The general schedule for the construction or “build” phase of your NYC renovation (outlined below) should be included in your contract, complete with the duration and major milestones for each. Note that the estimated times will depend on the size of your home as well as the extent of your renovation; gut renovations of entire brownstones will take longer.
- Demolition: about 1 week
The first step is to put up protections such as zip walls to seal the demolition area. In condos and co-ops, the exterior hallways, elevators, stairs, and other common areas must also be protected.
Once these are in place, the demo work begins, involving ripping out cabinets, countertops, floors, fixtures, and any walls (for a gut renovation).
- Rough construction: about 3 to 6 weeks
This stage involves building out any new structural features and framing the walls and ceiling systems. It should not take longer than a week unless you are changing the layout.
- Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical: 1 to 2 weeks plus at least 1 week for inspections
Once the walls are opened, it’s time for the “rough-in” work.
An electrician will run wires from the service panel to the endpoints, leaving those unattached. A plumber will also run supply and drain pipes to their respective fixtures or appliances.
Then DOB inspectors must come and either pass the work or order modifications, so the timing can vary.
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- Drywall: 1 to 4 weeks
Drywall (aka Sheetrock) is named for the fact that the “mud” mixture does not use water, making it a much faster surface than plaster (which takes a couple days to dry out). It is installed in two phases: hanging the panels by attaching them to the wood or metal studs and then finishing by taping, sanding, and skim-coating.
Some contractors will go ahead and prime the walls and ceilings now for added protection against scuffs and stains until they can be painted.
- Flooring: 1 to 2 weeks
Many types of flooring, like tile and hardwood, are typically installed before your cabinetry, though some contractors prefer to wait due to the risk of damage. Other floor types, like vinyl flooring and laminates, must be installed after the cabinets so they can be cut to precisely fit. If your hardwood floors need staining and finishing, expect to let them cure for another week.
- Cabinets/Fixtures/Surfaces: 2 to 6 weeks
Only after cabinets and plumbing fixtures are installed can measurements for countertops be taken. Fabrication for countertops can take up to one month depending on the material. If you are adding custom built-in shelving or paneling, plan to add a few extra days.
Bathroom and kitchen tiles and backsplashes are added now too.
Ultimately this phase depends on the timely delivery of materials.
- Appliances: 2 to 4 days
Once all the cabinets and countertops are in place, the appliances are positioned in place.
Lighting is usually added in a kitchen at this time too.
- Finishing details: 1 to 2 weeks
After wiping them free of dust and debris, the ceilings and walls can be painted or wallpapered. Hardware is added to kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. All appliances are checked to make sure they are level and connected properly.
- Cleanup: 1 to 2 days
Once all the equipment has been removed, a thorough top-down cleaning should always be the final step. This includes clearing out the entire space and ventilation system of dust and debris, wiping down all surfaces and scheduling the haul-away of any dumpsters and hazardous materials.