• LISA KAPLAN GORDON

How Long Is That Remodel Going to Take?


Renovations can take weeks — and sometimes months. That means endless days of subcontractors traipsing through your home, noisy tools, and major dust. Even some minor projects can disrupt your daily routine. Before you begin to remodel, know what’s in store for you and your family.

We’ve highlighted nine common remodeling projects that homeowners are likely to undertake — projects that require professional contractors and that take at least one week to complete. We also talked with veteran remodeler Paul Sullivan, who has renovated homes for 34 years and is president of The Sullivan Company in Newton, Mass. Sullivan helped us rate each project on a “disruption scale” of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least disruptive to your everyday home life and 10 the most. If your project reaches a 10, consider getting a hotel room for the duration.

Attic Bedroom Conversion

National median cost: $65,000

Time: 8 to 10 weeks

What’s involved: A project that converts unconditioned attic space into a bedroom must include egress windows and at least one closet. Most likely, you’ll extend plumbing, HVAC ducts, and electrical wiring to the attic, and add insulation, drywall, and flooring.

Disruption scale: 3 Luckily, most of the work is in the attic and doesn’t involve your main living areas. You’ll have to put up with contractors moving through the house to get to the top, so provide drop cloths or old rugs to protect your floors. Also, plaster dust from drywall installation and finishing likely will float throughout your home, so you’ll want to change furnace filters every two to three weeks during the project.

Spend Oh-So-Wisely on a Kitchen Remodel
  1. 6 Materials to Never Use in Your Kitchen

  2. How to Shop for a Retro Kitchen — and Not Get Stuck with Junk

  3. Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

National median cost: $7 per square foot Time: 2 to 14 days What’s involved: Sanding, staining, and sealing wood floors. Disruption scale: 9 Whether you’re refinishing one floor or an entire house, the process involves a world of hurt. You have to move furniture and cover surfaces to protect from wood dust, which disrupts the flow of family life. And if you use oil-based sealants, you’ll have to live somewhere else to avoid breathing VOC fumes. Plus, you won’t be able to walk on floors for at least two days after the last coat of sealant is applied. Related: Should You Refinish Hardwood Floors Yourself?

Bathroom Renovation

National median cost: $26,000 Time: 2 to 3 weeks What’s involved: Turning your outdated bathroom into a dream spa includes updating plumbing fixtures, installing ceramic tile around a porcelain-on-steel tub, replacing an old toilet with a low-flow, comfort-height model, and installing ceramic floor tiles and solid-surface vanity counters. Disruption scale: 7 to 10 If you’re remodeling your only bathroom, expect major