How Long Does It Take To Plan and Complete a Remodel in 2019?

One of the top things people want to know when considering a remodel is how long it will take. Are we talking months? Days? Weeks? Years?

Homeowners weighed in with their remodeling timelines in the 2020 U.S. Houzz & Home study, the largest publicly available survey of residential remodeling, building and decorating activity in the country. Read on to find out how long it took, on average, to plan and remodel a kitchen, bathroom, mudroom and more in 2019.

Plus, if you’re wondering what homeowners can do to keep their projects moving in a timely manner, we have some tips from pros.

The 2020 U.S. Houzz & Home survey, fielded Jan. 2 to March 5, collected information from more than 87,000 respondents. The report relies on findings from homeowners who renovated their primary home in 2019.
Erin Carlyle
Planning Can Take Twice as Long as Construction

If you haven’t remodeled before, you may not realize that the planning phase often takes longer than the construction work itself. There are decisions to be made about style, layout, finishes and materials — and, of course, the all-important budget. Many if not all of these decisions need to be finalized before work begins.

Last year, U.S. homeowners took an average of 4.8 months to 8.3 months to plan their projects, depending on the room. Kitchens, the most popular spaces to renovate, took the longest to plan, averaging 8.3 months. When you think about all that’s involved in a kitchen remodel — from finding your style to deciding which pros to hire to choosing the best layout, the right cabinetry and all the many finishes, whether countertops or cabinet pulls — that makes sense.

Entryways, foyers and mudrooms took 6.6 months to plan, making them the second-most time-consuming rooms to plan. Decisions about storage or style for these spaces are important, as these welcoming areas set the tone every day when you leave the house and return.

Bathrooms, also very popular spaces to renovate, took the shortest amount of time to plan, with master bathrooms averaging 5.4 months and guest bathrooms averaging 4.8.

Keep in mind that these are averages and that the time spent on a project will vary depending on the work done, the location and the homeowners and pros involved. Also, these averages include both DIYs and projects done with the help and guidance of a professional.

Construction Time Varies by Room

The construction phase of U.S. remodeling projects done last year was 2.9 to 4.5 months, on average, depending on the room. Kitchens took the longest, at 4.5 months. Master bathrooms’ construction phase took an average of 3.2 months, while guest bathrooms took an average of 2.9. Entries, foyers and mudrooms averaged 3.1 months for construction, according to the survey.

It’s important to understand that these national averages for planning and construction length reflect rooms that are done as standalone projects. The average remodeling time for each room should not be added up in order to estimate the timeline for a whole-house remodel.

Again, the time it takes to plan and do any individual house remodel — or for that matter, any project — will vary depending on the work done and the homeowners and pros involved.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Project on Track

As a homeowner, there are steps you can take to help keep your project moving along as quickly as possible. Here are three key suggestions from pros:

Plan ahead and stick with the plan. While it may be tempting to jump into a demolition before making all the decisions about your renovation, this isn’t the most efficient way to carry out a project.

“The more time planning ahead before starting a demo the better,” designer Andrea Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors in Denver says. She recommends having everything you’ll need — a demolition plan, an electrical plan, your cabinetry drawings and so on — before demo begins. “You want to have really tight, complete decisions made before demo,” Schumacher says. “Right down to your hardware.”

Allow enough time for ordering. You also want to build in enough lead time — especially now during the global pandemic — to be sure the products you’ve selected will be on hand when work begins. “You pick out all those things you have to order ahead of time,” Debbie Travin of DLT Interiors in Miami says. “That way everything is ready so your contractor is not waiting for the tiles or the flooring. That’s what delays the project.”

If you’re really eager to get a project going, Travin suggests ordering products that are in stock rather than ones that are back-ordered, since the “available by” dates could always get pushed back.

Trust the pros you hire. If you’re doing your project with the help of a general contractor, architect, designer or other pro, you probably hired that person because you liked their portfolio of work and believed they had the expertise you lack. So hang on to that perspective.

“Trust that you’re working with people who know what they’re doing,” says Deana Duffek of design-build firm Duffek Design & Development in Laguna Beach, California. “Let them do their jobs.”

Having trust matters because it keeps you in your lane, which helps keep the project on time. For example, exhaustively doing research online to compare every suggestion your pro makes could delay decision-making and derail the timeline. So while it may be tempting to scour the internet for sales on holiday weekends, it’s probably a better use of your time to trust your designer. If you’ve hired a good one, she’s aware of the products out there and is presenting the best options to you — including ones for which she has a healthy trade discount and can get decent pricing.

Remember, the point of hiring a pro is for that person to manage your project so you don’t have to. Collaboration with your designer or pro is one thing. Flooding the person you hired with excessive research could slow the process down.

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