Moving Out vs. Staying In During Kitchen Remodel

Stress is inevitable during a kitchen remodel whether you stay or move out

Moving Out vs. Staying In During Kitchen Remodel

When your kitchen remodel is about to begin, you must decide whether to stay in your home during the renovation or move out for a while. Homeowners who have lived through a kitchen renovation project shared their experiences for the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. 

The 2019 US Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that 66% of homeowners chose to stay in their homes during their kitchen renovation; the others partially moved out (26%) or completely moved out (8%). Among those who moved out completely, 55% stayed in a friend or family member’s home, 37% went on a vacation or trip and 12% stayed in a hotel or motel.

Homeowners who stay in their homes during a kitchen remodel are less likely to experience extreme stress than those who move out. Interesting, right? 

Staying in your home and trying to live “normally” while workmen are in and out all day and blocking your driveway and making tons of noise and dirt seems like it would most certainly cause high blood pressure, but the Houzz study respondents reported differently. Evidently being away from the remodel site where you can’t watch progress causes more stress than being in the midst of it. 

Whether You Move Out or Stay in your House, a Renovation Involves Stress

Of course, stress is pretty much guaranteed when renovating, and nearly everyone — regardless of whether they moved out or stayed in their house — reported at least some stress. If you can get through a renovation without too much stress, count yourself among the lucky few.

Stress is guaranteed when remodeling your kitchen, whether you move out or stay in your home.

But despite the inevitable stress, the good news about kitchen renovations is that it is possible to live through one — and stay in your home — with only some changes to your daily routine. The biggest changes made by those who stayed for the renovation were setting up a temporary alternative “kitchen” inside the home (62%) and setting up a dining area in the home (43%). 

One project manager on a kitchen remodel project reported that their goal is to keep living in a house during construction “as normal as possible on the other side of the dust wall” that separates the work area from the living area.

To control dust and seal off the kitchen construction zone, most remodelers enclose the kitchen area with stud-framed plastic walls and cover the floors with a heavy-duty cover. A vinyl zipper door makes it possible to go in and out. Some contractors may use air scrubber equipment to clean and recirculate the air. Furniture on the first floor should be covered as some dust is unavoidable.

Although the “bubble” created by the remodeler separates the construction zone from the living area, sealing off part of the house and moving into the remaining space is not exactly comfortable. This reduced-space area is where people will try to squeeze a makeshift kitchen into the compressed space. Often the dining room turns into the “kitchen.”  Sometimes the temporary kitchen goes into an enclosed porch or covered patio, where homeowners can use the backyard grill and hose attachment as a water source. A basement area close to the laundry sink will also work. 

Kitchen designers who have seen homeowners get tired of take-out during a remodel suggest buying a countertop oven for their temporary kitchen. These types of ovens are very versatile,  they use less energy than a standard oven, and they can even be used in the new kitchen when construction is complete. A microwave and coffee pot on a folding table complete the set-up. 

Before work begins, some kitchen designers and/or contractors send homeowners a bin full of paper plates and plasticware and gift cards for carryout pizza. Although it’s good to be mindful of the waste created by using paper and plastic products, you may be forgiven in this instance. 

While preparing to be kitchen-less, the refrigerator and freezer need to cleaned out — eat what you can. Once the job starts, dinner most nights will be cooked on the grill or food will be delivered. Homeowners admit that it’s hard to eat healthy when relying on carryout, frozen dinners and convenience food. But it’s only temporary! 

The kitchen cabinets have to be emptied before any renovation work can begin. Clear everything out, packing and wrapping breakables in bubble wrap and newspaper and placing them all into labeled, sealed boxes. During the remodel, the pile of boxes can sit far away from the construction zone, under a big “Do Not Touch” sign.

Some homeowners use the kitchen remodel as an opportunity to get rid of items discovered during the cabinet clean out — things that were forgotten, shoved to the back of cabinets or drawers and forgotten. Usable but unwanted items can be donated; anything worn out or not working should be tossed. 

It’s possible to donate used appliances and the cabinets scheduled for removal. The contractor and kitchen designer will have contacts for these donations. Renovation Angel is one example of a non-profit company that will accept everything that’s scheduled to be replaced in a kitchen (or bath) during a remodel. Their people will even do the demolition, and you’ll get a tax deduction in the process. 

Conclusion

Of course, the final decision is yours to make, but it’s always helpful to know in advance what to expect. If staying in your home and “roughing it” during the renovation isn’t for you, you can check out extended stay hotels or Airbnb properties. 

No matter how you get through your remodel experience, the stress and inconvenience will all be forgotten when you’re in your beautiful newly remodeled kitchen. More than one person who has survived a remodel project has compared it to childbirth. You need a few years to forget the pain, but it’s worth it. 

The Houzz Kitchen Trends Study gathered information from more than 1,300 Houzz users who had completed a kitchen remodel project in the previous 12 months, were currently working on one or were planning to start one in the next three months. The study was fielded between Sept. 18 and Oct. 19, 2018. 

Sources Used in This Article


KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.