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How To Avoid Delays & Keep Your Home Remodel Timeline On Track

July 2nd, 2024 | 9 min read

By Callie Lovejoy

You’re so excited to see construction start on your new kitchen remodel only to find yourself eating takeout on the floor for the next several weeks since your cabinets aren’t in and your project grinds to a screeching halt.

Delays in home remodeling are frustrating, especially when they are factors that could have been avoided. Hiring the right contractor to minimize delays can make or break your experience with your home improvement project.

Here at JSB, we have been remodeling homes in Central Ohio for almost 50 years. We have been on both sides of remodeling delays as the contractor trying to get things back on track and as homeowners ourselves living in a construction zone. The stress and frustration is real but take a deep breath! In this article, we will help you understand what can delay a home remodeling project and what you can do to minimize delays.

Table of Contents:

What Can You Control to Keep Your Remodel on Time?

You have more control over your project timeline than you might think. While you will have to rely on your hired contractor for the specifics of the timeline, there are several things you can do to help your contractor stick to that timeline.


Renovation-Quote-600x400First and foremost, you control your money. When you sign a contract, you can decide how you want to pay for your project: directly to the company using their payment schedule or by financing your home remodel.

Before any contractor can start your project, they have to order materials. This requires money.

How to Minimize Delays

By either financing your project or making your payments on time, you can get the ball rolling with your contractor so they can do what they need to do to prepare for your project.

DIY/Previous Construction Errors

It’s common for homeowners to purchase a new home with the hope of fixing it up for themselves, only to find that someone else tried to DIY a project or hired a cheap contractor who did poor-quality work. Many delays in home remodeling are caused by having to fix problems from previous construction like this. 

One approach to remodeling is a facelift approach, also called over-existing or cover-up remodeling. As the name suggests, this approach “covers up” what is already in your space. If your current space is structurally sound and you just need a refresh, this approach works just fine. But if there are underlying issues like water damage in your shower, you’ll be putting a bandaid on an infected cut. It will look better in the immediate future, but you’ll be tearing it out and redoing it long before your investment has been worth your while.

How to Minimize Delays

The best way to avoid this problem is two-fold:

  1. Only take on DIY projects that require skills you are confident you can handle.
  2. Hire reputable contractors with enough experience to do the job right the first time around.

Design Changes

Home remodeling projects require a lot of decision-making and material selections. You might get caught up in the excitement of a remodel and choose an adventurous pastel blue color for your kitchen cabinets. Later, you might think “All my Christmas decorations are red and green…I can’t put that in a blue kitchen!” or “I don’t think I want to look at blue cabinets for the next 20-30 years.”

Changing your mind happens more often than you might think. Here at JSB, our design consultants do everything they can to help you think through your selections as best they can but sometimes, changes will need to happen anyway. Changing materials or designs can delay a project by weeks if materials have already been ordered and then have to be reordered. 

How to Minimize Delays

Avoiding design changes is a two-step process:

  • Step #1: Take Your Time Making Selections. Think through the design aesthetic you want in your home and envision yourself using that space. Ask yourself, “Is this what I want my bathroom (kitchen, sunroom, etc.) to look like for the next 20+ years?” This will help avoid or minimize the number of changes you want to make later.
  • Step #2: Make Any Changes Early. If you are going to make changes, do it as early as possible to avoid delays. You can make changes later but the longer you wait, the more time and money it will cost you. Weigh the decision against potential delays.

What Can Your Contractor Do to Keep Your Remodel on Time?

The contractor you hire can make all the difference in setting realistic timeline expectations and sticking to that timeline. A contractor’s experience (or inexperience) will show in their ability to manage a project timeline. Your role here is to be aware of these challenges and make sure you hire a reliable, experienced contractor so that these factors do not cause major delays.

Provide You With an Accurate Budget

Experience is key in estimating job costs in three main areas:

  1. Renovation-Quote-600x400Creating a Job Quote: Creating the job quote involves turning your material selections and scope of work into a dollar amount that you can count on to include everything it takes to complete your job, including any taxes or financing information if it applies.
  2. Recognizing the Need for Contingencies: Experienced contractors will be able to tell if your home or project has the potential for unforeseen challenges that will require additional costs. Older homes have a higher likelihood of outdated wiring that might need to be upgraded. For example: If you are considering removing a kitchen soffit, you may find hidden wires and pipes after you’ve torn a hole in your soffit. An experienced contractor should have a plan to address these issues based on your unique situation.
  3. Understanding the Ebbs and Flows of the Remodeling Industry: The remodeling industry, just like any other, faces seasonal changes as spring and fall tend to be busier than summer and winter. There are also associated supply chain patterns. An experienced contractor will be familiar with these patterns and be able to adjust their expected timelines accordingly.

This knowledge means that your contractor is less likely to have to change the budget in the middle of the project and leave you trying to find more funds.

How to Minimize Delays

Hire an experienced contractor who can give you as much financial information up front as possible. You should get a detailed quote from your contractor that has all the information (including any payment/financing info) to give you the final cost of your job. You should also ask about how they handle unexpected costs that come up during construction. This is a big investment and you need to feel confident that your contractor knows how to give you the most value for your money.

Provide You With a Realistic Timeline and Be Proactive About Scheduling

Two pieces need to come together to create efficient remodel project timelines.

  1. How long it takes your contractor to complete certain tasks.
  2. Proactivity in scheduling other people to perform their tasks at the proper stages.

As an example, here at JSB, our kitchen cabinet replacement timeline looks like this:

Step 1: Remove Old Cabinets from the Existing Kitchen. Our crew will remove all the old cabinets from your kitchen. We can dispose of them for you unless you want to donate your old kitchen cabinets.

Step 2: Install New Cabinets in the Kitchen. Your new cabinets will be installed including all of your base, or lower, cabinets that sit on the floor and all of your wall, or upper, cabinets that attach to the wall.

Step 3: Base Cabinets are Measured by Countertop Company for Countertop Fabrication. Fabrication takes about 5 days. Being proactive about scheduling means that your contractor could communicate with the countertop company to come out and measure as soon as your base cabinets are set. Then your contractor can accomplish other tasks during the 5 days it takes for the countertop to be fabricated and cut to size.

Step 4: Countertop is Installed. The countertop company will bring your countertop to your house and install it on your new base cabinets.

Step 5: Complete Rest of Project. Once countertops are installed, the crew will return and hook up the new plumbing, garbage disposal, faucet, etc., and finish by completing the backsplash.

An inexperienced contractor may not know how much time it will take them to complete certain tasks which will make it much harder to schedule others to complete their portions of a remodel project.

How to Minimize Delays

Hire an experienced contractor who will have a very good idea of how long a project will take them to complete. Your contractor should have an extensive gallery of completed projects for you to look at, most likely on their website. Be sure to ask questions about what pieces of a remodel the contractor completed and which pieces were already existing in the home.


You should also make sure they have completed jobs with a similar scope of work to your project. For example, if you want to replace kitchen cabinets, ensure your contractor can show you evidence that they have replaced them before, not just refinished cabinets. This will tell you that they have enough experience with the tasks they are performing to give you an accurate timeline.

Obtain Permits and Inspections Promptly

The dreaded permits and inspections…while necessary to ensure that your project is safe and up to code, it can seriously delay a project if inspections are not scheduled ahead of time or paperwork is not filed properly for a permit. 

How to Minimize Delays

Choose an experienced contractor who has a long and upstanding relationship with inspectors who can fast-track your project in this department.

Order Materials Early

Often, the piece that takes the longest in a remodel project is waiting for materials to arrive. While mistakes can happen to anyone, you should run into this problem less frequently with an experienced contractor who has an established system in place to handle materials.

How to Minimize Delays

An experienced contractor knows how to order materials early and correctly the first time so that everything they need has already been delivered by the time construction starts. And if a mistake happens, experienced contractors may have more pull with their suppliers to get a replacement quickly.

What Uncontrollable Factors May Impact Your Remodel Timeline?

You can try to plan financially for every situation, hire a knowledgeable contractor, build a contingency plan, and still find yourself face-to-face with surprise costs for your home remodel. Your contractor’s experience will come in handy here as well because they can help you decide the best path forward that will benefit your project timeline and minimize additional costs.

Pre-Existing Home Conditions

Under-construction-new-bathtub-remodeling-a-home-bathroom-plumbing-pipe-system-for-new-sinks-1Any time you are opening up walls, there’s a chance of hidden surprises. Occasionally, these can be good! Like on HGTV when they tear out carpet to find beautiful hardwood floors underneath. More often than not, the surprises are less exciting and cause additional time and costs for a project. This could be outdated wiring, leaking pipes causing water damage, asbestos, or insect pests like termites. A good contractor is not going to just cover this up to complete the project on time. They should fix the issue before continuing with a project.

How to Avoid Delays

If you suspect that your home may have extensive pre-existing conditions that need to be fixed, you may want to consider a design-build remodeling project. Design-build remodeling can take a room “down to the studs” and fix all underlying issues before creating a beautiful new space. On the other hand, a remove & replace remodeling approach can open up walls and fix some surface damage (ex: mold behind the walls of a shower), but might not be the best choice for homes with extensive structural damage (ex: a shower that has been leaking down into the floor for years).

If you aren’t sure what to look for, an experienced contractor will be able to evaluate your home and point you in the right direction.

Inclement Weather

PXL_20230122_164749984Mother nature has a mind of her own, especially in Ohio where it’s common knowledge that you could experience all 4 seasons within the span of 48 hours! If your job requires outside work like a sunroom addition, inclement weather could delay your job a day or two (or more if the weather doesn’t improve). 

If your job is all inside like a kitchen or bathroom remodel, the weather won’t be a factor. Unless the crew can’t get to your job due to a freak snowstorm.

How to Minimize Delays

The only thing you can do is attempt to do an outdoor project when the weather tends to be nice. For example, try to avoid planning a sunroom project that needs a foundation built during the dead of winter when the ground will be frozen and digging will be difficult.

Other than that, you just have to roll with whatever nature decides to throw your way.

Materials Arriving Late, Damaged, or Incorrect

No matter how proactive a contractor tries to be when ordering materials, there is always the chance that materials arrive late, damaged, or incorrect from the supplier. 

How to Avoid Delays

I’m sure you see the pattern by now. Hiring an experienced contractor will benefit you in fixing mistakes with a supplier. An experienced contractor will be able to rearrange the project to the best of their abilities, delay the start date of the project to avoid you having construction for longer than necessary, and maybe pull some strings with the supplier to make things right since it was their mistake. Your contractor may be able to get free expedited shipping or move your products to the top of the queue so that the supplier can stay in good standing with your contractor.

How Can I Minimize Delays in My Home Remodel Project?

Time is money. Delays can leave you frustrated and stressed in an already intense home improvement project.

If you have extra time or money lying around and want to throw it at home remodel delays, you can ignore everything in this article!

If you want to avoid costly project delays, there are three things you need for your home remodel:

  1. Research what happens during a home remodel to set realistic expectations for what you are about to experience.  
  2. An experienced contractor with a solid reputation for quality and putting customers first.
  3. An open line of honest communication with your contractor.

A good place to start is searching for the best contractors near you for the project you want to complete. We have compiled lists of the best kitchen remodelers, best bathroom remodelers, and best sunroom contractors in central Ohio to get you started.

The phrase “good things come to those who wait” doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in an endless cycle of delays and challenges during a home remodel. Choose a contractor with enough experience to guide you through your journey and you’ll be enjoying your completed project before you know it!

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