How Long Will My Remodeling Project Take?

We’ve all seen home remodeling shows that make upgrades and major renovations look simple. They also manage to cram everything into a one-hour show, from gutting the house to rebuilding and redecorating in a flash. While many of those shows include a realistic timeline of how long everything takes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of your project – especially if you don’t have a crew working around the clock. 

HGTV says a kitchen remodel alone can take as much as five months. Still, if a refresh is in your plans, it’s a good rule of thumb to know what a reasonable timetable should be in the not-so-perfect real world we live in.

In reality, there’s no simple answer. Many variables come into play. Are you renovating a single room? Putting in a new addition? Or, are you remodeling the whole house? Will any amount of demolition be involved? How customized is the plan? Are the materials chosen readily available or on special order? Will any “hidden” surprises be discovered during the project? House Beautiful says depending on the size of your remodel, a weekend for a cosmetic refresh of a room to a year for a whole house is possible when it comes to a renovation timeline.

If that sounds overwhelming, start thinking of the project as having five distinct phases – Planning, Design, Preparation, Construction, and Clean Up.

Planning

During the planning phase, you should meet with a variety of professionals to find the right fit for the project you have in mind. This can be daunting without a competent agency or designer working with you. Having someone to guide you through the process to clarify and evolve your plans will make everything easier. Plus, a professional can make proper decisions on who to contact during each phase, allowing you peace of mind. This process may take a few days or a week to a couple of months, depending on the scale of your project. A professional can keep you on track.

Budgeting

Having a plan in place will give you an idea of who to contact for permits, inspections, and contracting. When you start making those connections, you’ll have a better idea of what everything will cost, and you can start working on your budget. 

If you are financing the remodel, your bank or lender may even have a list of requirements that must be completed during different phases, which will require inspections or reports.

During this phase, a lot of excitement can take place as well. You will be selecting materials and finishes, sampling products, seeing mock-ups of vision. This is the time to make sure everything is to your liking. With all these moving parts in this phase, a practical time frame can be as much as three to four months for a whole house remodel. Although it may seem like nothing is getting done, what happens in this phase can make the rest of the process much smoother.

Demolition

And so it begins! The demolition phase is where plans turn into action. Some of the things that need to happen during this time will be determined by the schedules of the various agencies involved, from financing and inspections to deliveries and demolition. Even weather begins to play a part in how long things will take.

This is when the remodel begins to affect daily life. Having a capable point person to handle all the scheduling details is valuable for this and all phases moving forward. If possible, leave the logistics to a professional to make sure nothing gets missed. This stage is shorter than construction – plan at least a couple of days to a week for completion.

Construction

The remodel is in full swing now. While inconvenient for a week or so, you can usually still live at home for small projects. But, for larger projects that will temporarily suspend your utilities, you may want to consider moving out for the duration. That’s especially true if the whole project is expected to last three months or more. A total home remodel could take as long as one year to complete. Check with local hotels for weekly or monthly rates to make this phase less stressful for the family.

Clean Up

Cleaning up after a remodel is a large undertaking. Removing the dust and debris so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor could take as little as a day, or even up to a week. But, once clean-up is complete, you can bask in the glow of your shiny new home – and probably get some much-needed relaxation.

As with any best-laid plan, the unexpected does happen. Uncontrollable delays or weather woes will lengthen the time frame, adding days or even weeks to cushion the process is a good idea. Allowing for the unforeseeable will help reduce stress in the long run, so you can enjoy the process as much as the finished product. 

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