What to Expect When Renovating

Elise Trimbee

February 13, 2023

Surviving Home Renos 101

The ultimate renovation survival guide. 10 Things you can expect to experience during your renovation.

Be prepared to experience some disruptions to your daily routine!

A strong desire to move out

Just kidding, but only a little bit…living in a construction zone can be quite stressful. Consider how this may affect you and your family. You will be experiencing temporary interruptions to your water and electricity, dust, and at times, a considerable amount of noise. Our team has the experience to forecast these issues and provide you with plenty of notice. That being said, there are circumstances such as scheduling conflicts and material delays that can be rather unpredictable. If you work from home, it’s best to speak to your Project Manager about this well in advance as having to reschedule skilled trades who are in extremely high demand because you have a Google meet can add weeks to your project. Consider speaking to your inlaws or grandparents ahead of time or potentially booking an extended stay on Airbnb or VRBO. This is a great idea regardless, if even just for a weekend to catch a break from the chaos, but if you are determined to live in your home while it’s being overhauled, please read on!

Disruption to daily routines

If your project is a kitchen renovation, you can expect not to have access to your fridge, stove, sink or dishwasher throughout the day. You will need to find another space in your home to prepare meals. This could mean moving your microwave and toaster oven to the basement and washing your dishes in an alternate space. We hear good things about Skip the Dishes… Regardless, you’ll need to designate areas and come up with creative solutions for cooking and cleaning for a period of time.

We will make a mess

Construction is dirty and it’s noisy! Our team will be operating a variety of tools throughout the project including saws, compressors and nail guns. During the demolition phase, you can expect things to be extra loud and dusty. That being said, we will likely be erecting poly zip walls with negative pressure which will help to isolate the dust to the affected areas. We are a professional crew and we take pride in keeping our job sites as clean as possible because we understand this is still your home and you will likely be living here throughout the renovation. Please expect that there will be chatter from the crew throughout the day. They will be a big part of your life for the duration of the project, so we hope you like everyone! If there are any issues you are not comfortable addressing yourself, please feel free to contact your Project Manager or designer to have the situation addressed professionally and discreetly.

While often painful, keep in mind that renovations are temporary and soon enough you will be enjoying your new space for many years to come!

You will need to make decisions

Your first decision is the most important one and you’ve shown your aptitude for making great decisions by hiring STILE! Congratulations!  However, once the renovation begins, there may be what seem trivial questions arise from time to time. Being decisive, answering promptly and trusting the advice of your design build team will save you from experiencing unnecessary delays. Every time a decision is delayed or changed there is a domino effect that may delay activities that have already been scheduled. We love to communicate via email as a digital record of the conversation keeps us accountable and is easily referenced.

Expect the odd surprise

Little surprises are lurking in the shadows! The demolition and deconstruction phase typically exposes problems behind the walls not easily identified prior to work beginning. This is especially true in an older home that was constructed before modern building materials were available. Things that may require correction or upgrade include framing, antiquated wiring and plumbing that doesn’t meet todays building codes are some of the most common issues. We have likely planned for this, and although we are a skilled contracting team with many years of experience, there’s practically no job that won’t face an unforeseen challenge. So, expect this. Don’t be discouraged and trust the team you have hired to manage it as quickly as possible, without cutting corners. This may seem arduous at the time, but ask yourself, if you hired your brotherinlaw, would you feel ok hearing him say “this point load is incorrect?) Trust your professional design + build team! You’ll love it when your house doesn’t fall down!

Surprise!! We may encounter an unexpected issue that will need to be addressed. This is an unfortunate part of construction. Just be happy that is is being corrected prior to it causing significant damage. Having an emergency contingency fund of 10% is highly recommended.


Delays happen. Period. A good contractor should always provide a timeline that anticipates some delays. If things go remarkably and strangely perfect, which they never do, you’ll be delighted that we’ve finished two weeks ahead of schedule! However, kids get sick, and sometimes fixtures take seven weeks to arrive instead of four. Also, see above…surprises happen. If and when these not so unexpected delays happen, try and stay positive! You are likely in “the grind” Usually this is where the guys with the finer skill sets are performing their work. It may seem like things have slowed right down for a couple of weeks but plumbers, electricians and structural support specialists perform intricate work that prevents your house from catching fire, flooding and collapsing! They are also in extremely high demand and not always easy to schedule. So, if there is the odd day where nobody is on site, it’s possible that we were not able to schedule them on consecutive days. Your project manager, who is your main point of contact will be in constant communication with you regarding scheduling. Regardless, these delays are not delays, they are a fairly regular part of the renovation process and we wish more contractors had the courage to talk openly about them! Nobody’s perfect, not even STILE!

sChange orders

Change orders capture the things that our clients decide to add or change in real time. When a client decides they must have a herringbone tile that was not agreed upon, or a closet in a bedroom that didn’t previously have one, a change order may be required. Good news! We will work hard to ensure you receive exactly what you wish for. Once your project is underway you may think of many ways to improve the work of your professional interior design team! (#sarcasm). We are thrilled and happy to accommodate your requests! However, seemingly simple changes are not always so and will undoubtedly add an additional time and costs to your renovation. These are not hidden fees, these are the costs incurred by us to alter, modify and build to a new design. We are open, fair and transparent with our costs and will communicate them to you before proceeding with your written approval.

Framing is finally complete. You’ve now decided you would like to go with the open concept design. Expect a change order and additional design fees…

The beautiful people!

A steady flow of handsome gentlemen and our lovely design team will be regular fixtures in your home for the duration of the project. So, be sure you’re dressed in the morning!

What you can Expect from us…

Punctuality. Let’s agree on a time that the crew will arrive and leave each day. It’s important to us that we have enough time in the day to complete your project in a timely manner, but we can be flexible with start and finish times. The most important thing you can do is communicate with your Project Manager.

Respect. Your crew should clean up after themselves every day ensuring your home is safe and show respect for your home, your family, your neighbours and their property.

Empathy. We will work very hard to minimize disruptions to the rest of your home, especially dust and noise. Please be kind to us and our crew as well. Renovations are challenging so let’s strive to communicate positively.

Professionalism. Our crew and sub trade partners have been carefully vetted and know that they are representing our company when they are in your home. They will be respectful to you, your family and your home. You can expect them to use mostly appropriate language, keep music volumes at an acceptable level to you and not smoke on your property or litter.

Your STILE Contracting + Design executive management team. Nathan, Elise and Jeremy from left to right.

What we expect from you…

Communication. Please voice your concerns. As mentioned previously, we love emails! Remember to keep things light hearted and professional, it goes a long way during a stressful time. Our crew will typically bend over backwards for you if you just ask nicely!

Decisiveness. Please see number 4…

Have a plan. We don’t want to show up with our trucks, only to find out that your house is full of furniture that needs to be moved. (This happens) A home reno veteran knows that the contractor is not responsible for these things and now you do too! If you need help coming up with a plan, we’re happy to provide some suggestions and anecdotes from our vast collection of horror stories!

Pets. Have a plan for Scratchy the aggressive cat or your wacky labradoodle. Just kidding, we love animals, but keep in mind the door will be opening and closing regularly and the people walking in and out will likely be carrying heavy tools and stacks of material. We do our best to ensure that your pet is taken into consideration, but please don’t make it our sole responsibility.

Be hospitable. Offer a selection of drinks and snacks during the day.. ; ) Just kidding. #notreally

Pet minding services are available for an additional fee. You can expect full service from your design build team!

(Just kidding, this is a fictional service, we’re a construction company!)

Renovations are stressful! However, armed with a little knowledge, having a solid plan for living through the disruptions and most importantly a positive attitude, you can expect things to go much more smoothly. You have an entire team dedicated to you. So, communicate openly, treat everyone as though they were your friend and you will be amazed at what people will do for you. We have great employees and partners who you will find charming and extremely helpful when treated with kindness and respect. You can expect there will be a few bumps in the road, but know you have one of the best design + build teams in York Region working for you.