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Cleaning Up After a Home Remodel: Whose Job is that?

person tiling a countertopThe Home Improvement Research Institute predicts home remodeling projects will increase by 5.5 percent in 2019 to the tune of an estimated $420 billion. That's a lot of home improvement with an inevitable mess of debris left behind. Speaking of a mess, who is responsible for cleaning up once the project is done? If you hire a contractor for your project and find they have a less than professional clean up policy, here are some tips to get your home back in shape.

 

Get it in writing

Protect yourself by getting the contractor's cleanup policy in writing, says PR Newswire. Should you find yourself spending time and money on a post-remodeling cleanup, a signed agreement can challenge the contractor to provide a refund.

 

Things to ask:

  1. Does the contractor clean up the site every day or let the mess accumulate until the entire project is completed?
  2. Do they subcontract the cleanup to a third party, and if so, when does that crew arrive?
  3. Does the contractor charge a separate cleanup fee or is that included in the cost of labor?

Depending on the cost, you may choose to clean up the mess yourself, but don't underestimate the difficulty of cleaning up after certain projects.

 

Roofing

The first step of a roofing replacement is to tear off the old shingles, roof paper, flashings, and the sub-roof plywood if it is damaged. One professional roofer could have a dumpster nearby and toss the waste as they go, while another may just throw it on the ground and pick it up later. To save yourself a headache, find out what the plan is before work begins.

 

Cover bushes or plants near the house that may get damaged by falling roofing material. Ask the contractor to throw the waste down in one section of the yard. Prepare to have the grass in that area of the yard trampled. You may need to reseed or sod the area after the work is done.

 

Landscape

You're finally getting the dead tree in the back yard cut down. You come home from work and find the tree gone -- except for about a foot of the stump sticking up out of the ground. With most tree services, stump grinding and removal is extra. Doing it yourself may be cheaper than having the service come back.

 

Find a local equipment rental service. In just a few minutes, the staff can teach you how to use a stump grinder (3) to get rid of that tree yourself. Pay attention to all of the safety precautions and if you have any reservations, then find some help. You may still save money by renting the stump grinder yourself and hiring a handy man to do the work.

 

BathroomsMan tiling a bathroom

If you remodel your bathroom, prepare to find a dirty tub and sink after it's done. The contractor may dump leftover chemicals and solvents down the drains of your tub or sink which can stain the surfaces. Go to your local home improvement store and buy the industrial strength cleaning agents for porcelain and scrub them yourself. Old House Web suggests having a professional cleaning service come in and deal with the cleaning chemicals. If you find that your efforts aren't getting the surfaces clean, you may want to try a service that specializes in cleaning and refinishing porcelain surfaces.

 

Hardwood floors

Few things look as nice as a newly refinished hardwood floor. You also get wood dust sticking to everything else in the house. Commercial floor sanders have a vacuum attachment that does an OK job of picking up the dust from the sander. You'll still have to wipe down all surfaces, wash windows and the walls.

 

Prevent the dust from circulating through the house by keeping all doors closed while the contractor is sanding the floor. Turn the furnace or AC off and turn off any ceiling fans. Most of the dust will settle to the floor and you can vacuum it up when they are finished sanding.

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