The dark side of home renovations

Red Deer home designer details how to get through to the other side

Be careful what you wish for! Many people don’t realize the extent of their wishes when they enter into a renovation project and it can take many people by surprise once they are in the thick of things when its too late to turn back. The results are always worth it and the satisfaction of renovating a space is a feeling like no other; if you can manage the mess in the meantime.

The far-reaching extensions of a renovation project is how it drifts in to other parts of your home. Whether it is dust that floats through the air and your heating ducts or off-gassing from new products that can seep throughout your home, you often have a mess to deal with other than just the room you are tearing apart. Also, the items from the room being renovated are often displaced and stored in those bedrooms and storage areas that you are already using and it can be a big inconvenience.

Gleaming hardwood floors add value and natural beauty to any home; they also bring dust! Comparing site finish to pre-finish, the pre finished products do create less mess in your home but even if an installer is cutting the boards outside the sawdust will cling to them and travel back into your home. Fine dust and wood particles float in the air and you will be surprised to find wood dust in various places in your home where the hardwood hasn’t been installed! Hardwood always seems dustier as carpets act as an air filter and trap dust which isn’t easily seen.

Changing any sort of existing fixture or fitting can reveal issues that are now sealed and unseen and many people are not prepared for that reality. I had a client who had new flooring installed in a kitchen and guest bath and when the toilet was removed it showed that there had been a slow leak for many years which had deteriorated the subfloor to a black, gooey mess. The poor lady was horrified that this had existed in her home and unfortunately it destroyed the enjoyment she would have gotten from her beautiful porcelain tile. While it was a good thing that the leak was discovered, it truly upset my client to see what dark horrors lurked below her existing flooring.

The most alarming thing I witness is people who are renovating without doing research on safety issues. Older homes contain lead, asbestos, vermiculite, PB plumbing fixtures and alarming numbers of not to code renovation attempts which can put you and your family in danger. When starting out on a renovation project it is wise to contact a professional or home inspector to pre inspect your project to help you take the proper precautions before sinking money and time into a renovation which may not pass code or hinder your insurance coverage.

Renovating can be like exhuming a grave site and the exploration may be messy and unsettling while you are in the beginning stages of unearthing your homes potential. Go forth with bravery and hope! With careful planning and professional advice you will surely avoid many pitfalls and disappointment in the process and will be able to enjoy your newly customized space for years to come.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.

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