9 Things That Will Slow Down Your Home Renovation

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Reviewed by Robert Tschudi
Updated January 3, 2022
Modern, remodeled kitchen
Photo: Coralimages / Adobe Stock

Without a budget or the right tools, your renovation project can get delayed—here are the best ways to fend off a reno slowdown

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Whether you’re giving your laundry room a major facelift or tackling a kitchen remodel, home renovations are big undertakings with even bigger payoffs. Home upgrades breathe new life into your living space and offer you the chance to design each detail.

But no matter if you're renovating a house with no experience or are a seasoned DIYer, delays can happen with any project. By identifying the things that will slow down your renovation and taking a few key steps to avoid them, you’ll be enjoying your new bathroom or home office before you know it.

1. Lack of a Precise Plan

Maybe you’re inspired by watching a home renovation show or are excited about a few free weekends on your calendar when you can finally take on your kitchen improvement. Not so fast. While motivation helps your renovation project come to fruition, planning and patience are just as critical. 

Take time to map out a clear plan for your renovation, including the scope, budget, and schedule. Add in buffers to your budget for unforeseen costs, and add extra days to your timeline for delays.

For instance, your local granite countertop installer might need five weeks to measure, order, and install the new surface, but it’ll look gorgeous when complete, so your patience is worth it.

2. Attempting a DIY When Hiring a Pro Would Be Best

Some homeowners try to tackle HVAC or plumbing work without the proper experience. If you’re not careful, you can run into problems that can be frustrating and time-consuming. If you spring a leak while fidgeting with your pipes, you could have water damage and need to call a plumber in the end anyway. 

“Plumbing is an art and a skill. While there are plumbing tasks that a DIYer can do easily, there are so many things that could go wrong,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and a general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “Everything from shower valves to tankless water heaters to water coolers require exact installation—you are paying for experience, and it’s worth it.”

While there can be pride in doing it all yourself, be sure to assess your home renovation skills before starting your project. Consider hiring contractors to tackle pieces of your project where you’re not as confident, or that could be dangerous.

3. Hitting Your Budget Too Soon

Nothing slows down a home renovation project like getting halfway through and needing to push pause until you can pay for the next steps. Consider saving up for the full project and get quotes from local contractors beforehand to ensure you can cover all the costs of a bathroom remodel or kitchen renovation.

4. Delay in Securing Tools and Materials

The cabinets you love might be on backorder, or the floor sander you want to rent isn’t available until next weekend. Make sure you order and plan for the right building materials and tools before you begin your renovation project. That means picking out your paint colors, doors, hardware, and windows before you begin.

Be sure you have all the tools you need, too, because trips to the store can also lead to an extended timeline.

5. Contractor Availability

Sometimes the best contractors are booked for a few weeks or months and can’t take on any new projects. From local general contractors to plumbers, book your experts in advance to ensure you have the help you need when you need it.

Talk with your contractor about what works for your family schedule. Maybe you don’t want the drywallers coming on Saturday morning when you usually sleep in, or you host a book club every Wednesday afternoon. Getting on the same page with your contractor ensures you’re sticking to a realistic project timeline that doesn’t disrupt too much of your lifestyle.

6. Muddling up Permits

For certain projects, like a kitchen renovation, you’ll likely need a permit to do the work. If you hire a kitchen renovation pro near you, they handle the permit process for you. If you opt for a homeowner’s permit, the approval process could add time to your project. There are municipality rules, building codes, and zoning laws to follow. Your project needs to meet code so it can pass inspection. Otherwise, you may have to do extra work to bring your renovation up to code.

“As odious as the permitting process is, in the end, it actually provides you with added value,” says Tschudi. “When you go to sell your property, potential buyers will comb over every decision you’ve made, and an unpermitted change or addition can’t be included in the cost-per-square-foot asking price. You actually lose the investment you’ve made, because it is illegitimate to buyers.”

7. Increasing the Scope of Your Project

Once you have a wall open for HVAC work, it could make sense to add insulation, too. If you’re rewiring the living room, maybe now’s the time to add recessed lighting. Expanding the size of your project can be the right move but adds time and cost to the job.

Historical home renovations tend to have an extended scope because of the age of the home and the greater possibility for improvements. Many historic districts require that they approve of any changes to the exterior of your house to make sure that the materials reflect the age that the house was constructed. 

8. Forgetting to Factor in Weather

Snowy winter months or rainy spring days can delay your home renovation project. Whether you’re getting a new roof or taking on the cost of adding a sunroom, factor in extra time for delays outside of your control.

9. Booking Your Contractors Out of Order

You may need a drywaller, trim carpenter, and electrician for your kitchen reno, but booking them in the right order is a step often missed. Depending on the season, everyone might not be available in perfect sequence, but planning it in advance can help mitigate delays.

Think through the steps of your home renovation to ensure you are coordinating your contractors in the best order for your project. Speaking with pros can also help, as they often know the best order of operations for remodeling success.

FAQs About Home Renovations

Kitchen counter being renovated
Photo: Ungvar / Adobe Stock

How long do home renovations typically take?

Home renovations can take anywhere from a few weeks for minor projects to six to nine months for larger projects. If you’re remodeling an entire home, it could take up to a year. 

Some projects take a long time because of budget problems, scheduling issues, unforeseen delays, and expanding the scope of the project. If you’re doing the renovation yourself, you may also run out of time and energy, especially if you have a busy work or family life. Creating clear plans and hiring contractors can help speed up your project.

How much does a home renovation typically cost?

Home renovation costs between $10 and $60 per square foot on average, but can be up to $150 per square foot. Your final cost depends on the room, the materials and finishes you choose, and where you live. In general, bathrooms and kitchen cost the most to renovate, with bedrooms and living rooms being on the lower end. 

Home renovations are an investment of both time and money. In the end, your home improvement will enhance the quality of your life and increase the value of your property.

How can I make a home renovation go more smoothly?

Create a detailed plan, hire the right contractors, and budget accordingly. While home renovations can be stressful at times, it’s important to remember that the effort is worth it and that time ensures quality. Some people also choose to stay with friends and family members during the renovation, so your contractors can be on-site around the clock without worrying about disrupting your family life. Stepping out of the space also gives you a mental break from the process. 

When your home renovation seems to be taking forever, hang in there and remember that beautiful progress is happening.

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