How Long Do Home Renovations Take

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It’s not uncommon for homeowners to perceive home remodeling as a dreaded, protracted ordeal. The sour tales about contractors who don’t show up on time, leave before the job is complete, or fail to give any clear cost estimate are enough to unnerve anyone who considers a renovation. Although understandable and true to an extent, one can’t rule out the fact home renovations are time-consuming.

One factor that influences the timeframe of any remodeling project is its unique requirements. Each home presents its set of problems that demand specialized solutions. Hence, it’s up to the homeowner and a local contractor to understand the renovation specifications and work out a suitable timeline. This guide sheds light on the steps involved in planning a home remodel.

An Overview of Various Timelines

Renovation projects vary in degrees of complexity. A simple cosmetic makeover may take a few days to three months to complete. It may include replacing the floorboards, installing new bathroom fixtures, or repainting the entire home.

For medium renovations, expect a timeline of two weeks to six months. Such projects may entail installing a new fireplace, remodeling the kitchen, or refinishing the deck. Major renovation projects can go for more than a year. Included in this category are structural repairs and floor plan extensions.

Cosmetic Renovations

This type of project typically doesn’t require structural changes. It centers on improving the aesthetics and basic functionalities of the home. Apartments that are fairly new or that are well maintained can handle cosmetic changes without a fuss. For example, hardwood floorboard replacements can take about a week (from acclimation to installation). Interior painting takes a couple of days. A homeowner can install a bathtub in less than a day.

In most cases, cosmetic renovations are DIY-friendly. The tools are easily accessible and simple to use, plus homeowners can work with minimal budgets. Slightly more complex projects, like major plumbing work or window replacements, can be executed by licensed contractors.

Medium Renovations

Often, medium renovations involve slight structural changes or the installation of new amenities that are beyond the DIY boundaries. Such modifications might involve changing the roof, or installing a new kitchen island or a chimney. They take anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months.

For instance, a couple who owns a 3,000-square-foot house and plans to convert their one-car garage to a three-car garage could do so in two months, spending between $10,500 and $22,500. The project could take longer if they also opt to convert their basement into a living space.

Major Renovations

Projects within this category usually call for significant structural modifications. They are complex and often demand permits to execute. Real estate investors and agents target properties in need of such renovations due to the high ROI they provide when completed. They buy distressed homes with significant repair work but have the potential to appreciate and then sell them for a profit.

However, it’s not just as simple as flipping random houses. Several variables are involved, including the property’s location, intrinsic value, and type of repair (from foundation repairs to house raising). These projects usually cost upwards of $50,000.

However, major renovations don’t always necessitate complete overhauls. They could be small to medium-sized tasks that add up to a sizable amount of work. And even though their timelines are brief, their cumulative duration may exceed a year.

What to Consider When Setting a Renovation Timeline

A home renovation timeline is influenced by several moving parts:

  • Weather
  • Size
  • Budget
  • Permit and HOA paperwork.


Fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns, such as in Florida and Arizona, affect the duration of home renovations. Even with an agreed schedule in motion, a sudden rain storm or a cold snap might halt the process. There’s a high chance of encountering delays in a place, like central Florida, where thunderstorms are as frequent as sunshine. Thus, homeowners in such locations are advised to factor in a longer renovation timeline for their home projects.


Renovating a home is no child’s play. It takes a great deal of effort to pull it off, even for a seasoned general contractor. Bigger projects are inherently time-consuming due to their scale and scope. So, it’s a no-brainer that their timelines will be stretched longer than cosmetic or medium projects.


This is, by far, the most important factor when remodeling a housing unit. While homeowners would like to realize their dream homes in the shortest possible time, most of them can only afford the renovation costs to a certain degree. When such projects exceed the financial bandwidth, they come to a grinding halt or drag.

A contractor might discover that a once-minor issue has escalated (perhaps becoming a structural problem) and would need more than the agreed budget to fix it. In the absence of extra funds, the homeowner would most likely push back on the timeline to ease the budget constraints, a common problem with complicated renovations.

Permit and HOA Paperwork

Delays are most likely inevitable, even when the weather, size, and budget are spot on. They may stem from other active players within the renovation scope. This is particularly true for large-scale home remodeling projects. A contractor may find it difficult to obtain a permit from the permitting office due to backlog-related issues. An HOA could take a while to review the building design.

Such scenarios are beyond the homeowner’s control. But with a little foresight, such delays can be mitigated. This requires understanding how other relevant entities operate and planning a home renovation in phases to allow for unforeseen complications.


The above-discussed timelines and scenarios may give the impression that home renovations take a long time. From a different perspective, they help property owners prepare beforehand. As highly recommended, homeowners need the right team, a well-structured timeline, and a contingency plan.

It’s not always possible to predict the future. As such, there would be delays once in a while. However, if armed with the insights in this guide, a homeowner will be able to utilize proper time management when renovating a home.