Timing is everything, am I right? Whether you’re timing a vacation to fit in with local weather patterns, or trying to schedule all the kids activities for the summer; finding the right time can be a Herculean task not for the faint of heart. As such, the best answer to ‘when is the best time to renovate a bathroom’ depends on a number of factors; some that are in your control, and some that are not.
Fixture Cost and Availability
Just like most retail products, bathroom fixture pricing is cyclical in nature.
Typically new models of toilets, baths, showers, and sinks come available every spring and retailers are looking to clear their showrooms of old stock to make room for the new.
Similarly, design trends are ever evolving – with spring being prime time for new, modern, looks to make an appearance. Décor that, in stylists eyes, may seem oh-so-last-year is still very much of-the-moment in real life and can often be had for a steal once the tide has turned.
The best way to minimize costing on fixtures, tiles, flooring, vanities, and linens is to keep an eye on prices and purchase what you need when you find it at a price that suits your budget. Even if you have to store it until the renovation can actually start; it’s better to have the items on hand than to let finding them dictate the schedule.
Finding a contractor with room in their schedule is often the deciding factor on when is the best time to renovate a bathroom.
Depending on the size of the contracting firm, they may be booked up months (or years!) ahead of time. This will, of course, depend on your local market but it’s best to inquire well ahead of time so you can have a realistic picture of what timeline you’re looking at.
Typically, you can expect contractors to be booked up during the summer months. Spring and fall are ‘shoulder season’; although fall can be busy as people plan renovations to be completed for the holidays. Winter is often a sweet spot, especially for bathroom renovations as there is no outside work that can be influenced by the weather.
Also consider whether you’ll actually need a contractor. If the renovation is fairly minor and/or you plan on doing a lot of the work yourself, you may not need to hire outside help. You may be able to find independent plumbers, painters, and cabinetry specialists and schedule them yourself. Cutting out the middle man not only saves money but puts all the control in your hands.
This one I cannot advise you on. Fitting a renovation around family schedules can sometimes be the hardest part. Whether it is school or sports/extracurricular activities, or that vacation that has long been booked; finding time in the family schedule is tricky.
If you have a trusted contractor it may be possible to schedule the work while you are away on vacation, allowing you to still adhere to the family schedule and get the renovation done. Otherwise priorities will need to be assessed to ensure that everyone is happy.
Bathroom renovations are definitely ‘inside jobs’. There isn’t much dependence on the weather as most of the work occurs indoors. Material delivery and contractors coming and going are really the only weather dependent activities.
If you are in a particularly cold climate, and need to move or install plumbing, then winter may not be best as the risk of freezing pipes could be a concern. Otherwise, weather should not really play into determining when is the best time to renovate a bathroom.
Bathroom Renovation Timeline
When looking at when is the best time to renovate a bathroom, it can be handy to have an idea of just how long a bathroom renovation might take. Now, of course, timelines vary greatly depending on the level of renovation you’re doing, whether you’re doing it yourself or not, and the availability of contractors and supplies.
Here’s a rough timeline showing about 25 days, or the better part of a month, for a simple bathroom renovation.
|Renovation Activity||Time (Days)||Considerations|
|Building Permits||Determine if a local building permit is required for the work you are doing. Apply early and be sure to submit all required documentation.|
|Existing Bathroom Demo||Do this yourself to reduce costs and time!|
|New Bathroom Layout||Layout the new bathroom using masking tape – so you can see where it will all fit.|
|New Wiring||Only if new outlets are required (don’t forget to install an outlet near the toilet plumbing for your new toilet bidet combo!).|
|Plumbing||Not required if new fixtures (toilet, tub, etc) are to be installed in the same locations. Piping should be inspected, though, for wear and new code upgrade adherence.|
|Building Inspection||Check local requirements to determine if a building inspection is required. Schedule well ahead of time to ensure this doesn’t hold up the schedule.|
|Insulation||Upgrade exterior wall insulation and ensure that all piping is properly insulated to reduce freezing risk.|
|Drywall Installation||This will depend on whether you DIY or have an experienced contractor do the work. Drywalling is usually worth the expense for experts; they do a better job in less time.|
|Painting||Painting even a large bathroom shouldn’t take more than a day if you’re prepped and ready.|
|Vanity Placement||If the room has been taped off then installing the vanity should be a simple part of the project.|
|Tiling||Another example of hiring a professional being worth the cost. Professional glaziers (tile-layers) can get tile level, with the right amount of offset and drainage, in a fraction of the time you can do it yourself.|
|Fixtures||Toilet, bathtub, shower, faucets, and towel hangers – get them all in place!|
|Misc.||Always build in extra time for unknowns and schedule slips.|
When Is The Best Time To Renovate A Bathroom?
So, with all that considered, when is the best time to renovate a bathroom??
Early in the New Year often sees a reduction in prices of fixtures as retailers prepare for the upcoming busy season. This is prime time for retailers to move their ‘old’ product and get ready for the new season. Negotiating prices, and finding steep discounts, are entirely possible at this time of year. Even if you can’t actually start your renovation in the winter, you might be wise to find the fixtures, vanities, tiles, and linens while the prices are so good.
Contractors often also have space in their calendars ahead of the summer renovation rush so finding an available contractor may be easier during the winter season – especially after the Christmas holidays.
Bathroom renovations are ‘inside jobs’; weather doesn’t really impact the work that needs to be done. Making winter an ideal time for a bathroom renovation. Other than delivery of supplies and contractors/workers coming and going, there are no weather related issues to contend with.
Spring can be considered one of the ‘shoulder seasons’ of renovations. Prices of fixtures and supplies may increase as new models (and new fiscal year pricing) become available but there is often plenty of ‘older’ stock available to keep your renovation on budget.
Springtime tax refunds can often mean funds are more available for fixtures and contractors – making this a budget friendly time of year to embark on a small renovation to fresh up the home for summer.
Summer is probably the toughest time for a bathroom renovation. Longer days and warm temperatures mean that contractors are often booked up with larger renovation projects that take more time, and are more dependent on being outside.
Summer is also a prime vacation time; school is out and families may be away for weeks at a time – delaying their own renovations and freeing up contractors for your renovation. If you have a trusted contractor you may be able to combine your family summer vacation, and your bathroom renovation; allowing your contractor to work while you are away. Win win!
Fall is another ‘shoulder season’. The summer renovation rush is mostly complete and contractors are freer to take on new projects.
However, everyone if bustling to get things finished for the holiday season. If you can find a sweet spot in a schedule then this might just be the best time for you.
Ultimately, the best schedule would see all the fixtures, tiles, vanities, paint, drywall and other supplies purchased in late winter (early New Year) to take advantage of the end-of-season pricing and availability. Starting work in early spring would allow for some weather