Question: Assuming that I have found a suitable contractor, signed a contract, and he has told me that he will begin work on the first of the month, how do I prepare the house for his arrival?
Answer: First, determine the length of the project and whether it is necessary to vacate the home during construction. In most instances this is not necessary, but you will have to live with conditions that are less than favorable.
Other things to do:
--Make sure that children, your own and neighbors', are kept away from work areas. Construction equipment is attractive to children of all ages yet hazardous.
--Make provisions for the care of your pets so that they are not injured and that they will not obstruct the contractor.
--Protect your household items. Your precautions will depend upon the type of work being done. If it is a room addition, the contractor will be breaking into a wall. You will want to remove furniture and other items to protect them from possible damage. The same would apply to kitchen and bathroom remodeling.
A conscientious contractor will try to protect these materials as much as possible with dropcloths and plastic sheeting. But you should cover your furniture and clothing inside closets with sheets.
When the contractor breaks through a wall, there will be a great deal of fine dust that will permeate your home and may cause considerable damage to your valuables and furniture. I would move these dust-sensitive items to adjacent rooms and remove cash and jewelry from the home. Leaving money in dresser drawers creates temptation.
Designate one bathroom for workers' use and restrict them to it. Provide old towels to deter them from roaming through your house. Usually, your home-improvement contract provides that workers may use your bathroom facilities; otherwise, the contractor will place a portable toilet in the front yard of your home, for which you will be charged.
Establish an understanding with the contractor on the use of your telephone. During the construction period, ensure that only necessary calls regarding the job are made on your phone.