How long does a bathroom renovation take?

Published by: Kevin Sears

13th December 23

Reading Time: 7 minutes and 55 seconds

A bathroom renovation is an extremely satisfying project that can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your bathroom. However, one of the most common questions asked is, "How long does a bathroom renovation take?".

Ultimately, the duration of a bathroom renovation varies depending on the bathroom's size, the extent of the work involved, and other factors. In this blog, we'll break down the timeline for bathroom renovations, including what to do before starting, and provide time frame estimates for different bathroom sizes.

How to prepare for a bathroom renovation and how long does preparation take?

Before you begin your bathroom renovation, careful planning and preparation are crucial. Although we have added specific time frames for each step, some of these steps can happen simultaneously, which will reduce the time frame. 

For individuals with a single bathroom in their home, it is crucial to plan ahead for toileting and washing arrangements during your bathroom renovation. It's worth considering options like using a neighbour's bathroom, showering in your local gym, asking a family member if you can use their bathroom, or even hiring a portable shower.

1. Design and Planning (2-4 weeks):

Start by creating a clear vision of your desired bathroom design. Take some time to research the bathroom style that you want, consider your budget, interior preferences, and the scope of the project. Here are some tips to help you during the design and planning phase:

  • You can use Pinterest for design inspiration and create moodboards for how you’d like your bathroom to look. Also keep an eye out for things. I.e. If you go to family or friend’s houses, to hotels, restaurants, bars etc. Take notes of things that you particularly like.
  • Research colour schemes and think about what colours you like and which colours you like together.
  • Consider what you want to keep and what you want to change in the bathroom. Will you be doing a complete renovation or will you keep the bath/shower/toilet and other bathroom fixtures in the same place?
  • Consider who will be using the bathroom. If you have young children, you may decide to keep/install a bath for easier bathing routines. Additionally, if you need easier mobility/accessibility around the bathroom make sure to do research for those aspects too.
  • Also consider storage space. Do you have a large family that needs a lot of storage space? Think about how much storage is needed and where you can keep your belongings. Mirrored cabinets or vanity units are great multipurpose options.
  • Another vital aspect to think about is the electricals. Not only the lighting but also electrical shaver sockets and electric that is needed for light-up cabinets etc.
  • During the designing and planning phase it is also vital to research about any permits or planning permissions you may need for the renovation. You’ll likely be fine without them, but if you’re planning a large renovation it’s important to make sure you have considered aspects like ventilation and drainage,

Once you have finalised how you want the bathroom to look and considered all of the above aspects of the project, consult with a professional designer or a contractor to create detailed plans and blueprints. 

2. Scheduling and Contractor Selection (2-4 weeks):

Select a reliable contractor or renovation team, discuss the project timelines and milestones, make a  design for you and your tradespeople to work from, sign contracts and establish a clear schedule. This can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

Tip: Make sure to read reviews and references of contractors, or additionally, go with a recommendation from someone you trust.

3. Ordering Materials (Varies between 3-7 weeks):

Order fixtures, tiles, cabinets, and any other materials well in advance to avoid delays. Give yourself some time to make accurate, defined decisions. Don’t rush the process. Make sure that everything you need arrives on-site before the project begins. It’s also worth requesting tile samples from a bathroom showroom as most are happy to provide them - this can give you a really useful insight into how your bathroom will look and whether your colour choices make sense aesthetically. 

4. Removal of Old Fixtures and Preparation (1-2 weeks):

  • The removal of existing fixtures, fittings, tiles, and any structural elements as needed.
  • Address any necessary repairs or modifications to plumbing and electrical systems.

It is possible to get this done within a couple of days but it depends on the scope of the project, whether you are keeping any existing fittings and whether any structural changes are being made. Aim for a minimum of 1 week just in case it takes longer than expected.

Depending on how quickly you’d like to get the renovation done and the size of the project, preparations for a bathroom renovation can take anywhere from around 4 - 8 weeks. Remember that quite a few of the above steps can be done simultaneously, rather than bit-by-bit - this makes the process much easier and quicker. 

How long does it take to renovate a bathroom?

Once all of the above preparation has been done, you can now prepare for the renovation to take place. The timeline for a bathroom renovation can vary depending on the size of the bathroom and the complexity of the project. Due to this, take into consideration that your project could potentially exceed the typical time frame.

While we provide these timeframes as general references, it's important to note that the project may extend beyond them, or it may even be completed earlier. While some bathroom renovations can be completed within a two-week period, others might need four weeks or more to achieve the final outcome. Here's a breakdown for different sized bathrooms:

1. Small Bathroom (1-2 weeks):

  • Plumbing and electrical work: 2-4 days

For minor alterations, which include keeping the sink, shower, and toilet in the same locations - the task may be completed within a single day. For more substantial modifications, the process could extend to as long as four days.

  • Installing new bathroom fixtures and finishes: 3-4 days

2. Medium-Sized Bathroom (2-3 weeks):

  • Plumbing and electrical work: 4-5 days
  • Installing fixtures and finishes: 7-10 days

3. Larger Bathrooms (3-4 weeks):

  • Plumbing and electrical work: 6-7 days
  • Installing fixtures and finishes: 10-14 days

Average time for a full bathroom renovation from design to completion

On average, a full bathroom renovation, from design to completion, can take anywhere from 1-3 months with smaller bathrooms or ensuites leaning toward the shorter end of the spectrum. Larger bathrooms or projects which are doing a complete demolition and renovation take more time.

Here's a rough timeline for a full bathroom renovation

  • Design and Planning: 2-4 weeks
  • Scheduling and Contractor Selection: 2-4 weeks
  • Ordering Materials: 1-2 weeks
  • Removal and Preparation: 1-2 weeks
  • Plumbing and Electrical Work: 0.5-2 weeks
  • Installing Fixtures and Finishes: 0.5-2 weeks

Keep in mind that unexpected issues or changes to the project scope can add time to your renovation, so it's essential to remain flexible and communicate openly with your contractor throughout the process.

Why Can a Bathroom Renovation Take Longer than Expected?

It is very rare to complete a bathroom renovation project on the exact deadline that you first initially hoped and scheduled for. It is likely that there may be some delays, so here are some things that may cause a delay during your bathroom renovation:

Unforeseen Issues

During the removal phase, hidden problems such as plumbing or electrical issues, water damage, or structural deficiencies may be discovered. Addressing these problems can extend the timeline.

Permits and Inspections

You’ll need to get your electrical work signed off but this is done by your electrician. If you’re planning a large-scale renovation and altering drainage, or adding a bathroom to a loft conversion or an extension for example, you may need planning permission. But in the vast majority of cases, this won’t be necessary.

Contractor Availability

Delays can occur if the contractors or subcontractors are unavailable due to scheduling conflicts, unexpected absences, or high demand in the construction industry.

Tip: Instead of hiring tradesmen separately, a good plumber will organise other trades, for you, if and when required. This is more efficient, cheaper and it is also hassle-free since you don’t have to do the juggling and scheduling of tradesmen yourself. Their quote normally includes all work, e.g. tiling, electrical etc.

Availability of Materials

With the current supply chain shortage, it is much more difficult to ensure that your materials will be delivered on time. Be aware that imported tiles and fixtures will also take longer to arrive too.

Tip: You could be extra vigilant and place your order a couple of months before so you know for sure they will arrive before your project starts.

Customisation

If your project involves custom-made materials, fixtures, or cabinetry, the production and delivery of these items may experience delays. Again, make sure to get a head start on all of these details, to minimise delays.

Ways That You Can Minimise Delays in Your Bathroom Renovation

Now that you know there could potentially be delays, here are some ways that you can prevent them from happening:

Thorough Planning

Start with a well-thought-out plan that includes a detailed scope of work, material selections, and a realistic timeline. Make sure to involve a professional designer or contractor to assist in the planning process.

Stick to The Plan 

Once you have solidified your plan, stick to it. Deviating from the plan can incur extra time and cost.

Clear Communication

Maintain open and transparent communication with your contractors and subcontractors. Regularly discuss the project's progress, any concerns, and expectations.

Contingency Planning

Build some flexibility into your project timeline to account for unexpected delays. A reasonable buffer can help absorb unforeseen issues without causing undue stress.

Quality Contractors

Hiring reputable, experienced contractors can help reduce delays caused by mistakes or mismanagement. Make sure to check references and reviews before making your selections.

Client Responsibilities

As the homeowner, be prepared to make timely decisions on design, materials, and fixtures. Promptly addressing any issues or concerns that arise can prevent delays.

Check the Weather

If the remodel involves exterior work, keep an eye on the weather forecast. Plan for inclement weather days and adjust the schedule accordingly.

Manage Expectations

Understand that even with meticulous planning, some delays may still occur. Being mentally prepared for this can reduce stress during the renovation.

Temporary Accommodations:

If the bathroom is your only one, plan for temporary solutions, like a portable toilet or using a neighbour's bathroom during the renovation.

Conclusion

The duration of a bathroom renovation project largely depends on its size and complexity. Careful planning, efficient scheduling, and working with experienced professionals can help streamline the process. Regardless of the size of your bathroom, remember that a well-executed renovation can bring both functionality and beauty to your home, making it all worth the time and effort.

If you are looking for some fixtures or furniture for your bathroom renovation, view our full range of bathroom fixtures, furniture and accessories here. Additionally, if you are looking for further inspiration, check out our other blogs:

Kevin Sears

About Kevin Sears

Kevin Sears is a bathroom and interior design blogger here at 34 St John. He creates original content utilising his extensive knowledge of the bathroom industry and latest trends.

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