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Tips for surviving your Renovation Part 2- Shelter

Imagine you are lost in the woods and need a few basic needs for survival.

1. Food

2. Shelter

3. Clothing

The good news? You're not lost in the woods! You're renovating!

Here are some tips to address your basic needs, as well as a few wants that probably feel like needs.


Living though your renovation is tough. You have two options- move out, or live in it. Here are some tips to make the most of the situation;

Moving out?

Seriously, if you are looking at a major renovation involving hiring contractors, re-configuring floor plans, building additions, etc etc, you should find somewhere to stay. This is going to be messy, dusty, dirty and your quality of life will suffer. Beyond that, the trades, and contractors will work less efficiently if you are doing a load of laundry while they are talking about how to reroute your bathroom water lines. So what are your options?

  1. AirBNB- This is great if you need to be out for a set amount of time. A week or two while the trades tackle demolition, framing and drywall is reasonable, and money well spent.

  2. Sublet an apartment or House- If you are in a student city like Halifax, there are often short term sublets up for grabs. This is a great solution if you need to find somewhere to stay for 3 months or more. Options can come furnished or not, which could save you storage fees if you need to move everything out for a complete re-fit!

  3. Renovate during vacation- If you have a good contractor and design professional involved, you can take off and just let everything happen in your absence. This involves very clear design concepts and planning, as well as a great deal of blind faith and trust, so it is not for those who need to see daily progress, or be in control of the process.

Staying put?

There are some things you can do to minimize the impact on your life and family while you tear into your home. Here are my tips for keeping your sanity through the process.

  1. Dust Control- This is so important! the trick is to mask off the area where the work is being done completely, while also creating negative air pressure. This means that air is being drawn from the rest of the house, toward the exterior, rather than being pushed through the space being renovated, in to the untouched parts of your home... taking dust and contaminants with it. This can be accomplished with a simple box fan in a window!

  2. Establish a temporary kitchen- This is so essential to keeping your sanity. If you are renovating your kitchen, set it up somewhere out of the way from the area being worked on, and be mindful that you won't want to move it around. A spare bedroom, hallway or family room is a good option for this.

  3. Set Boundaries- Clearly establish where the out of bounds areas of your home are for contractors and subtrades. This may mean supplying a porta-potty, masking off areas of the home that are out of bounds, and being present to let the trades in and out of the house... without distracting them from their jobs.

  4. Give trades space- Most subtrades are paid by the hour, which means they would love to stand around and chat about your dogs favorite color on the clock. The key to getting your job done efficiently, and on budget is to stay out of the way. If you think a mistake is being made, or are not confident your subtrades, reach out directly to the contractor to talk it out. IF you are the contractor, ask questions that take the subtrades to the same conclusion you have made, and remember to be polite. Being short or rude with your trades won't get your job done better. You can be firm if you don't like how something is done, but if you hired reputable professionals, who had good references, and you supplied clear drawings of the details, they should be able to execute the job with no issues.

No matter how you swing it, having other people in your house, working on it can be stressful, whether you are in it or not.

Do you have any tips from surviving your renovation?

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