Saturday, 28 December 2013

Dogs Suffer During Home Remodelling

If home renovation is hard on human beings, think how much harder it is on dogs. At least humans can understand what is happening and why. All the dog knows is that everything in the home is disrupted and there is no idea of when it will all end. Dog stress during home renovation is a serious matter and should not be ignored. It can leave lasting scars on a dog’s psyche. A loved dog gives more to the family that he takes, so when a home renovation is going on, it is only fair that this is the time when the family give to him. Here are a few things that can be done to reduce the stress on a pet dog during a remodel
  • Keep the dog away from the part of the house where work is going on. A curious dog could get hurt by going too near a work area. A friendly dog is a distraction to the workmen who may feel compelled to keep an eye on him while their work suffers. And the mass of movement and noise can confuse and upset a normally quiet dog and make him aggressive. The more time at least one member of the family spends with him, the better he will feel.
  • Keeping the dog confined to a small part of the house while the work is in progress can be a strain on him. This can be mitigated by spending as much time as possible with him and taking him out for walks frequently and playing with him.
  • Dogs are curious by nature and when it comes to their homes, this trait is especially strong. They want to go and investigate everything that is happening in the home, even if they don’t understand the what and the why. The problem is that nails, splinters, open wiring and other construction hazards pose a special danger to dogs. The best way to deal with this is to wait till the work has finished for the day, check out a part of the house to ensure that it is safe for the dog and then take him through it. Keep him on a short leash (literally) to ensure that he doesn’t stick his nose where it shouldn’t go.
  • Roof replacement is very stressful for a dog. They hear noise above them and see the sky where it wasn’t a few days before. It is common for dogs to look up and bark and howl when the roof is gone. All you can do is try to comfort him.
  • Falling shingles and other debris can be very dangerous for dogs that feel safe in their homes and are therefore off guard. Take the dog out of the house to a distance where he is safe and tell him look at the work going on. Once again, he will not understand what he is seeing, but at least he will feel that he is being allowed to see the action.
  • Since the dog will be confined to one room much of the time, make sure that water, snacks, favourite toys and the doggy bed are all placed in the room. Often keeping the TV or radio on to drown out at least part of the construction noise helps to keep dogs calm.
  • If none of these help and the dogs is getting more and more tense and upset, the only viable option is to board the dog at a kennel during the remodel. This can be a problem because many dogs do not take well to a change of environment and the company of strangers. But it is worth a try.
Dogs don’t like remodeling. When such a project is on, it is the responsibility of the owner and their family to comfort the dog as much as possible.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Stay Or Leave During Remodeling?

The question of staying on or moving out during a home renovation can be a difficult one. Making the right decision will depend on the extent of the remodel and the amount of discomfort, inconvenience and expense that the family is willing to put up with. Here are some of the factors that need to be considered when making a “stay or go” decision.
  • Cost: Money is a key factor in a stay or go decision. While it is obvious that staying in rented accommodation or a hotel is going to be expensive, there are costs associated with staying too. Staying on in a remodelling site can slow down the pace of the work as the contractor will need to work around the family’s needs, however much they are reduced. And some contractors even charge extra if the family will be staying on because they will have to deploy additional resources for clean-up and to keep basic amenities operational.
  • The Scope of the Project: If the roof is coming off the home or there will be no usable bathrooms, it is not going to be possible to stay in the home. A family can get by for a few days without a kitchen and dining room; bedrooms and living rooms are all things that they can do without. But with no place to bathe or clean dishes, how can they live there?
  • Pets: Your dog or cat could be in danger during the renovation or pose a danger to the workmen by distracting them. Depending on the nature of the pet, it may be possible to keep it locked up in a single room with outings a few times a day, during the duration of the remodel. But it will be tough on the animal. If the family moves to a pet friendly location, the pet will be a much happier family member.
  • Children: Small children are usually fascinated by the work being done in the house. But that can also put them in danger. And asking workmen o look after kids’ safety or answer the million questions that they always have will only slow down the work and cost the homeowner more money. Also, it is not possible for the work and noise to stop to accommodate nap times.
  • Food: The family has to keep on eating. Eating out and take outs are options but are they viable for a long duration? However, it is often possible to set up a temporary kitchen in a small part of the house with a microwave, fridge and toaster. This is workable for a few months but more than that and it becomes a strain on everyone.
  • Washing Clothes: A washing machine can be temporarily installed in a part of the home not affected by the remodel. But keep in mind that the amount of washing will increase a lot. Even with the best of protection, dust and dirt will be in the air and on the clothes. And grime really sticks to clothes that are drying.
  • When There Is No Choice: Some aspects of a remodel require that the home be emptied for safety reasons. For example, finishing hardwood floors often requires the house to be empty for a few days until the fumes dissipate. Here there is no choice but to go.
How much each of the above factors influences a decision to stay or go will depend on family circumstances. And if the family stays, the advantage is that the homeowner can keep an eye on every aspect of the remodel. But by going, the family will be able to continue with its normal life with the minimum of hardship.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Proper Planning – The Key To Sucessful Remodeling

Many home remodeling projects are doomed before they even get off the ground because of improper planning. And many of the most complicated and tough remodeling jobs go off smoothly because of the detailed initial planning that was done. Planning for a major home remodel involves a few basic steps which, if kept in mind, can turn a tough job into a much easier one.

  1. Sketch out you dreams.  From the time you think of remodeling your home, start sketching out your ideas. Revise them as often as you want and get inputs from the rest of the family. The more time you spend on this the better. When you do start talking to architects, your sketches will help them to understand what you are looking for more clearly than words will.
  2. Think of the future. The family’s needs will change over time. What looks great today could be a problem a few years down the road. Will you be retiring after a couple of years? Will the kids be going off to college? Do you want to start working from home? These are the kinds of things you need to consider and build into your planning.
  3. Are you adding value? Evaluate all the changes you plan on the basis of how they will affect your home’s value. Even if you have no plans to sell it, are you sure you want to make changes that could reduce its market value? And if you plan to sell after a few years, you will want to get the best price.
  4. Learn from what others have done. The inputs of those who have remodeled their homes can be invaluable in helping you get the best results, cut costs and avoid hassles. Even if you don’t have friends who have remodeled their home, there are websites, blogs and online discussions on home remodeling where you can learn, ask questions and pick up valuable tips.
  5. Plan your expenses. Most remodeling projects run over budget, so always keep a buffer. And evaluate the need for everything you use – there may be more cost effective options. For example, do you really need high end designer tiles or will less costly options work?  This doesn’t mean to compromise on quality. That is a huge mistake as the future repair and maintenance bills will hurt. Look at things in terms of luxury versus essentiality. When the essential are in place, use the money left for the luxuries.
  6. Get the right team. Having the right architect and contractor is crucial to the outcome of the remodel. Obviously you will look at their qualifications and experience. You can even look at other projects they have done. But do not overlook the importance of working with people you are comfortable with and whom you think understand what you want. They will be able to translate your ideas into reality. Using the services of a design-build contractor makes the process much easier since you have to deal with one company for everything and coordination is easy.
  7. Plan for domestic disruption. Your household routine will be upset when the work is going on.  Kitchens and bathrooms will be unusable and the whole house will be full of dust and debris. Think about how you are going to manage for the duration of the project and plan on ways to minimize the discomfort and inconvenience. The disruption can lead to irritation and family squabbles. Plan a regular weekly family outing to give everyone a chance of unwind.
  8. Expect the unexpected. No matter how much you plan, problems will arise. Be mentally prepared for them so that you can deal with them better. Remember that problems arise when things seem to be going really well.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Reclaim Space With Garage Renovation

A garage is defined as a “building or indoor space in which to park or keep a motor vehicle.” The reality is often quite different. A car may be parked in a garage, but so too are all kinds of other things. From freezers to things for which there is no other storage space to junk. In time the car and the other stuff stored there live a cramped and uncomfortable existence.  But there are other uses for a garage and it can become a useful room that will add a lot of living space to a home.

The first thing to do is to decide if the garage is for your car. Can you park it in the driveway instead? Or maybe even on the street? If you can, then a huge amount of space is now available to you to use as you want.

The Basics Of Garage Remodeling


From a guest suite to a home theater to a gym, a garage can be turned into anything. The design, fittings and budget will depend on what you want to turn it into. But whatever it is, there are some basics that will need to be done.

Ø  The first thing to do is to clean out the garage completely. That means that not even one box must be left there. This will give you a better idea of the size you have available. It’s surprising how cramped a big garage can look when it is stuffed with all kinds of boxes, skis and other odds and ends.
Ø  Now examine the space carefully. Look for defects of all kinds from broken switches to cracks in the wall. Make a list of all the repairs and budget for it all.
Ø  If a car will no longer be parked there, do you need to keep the garage door? You could wall it up completely so the entrance is from inside the house. Or you could put in a door so that it can becomes a second entrance to the house or an independent entry point for a guest suite.
Ø  Garages do not normally have windows. This needs to be remedied. Keeping the end use of the room in mind, put in as many windows as possible. Good natural light is always going to be welcome, whatever the use of the room.
Ø  Do you need plumbing? if it’s a guest suite a small bathroom will need to be installed. Even a home theater will benefit if there is a small convenient toilet attached to it.  Consult a plumber on the viability of the plumbing you plan to install.
Ø  The same goes for electricity. Depending on the use of the room, extra lights and sockets will need to be provided.
Ø  If it is going to be a home theater or game room, it could get noisy inside. Do you need to think about soundproofing?
Ø  Then comes the issues of different seasons. Will you need heating or air conditioning to make the room usable in extreme climatic conditions?
Ø  If you have the space, think about partitioning off a small part of the room for use as storage space. Just because you no longer have a garage does not mean that things will stop accumulating in the home.

These are the basics that will form the backbone of any garage remodeling that you do. If it’s a simple painting a cleanup job, then it could be a nice DIY project. But if it is something more complicated then it is always better to use the services of a remodeling contractor. Avoid using the services of handymen, no matter how much you may save. They undertake repairs and small installation jobs. Changing the look and use of a garage can be complicated and is beyond the scope of a handyman. It’s better to wait until you have the budget to do the remodel properly instead of cutting cost and ending up with a room that satisfies no one.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Homeowner and Contractor – Remodeling Partners

In any home remodeling project there are two parties involved – the client and the contractor. The client is the homeowner – the one who lives in the home that is to be remodeled and who is paying for all the work that is to be done. It is he who has identified the areas where change is needed. The modifications that are planned are based on his intimate knowledge of the needs of the family that lives in the home and his desire to make everyone as comfortable and happy as possible.

The contractor is the one who will actually execute the project and gives the homeowner the home he wants. Based on his experience and qualifications he may not like some of the client’s ideas. And realizing that the client is making a mistake, he may suggest alternatives that, in his experience, will be better for the client and his family.

It is here that problems between the two key players in the remodeling project can arise.

The Rigid Client


No one knows his family, their likes and needs as well as the homeowner. And no one gives their best interests more importance than he does. That is never going to be in dispute. But when he makes up his mind that his way is the only way and that anything else is wrong, that is where problems arise. A major home remodel can be a complex engineering and construction undertaking. The average homeowner will normally not have the specialized knowledge to appreciate the technical issues involved. That is why some of the ideas and concepts that he wants to be incorporated in the project may not be viable. When a contactor says that a certain aspect of the remodel is not possible or suggests and alternative solution, the homeowner could lend an ear, not insist that it is his house and he wants things done his way. That kind of attitude will antagonize the contractor and that is an invitation to disaster.

The Unbending Contractor


An inflexible contractor is an equal problem. He may be highly qualified and experienced and know that many of the client’s ideas may not be workable. He may know that doing things the way the client wants them done will result in a remodeled home that will not work, will not look good and on which money will have been wasted. His effort to get the client to change his mind may be in the client’s best interest. And he will not want to be part of a remodeling project that ends up as a failure.

The contractor must realize that the client is the major stakeholder and that he must be given reasons and logical arguments to enable him to change his mind. The client must be given full and complete justification for any change to his plans. Simply saying that something will not work or that it is not the way the contractor does things will not suffice. Clients will not have the technical background to understand the finer issues and the contractor needs to be patient and go the extra mile to explain everything in a way that the reasons and implications of his suggestions can be clearly understood. 

Two Sides to Every Issue


When everyone understands that there are two (or more) sides to every issue and that no one is always going to be right, things move in the right direction. When both client and contractor know their own minds but are respectful of the other’s knowledge, needs and imperatives, a strong working relationship will develop. And it is this kind of powerful partnership that results in the best home remodeling outcomes.