Revamping a bathroom is worth it, but there’s no denying it’s going to cause some disruption while the room is transformed from tired to terrific. Knowing how long a bathroom remodel takes, therefore, is essential to planning for the work to take place.
To help you do so we’ve asked bathroom experts for their advice on how long to expect the remodel to take. While the exact duration of the work will depend on what your bathroom ideas are and what type of bathroom you’re updating, these guidelines will make the whole process smoother since you know how long the room might be out of action.
How long does a bathroom remodel take?
A bathroom remodel follows a pattern that starts with the planning and if you avoid bathroom remodel mistakes, ends with a pristine, stylish new room. But how long does it take?
‘A bathroom remodel can vary a lot depending on the size, the extent of the work, material availability, permits, and unforeseen issues that may arise during the remodeling process,’ explains owner and principal designer of IDC Interiors Leah Tuttleman, interior designer at Re-Bath. ‘Typically, if everything goes as planned, you can expect a remodel to take eight to 12 weeks.’
The factor that has a major influence on the overall time taken is the type of remodel. ‘Is this remodel going to be a design/build remodel (are walls moving? Is the layout changing? etc) or a pull-and-replace remodel (the layout stays the same and the products are just being replaced),’ asks Nate Coombs, owner and general manager at DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen in Utah. The latter, of course, will need less time than the former.
A bathroom remodel is a step-by-step process and, below, we’ve got the details on how long each of these takes, along with the factors that can influence how long a particular project might run.
Time taken for bathroom remodel stages
‘This is the most important step since you are working out every detail of your vision,’ says Leah Tuttleman. ‘You are finalizing designs, sourcing materials, and creating a detailed plan all of which need to fit into the budget for the project. During this first stage, you are also lining up your trades and creating the schedule. This stage typically takes between one and three months.’
According to Leah, you should also allow for the following:
- Permitting: two to four weeks
- Ordering all of the materials: one to two weeks
- Removing existing fixtures, flooring, and possibly walls: one to two weeks
- Rough plumbing and electrical prewire: one to two weeks
- Installation of new materials, including any painting that might be needed: three to six weeks (depending upon material availability)
- Accessorizing and finishing touches (including window treatments and towels): one to two weeks
Influence of bathroom size and type
Bathroom size does play a part in how long a remodel takes. ‘The size of the space affects the timeline in both directions,’ says Leah Tuttleman. ‘Meaning, a large-scale bathroom remodel takes extra labor time simply in doing more work.
‘On the flip side, a small-scale bathroom could also mean more time is needed, simply because you are limited in the number of workers that can fit together in the space. More than one trade in the space at one time may be impossible.’
Other factors that affect time taken
Size is only one of the factors that come into play when considering how long a bathroom remodel takes. The type of remodel is, as noted above, important to how long it will take. ‘A change in layout (that is, moving walls and the location of fixtures such as tub, shower, vanity, etc) adds more work to move plumbing, etc, and thus lengthens the amount of time it will take to complete the project,’ says Nate Coombs.
The design also affects the time taken. ‘Is it primarily large format tile, or is it intricate mosaic tile being installed?’ asks Andrea Seymour of Springdale Custom Builders. ‘Is it a hi-tech shower system with an integrated steam shower, or a simple shower head? Are the floors heated?
‘Another factor in highly custom projects is lead time,’ she adds. ‘Cabinetry lead times can be 10 to 14 weeks or more, countertop templating and fabrication takes a few weeks, custom shower glass has to be templated after all tile is installed, and the fabrication can take several weeks after that.’
As well as the scope of the remodel and its degree of customization counting towards the time taken, be aware that a bathroom remodel can reveal concealed problems that mean it will take longer.
The issues that can be encountered? ‘Unforeseen or hidden damage (or pipes, wires, ducts in the way if walls are moving),’ says Nate Coombs, who notes that there might also be ‘hidden code violations that need to be addressed and updated’.
‘The number and types of inspections required by the governmental agencies can also affect how long the remodel takes,’ he adds. ‘Some cities require numerous different types of inspections while others only require a rough and finish inspection. Waiting for governmental agencies to give their approval can be time-consuming.
‘The existence of dangerous materials can also affect the length of time,’ Nate explains. ‘Before completing a remodeling project, the area should typically be tested for lead paint and asbestos-containing materials. If these materials are found to be present, it will take special procedures and specially qualified individuals or companies to remove said materials. This can add to the length of time the project takes.’
Can a bathroom be fitted in a day?
A simple replacement of the main elements of a bathroom can be quick. ‘If you’re simply installing new fixtures in a small bathroom, then you can usually have it done in a day,’ says Justin Ball, owner of The Shower Head Store. However, this would be a remodel that was limited in scope. ‘Replacing tiles, painting, or replacing tubs and showers can take much longer,’ says Justin.
A successful bathroom model needs sufficient time. However, it’s also vital to know how much it costs to remodel a bathroom. If the project is in preparation for selling your home, it also pays to be aware of the bathroom remodel tips that get the biggest return on investment.
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Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.
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