Estimating the time required to remodel a bathroom is a maddening task, prone to error. And nowhere is estimating more important, since most families find it essential to have their bathrooms up and running as soon as possible. Unless you’re lucky enough to have several bathrooms, leaving one incapacitated during remodelling is a major inconvenience.
By the time you decide to take the plunge and renovate your bathroom, chances are the project has already been simmering in your mind for some time. You can already envision your dream bathroom as if it was already there.
But once the choice is finally made to get started, it’s important to set expectations around how long everything will take. If you do decide to do things the old-fashioned way, through a general contractor, the process can be broken into a few stages, each of which you should carefully consider.
We’ve given broken out the phases you should expect from a traditional project into groups of tasks, giving you a pretty good idea of what that sort of process would look like. With some variation from project to project, the tasks outlined here are all necessary to bring any project to life, unless you go with a more comprehensive solution.
Suppose you’ve committed to remodelling your bathroom, congratulations! There’s nothing better than showering in a brand new tub in a room decorated with freshly painted walls and shiny new tiles. We’re excited for you.
But, if you’re like most homeowners, you’re probably wondering about the timeline. How long does a bathroom remodel take?
Well, it varies on a case-by-case basis. Every bathroom is different, after all. However, we’ve outlined a general timeline to give you an idea of what to expect.
How long does a bathroom renovation take? In general, our contractors say that the construction period for a bathroom project will average about two to three weeks. Overall, expect the renovation to take between six weeks to three months for the planning, execution, and wrapping up loose ends. If you plan to move plumbing or electrical, be prepared to apply for city permits and board approvals, the biggest culprits for lengthening renovation timelines.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer a wide range of bathroom renovation Melbourne.
Factors Affecting Remodel Time
The reality is that it is a very rare bathroom remodelling 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 many months.
- Are you doing the work yourself, or are you hiring a 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 workout, 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.
- 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.
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.
On average, a small complete bathroom can be done in about 23 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 nine weeks.
Prepare for the Unexpected
The timetable below assumes the work is being done by a good general contractor working with competent subcontractors, that all tradesmen show up on time, that no one gets sick, materials are readily available, and that you, the homeowner, do not issue any change orders that slow down the progress.
More importantly, this is an idealised timetable. In other words, dead days have been removed, and all workdays have been pushed together so that no gaps remain. It assumes that the minute one worker is finished, the next person steps in immediately. Again, don’t be surprised if the reality is about double this idealised schedule.
Pre Construction Phase
UNDERSTANDING THE PROJECT ( 1 – 4 weeks )
It is important to have an understanding of what you are after in terms of your renovation so that you can find a contractor who aligns well with what you are trying to achieve. Going in with a solid plan on layout + general vibe of materials and products will make the discussion and planning process of your renovation far more efficient.
Find the Right Renovation Company ( 1 – 4 weeks )
It is incredibly important to look around and find a company that represents you and your style! A lot of renovation companies specialise in a specific look or atmosphere so find someone who aligns with yours. Are you looking for a Full or Partial Renovation? This is important to note as a few companies don’t offer partial renovation services.
Sign Contracts and Finalise construction Schedules. ( 1 week )
Once you have decided on a contractor that best fits you, they will have a contract put together for you to Sign before construction commences. The contract will comprise of information regarding The work that needs to be done, An estimated timeline for completion and timing of payments throughout the project. Make sure to read through this contract thoroughly and look out for any fine print that you must be aware of.
Obtain Permits and Approvals (Ranges widely depending on which approvals you need for this project, be prepared and allow for weeks – months)
Obtaining Permits and Approvals will be the one place where problems can occur. If you are renovating an apartment room or spaces that aren’t stand-alone houses, you need to attain board approval. This alone can take a few months!
Source Materials (Wide range, prepare in advance for weeks)
If you are responsible for sourcing all the materials, then make sure to place orders as soon as the design plan has been completed! Shopping for features to include in your bathroom can be a very enjoyable and exciting experience. However, in saying this, it won’t be fun having to delay construction time because one of your features (e.g. toilet, bath, shower) hasn’t been delivered on time.
Design – 1 to 4 weeks
Before any renovations take place in your bathroom, some preliminary work needs to happen. You should have a good idea of what you want from your remodel before you meet with your contractor. You’ll have to go over your plans with a contractor, who will need time to measure out space, know what features you want to include, and work with you to decide where they should best be placed. These details will also help your contractor establish an estimate for how much you will cost.
Ordering Materials – 1 to 8 weeks
After finalising the design (and agreeing on a price), you (or your contractor) can begin ordering the materials. There are some things to keep in mind, though. For instance, if you order custom cabinets or tiles that need to be shipped from overseas, this stage can take a lot longer. This can also lead to certain materials arriving in a very staggered fashion. Work with your contractor and suppliers to create a schedule that involves as few gaps as possible.
Looking for bathroom renovation? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Construction – 2 to 5 weeks
The first part of the construction is the demolition of the existing bathroom space. Fairly straightforward, this step takes a day or two at most and includes things like site preparation, floor protection (unless you’re redoing that, too), installing dust barriers to contain the work and protect the rest of the house. (Days 1-2)
Once the existing bathroom has been demolished, the layout, framing and backing are made, transforming the design outlines to the actual bathroom space. Plumbing and electrical are roughed in over the next few days, with the installation of the tub or shower, and new exhaust fans and ventilation also being installed. (Days 3-4)
After the guts of the bathroom are in place, drywall can be put up wherever necessary. Part of this process will also include the installation of moisture-resistant boards around sensitive areas, particularly around the tub or shower. (Days 5-10)
The installation of walls allows tiles to be put in place. This process can about a week on average, give or take a few days. It can last a bit longer if extensive drywall work is needed, if the room temperature doesn’t allow mud to dry quickly, or if the ceilings are also being changed from a textured to a smooth profile. (Days 11-14)
Once the drywall is up, wall and floor tiles can be installed, grouted and sealed. This process will take four or five days on average. After the tiles are set, the bathroom walls can be primed and painted with an initial coat. (Days 15-20)
Then, the last bits of construction is done. Vanity, counter, and plumbing and electrical fixtures are installed, a few more coats of paint are applied, and accessories like towel racks are put up. (Days 21-23)
After the construction has effectively been completed, there are still a few small but important steps that need to be taken to ensure the space is ready for use. The contractor will need to clean the area and inspect the electrical and plumbing to ensure the room can be used without any inconveniences. (Days 24-25)
With all of these steps done, you’re ready to enjoy your newly remodelled bathroom.
Preparing for your bathroom renovation: the 5 phases
To understand how long your project could take, you need to know what happens during a renovation from start to finish. We’ve identified five clear stages and, working on the assumption of no hiccups, given an estimated timeline of how long each phase takes.
The five phases comprise of:
- Planning and development
- Stripping your old bathroom
- The groundwork for the new bathroom
- Fitting your new features
- The Finishing touches
Phase 1: Planning and development
The planning and development phase is by far the longest. It includes time spent researching the bathroom style you want, working out the cost of your bathroom renovation, hiring a renovation company, and making a blueprint for you and your tradespeople to work from.
Depending on your project scope, you may have to apply for planning permission. This is also the time to order your fixtures and fittings, so all the parts arrive ahead of the onsite start date.
Estimated time: Anywhere between one and six months.
Phase 2: Stripping your old bathroom
Ripping out all the fixtures and fittings of your existing bathroom can take a couple of days. But this may depend on whether it’s a first or second-floor bathroom, whether you’re keeping any existing fittings, and whether any structural changes need to be made to the walls.
Estimated time: One or two days.
Phase 3: Groundwork for new bathroom
A bare canvas makes it easier for the plumber and electrician to come in and do a rough-in fit. This means they put all the wiring and plumbing in place but don’t connect any of it while building work is still going on. Carpenters, plasterers and tilers come in next, working on walls that need putting up and rendering, and surfaces that need to be prepared for tiling.
Estimated time: Two to five days.
Phase 4: Fitting your new features
The fourth phase is perhaps the most exciting because you’ll finally see your new bathroom design come to life. It’s when all your new fixtures are installed, so there’s a lot to be done.
Essential tasks such as tiling and painting, grouting on the walls or floor, and waterproofing will be completed first. Some of these tasks involve drying time, which means there can be periods of inactivity during this phase. With everything in place, the plumber will complete the connections for your shower, bathtub, toilet and basins. And your electrician will reconnect the electrics for lights, underfloor heating, towel rails and extractor fans.
Glass elements like shower doors and mirrors are fitted last, so there’s minimal risk of them getting cracked or damaged while work’s going on.
Estimated time: Anywhere between five and ten days.
Phase 5: The finishing touches
Once everything has been installed and had time to dry, we’ll carry out a final inspection and clean. With that done, your bathroom is all yours to enjoy.
Estimated time: Half a day.
How Long Does it Take to Remodel a Small Bathroom?
The length of the timeline depends on a number of different factors. The size of the bathroom is one important factor. Small rooms, after all, require much less work and, thus, take less time to renovate.
However, there are certain tasks that take the same amount of time, no matter how big the bathroom is. For example, the rough-in phase may last more than a week, even if your bathroom remodels is a small job. This is due to the fact that our schedule depends on the availability of plumbers and electricians. We are unable to complete the walls before the wires and pipes are sorted out, so we will have to wait for them.
Additional Factors that Increase the Timeline
We do our best to plan every bathroom remodel schedule from beginning to end. But, that schedule is always subject to change.
During a remodel, certain surprises interrupt our work. If any of these surprises pop up, it may take some extra time to get the job done.
For example, one important thing to keep in mind is that any changes will increase the length of the project. When customers change their minds halfway through the project, we’re required to file a change order before we can move forward.
A change order applies to any change, no matter how insignificant it seems. In other words, something as large as a new wall or as minute as different paint colour can both add extra days onto our schedule. So, if you want to get us out of your house as quickly as possible, make sure that you have your mind made up before we get started.
Check out our range of Melbourne bathroom renovation here.
Beware of Complications
Bear in mind that several things can affect the renovation schedule. Demolition may reveal unexpected issues like rot or mould, products may arrive damaged and need to be replaced, special-order items may take longer to arrive (hence the possibility of waiting up to 8 weeks for materials), and specific contractors, like plumbers or carpenters, might have scheduling conflicts, which can delay work on your project.
This outline gives you a baseline indication of how long the different parts of a renovation will take. If your bathroom is fairly small, it’s likely the project will take less time. Setting timeline expectations in advance will help the project to stay on track and on time.