How Long Should a Bathroom Remodel Take?

Bath Design

How Long Should a Bathroom Remodel Take?

Like anyone, we are true fans of a great before & after makeover. And that’s exactly what reality TV has harnessed. The fact that you’re reading this article now assures us that you’ve been accustomed to fast-tracked renovation shows that are showcased every evening for our viewing pleasure!

The reason why they show bathrooms completely stripped out and made afresh in only a few episodes or maybe even a few hours is because there is no way on earth they’d maintain your attention if you were to sit through a real-life renovation. For one, it takes a considerable amount of time, and two, it would be boring. The real world of design and construction is a lot less drama-filled, but hey that’s the power of reality TV.

Keep in mind too that they also have a huge workforce on TV shows to speed up the process: double the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. This economically would not work in a typical domestic setting due to substantial additional costs.

In our 30+ years in business as a Kitchen and Bath Design Studio, we’ve designed and managed countless bathrooms, some small and some bigger and more complex than the average-sized apartment. It’s fair to say the process is very similar whether you’re completing a simple facelift or recreating the Taj Mahal. All of the same trades are going to enter the bathroom area and essentially complete the same tasks.

Factors Affecting Remodel Time

The reality is that it is a very rare bathroom remodeling project that goes exactly as planned, and a variety of factors can wreak havoc with your best efforts at scheduling:

-Is the project a cosmetic remodel or a strip-to-the-studs rebuild? Depending on the nature of the remodel, the work can take as little as a few days or as much as multiple months.

-Will Drury Design be completing the work or are you hiring your own contractor? More than one good-intentioned homeowner has found that doing all the work yourself, squeezing in work time when you can, leads to a project that can take as much as a year to complete.

-If you’re hiring the work out, is the contractor an owner-operator, or is he subcontracting electricians, plumbers, and carpenters? Working with a single owner-operator remodeler can be the cheapest way to go, but they’ll likely be juggling your job with several others as they try to do all the work themselves. This means that a job that requires 10 or 15 actual workdays can take two or three months to see completion. If you go the route where a company provides all tradespeople, this will eliminate this potential headache.

-Are all materials readily available or are they special-order goods that may cause you to wait for delivery? Waiting on imported ceramic tile to arrive, for example, can delay a project by several weeks. Again, working with a company that deals with the ins and outs of these specifics can usually be reactive in knowing these types of things.

That said, it’s usually easy enough to come up with a ball-park estimate of how long a complete remodel of a small bathroom will take if you are working with a competent general contractor who is working with equally competent subcontractors.

How Much Time Will My Bathroom Project Take?

On average, a small complete bathroom remodel can be done in about 23-25 days under ideal circumstances. Assuming no work is done on weekends, this translates to about 4 1/2 weeks-slightly more than one month-if the work proceeds uniformly with no breaks. In the real world, where downtime or unexpected circumstances invariably arise, it could be about double that-46 days or about 9 weeks.

If your bathroom is small and you’re simply having fixtures and flooring replaced (without plumbing work, stripping down to the studs and subfloor, or changing the layout) the remodeling process could take as little as a week or two. Jobs that can be completed in a week or two are usually considered partial remodels; be wary of any contractor who offers to do a complete remodel in such a short time. Chances are, corners are being cut.

Most complete remodeling projects take three to six weeks. This includes stripping down to the studs and subfloor; installing new plumbing, wiring, fixtures, drywall, and flooring; and, in some cases, reconfiguring the layout. Not surprisingly, any job that includes changing the layout is likely to take five to six weeks or more. Any custom work, including custom tiling, can take weeks alone. None of the time estimates above include the planning and design process. You’ll have to meet with your designer to plan the remodel, choose materials, and wait for the ordered materials to arrive. All of that can take a couple of weeks as well. However, once everything is agreed upon and you know what will go into your remodel, it should make it that much more exciting to begin!

Prepare for the Unexpected

With proper planning and a reliable design team on your side, your bathroom remodeling project doesn’t have to take forever. The construction phase of the project will always vary based on your scope of work, the square footage, and the condition of your bathroom under the surface layer. Inevitably an 80-square-foot master bathroom with major changes will take longer than a 25-square-foot guest bath undergoing a minor renovation. For a smaller bathroom, a facelift – the industry term for sprucing up the surface layer (such as paint, vanity, tiles or light fixtures) but keeping the existing footprint of the space – may take five to eight working days, as long as there are no surprises like mold waiting when the old vanity comes out.

A more complex bathroom remodel that revamps the shower area (customizing the plumbing, installing tile, and changing the shower door), updates the flooring and cabinetry, and adds new paint and new lighting could take anywhere from one week to three weeks. A full bathroom remodel that guts the room, changing the footprint and moving the electrical wiring and plumbing lines, could take four to eight weeks or more.

To keep your bathroom remodel on schedule, ensure your materials have been ordered, and aim to make as few change orders as possible, especially once construction begins. Planning is key to keeping a bathroom remodel on schedule! And lucky for you, Drury Design takes care of all the nitty-gritty that the planning involves. We will guide you through your selection process, noting which products may take longer than others, and will make sure your materials are ordered and delivered ready for our tradespeople on the day they need them!

After Demolition Starts

When demolition starts on your bathroom renovation, your project is just beginning. Your contractor will need to remove any old materials, strip down walls, and get rid of old flooring. Depending on the size of your bathroom, demolition can take several days. During the demolition process, your contractor may find issues with the sub-flooring that needs immediate attention before the project can move forward. This is a time when delays are common. When old material is removed, problems that your bathroom remodeling contractor was not aware of are discovered. These instances will always alter your construction schedule.

Installing New Plumbing or Electricity

When you need electrical or plumbing work done in your bathroom renovation, this is generally done once demolition is complete. This work itself shouldn’t take much time, and with Drury Design’s full-service approach we take care of all subcontractors for you, meaning you’ll never have to go find someone else to complete a part of the project.

Walls and Flooring are Installed Next

After the new plumbing has been put into place and the electrical work is done, we’ll be ready to begin sheetrocking the walls. This is a pretty fast step in the bathroom renovation process. Putting up drywall doesn’t take much time, but then the seams will have to be fixed and smoothed. Once the walls are up, we will then put in the flooring you have chosen. The walls will need to dry, and this can cause a few delays. In addition, if you choose ceramic tiles for your bathroom floor, this takes longer than vinyl or bamboo flooring because it will have to dry in between steps. These are details your designer would share with you while you were in the selection process.

Installing the Sink and Toilet in Your New Bathroom

Once the floors and walls are all set in your new bathroom, it’s time to install the sink, toilet, and shower. The sink and the toilet installation should only take a few hours or more. If you have chosen a shower that needs to be tiled, this is going to lengthen your bathroom renovation time. If you simply chose a tub with a pre-made surround, this installation will be much faster.

Finishing Your Bathroom Renovation

As your bathroom renovation becomes more complete, it will then be time to hang accessories, put in a faucet, and complete the detail work. You may want the walls painted a particular shade, or have designed the bathroom with a particular trim. Once the details are all taken care of, your bathroom renovation checklist will be finished.

As you consider your bathroom renovation timeline, take into consideration:

-Materials for your bathroom renovation may not be there on time

-You might change your mind on the design

-You might have to change plans for budget reasons

Wondering how your ideas and goals for your space might look when designed by one of our Certified Professional Bathroom Designers? At Drury Design, we know that time is important to you. So, to get started, we’d love to send one of our qualified professional designers to your home and explore the options with you. Contact us HERE or chat with us below to find out more.

About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio

Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client-Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection, and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience. For kitchen, bath, and home remodeling ideas view Drury Design’s design portfolio or stop by the studio at 512 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

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