Managing the unexpected in a remodeling project
No matter how well you plan for your remodeling project, be prepared for the "unplanned
event". Unforeseen time delays and extra costs can be very frustrating. This is
an excellent justification for working with qualified and certified experts during
your project. They will know how to handle these situations efficiently. Some of
the most common unexpected challenges include: plumbing and electrical systems that
are not up to the current code, unexpected repairs to wiring, plumbing, floors and
sub-flooring, and rotton studs.
New construction process
The prospect of a new kitchen remodel often ignores the headaches that come with
the territory. Homeowners rarely stop to consider the chaos that will befall them
when they decide to remodel their kitchen. For starters you will be asked to remove
everything in your cabinets and drawers. That means all silverware, china, pots
and pans, cookbooks and any other items. It's not a pretty process and the chaos
can be exacerbated by the time of year. Is it during holidays, are the kids in school?
It is probably best if you have school-aged children to begin remodeling during
the school year. Otherwise, you have the kids underfoot.
The project could last anywhere from several weeks to several months. How on earth
will you ever survive it? You could go to a motel room with a kitchen or reasonably
priced corporate apartment. Just be sure you still monitor the process. If you stay,
you can make it easier on everyone by attempting to carve some semblance of organization
into an otherwise haphazard household. Regardless of how long you have to wait to
return to normalcy, it's nearly always worth the headaches required to get you there.
The frightening thought of trying to maintain as much of a normal family life as
possible while the kitchen is unusable can cause doubt about a remodeling project.
Most likely there will be no sink, microwave, stove, countertop or refrigerator!
When the tear-out begins, it will seem chaotic so avoid panic by carefully planning
your coping strategies ahead of time. It's as important to think this through as
it was in laying out your floor plan.
Preparation tips for the tear-out phase
a. Plan where you will store old cabinets and counter tops until they are disposed
of or re-installed. You may consider storing them on a porch, deck or patio, in
your garage or basement. If you do store them outdoors, be sure to cover them with
a heavy tarp to protect them from heat and bad weather.
b. Obtain boxes and plastic bags to store pots, pans, utensils, dishes and even
small appliances. Gift tissue paper or newspapers are excellent items to use for
wrapping and cushioning items.
c. Pack boxed with related items. This will make the move-in much easier. Since
the boxes will not be moving far, careful packing is probably not necessary. But
having like items such as utensils and your china together will make the unpacking
go more smoothly and quickly.
d. Place a large rubber or plastic garbage can with a plastic liner in the middle
of the room while packing. This is a great time to discard any unwanted items. After
emptying the garbage can, leave it in the kitchen for the tear-out.
e. Store the boxes and bags with the items you are keeping where you can easily
get to them such as an adjacent room.
f. Mark the contents of each box on the box and also with a Post-It note. After
the clean-up when the project is complete, stick each Post-It note on the door or
drawer of the cabinet where those particular contents will be stored. This will
make the move-in easy and will help any family members or friends assisting you
with the move-in.
g. If it is required for you to move your kitchen table and chairs to another location/room,
invert the chairs on the tabletop to save space. Cover them with plastic to avoid
h. Plan on controlling the dust by cleaning at the end of each day. This will reduce
the amount of mess and help prevent tracking it into the rest of your home.
i. Use twin size bed sheets (even if you have to purchase some inexpensive ones)
to cover every doorway in and close to your kitchen. This will help eliminate or
control the remodeling dust to the rest of your house. Hang them from the top of
each doorway with thumbtacks. You should also spray the sheets lightly each morning
(and throughout the day if necessary) with water. The sheets will attract and hold
j. Never begin the move-out or tear-out too early. It is usually a one or two day
process and can be a major inconvenience. If possible do not start until the new
cabinetry has been delivered. Your kitchen specialist or supplier can advise you
of the exact delivery date.
Meal preparation during remodeling
Plan a place to prepare meals and kids' snacks during the remodeling process. Since
the kitchen water will most likely be turned off, plan to use water from the closest
bathroom. You should stock up on paper plates, napkins, disposable cups and tableware
and plenty of paper towels. You can store these in large garbage bags for easy access.
You can keep a pitcher of cold water and other drinks in a picnic cooler. For the
most part, your refrigerator will be available but may be inconvenient during the
day when the work crew is there.
a. Plan each day's menu ahead of the project. Check your cookbooks for easy to prepare
meals. Purchase meats that can be frozen then thawed for cooking on the outdoor
grill, microwave or crockpot.
b. Move your microwave to a desk top or another room to have access if it is not
an installed model.
c. Prepare and freeze meals ahead of the remodel that are microwaveable and easy
d. Another option is the crockpot which can be placed just about anywhere.
Moving into your new kitchen
Clean everything thoroughly before moving in. There are several new products available
today to assist you with the clean-up. Use a slightly damp cloth or towel to clean
the sink, appliances and counter tops. Follow this with a dry, lint free cloth.
Be sure to wipe interiors and exteriors of the new cabinets with a clean, dry cloth.
If needed this is a good time (after the cleaning) to install shelf liners.
a. Check the cabinet manufacturers instructions about exterior cleaning and polishing.
Most cabinet exteriors may be polished with a quality furniture polish that does
not contain waxes or silicones.
b. Most manufactured cabinet finishes today do not need waxing as it may actually
dull or damage the cabinets with a wax build-up that does not absorb into the finish.
Be sure to consult the recommended care and cleaning method by your cabinet manufacturer.
c. Damp mop new floors to remove any dust. Again, follow the manufacturers recommended
cleaning methods and materials.