Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Imagine a host of people traipsing though your home kicking up dust and dirt hammering away at the inside of your walls for days (or maybe weeks) at a time. This is what you have to look forward to if you are planning a remodel. Should you stick around for it or take off?

What you decide may be based solely on safety concerns. If dangerous chemicals will be present, you'll have no choice than to take off. The same rings true if your only bathroom will be out of commission or the majority of your house is being worked on. If there is no reason to leave other than the preservation of your sanity, should you tough it out?

On the fence on whether you should stay or go?

  1. What's the Danger?
    Deciding whether or not you stay during your remodel may be as simple as looking at it from a safety perspective. If you are going to be exposed to harsh chemicals or dangerous materials—such as lead or asbestos—you probably won't have any other choice but to shack up at a hotel.

    Children are another consideration. You definitely want to keep them away from broken glass, nails and the other inevitable hazards that come with remodeling. Allergies are another factor. If someone in the family has severe allergies or asthma, exposing them to copious amounts of dust can be potentially lethal.

    If yours is a project that isn't going to require you to vacate, reducing the amount of dust and debris to which your family is exposed is as easy as taping off the area with plastic sheeting. Regardless, protecting your home in general is good practice. "Cover anything that you don't want to get dirty, because it probably will," says licensed electrician Ben Craigson.

    Share your concerns with your contractor, too. While some contractors are more considerate than others, they will likely be more mindful to keep the mess confined to their work area.
  2. What Will You Have Access To?
    If your remodeling escapade means the only bathroom is off limits, it's guaranteed you are going to have to find another living situation for awhile. However, most families can live without access to a room or two for a couple of days or even weeks.

    This is where your creativity comes in. You may find that you have to do dishes in the laundry room sink or cook using the microwave only. The key is to make the most out of the rooms that aren't being worked on and try to accomplish other tasks outside the home as much as possible. For example, if the entire family is vying for time in one bathroom, try to shower at the gym if possible.
  3. What's Your Tolerance Level?
    Are you the kind of girl that prefers the plush linens of a five-star hotel to a night in a tent? Your personality should be considered when deciding whether to tough it out or escape.

    Be realistic and honest. If you don't have the patience to deal with all of the inconveniences that come with remodeling, than you may just want to spend the extra dough to stay in a hotel the entire time.

    "Owners need to realize remodeling is long, dirty, noisy and completely disruptive," says licensed contractor Bret Gedryn. "It also involves a bunch of strangers coming in and out of the house, making a ton of noise and creating all sorts of dust and dirt."

    Another thing to remember: most projects take longer than originally anticipated, so be prepared to be put out even longer than you think. Contractors never know what's lurking behind old walls, so blips are sure to arise.

    If you are going to take the hotel route, don't forget to factor this cost into the project's total price—a week in a hotel can up the amount by quite a lot. If you are redoing the kitchen, you'll probably spring for more than a few meals out, so add that in, too.

    Renting a house or an apartment is another option and a good one if the remodel is going to take awhile. It may take some research to get a month-to-month lease, but try to get a place relatively close to your residence. You'll want to stop by and check in if not every day, every couple of days.

    Some people opt to go on vacation during a remodel, which might not be a bad idea if you trust your contractor completely. Just make sure you'll have access to a phone at all times, as your contractor will need to get a hold of you.
  4. What Else you Need to Know
    Whether or not you want to stick around may not be up to you, but if it is, try to be patient. Keeping your discomfort and complaints to a minimum will be appreciated by everyone, especially your contractor.

    One last tip: if you are planning on a remodel of multiple rooms, it may be better to break up the projects. Many people find they benefit from even a short remodeling vacation.

Remaining in the house during a remodel will test your resilience but it allows you to become part of the process. Being right there allows you to ask your contractor about any concerns you have. If you know you just don't have it in you to stay or the remodel is extensive, it's best to shack up somewhere else for a couple of weeks. Either way, it's an inconvenience quickly forgotten once you have settled into your new space.

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