Renovating your home can be a worthwhile investment, but it often comes with a big price tag and a major disruption in your home routine. Remodeling projects can take weeks or even months, filling your home with noise, dust and workers if not denying you access to certain areas or systems in your home. Before you start a renovation, you need to know what to expect for you and your household. 

Below are eight remodeling projects that homeowners commonly undertake. These jobs require professional contractors and at least a week to complete. Each is rated as causing a low, moderate or high disruption to your home routine. If a project you start is highly disruptive, consider getting a hotel room or boarding with friends or family during the duration of the work.

Refinishing hardwood floors

National median cost: $7 per square foot
Time needed: 2 to 14 days
Work involved: Sanding, staining and sealing wood floors
Amount of disruption: high

Gleaming, newly refinished hardwood floors are a sight to behold, but the restoration work required is rarely pretty. You’ll need to remove your furniture from each room where work is occurring, surfaces and furniture will need to be protected from dust and if oil-based sealants are being used, you’ll need to stay somewhere else entirely until the harmful fumes dissipate. Lastly, you won’t be able to set foot on the finished floors for at least two days after the final coat of sealant is applied.

Bathroom renovation

National median cost: $26,000
Time needed:
2 to 3 weeks
Work involved: updating plumbing fixtures, replacing toilet and installing tile and countertops
Amount of disruption: moderate to high

If you’re doing work on your home’s only bathroom, you can naturally expect a big inconvenience when it comes to your personal hygiene routine. You’ll need to wash your hands and brush your teeth at the kitchen sink and answer the call of nature in a portable toilet. Access to a neighbor’s house or the shower facilities at a nearby gym can be helpful. There will be less inconvenience if you have additional bathrooms, though you will still suffer water outages during plumbing work. If work is being done on your master bath, you’ll also need to put up with workmen traipsing through your bedroom.

Complete kitchen renovation

National median cost: $60,000
Time needed: 8 to 12 weeks
Work involved: replacing cabinets, installing countertops and an island, upgrading appliances, adding lighting and changing flooring
Amount of disruption: moderate to high

For most people, a complete kitchen renovation is a major disruption. You’ll likely need to dine out or grab takeout, wash dishes in bathroom sinks and temporarily relocate the microwave and fridge. To minimize the disruption, the contractor may be able to set up a construction sink in an adjacent room by running hoses from existing plumbing.

Kitchen upgrade

National median cost: $30,000
Time needed: 1 to 2 weeks
Work involved: replacing cabinet box fronts, putting in new hardware, updating appliances, sinks and faucets and installing new flooring
Amount of disruption: moderate

Giving your kitchen a facelift is less disruptive than a complete renovation since it takes less time and your home’s plumbing and electrical infrastructure isn’t disturbed. You should may still have access to your sink and appliances until it’s their turn to be replaced.

Basement conversion to living area

National median cost: $36,000
Time needed: 2 to 3 weeks
Work involved: finishing an unfinished lower level
Amount of disruption: low

Doing major work on a space you rarely should cause minimal disruptions. While all-new finishes, flooring, walls, wiring and other work may be necessary, it shouldn’t interrupt your daily routine. If you have a separate entrance to your lower level, contractors won’t even need to pass through your main living space. The biggest inconvenience will come from occasional electrical shutoffs.

Roofing replacement (asphalt shingles)

National median cost: $7,600
Time needed: 1 week
Work involved: removing and replacing roof moisture barriers, flashing and shingles
Amount of disruption: low

Doing work on the outside of your home is one of the least disruptive renovations, and that’s often true of roofing work. You’ll have to tolerate work noise from overhead and keep parked vehicles, children and pets out of the way, particularly during the demolish phase. The roofers should catch or clean up any fallen debris, including collecting stray nails using magnetic rollers.

Siding replacement (vinyl)

National median cost: $12,000
Time needed: 1 to 2 weeks
Work involved: removing and replacing vinyl siding
Amount of disruption: low

As with roof work, having your siding replaced can mean lots of noise but minimal direct disruptions to your home routine. Keep inquisitive children and pets away from the work, and make sure the crew doesn’t miss any debris after they pack up shop.

Renovations can be a big disruption to both your finances and your daily life. If you know what to expect and plan accordingly, however, you can make the process as smooth as possible. Once the project is complete, you can relax and enjoy the improved appearance, function and value of your upgraded home.