Whatever the magnitude of your home remodeling project is, one of the unfortunate byproducts is a mess. The mess can be short-lived and a temporary hassle or it can linger for much longer than you want. Dust and debris are guaranteed with many home improvement projects. There will be a mess; there is no way around it. But there are some practical steps homeowners can take to limit the mess and lead to a better remodeling experience.
First and foremost, you must vet your contractor. Get references from other homeowners who used their services and follow up with the references to see how clean the contractor is. Additionally, ask the contractor up front what they do to ensure a clean job. Make sure the contractor agrees to sweep and leave the job site orderly at the end of the day with a regular cadence of debris pickup. Ensuring a contractor is clean can get lost in the excitement of the improvement project but a few questions and requests can help mitigate the mess.
In addition to working with the contractor to ensure a clean remodel job, homeowners can take a few key proactive steps to limit the mess.
1. Get the room ready – Before the work starts on any room, remove everything from the room that you don’t want to get dirty. This includes furniture and decorations. The trick is to leave the area being renovated as clear as possible. If it’s not practical to move heavy furniture, cover it with plastic. By covering the furniture, you protect it from debris getting into tiny areas that will be impossible to clean down the road. The other benefit of moving the furniture out of the room is you don’t subject it to possible damage from the remodeling process. You are already spending good money on the project; you don’t want to spend more to fix furniture!
2. Isolate the mess – In addition to clearing the room, ask your contractor to isolate the mess to the area that is being remodeled. One of the most aggravating results of a remodel project is having debris, dust, tools or other materials spread out throughout the house. Big remodel jobs might not be able to avoid this but if a job is concentrated to one area or room, ask the contractor to put plastic sheeting over doors to other rooms. Tarps can be huge aids as well. Build pathways through the house for any areas that contractors will be walking. Shoes carrying dust and dirt are a huge issue for keeping a house clean. Tarps can prevent shoes tracking mud and dust to other areas. Each day homeowners can pick up the tarps and remove all the dust and debris from them. Or you can buy some cheap carpet pieces and lay them over the areas where contractors will walk. Once the job is over, you can throw out the carpet.
3. Daily cleanup – It is imperative to vet the contractor as suggested above. But it’s not enough just to vet the company up front; you can help aid in the cleaning process yourself. Sweep, dust and vacuum all the impacted areas and keep the environment as clean as you can with a daily clean up. Running a vacuum over the renovated area can help protect wood floors. Also, a simple way to help aid the contractors in the cleaning process is to provide large trash cans each day where they can throw out and contain their mess. Whatever you can do to aid in the clean-up process frees up the contractor to do the actual project. For instance, if the contractor spends 30 minutes on clean-up each day that you can help eliminate, that time can be spent on the job.
4. Keep the area open – If weather permits, keep doors and windows open. Keeping maximum ventilation to the home will allow dust and debris to be carried outside of the home. The messiest part of any project is usually the drywall, especially when it is being sanded. Be sure to ask the contractor which day he will be sanding the drywall and request that while sanding they take extra precautions such as covering vents and potentially even shutting down the furnace to not spread dust throughout the house. All of these activities will also prevent smells from traveling through the house and lingering after the project is over.
Now that you have followed the above steps to limit the mess while the project is ongoing, what happens after the project is done? It’s possible there is still some residual mess. There are two options to deal with this. One, the homeowner can take matters into their own hands and do a thorough clean-up job on the renovated area. There are also professional cleaning services for residential jobs. Companies that specialize in cleaning after a remodel can help eliminate the hassle for the homeowner and conduct a superior job. In fact, it’s a good idea to either put the cost of the professional clean-up into your remodel budget or ask the contract to provide the service as part of the cost of the job. Remodeling your home can be an exciting time and you can follow the above steps to not let the mess get in the way!