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What is a realistic timeframe and budget for a renovation?

Posted By Hammertime  
01/11/2021
08:00 AM

We love a home renovation show as much as the next person, but as they increase in popularity so too have the expectations on real world builders undertaking renovations.

 In this month’s blog, we’re going to take a look at some renovations we have completed, and share what realistic timeframes and budgets looks like. And let’s be clear, a kitchen, laundry and bathroom renovation in a week is completely unrealistic! 

It’s also important to know that while there are often known delays such as waiting on products to be ordered, unplanned delays that can crop up as work is undertaken can hold up your renovation.

Last year we undertook a kitchen renovation in East Keilor. This included replacing the existing kitchen, and adding an external window between the benchtop and overhead cabinetry. 

We started this project on 9 March, and completed it on 19 April, three days over our original estimated completion date. Within this 40 day period there were three public holidays and of course weekends, so it was 26 working days. 

The timing of your renovation should always be considered, taking into account longer periods of shut downs for public holidays. Easter, Melbourne Cup and, of course, Christmas, present the longest run of public holidays and shut down periods.

What was the renovation process?

The first two weeks of this renovation were all about demolition and prep work. The existing kitchen was removed and the frames for new bulkheads constructed. The frame for the new window was also installed and bricked in. The plumbing and electrical work was done as well as flooring patching to suit the new cabinetry. 

The third and fourth week of the renovation saw the installation of the new kitchen and measurements taken for the stone. The electrical fit off was also done in this time. We then faced some delays while waiting for the stone due to the Easter long weekend, and the fifth week was waiting for the benchtop to be made and delivered.

The final week of the renovation, the sixth week, was the stone install, plumbing fit off, cleaning and caulking. So in total we saw a full kitchen renovation undertaken in six weeks, within a budget of $60,000 to $80,000. And this budget includes EVERYTHING – demolition, prep work, cabinetry, electrical, plumbing, fittings and fixtures, painting and appliances. 

What can delay a kitchen renovation?

What you don’t see on TV is the various delays that can occur throughout the renovation process. In fact, it seems like these obstacles don’t even exist! Typically stone benchtops are the main delay when it comes to a kitchen renovation. They can’t be measured until the cabinetry and substrate are installed. This usually has to occur in week two of the renovation. The stone can then take up to 10 business days. Once installed, the tiling (if required), plumbing and electrical work can be completed. Usually a kitchen can be wrapped up one week after the stone is installed. If we are painting the kitchen, we try and get this done while we are waiting for the stone.

How long does a laundry renovation take?

A laundry renovation is typically a shorter turnaround time, but as we know, can make a huge difference to a home!

We recently undertook a laundry renovation in Northcote, it involved removing the existing laundry cabinetry, the splashback and floor tiles and replacing them with new ones. This laundry was completed two weeks, one week ahead of the projected time frame which we’re always happy about! Our clients spent $14,000 to $18,000 on this renovation.

The short turnaround was possible because there was no movement in the plumbing location and the bench top was laminate so there were no delays waiting for the stone benchtop. Like a kitchen renovation, this the stone benchtop is the main delay in a laundry.

How long does a bathroom renovation take?

Last year we completed a bathroom and powder room renovation in Kew. This wasn’t a straight up demolish and replace, so took a little longer than a typical bathroom renovation that doesn’t include a layout change. We would estimate four weeks for a straight forward demo and replace with everything going back in the same spot. 

This one, however, saw a new layout with the addition of a cavity sliding door and renovated powder room. It took six weeks, still a pretty impressive turnaround time we think! And was exactly what we estimated for our clients. It cost $35,000 to $50,000.

This renovation was also done at a good time of year, in late April and May, where there are no public holidays or extended periods of shut down. Something that should always be factored in to your own renovation scheduled planning. 

What can make a bathroom take a little longer?

Some common delays in bathroom renovations are additional carpentry works to rectify out of square sub frames, walls and ceilings. These are often seen when retrofitting an existing space, rather than building a brand new frame. These issues need to be rectified, straight and level walls, floors and ceilings are critical to a quality tile finish.

How long would it take to renovate my whole home?

A full home renovation is always going to take several months to complete. Last year we completed one in Heidelberg, which ran from April to December. 

The project was done in two parts, we completed downstairs and then the clients moved downstairs so we could work on upstairs. Downstairs we moved some walls to create a bigger bathroom and kitchenette with a living space. 

The upstairs was a large-scale renovation, a full gut of the existing home. It involved significant changes to structural walls to create totally new open plan living and kitchen areas with skylights and a new large entry pivot door, internal doors and windows, new engineered flooring throughout and fresh paint. We moved more walls to create a master bathroom with European laundry and new ensuite off the master bedroom. No stone was unturned upstairs!

For a job as significant as this, we estimated seven months from start to finish. Then COVID-19 shutdowns hit. However, even after eight weeks of not being able to work on the project at all, we were still able to hand the home back to our clients after eight months. 

What’s the full home reno process?

A typical renovation like this starts with demolition, framing, carpentry work, including straitening any existing framework, installing external doors and windows, cladding the exterior of the house, installing heating/cooling and roughing in electrical and plumbing.

Then comes the plastering, this is always an exciting step for clients because things really start to take shape. At this renovation it was then time for installing under tile heating, waterproofing, joinery, tiling, painting, stone tops, fit off for heating/cooling, stone benchtops, electrical and plumbing work, the engineered floors were laid, skirting boards installed, painting and final cleaning and caulking works.

What delays could we face?

While we hope that COVID-19 delays are a thing of the past, along the way there are other things that can hold up a renovation. When stripping a house back to its frame, any unforeseen additional structural rectifications can add some time onto a renovation. And of course, sometimes clients change their mind along the way, and want to make changes to the plans. We work closely with our clients and constant communication is one of our priorities, so while changes can be made as they see progress they can impact the timeline. 

Something that can also delay a large scale home renovation is weather impacts. However once at lock up stage this isn’t a concern. 

Our jobs typically race to plastering stage because we have our direct employees on the job full time to this point. Once plastering is completed, it is sub-contractors who are scheduled one after the other so things can slow down slightly at this point.  

Just like “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, home renovations can’t be turned around the way they are on television. We hope this has helped you have a more realistic idea of how long renovations can take and will help in planning your future renovations. If you have any questions, please get in touch!