Why can't a renovation go any faster?

Here is a question that many people ask during the process of any renovation. Why can’t this process go on my timeline? The answer to this question is very simple… renovation is much more complicated than it appears.

In recent years homeowners have been led to believe that renovating is a quick easy process. When watching a renovation on HGTV or YouTube you were not seeing every aspect of the renovation. Viewers are being marketed to in order to sell products and that is the goal here. Yes, you might pick up a few quick tips along the way, but this does not arm you with all the information needed to manage or conduct a renovation on your own. And this really doesn’t give you an accurate portrayal of what a professional renovation is like.

Yes, you will see massive transformations in a real-life professional renovation, sometimes even more profound than what you see on TV, But what you don’t see is the real process, in real life as professional designers and renovators, our goals are to create a massive transformation but also to create a home that our homeowners love and can function in safely for many years and to produce high-quality work and craftsmanship. 

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This requires much more work than a quick conversation about color or counter-top decisions, or a quick trip to a hardware store. From a design perspective, during a professional design and renovation project, much time is spent with the homeowner in the initial design process. Numerous meetings are spent with our clients. This is where I spend time assessing their needs listening to their concerns and wish lists and then, of course, creating an initial detailed design.

This process, if it is done correctly, takes some time. The lead up to your renovation requires time and thorough planning. Any time steps are skipped in this early process results in backtracking during your renovation. This is where most renovations go astray.  Having inadequate preparations or incomplete designs can cost homeowners weeks/months or longer.

The next thing that makes renovations take long is not being prepared with qualified contractors and knowing the process and protocols of working with contractors. If you’re renovating on your own and you’ve decided to demo over the weekend, don’t expect to call a plumber on Monday and have them drop everything to do your rough-in plumbing. All contractors have schedules and book projects in advance (sometimes several months in advance). This is something that can be avoided and will always make your renovation take longer.

Add rich color.

The next thing that makes the renovation take long is not being prepared with product selections. Different products require different preparation. For instance, if you’re doing a tile back-splash, the preparation work that would need to happen if you decide on a glass tile is much different then if you’re doing a porcelain tile or marble. So not knowing what the selection is far enough in advance of the preparation work will cause some backtracking. If your contractor is ready to put in the back-splash and you haven’t started shopping for a back-splash tile yet your project is now on pause and sometimes this forces your contractors to have to move onto another project while they wait for your decisions. Product availability is another thing that takes your project into a longer time period.

The final reason that a renovation project takes long is you might have unrealistic expectations about how long a renovation actually takes. Because you don’t know all of the details that happen, or have to happen, before those kitchen cabinets are installed. You might look at your project and ask “why aren’t the kitchen cabinets going in yet?”. Sometimes there are numerous steps that have to be taken before you start to see a big visual. Example: kitchen cabinets floors must be leveled, walls must be leveled, rough-in plumbing and electrical must be done, insulation and any construction issues addressed when opening up walls, etc. These are things that have to be addressed before the cabinets are installed. Things must be done in the right order. Quality contractors will keep you informed when construction issues are found and explain what is happening. Even so, the amount of time that it takes it’s usually longer than you think it should be because you don’t know all of the steps involved.

It would be helpful to learn as much as you can about renovation before you begin. Although, sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous because you don’t know all of the common pitfalls and issues that could arise. Your renovation is best left in the hands of a professional from start to finish. Design and renovation of your home it’s a costly project but it becomes even more costly when experimenting or learning on your home. This is typically the number one reason a renovation project goes beyond your expected time frame. So, if you desire your renovation to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible with professional results, bring in the professionals early in the planning stages of your project. 

Until next time, 


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