6 Tips for Protecting Your Home – and Yourself – During a Remodeling Project

Spring and summer in Northern New England means relief from the cold, the end of the school year, and a boom in home remodeling projects.

“This is the busiest time of year for us,” said Ed Campbell, VP of Operations for Nashua, NH-based remodeling firm G.M. Roth. “With the warmer weather, people can finally open up their homes and start the big home improvement projects – ones that take more than a couple of days, and expose the home to the outside air with more than just an open window.”

For anyone looking to tackle a large project – remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, or adding a porch or in-law suite, for example – here are six things for the top of your home improvement to-do list:

Check the weather. Rainy days are frequent in spring and summer months, and depending on the length of time your remodeling project will take, you might need to protect your home from the elements – and from contractors tracking the elements into your home. Make sure you account for this possibility before and during the remodeling process.

Don’t forget about winter so soon. Sure, the weather is warming up right now. But if your remodeling project requires new doors, windows, or changes to exterior walls, be sure you discuss adequate insulation and energy efficiency options with your contractor. Come winter, you don’t want to be left in the cold.

Get real about the project timeline. We all have the best intentions, and we all like to hear the best-case scenarios. But life isn’t always that simple, and neither are remodeling projects. Ask every contractor from whom you get a quote to provide an honest estimate of how long the project will take – no sugarcoating, no rose-colored glasses.

Call your insurance agent. Since home remodeling often increases the value of your home, you’ll want your insurance coverage to come up to speed with the improvements. Plus, your agent can tell you if you’ll be covered in case of things like weather damage during the remodeling, injuries to workers, and other unexpected events.

Get it all in writing. The agreement you have with your contractor should specify who’s responsible for cleanup during and after the remodeling project. Also, responsibility for protection of your property from construction damage should be spelled out, too.

Get out, if you can. There may be times where fumes or dust give you no choice but to stay with friends, family, or a local motel for short spells. But kitchen remodeling, for example, often denies homeowners the use of major appliances and drinking water. Rather than set up a temporary kitchen with paper goods in the spare bedroom, it might be easier to crash with the in-laws for a couple of weeks, and spring for their groceries as well as yours.

Planning ahead, the key to success in so many areas of life, is just as important for home remodeling projects. And with the industry about to go through the high-demand phase of its business cycle, taking time to plan before you start a major home improvement won’t just increase in the value of your home. It’ll pay off in peace of mind as well.