The best way to prepare for a home renovation project/ house elevation: assume the project will be messy. Plan accordingly or at least try to learn from our mistakes. We’ve been living in our flood mitigated/ house elevated home for almost three months. The remnants of construction dust continue. How can that be? Haven’t you been cleaning like mad?
An emphatic “yes” to that question as anyone who knows me would expect. I”m a bit of a neat-freak and crave organization; we all have our quirks. I began to suspect the vacuum I had been using was no longer performing it’s job sufficiently when stray pieces of thread became a challenge for it.
Channel surfing on a recent morning I came across QVC hawking the latest and greatest product they had found: a HEPA filtered, wind tunnel, 3 channels of suction – Hoover.
With the company’s 30-day money back guarantee, I figured I had nothing to lose. I was a bit skeptical as my last vacuum had been the Rolls Royce of vacuum’s at the time when I bought it – an Oreck. (Is this post seriously about vacuum cleaners? Sort of, but I have a point).
WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY? When we’d moved out of our home just prior to the start of this house elevation project, our contractor had assured us that they would cover and protect everything. That was their job. They took pride in their neatness on the work site. Well unless their last customer was Oscar-the-Grouch, the muppet who lived in a garbage can on Sesame Street, I can’t imagine anyone finding their version of clean and neat desirable.
Top Five Tips for Preparing a House for Elevation
1. Prep the house yourself
The mistakes we made could easily be avoided once you know what to expect. First off, never trust a builder to appreciate the level of clean that most of us our referring to when we say we don’t want to have a giant mess.
2. Roll up the carpets
Roll up any carpets and put them in a room, away from the construction zone. Not only will dust and dirt accumulate from the job, it also will accumulate just sitting there. When we moved out we knew it would be for at least three months. It turned out to be six months. That is an awfully long time not clean a house – even if no work were taking place.
3. Cover any furniture that can’t be moved out of the way
4. Seal off all vents
This was a huge oversight on our part. Most of the dust and dirt came up from the basement through the vents. All duct work was removed prior to the lift so these vents were completely exposed to the area below them.
5. Pack away all smaller items and store them in a zone away from the construction.
Anything that is small enough to be packed away, should be packed away. Store all the items you can away from the contraction zone. Anything that is too big or awkward to move, such as a mixer, cover it.
It’s much easier to pack things away, clean up the mess, then restore the items to their proper place. So much of the discussion during a house elevation was that you didn’t have to move anything. Nothing would be damaged from “movement” but a huge mess was left due to simple and inevitable construction dust.
WARNING – Things will get dusty and dirty
To those fellow cleanliness aficionados’ out there, the following may be too graphic to see. Here’s is what my new found favorite vacuum pulled up from my floors and areas rugs this morning:
That is after a vacuum has been over the same areas many times in the past few weeks. I’m not trying to sell any Hoover’s and I’m not being paid to write this endorsement, however, the dirt collection speaks for itself. This excessive amount was from the entire house, including the mud room which is notorious for collecting significant dirt.
Keeping dirt at bay during any renovation project, let alone a full house elevation, is not feasible. However, forewarned, the labor to bring a house back to it’s former level of acceptable dust and dirt (with three boys, I have to have some margin of acceptance or I’d do nothing else but relentlessly clean) can be minimized. I prefer neatness, but take what I can get as I am outnumbered in my house as to who cares and who does not.