We’ve been remodeling bathrooms in the Fox Valley since 1975 and one question that invariably comes up when we talk to homeowners is, "How long does it take to remodel a bathroom?" That's actually a smart question to ask, because remodeling is, by nature, a somewhat disruptive activity and you'll want to prepare your home and your family for the process (Here’s a helpful post that highlights the things you need to know before you begin a remodeling project). Even though it’s a straightforward question, there’s no single answer that covers every project.
Let’s Look at a “Typical” Bathroom Remodel
There are certain common elements that you’ll find in almost any bathroom remodeling project. Let’s take a look at those events and how much time they normally take. Then we’ll take a look at some of the things that can impact your schedule.
- Tear Out/Demolition: This is where your contractor removes cabinets, sinks, flooring, light fixtures, and plumbing fixtures. Plan on about 2 days for this part of the process.
- Rough-in Carpentry: In most cases, you’ll need to have new carpentry done to accommodate the changes you want to make (cabinets, sinks, shower, etc.). Plan on 2 days for this.
- Rough-in Plumbing: You’ll probably need to have some plumbing done for new sinks, tub, and/or shower. Depending on how much is needed, allow 1-2 days.
- Rough-in Electrical: New lighting will probably require new electrical work. Plus, if you have an older house, you may need this in order to bring your house up to code. Plan 1-2 days for this.
- Initial Inspection: This will be required before new elements can be added. Even though the inspection itself probably won’t take long, scheduling it with the proper authorities can be a challenge. Your contractor can’t dictate exactly when the inspector will show up, so allow 1 day for this.
- Install Insulation: Insulation may not be sexy, but you’ll be glad your bathroom is properly insulated on those cold Fox Valley winter days! Allow about a half a day for this.
- Drywall: You should figure on drywall taking about 3 days. That includes the initial installation and the finishing (taping, mudding, texturing, painting).
- Final Inspection: This second inspection ensures that everything has been done properly and to code (even though the finishing touches haven’t happened). Allow 1 day for this.
- Tile Work: Installing tile for your walls (including your shower, if you so choose) should take about 2 days.
- Cabinetry: In most cases, it should take about 1 day to install your new bath cabinets. If you have custom cabinets or an unusual configuration, it could take longer.
- Flooring: Plan 2 days to install new flooring in your bathroom.
- Connecting Fixtures: Plan on your contractor taking 2 days to hook up plumbing, faucet fixtures, electrical, etc.
- Miscellaneous/Clean-up: Allow 2 days to “fine-tune” things, or to make small adjustments and to clean up the area.
What Does This All Add Up To?
When you add all of the tasks and times together, you get a total of 23 days. Since most contractors don’t work on weekends that ends up being about 4 ½ weeks. That assumes that there are no delays and that every new task begins immediately when the previous task is completed. Experience has shown us that it is most likely going to take about 9 weeks.
What Causes Delays?
There are a number of things that can extend the schedule of your remodeling project. Some things, you and your contractor have little control over. But there are some things you can do to expedite the process.
- Unforeseen Issues: Sometimes a contractor will uncover structural issues that couldn’t be detected before work began. That can slow down the remodeling process.
- Material Shortages: Occasionally it will be hard to get materials. Natural disasters in other parts of the country can impact the availability of materials.
- Custom or Unusual Materials/Finishes: Not having materials on hand when they are needed can really slow things down. Items such as custom cabinets, or unusual countertop materials may take longer to get. Make sure you order things like that well in advance to ensure they are there when your remodeler needs them.
- Changes to the Original Design/Plan: There are times when you’ll want to make a change to the original plan or design. Sometimes that’s just the right thing to do. But when you make significant changes after work has begun, it can dramatically impact the schedule (and your budget). That’s particularly true if your contractor has to undo work that’s already been started.
In the end, there is no such thing as an exact schedule that will fit every bathroom remodeling job. The example above, however, gives you a framework for what needs to be done and approximately how long the various steps will take. Once you and your remodeler come to an agreement of the exact scope of the project, your contractor will be able to give you a pretty close estimate of the amount of time it should take. Even then, some things are unpredictable, so be prepared with a little bit of flexibility in your schedule. By the way, here’s some help for communicating exactly what you want your project to look like.