Demolition As Part Of Renovation: When Is It Right?

Lots of home renovation projects require the removal of a wall or two, which is a dusty, disruptive process. Deciding to go ahead with a renovation plan that requires that type of work is not one that you can treat lightly because the removal of a wall is obviously hard to undo. Before you agree to a renovation plan requiring wall removal, you have to be absolutely sure that this is the only plan that will work for you.

How Long Have You Wanted or Needed This Extra Open Space?

Sometimes the need for additional rooms or a bigger room is critical. For example, if a chronically ill relative who needs at-home medical care is coming to live with you, you'll need space for a hospital-style bed and possibly extra rooms for additional personnel like live-in aides. Other times, you just want something like a home gym, which doesn't necessarily require a huge room. Spend time thinking about why your current setup doesn't work for you. Get past answers like "It just doesn't" and work out the details. You need to separate absolute need and strong, long-standing desires from whims that arise out of boredom. If you decide that this space really is necessary, then that's a point for renovating by removing walls.

What Dust Control Measures Will the Contractor Use?

There will be dust, no matter how careful the contractors are when removing the wall. Always ask the contractors about how they control the spread of the dust, what they block off, and how they clean up. Your place should be clean when they're done, and all of your belongings that can't be moved out of the rooms in question should be working and not in need of filter changes or anything like that. If the contractor has no dust-control plan, start talking to other contractors about handling your project.

What Permits Do You Need, and Who Will Get Them?

Renovation often requires permits, even if the renovation is entirely inside the home. Are you prepared to present your plans to the city building permits office and risk them saying you need to change your plans? Will the contractor handle this for you? If you're not prepared for the possibility that the city will get involved in your plans, you may have to re-evaluate what you want to do.

How Much Extra Time Is Included in the Plan?

Renovations are notorious for taking longer than projected, so good contractors add in extra time to account for possible delays. How much extra time are you allowing for your plans? It's OK to have deadlines, but how realistic are they, and how would you feel if the contractor couldn't meet the deadline because of a supply shortage, for example?

Your contractor should be able to help you work out these issues and let you know what to expect. Remember that many home renovation projects that require demolition of walls are completed without problems, so don't be discouraged by something like the idea of getting permits. If you have any questions, ask a renovation contractor at a company like Lehman Construction Services Inc.