When/if to move out during remodel?

nancyjlaMay 14, 2013

We're currently working with our architect to finalize plans for our remodel and have yet to hire a builder. Our architect thinks we're crazy to consider living here during the remodel, but I'm not certain.

On the 1st floor we are demo'ing and rebuilding our garage (and attaching it to the house), gutting the kitchen and eliminating several interior walls. The 2d floor is where our bedrooms are. They will mostly be left untouched, but some windows will move and an interior wall will come down in one of the rooms. We are also extending the 2d floor back to add a new bedroom & laundry room over the new garage.

Since we haven't yet hired a builder I'm relying on my architect who thinks we need to move. And honestly, as I read over the above it does sound crazy to consider staying here. But would it be impossible?

If we move out we have to put every single thing in storage and incur the extra rental costs for several months. If we stay here we'll incur dust, noise, have no kitchen, and possibly get in the way?

I come from simple means and could easily live with my microwave & coffee maker, sleep on the floor and "rough it" for a few months. However I have 3 kids (ages 4-9) so I obviously need to consider their needs.

Could we feasibly live here during the remodel, or is it a "no way"? If no way, is there some stage of the remodel where we could move back in before it's finished?

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I would think that the dust from that wall coming down is going to go *everywhere.* The question is can you and your kids live for 3 months with no kitchen, one microwave, no play room, and dust and grime in all your clothes?

Is there anyone the kids could stay with for a few months? Friends, relatives, etc? (possibly plan it over summer break and let the kids spend the summer at their grand parents house?)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 4:57PM
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It will cost more to try to work around your needs for maintaining a habitable space than it will to rent a temp space for a few months. And it will take a HUGE toll on your personal relationships and temper.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 5:52PM
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I disagree that it will cost more to stay put. What are the added out-of-pocket expenses other than a temporary kitchen? We inhabited our home through 5 years of renovation, including building an addition and gutting every room in the house. We survived just fine, but it's just 2 of us, and we made sure that in most cases we completely finished one room before tackling the next, so we always had a clean & quiet place to retreat to.

OTOH, there definitely is a potential toll it could take on your nerves, and having young kids makes it tougher. I don't think you need to move everything out, though, just clothes and toiletries, plus furniture in the rooms you're gutting (which you'd be doing anyway). You can shut the doors on the rooms that aren't changing, tape over the vents so the dust doesn't seep in, and swap out clothes periodically.

You could take a middle route as well. Perhaps move out while they're doing the upstairs work, as that will interfere the most with your living. But garage gut/rebuild and kitchen gut? I think you could handle living through that. Maybe go away for the dusty demo, but live there during the rebuild.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Time is money. If you want them to get done quickly, then you need to be out of their way and not living there. If they need to have the water off for a couple of days to run new pipes or cut the electricity for the day, they need to do that and not worry about if your fridge needs to be plugged into a generator or you need to take a shower that evening. In a less expansive remodel, it might not be as big of an issue, but in a large remodel, having people live in it is a general PIA for the contractors and causes the project to drag on. The more of a PIA it is and the longer that the project drags on, the more it will cost you.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Fori is not pleased

You can live through a kitchen remodel with kids (they seem to enjoy the hardship) but you will probably find yourself going bonkers with no place to HIDE.

If the upstairs work can be done as a completely different project, then you can probably pull it off by working in stages.

On the same topic, I'm in a one story house with the garage at one end and bedrooms at the other. In the middle are the kitchen and living rooms. If I want to add on a kitchen/dining room and expand the garage, all on the garage side, and then turn the now-redundant kitchen into another room, can I pull that off without moving out? I think we could because there wouldn't be much interior demolition--that (and the lack of respite from construction) is the aspect of remodeling that is hardest to deal with.

That and the way contractors don't seem to think doors should ever be closed while they are on the job...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

That water and electricity shut off is a big problem, and there will be zero internet or TV..... for weeks!!

We all have different solutions to these things, but we haven't yet put up for sale our current home while we remodel the new one.

The cons for not being there are all the decisions that get made without us even seeing what is being done. House is an hour and a half drive away.

Is there room on the property for a trailer, so you can live there dust free and still keep an eye on things?

This is such a used and worn statement, but it will take way more time and money than you ever thought. It is so true!

Our kids are gone, but the stress is definitely there. It seems that we argue just to be arguing! I say this, he says that. And viceversa!

"That and the way contractors don't seem to think doors should ever be closed while they are on the job..." AND the toilet lid will always be up! There will be strange items in your fridge..........

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:35PM
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If it were just you and spouse, I would say you could probably rough it and stay. We did that for about 3 months and it was tough.

With three children ages 3-9, I highly recommend you rent a cheap apartment, house, mobile home, etc. If you get started soon, take your summer clothes, necessities, childrens toys - just what you can get by with - and pack the rest of the stuff in the rooms that won't be touched.

Delays happen, remodeling is stressful, you need a "safe haven" while all this is going on for your family.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:29PM
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We are in the process of putting on an addition and we gutted our entire downstairs. We live in a tri level. Our project started in Oct. and we still have at least two months to go.we moved stuff out of the rooms that were being worked on, and all three kids were in one room. Then two were in one room and one slept on a mattress in the living room for a few months. It never was an option for us to go anywhere as we could never have paid a mortgage and a rental...plus we have two huge dogs. Has it been dirty...yes. Have I had to be zen in the corner for a few minutes so I didn't crack when things have gotten delayed....yes. Have our three kids been totally great....yes. Am I ready to be done....of course. It can be done and I can say you can make it through a kitchen redo as well, because I did that when my twins were four and my daughter was two. We also added an addition on that time too. I am just making sure that one room is completely done before we move anyone in it and start the next phase. I even have had my cleaning lady come at times during this mess to help wipe stuff down and get our living quarters together cleaned so that indidn't feel like we were living like rats. That might sound crazy....but it is a whole lot cheaper than renting a place! Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 9:35AM
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DIY network has/had a show called Family Renovation. There have been at least 2 seasons. You should watch a couple of episodes! OMG

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Thank you so much for all of the replies and input. I apologize for posting the original post and not chiming in again earlier, I was reading all replies promptly via email but we had an unexpected issue with my son's health and so I've been unable to get back on to the forums for a few weeks.

You've all given me a lot to think about. I had mostly made up my mind to move out, but over the last week I started talking to friends in the area about rental rates and it was eye opening. $4-5K per month for a smaller home. That would put a dent in our budget very quickly.

I'm still very interested in making it work for us to stay here, but know that we may have to move. The one thing I remain confused about is when and for how long the utilities have to be turned off during demo and new construction, and whether there's a workaround.

Thanks again for your input.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:38PM
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We remodeled our entire house while living in it, and we never turned off the utilities. And this includes adding square footage to the outside, and moving walls, plumbing, and wiring. Occasionally we'd shut off the water, while cutting into existing lines to add/change them, but that was only a couple hours here and there. Individual electrical circuits may be turned off for similar work, but not the entire breaker box.

On another note, when I was a teenager, my parents were building a house and due to construction delays, we sold and had to move out of our old house before the new one was ready. Different rules about COs, I suppose, but we lived in a house without electricity for a couple months. Mom cooked on a coleman stove on the back patio, we heated water in a canning kettle for the bathtub, and we tapped into the construction power pole with an extension cord when needed. It didn't seem like a big deal to us as kids, though I can't imagine how my mom handled it, given that we were 7 kids at the time. So I think your kids will be fine, if you will.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:19PM
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I hope your son's health is OK now.

I think any contractor/builder or architect you hire is going to want you to move out. But their motives are going to be selfish. They want you out of their way. They do not want to work around you, or worry about checking with you before shutting things off, or have you looking over their shoulder all day. I would take advice from others who have lived the process.

I can't offer advice on having contractors come into your home and do a full remodel. We are doing a complete gutting and total remodel of our house including an addition to include a master bedroom and a new kitchen, but we are doing all the work ourselves so we do have more control over what happens when. We did do some gutting before moving in, but have been living in the house pretty much the entire time (I am still living with a makeshift kitchen working stove, but no counters or cabinets). We are a family of 4 with two small kids who are turning 3 and 4 this month.

As the above poster said, we have never been without water or power for any length of time longer than a working day (except when Sandy came through).

We shift around our living quarters as we need to work on spaces. It may be easier for us as our kids know no different.

I also have many rolls of plastic and will spend lots of time taping off entire areas extremely well before doing work. It saves me many, many, many hours of cleaning drywall dust later from a lived in part of the house.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:03PM
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