How Long Does a Bathroom Renovation Take?

Are you planning a bathroom renovation and feel uncertain about where to begin?

Bathroom renovations can be a great way to freshen up your home and add some extra value to your property. The complexity of the renovation project can greatly impact how much time it takes to complete, making it paramount to plan accordingly. 

In this article, we take you through the seven stages of a bathroom renovation to help you create a renovation timeline. From the planning and design phase to the final inspection and finishing touches, we guide you through each step of the process. 

Keep reading to find out how long the average bathroom renovation takes to complete!

Creating a Renovation Timeline: The 7 Stages Of Bathroom Renovation

As you dive into the process of renovating your bathroom, it is critically important to establish a clear timeline for when you want this renovation to be complete.

Creating a bathroom renovation timeline goes beyond simply choosing a target start and end date. There are many stages to the renovation process, each of which can be impacted by a variety of different factors. 

To guide you through creating your timeline, we have divided the process into seven stages: 

  1. Planning & Designing
  2. Demolition
  3. Plumbing & Electric
  4. Flooring & Walls
  5. Countertops & Fixtures
  6. Final Inspections
  7. Finishing Touches

Take a look at each of these stages and the estimated amount of time needed for each below: 

Stage 1: Planning & Designing 

The very first stage of your bathroom renovation involves little manual labor — instead, this first stage is all about getting your ducks in a row and creating a solid plan.

Here are five key factors to consider in the planning and design stage: 

  • Designing Your Bathroom: Before you can begin the process of renovating your bathroom, you need to create an architectural plan and design. Depending on the complexity of the project, this design process can be simple or complicated. For example, if you plan on only replacing existing fixtures (like toilets and sinks), your design only needs to account for the dimensions of the new fixtures and of the room itself. Comparatively, if you plan on moving fixtures or demolishing your bathroom entirely, your design plan will need to account for existing water and electrical lines and how you plan to either work around them or move them. Give yourself at least one month to plan your renovation, though a three to six-month headstart on planning is ideal. 
  • Determining a Budget: As you design your bathroom renovation, you must keep in mind the amount of funds you have to work with. Determining a budget as you plan is crucial, as this will help you decide how much you can spend on materials and whether or not your budget allows for hiring professional renovators. A budget can be made in as little as one day, though this process can take longer if you plan on working with a bank to obtain a loan for funding your renovation project. The best bet is to incorporate your budgeting into the planning stage. 
  • Obtaining Building Permits: As part of the planning stage of your bathroom renovation, it is vital to determine if you need to obtain a building permit for your project. If your renovation project involves any major demolition, electrical, or plumbing work, you will almost always need a permit. However, many city building departments these days try to streamline the permit process. For example, the City of Chicago offers the Easy Permit Program, which allows for repairs, replacements, and minor modifications of existing home features without the provision of architectural plans. Obtaining a permit can take as little as a week or as long as a month or more — thus, getting your permit squared away early is key. 
  • Hiring Renovation Professionals: Unless you have a strong background in construction, renovation, or architectural design, it is to your benefit to work with renovation professionals on your bathroom renovation project. You can involve professionals in as much or as little of the process as you would like. For example, maybe you only need help with the design portion of the process and not the actual manual labor. Alternatively, you may need assistance with the entire project, from planning to execution. The key to hiring professionals is to have a few options within your budget in case your first choice is booked out for too long. Plan to set aside at least two to four weeks for contacting and hiring renovation contractors
  • Ordering Supplies: The final step in the planning and design stage is to choose the materials you want to be used for your bathroom renovation. This can include a variety of items, such as fixtures (toilets, sinks, lights, etc.), flooring, countertops, cabinet systems, and wall finishings. The amount of time it will take for you to receive all of your materials and supplies depends on whether you are ordering these goods online or picking them up from a store that has what you need in stock. Giving yourself at least two to four weeks to obtain supplies is a safe bet. 

Many of the tasks outlined above can be performed simultaneously. For example, you can begin researching supplies and renovation experts as you create your design for your bathroom renovation.

In total, you should give yourself a minimum of one month to complete the planning stage

Stage 2: Demolition & Rebuilding

The second stage of renovating a bathroom is all about structural changes.

If you do not plan to make any major structural changes to your bathroom, then you may generally skip this step. Otherwise, you will need to plan accordingly for a demotion.

Demolitions can often be one of the most complex parts of the renovation process, as you must be highly aware of how each structural element impacts the integrity of your property as a whole. We highly recommend working with demolition professionals for this stage of the renovation process to ensure you do not make any changes that can harm the value or integrity of your home down the line. 

As bathrooms are relatively small rooms, demolishing a bathroom typically takes between one to two days to complete. The entire demolishing and rebuilding process can take roughly one week

Stage 3: Plumbing & Electric

Stage three goes hand-in-hand with stage two.

As you demolish existing structures in your bathroom, you must be highly aware of where current plumbing and electrical lines are. In cases of a full demolition, you will need to re-construct these plumbing and electrical lines during the rebuilding process, making sure the lines lead to where you want to place your new bathroom fixtures. 

Like the demolition process, it is highly recommended to work with professional plumbers and electricians for this stage. Trying to complete plumbing and electrical work with little to no experience can lead to vulnerabilities in your home that can eventually become major threats, such as leaking pipes that lead to interior flooding or faulty electrical work that leads to a house fire. 

Give yourself at least one to two weeks to complete all necessary plumbing and electrical work

Stage 4: Flooring & Walls

Once all of your rebuilding, plumbing, and electrical work is complete, you can finish off the walls and floors of your bathroom with the materials of your choice.

Tile is always a good choice for bathroom flooring, as it does not absorb moisture in the same way laminate or wood floors can. Just keep in mind that tile can be slippery when wet, so make sure to also purchase a few quality non-slip rugs to set down in your bathroom. 

As for the walls of your bathroom, the standard wall-finishing process is to put up drywall, mud the drywall, apply primer, and apply the paint of your choice. The best types of paint for a bathroom are satin, semi-gloss, or glossy paints — make sure to choose a paint that is resistant to moisture and mildew!

Depending on the size of your bathroom, installing flooring and finishing the walls can take between one day to one week in total to complete

Stage 5: Countertops & Fixtures

Stages five and four are another set of stages that go hand-in-hand.

Oftentimes, if you are replacing fixtures like toilets and sinks, the new fixtures will be installed before the flooring is completed. By doing so, you can line the flooring up with the new fixtures and make sure it looks clean and polished. Comparatively, countertops and cabinet systems are best to install after finishing the floors and walls, as this keeps any stray paint or materials from landing on your finishings. 

Installing countertops, cabinets, and fixtures in a bathroom can take between one to five days.

Stage 6: Final Inspections

If you were required to obtain a building permit for your bathroom renovation, then the next to last step in the renovation process is to schedule and complete a final inspection.

Final inspections involve a professional inspector who comes to your home and ensures all new features, fixtures, and constructions are up to your local building code. This inspection process is necessary, as it certifies that your renovation is complete and the bathroom is ready for use.

Moreover, having a final inspection on record can be crucial if you ever decide to sell your home.

Scheduling with an inspector can depend on how busy they are and whether or not you are on track to complete your renovation on the timeline you have created. Ideally, you should schedule your final inspection within the same week of completion.

However, you should try to keep in touch with your local inspector as you complete the renovation. By doing so, you can better determine when the inspector will be available. 

Passed inspections take no more than a day and typically less than an hour for small room inspections. 

Stage 7: Finishing Touches

With your final inspection complete, you can put the final finishing touches on your bathroom. 

This may include:

  • Adding a second layer of paint or an accent wall
  • Purchasing and installing shower and window curtains
  • Purchasing towels and toiletries
  • Adding non-slip rugs to your bathroom
  • Setting up any bathroom décor you want in your space 

The finishing touches are what bring your bathroom together and make it fit in with the style and ambiance of your home. Give yourself ample time to make these finishing touches!

Final Thoughts: The Average Time Needed to Renovate a Bathroom

Now that we have taken you through each of the seven stages of bathroom renovation, let’s quickly recap how much time you can expect to spend on the process: 

  1. Planning & Designing: At least one month
  2. Demolition: One to two days for partial demolitions, one week for full demolitions
  3. Plumbing & Electric: One to two weeks
  4. Flooring & Walls: One to seven days
  5. Countertops & Fixtures: One to five days
  6. Final Inspections: One day
  7. Finishing Touches: As much time as needed

In total, that brings us to an average of one to two months to plan and complete a bathroom renovation. Of course, spending more time in the planning phase can help you to speed up the later processes, so dedicating more time in the early stages can be highly beneficial in the long run.

To get the best possible final result, we recommend working with professional renovators. This helps ensure that you not only achieve your dream bathroom design but that all stages in the process are completed correctly and efficiently.

With that said, we wish you the best of luck on your bathroom renovation!