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What to Expect When You’re Remodeling By Nikki Luttmann, Interior Designer

I love January. The stress of the holidays has passed, and the new year is a clean slate. It seems like the perfect time to start fresh on a project—whether that’s developing a healthy eating plan or fixing up our homes. Last year, my husband and I decided that we would concentrate on remodeling the exterior, including new windows, doors and siding, and I’m happy to report that we were able to achieve our goals and stay married in the process. That’s not always an easy feat—remodeling or building a home can be stressful.

Many of my clients underestimate the amount of stress a construction project may cause. Especially for those who have no option but to stay in their home during the process, it can be very trying indeed. Before you undertake a remodeling project, I urge you to educate yourself on the process. Following are a few common home projects and some of the things required for each one.

Whole house painting

This can be very rewarding and perhaps the most common of all remodeling projects. However, before you hire that painter, keep in mind that this process can be very invasive. All artwork must come off the walls, furniture must be moved to the center of each room, light fixtures should be removed, and floors and furniture will be tarped off. As well, windows and doors may be taped over (if they are spraying), and the air may be fairly toxic for a few days. Ask your painter how long the process will take and ensure that they can be at your house for the time it takes to finish, not breaking off to different jobs in between. Also ask the method they will use to paint—rollers, brushes or spray—and ask if the paint they use is low in VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions. This will help you determine whether you should stay or just check into a hotel room for the week!

Kitchen remodeling

This can include new cabinetry, flooring, countertops, paint, etc. Sounds like fun, right? But if not scheduled properly, with a kitchen remodel, days can easily turn into weeks of no appliances, no countertops and cooking exclusively outdoors on a barbecue! This might be OK in the summer months, but in the winter, it can be hard to live without the ease and comforts of your kitchen. Working with experienced contractors and sub-contractors and having your decisions made ahead of time are key to keeping your sanity throughout the process.

New flooring

This is one of my favorite changes to any home, and there are some wonderful options out there. LVP (luxury vinyl plank) for example, comes in many colors and subtypes and boasts a fairly easy installation process. An entire home can be installed in LVP in less than a week if you are dealing with experienced flooring installers. Opposite this product on the spectrum of installation, however, would be sand and finish hardwood. This is an amazing look that truly sets your home apart, but it can be very time-consuming. First the wood is installed, then sanded, then layers of product are applied in coats. Finally, the whole thing has to cure for two days before furniture can be put back on. After that, it takes a full month for the new floor to fully cure and harden.

Bathroom tile

This is one category that truly depends on the professionalism of your installer. If you are removing old tile, this is best done by a professional, as they will be able to remove the old tile with minimal damage to the subfloor or walls behind. I can’t stress enough the importance of appropriate waterproofing in showers and wet areas. If your installer is good, he will be able to save you a lot of headache down the road in good prep, waterproofing and overall tidiness. But, keep in mind, they will need access to water for their tile saw and a relatively enclosed, preferably heated, space for cutting. Oftentimes, a garage is perfect, but please don’t expect your tile installer to set up their wet saw outside in the middle of winter in freezing temperatures. This isn’t fair to them as craftsmen, and I know that my fingers do not work their best if they are frozen solid—and neither will your tile installer’s!

In next month’s article, we will continue the list of projects, so stay tuned and have a happy new year!

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