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Prepare for the Unexpected During a Home Renovation

May 25, 2018|

Tool kit

You’ve been planning and saving for years, and the time has finally come—your home remodel is about to start.

Home renovations are exciting, but let’s be honest. They can also be a bit challenging and even inconvenient, depending on the extent of your renovations and the timeframe estimated by your contractor or remodeling team.

Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the stress that tends to come during a major remodel or renovation. Check out some of the most common things to prepare for:

Clutter and dust

During a major remodel, your home becomes a literal construction zone. If you’re not living at home during the renovation, you won’t deal with the day-to-day inconvenience of construction. If you are, however, be prepared to expect some construction-related clutter.

Most professionals make an effort to keep the space safe and picked up after each day. However, you’ll still see tools, stacks of materials, ladders, tarps, and other construction odds and ends in your home or yard.

Another thing to expect is dust. Most contractors use a type of heavy plastic to act as a barrier between the construction and the rest of the house. Even with this protection, you may get used to seeing a thin layer of dust around the house.

Tip: An air filtration system can help mitigate the dust, and it’s a good idea to put tarps or sheets over your furniture to protect it.

Construction noise

Fair warning: your house will be noisy. Really, really noisy. During working hours, there’s no escaping the sounds of nail guns, hammering, the whirring of saws, compressors, and other construction noises.

If you work from home or were hoping to put your baby down for a nap in the afternoons, you might want to make alternative arrangements (or invest in some heavy-duty earplugs).


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Surprises to the budget

You budgeted for every piece of tile, every hour of labor, and even every nail—or so you thought.

Because contractors don’t always know exactly what they’re dealing with until they start demoing, it’s not uncommon for them to be in the middle of a project and drop something you didn’t expect, like electrical or structural issues that will put a temporary kink in the schedule—and your budget.

The best thing you can do is expect the unexpected. Make sure you’ve set aside some money as a cushion in case unexpected expenses pop up.

Tip: The pros recommended setting aside 10 to 20 percent1 of your total budget for these unexpected expenses.

Delays in the schedule

Before your home renovations begin, you’ll get an estimated timeline for completion. Keep in mind this timeframe is likely to change, even with a careful plan and detailed schedule. Unforeseen circumstances like weather, availability of materials, subcontractor’s schedules, and unknown preexisting conditions can push your project back. This is especially true with extensive or complex renovations.

The best advice? Plan on delays. According to some renovation consultants, you should add the same 10 to 20 percent cushion for time2 that you add for your budget and just assume your project will go longer than anticipated. Also, keep the line of communication open between you and your contractor and make sure you get regular updates on your project.

Added stress at home

The upheaval to your day-to-day life caused by a remodel tends to have a trickle-down effect on relationships, whether it’s arguing with your partner about design choices, getting used to living in smaller quarters, or the lack of privacy that may come with a remodel.

Stepping away from the problem (literally) by taking a walk, checking into a hotel for the night, and picking your battles can help you keep tension at bay during your renovation.

Keep things in perspective

When you’re in the middle of a remodel, it may seem that your remodel is taking longer, costing more, or becoming more stressful than it’s worth. But in reality, each day brings you closer and closer to the dream home you’ve always wanted—and that’s something to look forward to.

Whether you're planning an upcoming renovation or are in the middle of the excitement, now is an ideal time to explore how to turn your house into a smart home. Add immediate convenience, security, and value with home automation from Vivint.


  1. "How to Set a Home Renovation Budget". 2018. Zillow Porchlight.
  2. "Home Renovation Without Aggravation". 2017. Consumer Reports.

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