Coronavirus Renovation Diaries: We’re Experiencing Pandemic-Related Delays

Coronavirus Renovation Diaries: We're Experiencing Pandemic-Related Delays

Welcome back to the Coronavirus Renovation Diaries.

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since my last update where I convinced my building to let me start my renovation despite the virus-related lockdown. However, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that, since then, COVID-19 has thrown plenty of roadblocks my way.

Three months later, I’m happy to report that I’m finally in a place where I’ve been able to make decent progress. Here’s what has happened since I last checked in:

My 1970’s kitchen was very quickly emptied out.

At first, things seemed to be going smoothly

Shortly after my building gave me the special exception to start my renovations, my state’s governor eased the restrictions that he had put in place for contracting work. This meant that my contractors were now free to work in my building on weekdays from 9 – 4 and to do any type of work they wished, prolonged hammering included.

Based on that time frame, my contractor estimated that my project would take six to eight weeks. I know enough about renovations to know that they always take a little bit longer than expected. With that in mind, I’d assumed that I was about ten weeks out from my move-in date.

For a while, everything seemed to be going according to plan. The day I dropped off my first installment payment, there were four guys in my unit. They were all working hard on demolition. My contractor told me that, once everything was gutted, they would be starting on my ceiling.

For it’s part, demo moved quickly. A week after my renovation started, I was pleased to find that there was nothing – and I mean nothing – left in my unit.

While waiting for my kitchen materials, my contractors put in high-hat lights and dry-walled my new ceiling.

But then COVID-19 brought everything to a halt again

Then, things started to slow down. I get a notification from the building every time someone signs out my extra key and those started to occur fewer and further between. Some weeks, my contractors would come once a week and stay for only a few hours at a time. One week they didn’t come at all.

When I talked to my contractor about it, he explained the issue. He had been banking on a normal delivery window when he ordered my kitchen materials. However, thanks to COVID-19, they were on back-order and there was no telling when they would be in. In the meantime, my contractor promised to finish the ceiling and work on drywalling where necessary.

To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised. I had already run into the back-order issue a couple of times. I ordered my furniture in August, only to find out that all of the pieces will not be delivered until the end of December. Additionally, I had to cancel my appliances and reorder them from another store after my original delivery date was pushed back for the third time.

Fortunately, things are finally progressing

Luckily, after a few weeks’ delay, my kitchen materials came in and they were able to start moving again. Before I knew it, my once-empty kitchen had cabinets again and there was tile in my shower.

However, that’s not to say that there haven’t been issues. Like any renovation, I’ve had to cope with unexpected bumps in the road. For instance, I found out after delivery that my combination washer and dryer is a 1/8-inch too big to fit through my bathroom door.

Unfortunately, my door frame is also made of steel and cannot be removed and replaced in the same way that a wooden door frame can be. To fit my washer and dryer through the door, my contractors will have to break down the door frame and rebuild it from scratch.

While that is obviously not ideal, I’m just glad that the problems I’m facing now are within my control and not due to a global pandemic.

There’s also light at the end of the tunnel

As it stands, I’m coming closer to the end of my renovation. The other day, my contractors were taking measurements for my counter top materials. My shower is also supposed to be tiled at some point this week.

When asked, my contractor did say it would be another six to eight weeks before he could guarantee completion. (Also known as the exact time frame he gave me at the beginning of the project.) But, considering that we’ve had a global pandemic in the meantime, I can’t blame him for being a little behind.

My next steps are to work on paint colors and finishes. As my tasks get smaller, I get more and more excited for the day I am finally finished and can actually live in the house I bought.

Tune in next time to see the finished product!

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By Tara Mastroeni / November 4th, 2020 / Categories: , / Tags: , , , , ,

Tara Mastroeni

Tara Mastroeni is a real estate and personal finance writer. Find her at TMRealEstateWriter.com or on Twitter at @TaraMastroeni.