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Q & A: How Long Does A Renovation Take?

Q & A: You ask. We answer.

This month, we’re answering the question “How long does the average renovation take?”

This is a question we get frequently asked. The short answer is, it depends. The average time for a renovation will depend on type of project, size of space, age of house, type of materials used, design detail, and site conditions.

In the past, we’ve discussed how long it takes to plan a renovation project. In this article, we’ll talk about how long it takes for construction.

Type of project:

Is it a bathroom, kitchen, or a bedroom or living room, or a multi-room renovation? Are walls being moved or removed? Are plumbing fixtures being relocated? Electrical being moved, added or updated?
On the shorter end of projects, a living room with flooring replacement, minor electrical work and painting may take a week or two. On the longer end, a kitchen renovation or multi room renovation with walls being removed will take two months or more.

Size of space:

Naturally, the larger the space, the longer a project will take.

Age of House:

Older homes take longer to renovate. Houses built in the 1970s and newer have drywall finishes (easier to remove & patch) and plywood floors (easier to install new flooring on top). Homes built in the 1950s and 1960s typically have gybrock and plaster finishes – more labour intensive to remove, and harder to match up with new drywall. Plank flooring in older homes is usually not a suitable subfloor for new finishes and needs to be upgraded. Homes built in the 1930s and earlier usually have lath and plaster finishes which need to be fully removed, and these homes usually require extensive plumbing and electrical upgrades.

Materials

Finishes have a major impact on the length of the project. For example, pre-finished hardwood installed in a living/dining room takes one day to complete. Unfinished hardwood, stained and finished on site in the same space can take one week to complete. Type of tile used (porcelain – easy, marble or travertine – more labour intensive) will affect the length of a project.

Site Conditions

Is there space for a waste bin on site? Parking for workers? Space to store equipment and material on site? Are you living in the house during the renovation? A house on a large property in Mississauga will be easier to renovate that a home on a small property in Toronto, due to space restrictions. Condo renovations naturally take longer, due to working hours, and difficulty bringing in materials and removing waste.

Design

The level of design detail will affect the length of a renovation. Are you adding crown moulding or wainscoting? Tiling all your bathroom walls instead of just the shower? Are there elaborate tile layouts? Intricate cabinet details? The more detail, the longer a project will take.

Here are a few averages:

Standard bathroom renovation (5×8 bathroom): 2 weeks

Bathroom renovation with plumbing relocated, tub to shower conversion: 3+ weeks

Kitchen renovation, no change in layout, remove and replace finishes only: 3 to 4 weeks

Kitchen renovation, wall removal, new layout: 8+ weeks

Basement renovation, remove/replace finishes only: 2 to 4 weeks

Basement finishing, with extensive plumbing & electrical work: 8+ weeks

Would you like us to post averages for other projects? Contact us and let us know what you’d like to see.

Q & A: You Ask. We Answer. is a regular feature on our blog. Do you have a specific home renovation question. Contact Us and we’ll answer it!