redo dilemma
Illustration: Ryan Heshka
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One night we went to bed after a hard day of work and woke up with grit on our teeth from the plaster dust in the air. The dust barrier we'd made out of plastic garbage bags duct-taped together didn't quite do the trick.

He says: "I assumed the mess wasn't that bad. Working on projects together made me realize my standards were low—really low."

She says: "I pleaded for more barriers. Finally I just boarded off the work area with plywood. I haven't heard any complaints. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him since I boarded up that room. He could still be in there."

Survival tip: An ounce of prevention is worth not having to chew on a pound of construction debris. If a couple's idea of what constitutes "messy" differs, defer to the person who is most responsible for cleaning the house. Use sheets of plywood to block off construction areas or create an "air lock" out of multiple layers of heavy (6 mil) plastic sheeting. If you can, budget a once-a-month cleaning crew to lessen the work—and the stress.
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