The vast majority of renovation work to our house has happened during Winter. We started our kitchen extension in January last year, which was at times freezing cold when the front door was open all the time. Coupled with the back of the house being off and secured with only a ply door for nearly three months.
We are now doing our loft refurbishment which isn’t nearly quite as bad as the ground floor renovation and extension in terms of coldness and less impactful on the rest of the house as we are pretty much able to carry on as normal downstairs. What is it with us and winter renovations?
I don’t think there is ever a good time to do a house renovation, but in Winter I would certainly say it’s trickier than the warmer months of the year. The days are shorter, we have the weather to contend with, and at the moment there are fewer things to do indoors with the kids, which makes it slightly more challenging when you want to escape from the continuous sound of the drill or banging.
Speaking from my own experience I wanted to share 5 of my tips with you, to help any home renovators who are just about to start a renovation project over the next couple of months. I’m no expert, but I hope that this helps….
Lower expectations (massively)
When doing any renovations especially if you are living at home during it, massively lower your expectations for staying on top of the dust, mud and general cleanliness of your house. Naively when we started our extension I would be hoovering and mopping up every night after the builders had left. I think I gave up once barrow load of soil and shingle were being carted through every single day. You get used to it, or you just stop seeing it. It’s so much worse during this time of year as everything is wet, and makes it feel so much colder. So don’t worry too much about the mess, and try to have a place that you can escape from it.
Prepare for higher heating bills and wrap up
Your house will feel colder during any renovation works. The front door is open continuously, or your home may be missing a roof or its back. Our heating bill was high for January and February whilst the boiler was constantly on to keep us warm. There were also some days I couldn’t stop the boiler coming on as the temperature kept falling below the thermostat level, or there were days when I couldn’t physical get to the boiler to turn it off. I think I spent most of the start of last year wearing a chunky knit with a scarf permanently around my neck. If you’ve decided to live in during your renovation, you can read some of my tips here.
View work during daylight
This is important to consider. With the shorter and darker days, it is harder to view the work during the day unless you are there. During our renovation my husband would often see the work in darkness during the week, using the torch light on our phone until we had power in the extension. So make time to properly view the work during the day, and meet with your builder during their day before you start loosing the light.
Keep Christmas alive
If you’re living at home during your renovation work particularly over the next few weeks, keep the festivities alive. It may make sense to avoid putting the tree up or decorating the house for ease. I’ve certainly scaled back on decorating the stairs, however I have put up two Christmas trees. I think that it’s important to keep your house feeling like a home as much as you can, especially if you have children, and not for it to be entirely taken over with the renovation works and boxes of stuff. Obviously this totally depends on what works you are doing and if you are living at home.
Make all the tea, coffee, hot chocolates and bacon sandwiches
Keep your team of builders happy with plenty of hot drinks (and food). It’s not easy working under wet and cold conditions, and I was making tea, coffee and hot chocolate by the gallon load last year in our makeshift kitchen in the living room. It’s also a good way to sweet talk or discuss anything you need to about the project.
Winter renovations may not seem like fun, but the biggest positive is that you should hopefully be able to enjoy your home during Spring and Summer.
Have you done a renovation project over Winter? What was your top tip for surviving the madness?