8 Things to Expect When You’re Renovating

8 Things to Expect When You’re Renovating

Why you should care

Not all surprises are good – here’s what you should expect when renovating.

The renovation contractor’s ready, the start date’s set, and it’s time to go! Or is it?

Even the best laid plans can run into hiccups; here are some you can expect during your next remodelling project.


drill renovationUnless your renovation work requires no drilling, sawing, or sanding, there will be dust. Everywhere. And there are very few ways (by that, we mean none) to control the direction in which the dust flows. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Some power tools come with vacuum extractors that can suck up to 90% of dust and debris at the point of contact. Check with your contractor before work begins so that you can anticipate how much dust will be generated.
  • Cover everything in plastic sheets, especially entryways. Talk to your contractor about how waste will be carried out of your home; you may need to cover the floors throughout your home with paper as well.
  • Turn your air conditioning and fans off. We know, we know.
  • Vacuum, mop, and wipe down furniture at the end of every day. It might be useful to look at hiring cleaning help for an hour or two daily. You should also budget for a professional clean up once everything is completed.
  • Air scrubbers are commercial grade machines that filter dusty air – check with your contractors on their availability. If these prove too costly, buy a few high quality air purifiers and change their filters regularly.
  • If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, you might want to check into an Airbnb or bum on a friend’s couch throughout this period.


We can’t help it that your neighbours may hate you throughout this time, but renovation is loud work.

  • Schedule work so that it’s carried out during the day when you and your neighbours will be out of your homes.
  • Be proactive – visit your neighbours beforehand to let them know of the upcoming work. You won’t be able to prevent the noise, but they’ll appreciate the gesture (and I’m Sorry cupcakes) all the same.


So your project is scheduled for completion in six weeks, but it’s five weeks past and there’s signs that this is just not going to happen. Unexpected thunderstorms, delays in shipping of material, and so on. Don’t panic.

  • Be prepared for this. Renovation works rarely run on schedule. If you’re planning on hosting a house warming party once it’s done, delay preparations and invites till the project is about 90% done.

Running Over Budget

Woman budget stressMaterial costs might run over, the project may need an additional week, or you may need a more expensive supplier for the marble countertop you just must have.

  • Make sure you have sufficient cash in hand during renovations for unexpected issues; we’re talking real time cash, not money you expect to see in your bank account next month.
  • You should also have at least 10-20% more than your contracted amount prepared. Just in case, because ‘in case’ will probably happen.

Dirt and Destruction

Throughout this period of time, you will have strangers in your home who will not have the same level of care you do for your personal belongings.

  • Keep all breakable, expensive, or easily stained items away. It may be wise to invest in a storage unit during this time if your renovation works cover an extensive area of your home.
  • Talk (nicely!) to the workers who enter your home about ground rules, like only using the toilet in the downstairs bathroom or not trekking mud through the living room. You can also leave wash clothes or house slippers around where they’ll be put to use.


If renovation works are happening in your kitchen or bathroom, you will be out of water during this period (or longer, if delays happen).

  • Eat out. It’s probably not a wise idea to bring food into your dusty home either.
  • Make shower plans elsewhere. Hey, this is probably a good time to revive your gym membership too, right?


A good contractor is a hard find but even when you find him/her, the trust you place in them should be coupled with frequent check-ins.

  • If you’re outsourcing work to a work crew on your own, you will need a foreman. This not only ensures that work is done well, but that you will be contacted for advise when uncertainties as to how work should be carried out crop up.
  • Schedule frequent site visits and meetings with your contractor to ensure you’re on the same page. Ensure that you have an open line of communication going so that you’re informed when things aren’t going well.


cctv homeIn case you didn’t read it the first time, strangers in your home.

  • Keep rooms that do not require work locked at all times. To be safe, you can also install CCTVs or have a family member present while work is being done.

Let your family and housemates know what time to expect the work crew. Stumbling downstairs in your ratty PJs for your morning coffee? Maybe not this month.

Hire a Malaysian interior designer for your renovation.
You can also check out other local interior design portfolios.

Why you should care

Not all surprises are good – here’s what you should expect when renovating.

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