How to live on-site during a home renovation

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5 min readIf anyone ever tells you home renovations are easy, they are an absolute liar! And just because you’ve seen the past three seasons of The Block doesn’t mean you’re ready for what’s to come.

If you think about it, our lives are already busy enough as it is. Now you throw in a demolition, home destroying, bank-breaking, power tool, dust fueled warzone so that you can embrace 21st-century open plan living and add value to your home. Totally worth it if you’re asking me.

Which brings us to the question, should you live on-site while renovating? Well, if you’re planning a major renovation and wondering whether or not you should stay put, it’s imperative you know the journey that lies ahead.

Yes, there are advantages of living on-site, such as saving money, you’re always near the builders, and it also means your home is more secure as opposed to you leaving it vacant. That said, we aren’t going to say it’s a walk in the park. You’re going to need a battle plan.

live on-site home renovation round saw

How to live on-site during a home renovation

Here are our 11 top tips to prepare for living at home while renovating:

1. Protect everything with sheets.

Dust will be enemy number one, especially during the demolition phase of your job. No matter how hard you try to keep the place clean, dust always manages to find its way onto every surface. Rather than trying to vacuum, sweep and clean every minute of the day — save your efforts and cover everything with either plastic sheets or bed sheets, and keep doors closed as much as possible while work is being completed.

If you can, always pick methods that would limit the amount of harmful dust in the air, for example, ask your concrete cutter about wet cutting.

2. Say goodbye to sleeping in.

If you’re not a morning person, you’re in for a rough one. With builders rocking up to your home at the crack of dawn, you can kiss goodbye your beloved sleep-ins as they begin hammering, drilling, concrete cutting and sawing their way through your home.

3. Make sure there’s a playroom for the kids.

Of course, safety is going to be an issue for the kids. With power tools, exposed wires, unstable structures and materials laying about, you can’t have the kids wondering about unsupervised. It’s best to have at least one room that is safe for the kids to play in while you’re busy with the renovation. We also recommend having a safe space for your pets, should you need to leave them unsupervised at any point during the day.

4. Create a storage area for materials and tools.

No one wants to spend half the day running an obstacle course playing hop, step and jump over materials or tools that are left lying around the house. By allocating one room as the dedicated storage room, you’ll save yourself buying doubles of things as well as keep main living areas tidy. It can be a good idea to fit your storage room or shed with a lock to keep all your precious belongings, tools and materials secure while the reno is going on.

live on-site during renovation construction materials

5. Not everything goes to plan, expect the unexpected.

Let’s face it, a renovation that goes precisely to plan with no upsets or disruptions is a rare beast that most will never encounter. There are so many moving parts in a renovation that it’s almost impossible to cater for everything, so expect delays, have contingency plans and emergency funds to keep the job moving forward.

6. Get a diary or planner and take the lead.

One benefit of living on-site during a home renovation is the fact that you’ll be present for the whole build process. With a planner, it’s far easier to keep track of everything, know what each trade is doing and when, keep track of bills, order and delivery due dates, liaising with tradies and making on the spot decisions on any unexpected issues.

7. Don’t forget to take a breather.

A home renovation can get a little crazy, especially when there seem to be endless things to do. Something will always need cleaning, removing, demolishing, painting, ordering more materials and pretty much putting out fires. Don’t forget to take a break, unwind and reset your mind. Your body will thank you later.

live on-site renovation tips kitchen cabinet installation

8. Brace yourself; winter is coming.

And no, it’s not the White Walkers you’ll need to contend with. With walls getting knocked over, window removal and entrances left wide open, regulating internal temperatures won’t be easy, especially if you’re renovating in winter. Don’t forget to rug up with plenty of warm clothing and have emergency accommodation arranged in the case of extreme weather.

9. Say no to visitors.

With contractors and your family on-site, there’s a lack of space as it is, especially once you consider all the tools and materials scattered around the place. So for the time being, say no to visitors, but rather suggest doing something at theirs or meeting up at a restaurant, park or cafe.

10. Relish every milestone.

Don’t forget to celebrate the wins, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem — we take those. Take lots of before and after pics to stay on track and be reminded of your successes so far. You’ll be able to appreciate it more as everything starts to come together and looks like an actual living space.

11. Sit back and enjoy your shiny new spaces.

HOORAY! Give yourself a pat on the back. You finally made it. After months and months of strangers coming in and out of your home — to be fair, the tradies are probably like family right about now — dealing with the ups and downs, stresses, frustrations and emotional temperaments…It’s. Finally. Complete.

live on-site reno tips pleasant hill Queenslander cottage
10 Pleasant Street, Red Hill QLD

The finishing touches are down, and it’s time to exhale a huge sigh of relief and take in all your efforts. Choosing to live on-site and being a part of the entire journey makes you appreciate every square metre of work completed even more. It’s time to forget about tip number nine and invite all your friends and family over to witness the glory of your reno project.

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Philip Sweeney
Philip Sweeney is a concrete cutter with a wealth of home reno experience. He and his team at Diamond Cut Concrete have been taking care of residential and commercial projects for over 25 years.

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