Planning a renovation? How to get your home ready
Prepping your home for a major renovation means more than just draping old sheets over the furniture. Your goal should be to keep the contents of each room intact when the construction is done. Here's how to do that:
1. Set rules and parameters for your contractor.
"Discuss things like how you expect that the house will be fully protected by drop cloths on the floors and taped down with heavy plastic in doorways and over vents to minimize dust travel," says Abbie Jacobson, a Chicago interior designer. "Do you want workers to wear protective bootees indoors?"
2. Get big furniture out of the way.
Empty the work area as best as you can of sofas, armchairs, tables and rugs before the reno begins. The emptier the room is, the less chance something will get damaged or dusty.
3. Don't forget about accessories.
Find a place to store lamps, drapes, dining room chairs and other items that could be in the way and end up a casualty. "Plants, aquariums and pet enclosures should also be moved out to avoid damage and flying dust particles," says Jacobson.
4. Take advantage of little-used rooms for storage.
Got a kid who's away at college or an exercise room you keep meaning to use but don't? They're ideal spots to temporarily store furniture you moved from the work zone.
5. Cover too-big-to-move items.
If your sofa is staying put during the reno, protect it from getting damaged or dusty by covering it with plastic sheeting or drop cloths.
6. Wrap fragile items.
Even if they're stored on a shelf, breakable items like fine china and vases should be wrapped in protective plastic like Bubble Wrap and moved away from the demolition area.
7. Remove wall hangings.
Paintings, shelves, clocks and anything hanging on walls at the renovation site and in adjacent rooms could end up falling to the floor because of drilling vibrations and hammering. Be proactive; Before your favorite shadow box ends up in pieces, take everything off the walls and out of the room.
8. Safeguard non-reno rooms.
Even if your living room won't be touched by the contractors, if it's adjacent to the construction site, the furniture will be exposed to dust, plaster and debris. Covering everything with plastic sheets will minimize the mess. Some homeowners even seal off every doorway in the house with plastic sheeting and painter's tape to avoid a problem.
9. Relocate jewelry, cash and other valuables.
Even if you trust your contractor and his crew implicitly, it's better to keep anything of monetary value out of sight. Even if the valuables are far from the work zone, don't keep them out in the open. Consider putting them in a safe-deposit box.
10. Take care of the workers.
If the work crew will be using a bathroom inside the house, replace bath towels with a roll of paper towels. Also, keep the room stocked with toilet paper in plain view.