Clement's Remodeling Tips: Time To Take Charge?

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized

Huntington Beach chimes in with a GREAT Remodeling question. HB asks: “How long does a single bathroom remodel usually take you, a single bathtub and toilet?”

I wish I could fire out a quick answer like “Oh that usually takes a day.” The reality is that I’d have to be see the space first hand and analyze as many variables as possible before answering that. See, in an old house, the shin bone is connected to the collar bone no matter what project you’re working on.

But why I applaud HB for asking that specific question is that thinking through how long things take–or might take if it hits the fan–is a key element to success, in my view. It doesn’t even take that long.

See, lots of home improvers (and this includes some pros) dive into a project without thinking through how long it’ll take. They assign it a certain amount of time I suppose–weekend, vacation, etc.–but that’s fictionalizing reality. A job takes as long as it takes. Just because you have a weekend to a do a job that takes 5 days doesn’t mean you can skip steps so it’ll be done in a weekend.

Parenthetically, I feel like I’ve seen a TV show about this–DIYers take on a massive project and then invariably run out of time. Am I crazy or is this a show?

Anyway, I wouldn’t start the project until I spent about an hour thinking through what some contractors call the “critical path.” That’s a dramatic name for a To-Do list.

~ Get supplies

~ Stage supplies somewhere

~ Dust protection

~ Demo–Sub-heads for demo include: floor joists leveling and repair: yes or no; plumbing upgrade: yes or no; electrical upgrade: yes or no. Also, can you get the tub out without wrecking the floor and wall-cladding  around it? (Answer is probably no.) Is the tub cast iron? Can you lift it alone? See where this is going…

See, once you start to think through the steps in a little more detail, you start to see where some of the pitfalls are and where you might lose time or need some help. And, if you’re doing this in a home where, like me, your family is also living, they want to know when they can have their bathroom back.

I wish I could keep going on this topic, but I have to leave you with one last thing: When assigning a time-value to something, go with the worst case scenario. In all my years repairing houses, I’ve never had one person upset that I finished earlier than I said I would.

I hope this helps HB. Thanks for your terrific question__