Should You Stay or Should You Go? The Cost of Living in a Remodel


Living in a remodel isn't a glamour experience. That's why we suggest to all of our clients they leave.
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to remodel your home. You’ve picked out your flooring, the tile is on its way, and the paint color makes you feel giddy inside. While thinking of your new space is exciting, you know that you’re nowhere near being done. Which brings you to a big remodelling decision…

Should you stay in your home during your renovation? Or, should you consider leaving while the remodel is underway? 

There are a lot of factors that go into this decision. When our clients ask us this question, we encourage them to find a comfortable place to stay during renovations that isn’t their own home. To help you make the decision, here’s everything you should consider when it comes to living in a remodel. 

Consider the Space You’re Renovating

When deciding the best way to get through a home renovation, consider how you typically use the space and how long the project will take. If it’s a full home renovation you’ll likely stay elsewhere, but what if only a portion of your house will be under construction?

There’s two common questions we hear when clients consider living in their home during a renovation.

Can I live in my basement during a remodel?

A basement can be a good option if you’re only renovating your top floor. You’ll have your own space and may have bedrooms or a small kitchen that can make your daily routine easier to maintain.

The downside? Living in a basement often means minimal sunlight. Plus, construction is louder than you might think. With your remodel happening directly above you, consider if you can handle that much noise and darkness for multiple months.  

What if I’m just renovating my kitchen or one room? 

A single room remodel can be easier to live through, but if the project is extensive, your lifestyle can still be impacted, especially if it’s a room you depend on for basic needs like a kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom.

Living in a house during a kitchen renovation is challenging because you lose the ability to cook for yourself and have limited space to store fresh foods. Will you mind reheating foods in a microwave or getting takeout several nights a week? If that’s not ideal, you may want to consider renting a space during your renovation, or staying with a loved one.

Can you stay in your home during a kitchen remodel? We encourage our clients to find somewhere else to stay.

The Benefits of Staying in Your Home During a Remodel

It may be tempting to move into a different room and make the best of it until your home renovation is finished. Staying in your home keeps all your belongings close and your home is the place you likely feel most comfortable. 

Personal comfort aside, what are the additional benefits of living in your home during a remodel?

It’s likely the most affordable option

You’d probably rather put your dollars toward your renovation so staying in your home might give you a bigger budget for the upgrades you’ve been dreaming about. Staying home would save the expense of hotel rooms or rental spaces, which can be a $400+ per day investment if you don’t have a loved one’s house to stay at.

You’ll be close to your contractor

Getting to know your contractor can help create a relationship of trust and accountability. If you live on site, you can check in each day and keep apprised of the progress being made. Make sure you’re not asking for changes during the process unless they’re necessary, as these changes can affect your timeline and will increase your budget.

You can gain an understanding of the process

You’ll have a front row seat to all the steps in the process and be around to ask quick questions or give opinions if needed. Plus, being this close to the construction means that if anything breaks in the future, you’ll likely at least have a starting point to fixing it. 

Save yourself the hassle of staying with a loved one

It can seem like a great option to stay with a friend or relative until you realize your best friend’s teenage son stays up until 4am playing Fortnite in the next room… or your great aunt likes to take a 2 hour bath every night in the only available bathroom. 

These situations make staying at home seem like a better option. Finding a new place to stay can be time consuming and frustrating. Relying on friends or family may result in a strained relationship and extra stress you’d rather avoid. 

Despite this list of benefits, the benefits to moving out of your home during a remodel far outweigh staying

The Challenges of Living in Your Home During a Remodel

While there are some benefits of staying in your home during a renovation, there are also a number of challenges to consider.

There are a lot of reasons to find another place to stay during your home remodel. One of the reason being excess noise.

The mess, noise, and disruption

If you’ve never experienced a renovation, the progress is often loud and dirty. It’s just the nature of our industry. There are machinery noises, the early riser crew members showing up to get started on your home, and dust. Lots of dust. On everything.

The disruption from a renovation can be even more stressful if you are working from home. If you can imagine joining a conference call while standing in the middle of I-70 you’ll have an idea of how noisy and distracting it can be. In fact, most equipment is much louder then the 85 decibel threshold where noise level can cause permanent hearing damage.

Fluctuating temperatures are common in a remodel

If your home renovation involves taking out walls, windows, or a ceiling, you’ll be dealing with changing temperatures along with noise and dirt from outside. Home renovations during the summer can make your house nearly impossible to cool and you’ll deal with extreme heat loss during the winter

Even if you’re not taking out a window or wall, your temperatures will still fluctuate as crew members will need to leave doors open as they haul things in and out of your home.They will also need to cut the power, shut off the water, etc., which presents a different set of challenges. 

Access and organization are a challenge, especially with kids or pets

Chances are, even despite your best efforts, your kids will need something you can’t find. Where’s the soccer jersey? Have you seen that permission slip? Your carefully labelled boxes may become one giant pile as you dig through them to find what you need.

Worse, your kids might decide to explore potentially dangerous construction zones creating a safety issue and leaving you with an annoyed construction crew.

Accessing the spaces you’re used to may also present unique challenges for those with pets. If Rex needs to go out, you may have to walk through the construction zone to get to the back door… only for him to decide he doesn’t actually need to go.

You’ll also need to have a plan for containing your pets so they aren’t trying to escape through open walls and tarped doorways or windows.

Patience is tested in smaller living spaces

You love your family, but getting cozy during a home remodel may test your limits. No matter where you sit, where you store your belongings, or how tidy you are, you’ll likely end up in someone’s way. And they will end up in your way, too.

Your frustrations will grow and the stress may be taken out on your loved ones and make it harder to appreciate the end result of your remodel. What’s the price you’re willing to put on avoiding this?

It’s emotional to see your home in pieces

You love your home. That’s why you’re investing to make it perfect for your family. Living through a home renovation is different from the magical transformations we see on TV. Everything is not always polished and presented with a neat little bow (or an overflowing charcuterie board).

Being there for the process means you’ll see your home stripped of walls and flooring with dirt and dust covering every surface. Even if you’re excited for a new kitchen you probably don’t want to see construction workers with muddy boots dragging your new oven inside.

Renovations often take longer than planned

When planning your renovation, you’ll need to be aware your project can take longer due to unforeseen project challenges. Supply chain issues and labor shortages can add 1-2 months to your delivery date which may mean a full stop to your project. There’s also the possibility of someone on the crew getting COVID which can shift every step in your renovation as they quarantine. 

These delays will mean extra time without access to your home and a prolonged period enduring the challenges it brings.

Don't make the mistake of staying in your remodeled home and spending excess time and money on your construction.

You’ll be investing even more time and money in your remodel

Having people living in a home during a remodel means extra prep and planning for your contractors.

Daily clean up, installations, removal of dust barriers and resealing rooms can add around 5-10% of the project’s cost to your final total. (Maybe you can spend that extra money on a kush vacation rental instead?)

While you may think that you’re being helpful by providing your contractor and crew with minor touch ups as you see them, there’s a better chance you’re slowing down the process. In fact, little touch ups made along the way interrupt the construction process and will add two to three weeks to a remodel. Everything will be fixed and made perfect in the last couple of weeks, but it can be hard for any homeowner to not ask for corrections as they see them. The extra construction support, follow ups, and emails all lead to higher fees from your design team. 

Overall happiness can be affected by stress

Did you know most people spend 62% of their waking hours in their home? That number may be even higher if you have a home office.

Studies have found how happy we are in our home is greatly linked to our overall happiness. So if you’re spending your days and nights stressed out from the extra noise keeping the kids awake or from all the dust on your computer when you sit down to work, you may find yourself in a miserable mood.

It’s imperative to invest in a comfortable space during a remodel. The pros of leaving greatly outweigh the pros of staying. 

Leaving for your Remodel is the Best Choice  

After thinking through the benefits and challenges of living in your home during a remodel, you probably know what would work best for you. We hope you consider finding somewhere else to stay, because we really do care about your happiness! We want you to enjoy this remodel as much as possible, which is much more likely with access to a consistent bed, shower, and oven. 

Finding somewhere else to stay can help keep your enthusiasm, morale, and daily routines intact, and keep your construction crew on task. If you decide to try and stay in your home, we recommend you make a plan b in case things don’t work out.

Think you’re ready for your home renovation? Check out our blog post about the cost of remodeling a home in Colorado



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