NYC Renovation Chronicles

Sorry, you’ll have to move out for these projects (but maybe not for long)

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In my last column I offered four renovation projects that you could live through if you did not want to move out.

Below are some projects that require move-outs--though sometimes, it’s just a short relocation.

Refinishing wood floors
Before moving into an apartment, always inspect the wooden floors to see if you need or want to refinish them. If you do indeed want to refinish the floors, do it before you move in.  

Sanding the floors creates a lot of dust, and the smell of stain and/or Polyurethane (even if it is water-based) is very disturbing. Do not even think of living in your apartment if you are refinishing your floors. 

Relocation time:
3 – 5 working days

Gutting your only bathroom
Demolishing your bathroom will require that your plumbing be shut off during the construction, so you need to move out of your apartment for the duration of the project. 

The process to gut and build a high-end Manhattan bathroom can take several weeks because the typical NYC bathroom measures 5’x7’. That is too small for multiple tradespeople to work in the same space at the same time.  

One of our clients planned to live in her apartment and use her gym’s bathroom while we worked on her apartment’s only bathroom. The plan worked until she had to walk to her gym late on a cold January night to use the toilet. She then quickly found a short term rental until her new bathroom was ready.

Relocation time:
4-5 weeks

Plaster wall repair
Many older Manhattan apartments have plaster walls that are often in need of repair. Performing repairs to cracked or deteriorating plaster creates a ton of dust. 

At my firm, we use tension rods to fasten plastic sheeting, in order to isolate work areas to prevent dust from spreading. Despite our best efforts, plaster dust often finds a way to spread throughout the apartment. 

Relocation time: 5-10 days

Re-glazing your tub
Re-glazing your old tub is a cost effective way to make your nasty tub look new. The challenge is that the enamel paint used to re-glaze has an offensive smell.

The newly applied enamel is also susceptible to dust so you do not want to be in the apartment stirring up dust that will stick to your tub’s new surface.

Relocation time: 2 days

Remember, though, when in doubt (and whenever possible) move out during your renovation project. Your contractor will be able to work faster and you will be happier.


Yoel Borgenicht is the president of King Rose Construction, specializing in residential and commercial renovations in the New York City metro area. 

Related posts:

The high cost of staying put

NYC Renovation Chronicles: A pre-renovation checklist for your contractor 

NYC Renovation Chronicles: 5 ways to save on your bathroom renovation 

Renovation Qs: Where to splurge and skimp on your urban bathroom 

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