The simple answer to this question is “yes you can”.  Regrettably, the effort involved in making that happen is a little more detailed.  There are some significant realities you will experience during a home remodeling project that are simply not very pleasant.  Besides the inconvenience of losing the use of the room you are renovating, dust and debris can easily spread to other areas of your home that are not part of your remodel.  Although precautions may have been made to isolate dust and debris, like hanging plastic drop cloths around doorways, they are not guaranteed to protect the rest of your home.

When considering remodeling part of your home, it is important that your contractor is aware that you plan on living there while the work is being completed.  It may alter the way that they prepare and perform their services, and may affect the cost of your project.

Make sure you communicate your plan well with the contractors you are interviewing.  Make sure they are aware of your wants and needs from the remodeling project.  Your expectations of the project should take front and center, not theirs.  The way they usually do business may not be the right fit for your project.  A well prepared and knowledgeable contractor can make a tremendous difference in the overall homeowner experience during a remodel.

You should ask your contractors if they have standard policies and procedures for creating a live-able environment for their clients during a remodel.  Prior to the start of any work, your contractor should communicate how they plan to contain the work area.  This containment is critical in keeping the remaining rooms in your home dust-free.

To protect existing floors and furniture in the home, your contractor should be using drop clothes that are clean, or even new, and not filled with dust and dirt from previous jobs.  They should protect every surface in your home, including floors and walkways that their employees will be using to access the renovation area.  Every client deserves respect for their property and home.

In addition to standard dust containment and surface protection, there are other cutting edge and technologically advanced tools and equipment to help maintain clean and live-able job sites. The use of equipment from manufacturers like BuildClean, the makers of jobsite air purification equipment, dramatically reduces airborne jobsite dust by drawing in air, passing it through a series of filters and returning the “scrubbed” air back into the space. This machine sits in the middle of the work area and is constantly circulating air from 360 degrees, passing it through two filters and exhausting clean air back into the workspace.

Contractors can also use automatic drywall sanders that hook up directly to a vacuum to eliminate virtually all airborne drywall dust.  When cutting wood and other building materials indoors, your contractor should use power tools that connect directly to dust extraction vacuums.  While these practices eliminate nuisance dust during your project, they also reduce daily clean-up time, which should allow your contractor to be more efficient, and respectful of your time.

While controlling dust and debris is a huge part of the homeowners experience, the single most important effort should be identifying a contracting firm that creates and maintains proper communication.  It is important that your contractor feels as passionate as you do about meeting your family’s needs, your budget and your expectations.

Living in your home during the remodeling process means that you will almost certainly be without water, electricity, or HVAC at certain points.  Minimizing the lengths of those times is critical in maintaining a homeowners overall experience.

It is also important that your contractor provide the logistics of the day-to-day operations inside your home; such as where they are going to stage their tools and materials on a daily basis, the times in and out of your home, and what other areas may be affected by the work.  The less surprises you encounter as the homeowner, the happier you will be.

Taking all of these steps creates an additional cost of doing business for the contractor, but not doing so creates a far worse cost to the homeowner who has to live through a messy and disorganized remodeling project.  When planning on living in the home during a remodel be sure to ask the contractors you are interviewing what their practices are for: dust containment, surface protection, tool and material management, and daily communication.  The answers to those questions will help you determine who has the systems and practices in place to properly protect your home.  Choosing the right contractor can help eliminate much of the stress and anxieties that accompany living through a home remodel.

Stephen and Robert Fredericksen – Fredericksen Contracting, Inc.

(718) 772-4178