How Long Does a Bathroom Renovation Take?
Bathroom renovations are one of the more popular projects we provide quotes for. The two most common questions we are asked are:
How much does a bathroom renovation cost?
How long does a bathroom renovation take?
While how much a bathroom renovation cost is a more subjective question and a topic for another post, we’re going to discuss how long a bathroom renovation takes.
Depending on the scope bathroom renovations take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks to complete.
If you’re only looking to replace the tub, toilet and vanity and put in some new tile, you’re looking at more like 3 weeks.
But if you want to complete gut the bathroom back to the studs and move things around, you’re looking at closer to 5 weeks.
There are 2 persistent challenges when renovating a bathroom:
Space - bathrooms a generally pretty small which means you can’t have too many tools, people or materials in there in one given time. So planning accordingly is important.
Drying time - Drywall taping, painting and tile work all require time to dry. Waiting for things to dry is going to be a big part of your schedule.
So let’s break down your phases of construction, also know as subtasks, and assign a time spent working on them to each individual phase.
Demolition 1 - 2 days If your house is built in the era of 4x8 sheets of drywall and 2x4 framing, demolition will be a lot smoother than if it’s one of the earlier eras of plaster board or even plaster and lathe. Cross your fingers, get a mask and some glasses and try to keep everything clean. You will spend almost as much time cleaning up as you will doing actual demo. If the bathroom is on the second floor, expect to add a bit more travel time up and down the stairs. Think of it as leg day at the gym.
Framing 1 day In your basic bathroom renovations there isn’t much framing to be done unless you’re moving walls. Typical framing would involve maybe building a chase wall, backframing for drywall backer or reframing a shower to put in a bench or shower niche, etc. The reason we are giving it a day is that you may not be able to cut things in the space. So, travel time in and out of the house to cut things, bring in materials and tools chews up a lot of your day.
Insulation 1 day. Normally, you only have to insulate the exterior walls of bathroom which doesn’t take more than a couple of hours. But if you have totally gutted the bathroom and have to insulate the ceiling, it’s gonna take longer.
Plumbing (rough in) 1 day - a 3 piece bathroom in whatever state will normally take a day to sort out the drain lines, adjust the water lines for new fixtures a little but, install a new shower valve. A lot of this will depend on how complicated your new fixtures are or if you are moving things around. For a straight-forward bathroom reno, plan for 1 day. If it’s complicated add another day and you should be fine.
Electrical (rough in) 1 day - Unless your house has ancient wiring or you want to rerun new feeds to delete old aluminum wiring, this is a half day job. But since schedules are always as tight for subtrades, and you can’t fit two trades in a bathroom at once just for the sake of human decency, having a day in your schedule to wire a plug, bathroom fan, 2 or 3 lights and some switches won’t take more than a day even if you add in floor heating.
HVAC 1 day - More than likely your bathroom already has a heat run but might not have a bathroom fan. Throw a day at this and move on.
Drywall 5-6 days - Drywall sucks. It is the messiest phase of construction. It chews up a big chunk of your schedule and is generally one of the more expensive phases and you spend a lot of time watching it dry. One the drywall is hung, there’s 3 coats of drywall compound to be applied with each coat requiring a day to dry, and then sanding to make ready for paint. A good taper will also do some minor touch ups once he sands so we throw 6 days at this phase so that we don’t overpromise and under deliver.
Paint 2 days - If you’re painting the bathroom, you can prime everything and get two coats of paint on the ceiling and the walls in a day but that’s really pushing it. We alot one day for priming and one day for painting. That should do the trick for your painting contractor to get through it.
Tiling/flooring 4-7days - Tiling looks simple but is extremely difficult. It’s like the stock market. The theory is simple, buy low and sell high, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do or we’d all be rich. A good tile installer is worth every penny.
And the time this phase will take will depend on if you’re tiling just your floor or doing a floor and tub walls or a floor and shower or a floor and shower AND tub walls.
This subtask may/or can include a scratch coat, waterproofing, tiling, grout and silicone to complete the job and each step requires a day to dry.
Trimwork 1 day - In most bathrooms there is very little trimwork to be done if you think of it in terms of linear feet or material to install. But if you look at it in terms of time and the fact that all your tools will be out in the driveway, it’s a lot of time for a very small task. The cost for this task is overwhelmingly labour because bathrooms are small and you can’t fit a chop saw or table saw in it.
Finishings 1 day - Having your electrician put in the lights, plugs and switches and the plumber to install the toilet, vanity and shower/tub fixtures is probably one of the few tasks you can plug into one day on your calendar.
Hardware 1 day - When we say hardware, we are talking about toiletries and accessories like mirrors, toilet paper holders, towel racks, etc. A lot of our clients would rather save the money and install them on their own versus hiring someone to do it and I personally think that’s awesome. YouTube is a great resource.
Now that we’ve broken down all the subtasks into time spent, we add them together and come up with...
20 to 25 working days to complete your bathroom renovation from start to finish. Since you only have 5 working days per week, this translates into being 4 to 5 weeks to complete.
We’ve included all the possible steps in this. If you’re just doing a facelift you can remove the drywall subtask and you will be at 15 working days which is the equivalent of 3 weeks (5 working days per week).
Again, all of this is dependent on how complicated your project is and how many subtasks are involved.
Hopefully, this helps inform you and what is included in a bathroom renovation and what goes into scheduling a project.
For more information on renovations you can check out our blog at www.speedrivercontracting.ca or listen to the SRC Toolbox Podcast available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and a variety of other podcast platforms.