Make a plan and stick to it to help ensure that your home renovation runs smoothly.
A renovation is a journey you take with your contractors, your family, and even your neighbours. As with any journey, preparation is everything.

Notify your neighbours

Talk to your neighbours well in advance if you are planning a major renovation.  They'll appreciate knowing about potential construction noise and when to expect extra vehicles parked on the street.  They’re also more likely to be cooperative about things such as allowing a builder to rest ladders on their lawns if they’ve been included in the plans.

 Set a timeline

Talk to your contractor about the various steps and stages of the renovation.  Usually, with an addition, the foundation is dug first, then the floors and walls are roughed-in and the roof is shingled before breaking through to the existing part of the house.  Be aware that exterior work goes fairly quickly relative to the more detailed work inside.

 Get an outline of work involved

Ask your contractor to outline what the work involves and present a realistic timetable.  Experienced contractors know to build in a time-cushion for the unforeseen, and you should include a 15-percent cushion in your budget as well.

Try to move out

If possible, move out during major construction or part of it. Perhaps you could you live with relatives or rent a place nearby.    It might be a good time to take a vacation or send kids to camp.  Also, consider boarding your pets at a kennel or having them stay with friends until your house is settled.

 Plan your meals ahead of time

Set up a temporary kitchen with a hot plate, microwave and a small fridge.  Many people choose the laundry room so they have a water source and can wash their dishes in the sink.  Plan your meals ahead of time, especially if you are having a kitchen renovation, even if you are not, there will be days you cannot bear the clutter and disorder and will not want to cook. Make food ahead and freeze it.  Stock up on plastic and paper products so you do not have to worry about clean up.  Call family and friends to plan meals out of the home.

 Be family-friendly

It is not a good idea to do a renovation while your are making major life changes, such as starting a new job or having a baby.  If a big change does occur just before a planned renovation begins, consider postponing the work.  Involve older children in the planning stages so they feel part of what is going on.  Plan to spend quality time with younger children off-site, swimming or at a library program.  Work out playtimes with neighbors and family so young children don't feel bored and cooped up.

 Work with your contractor

Make sure you have solid communication with your contractor.  You need to know that he or she will be there for you if a problem arises.  Be sure to check in with the site supervisor at a minimum of once a week.        If you have a partner, run all major questions by each other before giving the contractor a final answer.  Discuss concerns with your contractor as soon as they arise.  Don't wait for 'the right moment.'

 Keep up communication with your contractor.

It is easy to get frustrated, when your home seems to be inside out.  Your contractor surely wants a satisfied client, as well as a job well done.  It is your responsibility to express any concerns you may be having right away.  Then be open to what your contractor has to say. There are many variables that go into home renovations.  As much as it is a science, it is also an art.

 Make choices in advance

Choose everything before the work starts -- sinks, cabinets, toilets, tiles, colours. You don’t want to have to take time off work at the last minute to run around to design stores.  If choosing colours is not your thing, consider hiring an interior decorator.  He or she can advise you on how to choose paint colours that harmonize with tiles and cabinetry, and how to ensure colour flows from one area to another. 

Post plans and keep an objective mind. 

It is very easy to lose sight of the end product when going through a renovation, so tape up your plans so you can remind yourself why you are putting yourself through what can feel like a calamity.  It is so easy to lose patience over how long a project is taking or waiting the extra week for the perfect vanity.  However, when you keep in mind the expense of home renovations, and the number of YEARS you will be enjoying the new room, level, etc... it is important to do it right the first time.

 Construction dust is inevitable. 

On most large jobs, a renovator will build a temporary wall and put in a plastic doorway between the new and existing part of a home.  But don't expect it to keep out all of the dust. You may want to take down your drapes and cover, or even store, your good furnishings.

 Take pictures of your home

Taking pictures throughout the renovation process and, after the project is complete.  This is a good way to keep your spirits high during the renovation, and a great way to show off your new kitchen after it is complete.