovation, what is included and for what price varies depending on the project and the contractor.

Decide whether to live in or move out

Site prep is an important undertaking, especially for homeowners who are renovating just one part of their residence. It is even more important if you plan to continue living at home through the renovation. Staying put may actually cost more than clearing out completely. This is because of the extra time and effort that goes into set-up and tear-down each day. Crews must first lay paper, hang tarp, and add any other protective barriers. They are then removed at the end of the work day in order for the owners to use their home at night.

For example, if you are renovating the kitchen and your only bathroom, your contractor will need to make sure you can maintain crucial access to the facilities and be able to walk through to the rest of the apartment. On the other hand, a renovation in an unoccupied home allows the crew to leave the space in relative disarray at the end of the day and pick up right where they left off the next morning. For this reason, whether or not you leave while the renovation is ongoing is usually part of the initial conversation with your contractor to determine a project estimate.

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Protect your home during a remodel: Prep and seal

If you are undertaking anything other than a complete gut renovation, you can do the following to limit the disruption and minimize the mess.

Block off rooms and spaces

 – Cordon off the renovation zone as best you can by hanging heavy-duty tarp (at least 8 millimeters thick) from the ceiling down to the floor to create a seal. Usually, this is done by applying masking tape across all sides of the tarp where it meets the ceiling, walls, and floor. Particles will fly through any and all gaps you leave, no matter how small. If you need a flap for entry and exit, consider applying an adhesive zipper to your tarp. A double layer might be a good idea if there will be a lot of sanding or if you know that dangerous particles will be released into the air.

Seal up closet doors by applying masking tape to the gaps between the doors and the floor. Nothing more inconvenient than having to wash all your dusty clothes.

Safeguard the interiors

– Within the reno zone, protect anything that you’re keeping. If the floors are staying, then cover them with construction paper (maybe even a double layer, as insurance against tearing). If you are keeping any appliances, cover them with tarp (again, leaving no gaps).

– If the reno zone is in the center of your home, consider laying continuous paper or tarp through all the high-traffic areas so that you don’t track dirt into the rest of the space.

Cover all furniture throughout the home (especially textile surfaces such as couches and beds) with a drop cloth or tarp while construction is ongoing during the workday. Even with the tarps up, you’d be surprised at how much dust flies around.

Clear the air

– Vacuum, preferably with a HEPA (“high efficiency particulate air”) vacuum at the end of each work day. You can rent one or discuss getting one with your contractor. HEPA vacuums are able to trap much smaller particles than normal vacuums.

– If you have one, run a HEPA air purifier on high 24/7. Change or wash the filters frequently since they will be working a lot harder than usual. If you don’t have one, consider renting a commercial-grade air scrubber for the duration of the renovation.

Open the windows! The more air circulates, the better. 

The costs of prevention are fairly minimal with the exception of an air scrubber rental. This can cost several hundred dollars depending on how long you need it. Identify and account for the necessary materials upfront. You and your team should be on the same page about expectations. And even with excellent containment, you’ll most likely need a dedicated cleaning after the project is done. Check out our guide to clean up after a major renovation.

When you’re ready to get started on your kitchen or home remodel, work with Sweeten to renovate with the best general contractors.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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