Remodeling Guide

The following remodeling guide is designed to take you step-by-step from the very beginning of your project, all the way through to a successful completion.

Not only will this guide get you started in the right direction, but it will give you a reasonable estimate as to the length of time that a certain part of the remodel should last.

Whether renovating your primary residence, or undertaking a house flip opportunity, this remodeling guide will help you accomplish your goals.

Use the specific information and get your remodel project started now. Please keep in mind, however, that this guide is intended to ‘cover all bases’, as it were. Your particular job may encompass only some of the aspects mentioned. So just take what you need, and ignore the rest.



  1. Have your ability to finance the project in place, either through home-equity lines, remodeling loans, loans for property investment. etc.

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  1. Check to make sure you are properly insured for your particular remodeling project.
  2. If your renovation is relatively minor in detail, a simple drawing will do. If your remodeling is extensive, however, detailed blueprints will most certainly be required. Have your draftsman or architect reproduce your floor plan on a set of blueprints. These prints should be distributed among the many trades (electrician, plumber, HVAC, framer, etc.) so each of them can determine how much materials and labor is needed, and how long their respective jobs will take to complete. They then will give you their estimate based on these blueprints.
  3. Consult your local city building inspection/permit division to see if you need to obtain a building permit for your particular project. If you are in any way removing walls, and/or erecting interior walls, you will need to obtain said permit.


This last (#4) is very important because you’ll want to make sure your project will be in compliance with all relevant safety and fire codes. If you fail to obtain a permit where one is needed, a stop-work order can be placed on your premises (with several days of work stoppage and hefty fees owed in the form of fines) until your project is brought into compliance.

Securing Vacant House
Make sure your investment property is properly secured on the inside, as well as out. Do this first upon acquisition of property.

Site Preparation

Temporary Electric
If you’re getting ready to start an extensive remodeling project involving the entire house with complete demolition, have your electrical contractor erect a temporary electric pole.

In most cases, all utilities (water, electrical) have been shut off leading into the property as a result of the former owners/tenants moving out. In order to gain electrical power (for succeeding remodeling work), your electrical contractor should set the pole, and have the electric service connected.

Portable Bathroom
You will need to provide a portable bathroom on your site for the workers to use if existing facilities are non-functional, or gone altogether. In fact, in many cities across the country, this is a requirement.

Plan where you want to locate your dumpster. Put it in a place that is easily accessible to your house, but not near your neighbor’s house, or out in a busy street.

After temporary electric is connected and the dumpster set, begin your interior (and exterior) demolition. Sometimes, people think that all they need to do is pick up a hammer and start busting up the place. But as you can see, preparing the house for remodeling requires planning and forethought.

  • This is also a great time to trim all trees and bushes, clean out garage, basement, attic, whatever. Fill every inch of the dumpster up (not higher than the top) as much as you can.
  • Get your demo crew together wearing the necessary protective wear, and get busy. Make sure your workers use a mask, gloves, etc., because it will get extremely dusty and dirty.
  • Remodeling Guide estimated time: Anywhere from a week to two weeks depending on scope of tear-out.

Actual Remodeling/Rough-In

After all the demo work is done and the site is relatively clean, you’re ready to begin the framing, or structural phase of the renovation if required. Alert the framing inspector as to what you’re going to do (the name and number is located on the permit you were issued earlier), and have him come to your site and tell you (and you’re framer) what is reasonably expected in the way of actual framing.

When the job is completed, call him for an inspection. If everything is done according to his expectations, you will have no problems. The important thing to remember here, is that the inspector realizes you are on a budget.

He will, however, expect you to do the necessary proper framing techniques to satisfy code requirements. So don’t cut corners just to save a few bucks. This would definitely start you off on the wrong foot.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: A few days to 2 weeks (if affected by weather).

Set Windows/Exterior Doors
If your plans call for it, this is the time to install any windows and exterior doors, post framing.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 1-2 days

Mechanicals Rough-In
Have the mechanical contractors (HVAC, plumbing, electric) begin installation of their respective jobs when in “rough”, or the unfinished framing phase.

Do the rough installation in the following order:

  1. Heating and Air (HVAC)
  2. Plumbing contractor
  3. Electrical contractor

Consult with respective trades to see how long it will take them to perform their rough-in installation, and to then get inspected.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: This could take anywhere from several days to several weeks depending on the scope of the job for each trade. For smaller, individual room remodels, the time will be considerably shorter, with a week to two weeks as a reasonable time frame.

Once your mechanicals are in place (and properly inspected), you can install the insulation to the exterior walls and attic floor of the house.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 1 to 2 days

Actual Remodeling/Finish

This is the point in the remodeling where, after all rough-in and inspections are completed, you install the finish aspects to the rough structure.

Installation and finish of drywall on ceilings and walls.

Allow plenty of drying time for mud to set properly. If working in colder months, have heat going by this point in the remodel to facilitate a warm, dry environment.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 4 to 5 days

Apply Primer
This is the perfect time to prime the new drywall before the trim and cabinetry are installed.


Have the primer tinted to the color of your intended finish paint, so as to cover the walls more precisely and efficiently. (see paint prep for more details).

For even more efficient use of your time, apply the finish paint to the wall space immediately behind any cabinetry before installation. This will eliminate the need for tedious detail painting around the edges of cabinets and counter tops.

Cabinet Installation
Have your carpenter install any cabinetry and counter tops for kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, etc.

Follow up with all of the contractors to make sure they have their respective jobs inspected before moving on to the next step.

Estimated Time: 1-2 days to a week for each contractor (depending on backlog of inspections waiting)

Trim Carpentry
This is the point at which you install trim and doors.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 2 – 4 days

Finish painting all trim, doors, walls, and ceilings.

Mechanicals Finish
After primer coat, the mechanical contractors should do their finish installation. This is where all the final wiring and plumbing is completed, and trim pieces are set.

This is the time for installation of bathroom hardware, along with mirrors and shelves, and any shelving that would go in the bedroom and laundry closets as well. Also, install all door hardware such as doorknobs, strike plates, and door stops (on baseboard).

Remodeling Guide estimated time: one week

This is the point at which the flooring is installed.

Paint Touch-Up
You will usually have some sort of touch-up to do after everything is said and done. Despite the best intentions from everyone involved, there will definitely be some spots here and there to repaint.

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 1 to 4 days

Final Clean

Remodeling Guide estimated time: 1-2 days


If you have new windows and exterior doors to install, you generally should install them at the point when the framing is completed. Do this step before any drywall, or outside siding is installed.

Drywall, trim, and siding are considered ‘finish’ type work, and should be done after installation.

If you have to re-shingle a new roof, it can be done at any time during remodel. The only time to wait is only after the framing of an entirely new, or a complete replacement of a damaged roof is completed.

If you are installing a brand new roof line, or repairing a badly damaged roof where replacement sheathing is needed, you do the following:

  1. Replace damaged part with new sheathing
  2. Add your tar paper and drip edge
  3. Install finish shingles
  4. Install guttering

If you need to pour new sidewalks or a driveway (generally referred to as ‘flatwork’), you can do that basically at any time during the remodel.


It would be a good idea to go ahead and lay rock down as soon as you begin your work. Do this at the approximate area where your driveway will be located so as to firmly pack it for a solid foundation with which to provide a solid path for vehicles to park and load/unload upon.

When you are ready to landscape, you can basically do this anytime after flatwork is completed and cured, and the siding has been installed.

Also …

See these related pages to Remodeling Guide

House Painting