10 Tips for Managing Stress Levels During a Remodel

Home remodeling is fun.  You get to reinvent your home and create a space that is customized to your style.  You get the opportunity to design a room that is functional for your family.  Best of all, you will have a renewed love of your home.

With all that in mind, you must understand that remodeling is stressful!

Think about it….remodeling has all the components that couples inevitably argue over.  Money, decision-making, time, priorities, and family communication.  Any weaknesses in communication and conflict management will be exposed during remodeling.

Let’s explore some of the stresses you and your family will endure during your remodel and tips for how to avoid anxiety, stress, and even anger during your remodel.


You will not only need to determine who your contractor will be, you will also need to decide on a final budget for your project,  Then there are many conversations that will take place regarding design.  After you come to a decision about design aspects you will need to select your finish products. Finish products alone could be upwards of 10 separate decisions (all of which need to coordinate with one another). Conflicts arise when you are not willing to compromise with one another.

Tip:   Pick your battles and remember that you are blending your styles to create the perfect space for both of you. Another way to manage the battle of decisions is to divvy up decisions, one person selects appliances and the other is responsible for the color of the cabinets, as an example.

Transparency regarding budgets

Remodeling is an expensive luxury.  Not being transparent with your significant other and with your contractor is asking for problems.

Tip:  Discuss and decide what your budget is and allow an extra 5-10%  percentage in the budget for contingencies.  Once you have your firm budget in place, do not deviate from it.  Be transparent with your contractor about your budget, as well as your contingencies so your contractor can assist in guiding you in the event there is an unforeseen problem when construction begins.

Clear expectations about project timelines

hourglassIf you have a hard deadline for your project to be completed by that is an important factor which needs to be discussed before signing contracts.  If something comes up during your remodel and your project completion date needs to be pushed up (or back) – that is also important to communicate.

Tip:  Ask your contractor for a rough timeline of the project.   It is important for you to understand that any delays you have in making decisions (such as selecting product) will directly affect completion dates.  Allowing access (or not allowing access) to the home is also a factor that could delay completion dates.

Another topic of discussion with your contractor is any potential holiday time off or weekend schedules so expectations about completion dates can be set early.

Making too many design changes

                          Changes in design happen as you progress in planning your new space, but the best time to make those changes are during the planning and budgeting stage.  Most contractors will have a final drawing for you to sign off on before construction begins.

Tip:   Once that final drawing document is signed and construction has started, do not make any more changes to your design.  If you do make changes, do not be surprised if there is a cost  associated that your contractor will not be wiling to absorb (sometimes quite significant).

Time consumption

time-consuming-remodelingMake no mistake about it, remodeling is time consuming.  This goes back to the decision-making conversation.  You will be making decisions and second-guessing them.  You will be nervous about colors, style, and schedules.   You will be doing all this in “all your spare time” between managing family engagements, work, and day-to-day life.  There is a good chance you will scream and/or cry at least once out of pure emotion from being overwhelmed with the time that is being consumed.

Tip:  Take a breathe.  Post a photo of your “before” space next to your rendering or layout of your “new” space.  Go to a movie.  Just stop and breathe.  Do something that has absolutely nothing to do with remodeling for one day with your significant other.


talk-listenMiscommunication is bound to happen at least once during your remodel.  Either between you and your spouse or you and your contractor.  In remodeling it is important for everyone to be extremely deliberate and avoid assumptions.

Tip:   If a miscommunication occurs, focus on the solution and not the blame.  To avoid miscommunication be very clear and do not make assumptions.  If you are not sure if your contractor understands what you are asking for, ask your contractor to repeat your request to verify you are on the same page.

Project delays

delay-in-constructionFrom waiting for permits to be obtained, materials to be delivered, and finding unexpected problems during demolition, project delays can be incredibly frustrating.

Tip:  There are many components to a remodel so talk with your contractor to find out what work can be done while you are waiting for the delayed item to be completed.  Many times, especially during a major remodel, time can be “made up” in a different section of the home.

Not understanding sequence of construction

tile_settersWith the advancement of Technology many consumers spend a considerable amount of time doing research online as well as watching HGTV.  Unfortunately this means that many consumers believe they understand construction more than they actually do and it causes them to try to manage their own project.

Tip:  Trust your contractor. You hired your contractor because you believed that individual was a professional in the industry.  Specifically towards the end of a remodel the finish items seem to feel like they are taking forever to complete. The best way to handle the stress of feeling like your project is dragging on would be to ask your contractor what the next steps are so that you understand what is happening.

Space constraints during the remodel

construction-image-demo-kitchenMajor remodels take a considerable amount of time so if you have a kitchen that is not operable or a bathroom that is not usable stress can mount after a few weeks.

Tip:  If possible, go on a mini vacation during your home renovation.  Your contractor will thank you, the work will probably be done quicker, and you will avoid having to live in a home without operable space.  If this is not possible, try spending more time outdoors.  Having barbecues is a great way to enjoy meals that are home cooked when you do not have an operable kitchen.  Sending the kids to stay with family and friends can be helpful when you are down a bathroom.

Construction is dirty

remodel-dust-containmentRemodels are stunning when completed but do not forget that before it is pretty, it is messy! Dust will be everywhere.  Even if your contractor cleans up daily and wipes things down, dust will be in the air and will settle at the end of everyday.  If you like things neat and tidy, this will drive you crazy.

Tip:  Put a sheet over anything you want to protect and expect the dust.  There is no way around it.  Ask your contractor how they will contain the dust particles to just the remodeled space.  When your remodel is complete, treat yourself with a full service clean by a professional and throw a party to show all your friends and family your stunning new remodeled home!


Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.




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