In our more than 30 years of experience remodeling homes in Florida, there are some things that never change—including the two most common questions homeowners ask us before beginning a home remodeling project: What is this going to cost? And how long is this going to take?
As a homeowner you should ask those questions because they’re important. The short (and unsatisfying) answer to both questions is: It depends. No two remodeling projects are alike and there are a number of factors that influence both the cost and the amount of time it will take to complete any project.
Let’s focus on "how long will this take?" To give you a general idea of how long your remodeling project will take let’s take a look at the various phases involved—and what needs to happen in each phase. Here’s the process we use:
The Design Phase
Sometimes people refer to this as the planning phase. This is the part of your project when you work together with your design consultant and/or the contractor to determine what you want the new space to look like. This phase can take anywhere from one week to six months. Some of that depends on how much thinking and planning you’ve done on your own before starting. If you already have a clear idea of what you want (and perhaps have collected photos and plans that illustrate what you’re hoping to achieve), this part of the project can go more quickly. By the way, a good place to start is to review projects your contractor has already completed. That can help you identify elements you want in your remodeling project. As a homeowner, your ability to make decisions quickly (but not in a rush!) can also affect the schedule. In our experience, this phase takes an average of about four weeks for significant remodeling projects.
The Contract Phase
This part of the process starts when you sign a contract and continues until construction actually begins. During this phase, the materials to be used are ordered, subcontractors are hired, and a construction schedule is determined. This phase usually takes between two to 10 weeks. The reason for the range of time is that some materials can take longer to receive. The more “custom” a component is, the longer it is likely to take to deliver it.
The Construction Phase
This is where “the rubber meets the road.” During this phase your existing kitchen, bath, or other room will be torn apart and the area will be prepped for remodeling. To be honest, this is the phase homeowners are generally most concerned about because it’s disruptive—you can’t use the space during this part of the project. This phase normally takes between two to eight weeks. More complex projects take longer, but your contractor will have a good idea before construction begins. When construction is done, you’ll be able to use your space.
The Wrap-Up Phase
When your project is close to completion, your consultant will draw up a final list of anything that needs to be touched up or completed (We call this a “punch list”). You’ll get a final timeline for when everything will be completed—including all inspections.
We’ve all heard horror stories about remodeling projects that seem to go on forever before they’re completed. It shouldn’t be that way. Some delays are inevitable. There are occasionally things that are beyond anyone’s control (material shortages or damage to items in shipping). Occasionally a contractor will run into a surprise in the structure that couldn’t be foreseen. But those are really the exception.
One of the advantages of dealing with a design/build firm is that the people working with you to create the plan work hand-in-glove with the contractors who execute that plan. That makes things go much more smoothly—and quickly.
Exactly how long will it take to complete your remodeling project? That depends on a number of factors, but with a good process in place you’ll have a pretty good idea before the hammers and saws start working!