Home renovation tips: Limit the mess and get the job done
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Home renovation demolition
Move the debris out quickly and get rid of it promptly.
Two of the most common
complaints thrown at remodelers in a home renovation project
are the mess they make and
the time it takes to finish the
job. And even though remodeling
projects are by their very
nature unpredictable and
messy, most jobs can be run
It's hard to work efficiently,
though, if your home renovation job site is in
shambles, you don’t have the
proper tools on hand or you're
making lots of unnecessary
trips to the store for materials.
The trick is to work smarter, not
harder. The following tips can
help save you time and money—and most important—your
Make a home renovation materials list
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Keep a notebook and pencil handy to list needed supplies and tools.
Home renovation is a fluid process. Unexpected situations
arise daily. Whether you use a block of wood,
a piece of cardboard or a notebook, always have a
pencil and something to write on so you can keep
track of the materials, tools and supplies you'll
need to bring the next day.
Lay down a protective path
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Stair and floor protection
Use such things as drop cloths and salvaged carpet to protect the finished floors and stairs that you have to walk over.
It's impossible to demo a
wall or bust up a floor
without making a mess,
but that doesn’t mean
you need to track that
mess all over the rest of
the house. The next time
you have to tear out some
carpet, cut several long
strips, and use them as
pathways to protect the
flooring in other areas of
the house. Make sure to
flip the carpet upside
down so the abrasive
backing won't scratch the
finish on wood floors.
Canvas drop cloths are
still the best method for
protecting stair treads. A
4-ft. x 15-ft. drop cloth
costs about $18 at home
Bring plenty of garbage cans
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Use plastic garbage cans to corral most of the mess. Don't rely on plastic bags.
Two stacked garbage cans don't take up much more room in the back of a
truck than one, so why not bring at least two? Put them wherever the mess is
being made—like next to the miter saw to drop in cutoffs. Think twice about
buying the giant heavy-duty cans. For the same money, you're best off with
sturdy medium-size cans that are easier to carry. Garbage bags work fine for
stuffing in old insulation but little else.
Save those buckets
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All-purpose 5-gal. bucket
A plastic 5-gallon bucket comes in handy for a multitude of uses.
Buckets are a remodeler's best friend. They work
great for mixing, hauling heavy debris, storing water,
dragging tools in and out, organizing fasteners, setting
stuff on, bailing water, sitting on. There’s a reason
why home centers sell empty ones. Never, ever throw
away a usable bucket!
Throw together a junk station
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Assemble a temporary table to keep tools and materials organized and close at hand.
As soon as the major demo is completed, make yourself a junk station. Bring extra sawhorses,
and throw a couple of boards or a piece of plywood on them. It’s smart to have a central location
for your tools, fasteners, batteries and chargers, radio, beverages and whatever else it
takes to get the job done. Having items scattered all over the job site floor makes cleanup
harder, and wandering around looking for the stuff you need is a waste of time.
Install temporary lighting
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If possible, connect temporary lighting to existing electrical boxes.
Lighting is one of the last items to be
installed on most remodeling projects,
but it's hard to do a good job when you're
working in the dark. Plug-in work lights
take up precious outlets and are always
being tripped on or moved around. As
soon as you have power to the lighting
receptacles, consider installing temporary
lighting. Home Depot sells them as
"Weather Resistant Sockets." Wiring
them is as simple as turning a couple of
wire nuts. They cost about $3 apiece.
Organize tools by the job
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Organize tools by the job they need to do.
Knowing exactly which tools you'll need for
every job is next to impossible. Organize
your toolboxes and storage bins according
to the work that needs to be done. A box for
plumbing tools, electrical, drywall, etc. No
doubt this will lead to owning more than
one of the same tool. But you won't believe
how much time you'll save having all the
proper tools on hand.
Clear the room—completely!
So there's no place to store the pool
table, treadmill or Grandma's baby
grand—well, find a place! Working
around furniture and other obstacles
is a monster pain in the backside
during major remodels—it just
doesn't work. Moving a piece of furniture
back and forth from one side of
the room to the other is time consuming.
Rent a storage locker.
Bring extra fasteners
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Nail and screw toolbox
Bring fasteners in their own toolbox, and make sure you have plenty extra.
Dedicate a toolbox just for fasteners. You may think you'll need only two different size
screws to finish your job, but it rarely works out that way. And keep a variety of bits along
with the fasteners; that way you’ll always have the right bit with the right screw.
Smaller compressors for smaller jobs
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Small compressors are much cleaner, more convenient and less noisy for small projects.
If you only have a few studs to nail in or a few
pieces of base to install, why on earth would you
haul that giant, heavy compressor around? Mini
compressors are a must for smart remodeling.
They're light and inexpensive and easy to carry
right to the area you're working in. You can get
this 1-gallon, 1-hp Senco at Lowe's for about $140.
It seems that
every job needs to
be finished yesterday,
even think about
until you know
that all the materials
will be there
when you need
them. Make sure
you get a definite
on your flooring,
and any other
to complete the
job. Starting a
project a week
late is better than
waiting around for
cabinets while the
kitchen is torn
apart and the
living in a motel.