If you’re planning to renovate or remodel your home, it’s helpful to know which order the trades will come in at which points in the process so you can prepare and plan accordingly. The “dirty to clean” remodeling mentality, which is frequently applied to home construction timelines, means that anything that can easily be marred by other activity should be completed last.
What to expect for a timeline with a new construction home or a complete renovation
The amount of work that goes in will of course vary based on whether you’re constructing a new home from scratch or just renovating a room in your house, but the same general structure in terms of timeline is usually followed.
Everything has to go down on paper (digital or otherwise) first and get approval from all sides before the shovels hit the ground. Any roofing and foundation work that must be done are usually tackled as the first physical tasks, then comes structural carpentry, such as constructing new walls, doors, and structural beams. Next is up HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work, then installing windows. Then, insulation and drywall is installed, and next it’s time for finish carpentry work such as trim and molding, baseboards, and any built-in elements such as bookcases. It’s called finish carpentry for a reason––this is where some of the final touches come in.
The next step is where some debate comes in. The debate is usually centered around whether you should install, sand, and finish the floors before or after painting the walls. If you lay the flooring first, paint might get on the flooring, whereas your sander might scuff up the walls, molding, and baseboards if you do this work first and lay flooring after. What you decide will largely be a case of weighing the pros and cons.
We would suggest laying the flooring as one of the final pieces of interior work because fixing them is more difficult than repairing or painting over a scuffed up wall. So, installing the floors as late as possible in the process can save the floors from a significant amount of damage from other trades.
The last step of the process is usually any remaining exterior work that needs to be done, including gutters and siding.
How homeowners can make the home renovating or remodeling process go as smoothly as possible
Get familiar with the process. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the average timeline and, of course, the expected budget for each part of your project. The best way to do this is to ask the contractors approximately how long their respective steps will take while keeping in mind that things can, and often do, get pushed back and aren’t always completed within the timeframe originally set out during the planning and design phase. Because of this, it’s also important to be patient and manage your expectations.
Hire a general contractor. If you’re planning a big remodel or renovation, hiring someone who oversees the whole process and manages all trades––a general contractor––will help to reduce the amount of moving parts on the project and keep everything more organized. It’s much easier to have your GC as your main point of contact rather than several different points of contact for all of the trades involved in your project.
Do your research beforehand. During the pitching phase, before plans are laid out, look at reviews for each contractor and company that would be involved with your project. Ensure that all contractors you’re considering for the project are highly recommended by way of online reviews or personal references, and have all of the necessary licenses and permits to complete the work they’re supposed to do. If they don’t acquire the proper permits and licenses to complete the project, your timeline might be significantly pushed back if your local licensing and inspections department (or the equivalent) gets involved and puts a stop to it.