Renovations can be both some of the most amazing events and also some of the most horrible ones in one’s life. Renovations mean a new beginning, a fresh start, and something innovative, at least most of the time. However, at the same time, it comes with a lot of work, a lot of sweat, and also an immense amount of… mess.
When doing a large renovation on your home, whether you or a professional team are the ones doing it, there is no way to avoid the massive mess that will inevitably plague your home and the days you spend in it after the renovation. This is why I have written this article. To help you clean your home after a renovation more efficiently and effectively, with a step-by-step guide so that the most boring part of the process can be over quickly. If you are nearing a renovation (or are already having one) and you are already getting frustrated with the idea of the cleaning afterward, this article is for you. Read on if you are interested!
Step 1: Talk About Site Protection with Your Contractor or Renovation Partner(s)
Depending on who is going to do the renovation, you should discuss site protection with either your contractor or the person/people you are going to be working with. This is an important step for a list of reasons:
- Avoiding unnecessary damage to your flooring or walls
- Preventing paint, putty, or mortar drops on floor and walls, which are hard to clean
- It can minimize cleaning after the process is over since it creates a protective layer on your home’s surfaces
Discuss the type of protection you are going to use, which may either be plastic panels that can be glued together to form a tough layer on your ground without making it slippery or perhaps a large nylon sheet stretched out, which can be more versatile.
This decision should depend on the exact type of renovation that is going to take place in your home. If you plan on just painting all your walls another color and reorganizing or replacing some furniture, you won’t need much heavy-duty protection, however, if you are going to put your home through a hardcore, complex renovation process, possibly with walls being demolished and built, pipes being changes or even floors being build on top of your home, you will want to invest in something more sturdy.
It is best to discuss these options with a professional team of renovators, since they will have the experience and knowledge needed to minimize both the damage and the mess caused, without compromising the quality of their work or its safety.
You have to think this part through thoroughly since it can lead to a number of problems which might cause larger expenses later on or even injuries. One of the most common issues when it comes to floor covering materials, for example, is that people who usually aren’t trained professionals to decide to buy a slippery nylon sheet for their floor or some other synthetic fabric. If not set up properly, this can be extremely slippery and can cause serious injuries. Make sure to talk these topics through before starting the process.
Step 2: Decide Where You Will Spend the Renovation Period
If you are the one renovating your own home with perhaps some friends, this step is not for you and you can skip to the next step. However, most people will hire contractors to do the work for them, in which case you have to decide where you and your family will be for the time being.
The fact is, it is a lot easier if you can go away somewhere for those couple of days or weeks. The reason for this is that if you choose to stay in your home, it is very highly likely that in order to be able to use your home to any extent, you will have to constantly remove protective layers, move around objects, and in general, make it harder to work. Also, it won’t be a pleasant experience for you or your family probably, since it will be like living on a construction site.
I would advise anyone who is going through a large-scale renovation process and is not the one doing it personally but is rather hiring professionals, to spend the time period of the renovation away from home, checking on the home during the day to talk with the contractors and discuss the steps to be taken. This will make it easier for the contractors to work properly and uninterrupted at their pace, and also will allow them to not have to watch out for keeping a specific part of your home clean or untouched because you might have to use it.
Of course, before the whole process kicks off to a start, you will have to consider the potential costs and expenses involved, since you might not be able to have a place to stay for the time being for free, and you might have to rent an apartment. Though most people have some friends or family where they can relocate for a couple of days in such a situation, make sure you spend enough time contemplating and coming up with the best solution to increase renovation efficiency and also comfort.
Step 3: Keep All Your Stuff Protected
Your walls and your floors aren’t the only things you might need to keep protected when a renovation takes place. Although they are probably the parts of your home most susceptible to damage during such a process, there are many other things laying around your house which probably need some form of protection.
The best way to make sure that the renovation won’t end up damaging your valuable furniture, TV, paintings, rugs or carpets, etc. is to choose a room that will not be affected by the renovation and pack everything in there neatly. This is the optimal way to ensure that these objects don’t get damaged and also that they won’t fill up with or get covered by dust.
However, not everyone can do this, either because the room wouldn’t fit much of these objects, or because the entire home is being renovated. In this case, there is a couple of options you can choose from. One of them is to move them into one corner of the room the works take place in and cover them with a tarp or other protective sheet. This is great in reducing the amount of dirt that will accumulate on the given objects during the renovation process, and also provides quite a lot of room for the contractors to work properly.
Another way to do this is to constantly move the objects that could get in the way or be damaged into rooms or spaces that aren’t used at the moment. This takes the most work, but it might be one of the best solutions for people who want to work on the entire home or just don’t have enough space to fit all their items at once. When starting to work on every room or space, simply remove all objects from it and replace them with another one, leaving a clean and safe environment to work in while also protecting your objects and furniture from potential damage.
Step 4: Seal Off the Area
By this I don’t necessarily mean that you should bring out a cordon roll and seal it off as if some crime happened there, that is up to the contractors to decide or perhaps to the exact processes being done. I mean you should seal off all the places that you cannot move away but construction dust and dirt could go into.
For example, if you have a built-in wardrobe that you don’t want to remove or renovate, you most probably won’t take all o it out and then have it put back in its place. That is costly and unnecessary. What you could do, on the other hand, is either stretch out a tarp over the entire surface of the closet or just use some heavy-duty tape (which won’t damage the material) and seal off all the openings and fitting areas of the wardrobe. This way, you won’t have to clean out all of it when the construction is done, since the dust from the renovation won’t get inside it.
Try to do this with all of the items, furniture, or objects in your home which are susceptible to letting in the dust from construction, wince if one thing is for sure, it is that all renovations will cause dust to fly around your home like crazy.
Step 5: Ventilation During the Renovation Process
Another important step you can take to minimize the amount of time you will have to spend cleaning after a renovation is to properly ventilate the room/space/home the contractors (or you) are working on. There will be a lot of dust and dirt flying around, which is both really hard to clean up afterward and is also bad to breathe in, so make sure that you have ventilation and air purification sorted out before the process begins.
A basic way to accomplish this is to have your windows open all the time. This might not work so well for cold climates, but generally speaking, you should have all your windows, possibly even doors open for much of the renovation process to help with the smells, chemicals, and dust in the air.
Another thing you can do is invest in a HEPA air purifier, which will filter out a lot more dust and particles from the air than a regular one. If you are looking for a purifier for this very process, make sure you look for the HEPA sign or rating on the packaging of the product. You could also borrow or rent one of these, though these options are limited. Also, be aware of the fact that you will probably have to spend many times as much money on filters since it would be optimal to change them every day if you are going to put the device through such a hard time.
Having an air-filterer or air-purifier isn’t only useful for the time of the renovation, but also afterward. Though the cleaning process will get rid of most of the dust and the smells that linger around, a purifier could help you with some extra air-cleaning action.
Step 6: Starting to Clean After the Renovation
So, you have done all you could before and during the renovation process to maintain a relatively clean and well-ventilated home, and you have also discussed this with your contractor. Now, it is time to clean up after them. Most contracts with such professionals do not include cleaning up after the work is done, and even if they do, it is usually a short sweeping of the floor and the removal of major pieces of debris. Other than that, it is highly unlikely that they will stay to clean your home or the communal areas like hallways, elevators, or main entrances of buildings if you don’t live in a house.
At this point, you have two options. Either you start cleaning by yourself (with the help of the people you can recruit for the task), or you can hire a professional team to clean up after renovation. There are awesome teams you can hire who are specialized in cleaning up after renovations, which means that they will arrive with larger, HEPA vacuum cleaners (more on that later) and other tools which will make the process more thorough and efficient. If you are going to hire one of these teams or services, you probably won’t be reading this article, so I am going to now address what you can do if you personally want to clean up after a renovation, perhaps with a couple of friends or family members.
The first thing you should do is open all windows completely so that there is enough air movement to help paint layers dry if they are fresh or if there is any amount of dust particles in the air. Also, the aforementioned HEPA air purifiers will also help you greatly.
When this is done, you can start sweeping the floors and the walls which won’t be damaged by it. The reason sweeping and wiping your floors won’t be enough, is that much of the dust flying around will stick onto your walls, so make sure to clean that off.
Swiping up the majority of the larger pieces of dust and dirt will be 50% of the job most of the time, so make sure you do it right.
Step 7: Wiping and Vacuuming
When cleaning, it is best to start wiping off furniture from the top down, so the dust which isn’t collected by the cloth will land on a lower level which is to be cleaned. This way, you can make sure that you thoroughly clean the dust off of everything and that a minimal amount, if any, will land back on top of the furniture or other objects.
You could also use a slightly damp cloth to wipe off your walls if there is some sensitive material coating them, but you still want to remove the dust from them efficiently.
Once you have wiped down everything with a wet cloth and possibly a cleaning liquid that is suitable for the given surface, you can start vacuuming. Preferably, use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaner which will collect much more of the dust and not just blow it back out into your home.
Make sure to complete this step very thoroughly, vacuuming every corner and edge in the renovated area, since it is the most efficient way to remove and collect dust from your home after renovation.
After thoroughly sweeping, wiping, and then vacuuming, your home should already look nearly finished, assuming you have done these steps properly and meticulously.
Step 8: Finishing Up
As the last step, you should wash the floor of your entire home with warm water and a floor-washing liquid, preferably twice. This will remove the last layer of dust and dirt from your floors and will also leave a shiny and aromatic coating on the surface of your floor. At this point, your home should look ready for use, except for maybe placing all furniture and objects back in their place.
Before you place all your decorations, plants, furniture, closets, or other objects back in their places, make sure to use this as an opportunity to thoroughly clean all the surfaces that were otherwise covered up by them with the same simple three-step process described above. Once that is done, you can organize your home the way you want to and enjoy the results of the past few days’ labors!