Protect Your Rooms
Seal off a work site to contain the chaos. Using plastic sheeting, spring-loaded poles, and an adhesive zipper, you can create a "mudroom" to lock in dust while giving easy access in and out of the area.
ZipPole, $170 for 4; and heavy-duty zipper, $19; zipwall.com. Plastic sheeting, available at hardware stores.
Basic Floor Protection
Asking tradesmen to take off their boots is like requesting that runners relinquish their sneakers: It's not going to happen. Instead, leave a box of footwear covers by the entrance and ask that they put on a pair. These disposable bootees can be slipped on and off in seconds.
Shoe Guard covers, $10 for 12 pairs, by Trimaco; homedepot.com.
Safeguarding your rugs is as simple as pushing a paint roller. Attach a carpet shield -- a plastic film similar to kitchen wrap -- to a roller fitted with an extension handle, and then spread it over the carpeting, overlapping lengths, to ward off settling dust and footprints as well as drips and minor spills.
Quick Shield kit, 9 inches by 50 feet, $27; surfaceshields.com.
For light jobs that don’t require heavy equipment, protect hard floors with laminated kraft paper, which is reinforced with fiberglass and a water-resistant coating. Unfurl, overlapping sheets by a few inches, and secure with masking tape.
Blue Shield Grade 3518 semipermeable, reinforced laminated paper, 48-inch-by-300-foot roll, $59.50; globalindustrial.com. Masking tape (#2020-20), $4, by Scotch; homedepot.com.
Slightly thicker than a carpet shield, plastic film designed for windows sticks on to defend against scratches and paint spatters. Plus, it makes for a safer break if the glass should shatter. It presses into place and comes off easily.
Protective window film, type 3-090-C, 24-inch-by-300-foot roll, $90.17; surfacearmor.com.
Tougher Floor Protection
For potentially more damaging jobs, such as those involving hand trucks, large waste receptacles, or heavy tools or boxes that can crack tile or dent wood, lay reinforced laminated paper on the floor as a base, place 1/8-inch-thick hardboards on top, and attach the boards to one another with duct tape.
Hardboard, 4 feet by 8 feet, $7.65; homedepot.com.
Heavier still than window protection, counter shield grips to granite, marble, and other nonglass surfaces to provide protection against scrapes and gouges. It’s good for painting and for light and medium construction.
Self-adhering film for temporary protection of hard surfaces, $11.47 for 100 square feet, by Protect-It; homedepot.com.
Walls are prone to bumps and dings, particularly at corners. Though you can’t always avoid thwacking things into them, you can prevent damage by fashioning a bumper of sorts from corrugated cardboard, held in place with painters' tape.
Corrugated single-face cardboard rolls, B-Flute, 36 inches by 250 feet, $36; fast-pack.com. ScotchBlue painters' tape, delicate surface, $10; homedepot.com.
Tubs and Sinks
A water-based "liquid mask," painted on with a foam roller or brush (or sprayed on by a contractor), dries to form a latex skin that protects tubs and sinks from the damage that goes along with tiling. It works on porcelain, enamel, metal, and other highly polished surfaces, and it peels off, leaving no residue.
Liquid Mask, $39.50 per gallon; pro-tect.com
Post Construction Tips
Your kitchen is almost ready! Even though you'll be eager to enjoy your new space, take the time to make sure everything has been done correctly and your space is sparkling
Pictured kitchen: Dunemere PureStyle™ in Picket Fence, by Martha Stewart Living