A large portion of your remodeling budget goes towards the products and materials you will select. As the homeowner when you are remdodeling, one of the more challenging aspects is the shopping and selection process. Some homeowners make all of their selections before construction begins, but most find themselves picking things out just as they are needed. If you are not planning carefully, you may have to make decisions on short notice or risk delaying your project.
Not sure where to start? Feel like the number of decisions and purchases ahead of you is overwhelming? Well to make it a little easier, we’ve provided a simple tool to help you pace out the decisions and purchases you will need to make.
This spreadsheet will allow you to plug in your anticipated construction schedule and accounts for average products delivery times. You can use the form online or download it as an excel spreadsheet. You will want to add and delete the products needed as applicable, and consult with your chosen retailers on actual delivery times. Also keep in mind that the spreadsheet helps you order decisions based on when your contractor will need the products. Once you’ve completed the spreadsheet, share it with your contractor to make sure you’re on the same page. From a design perspective, you may choose to select some lower priority items first so that you can match other items accordingly. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to meet the deadlines.
Below is some explanation for many of the categories:
Wiring (for rough electrical phase)
If you are opening up walls or ceilings, this is perhaps your one and only chance to install the latest technology into the infrastructure of your home. This includes planning out power outlets, light fixtures, light switches, phone outlets, data service, network cabling, satellite TV cabling, home theater systems with in wall/ceiling speakers connected to music controls and security monitoring or surveillance systems. (See home electrical and wiring for more details.)
You may need to select or purchase the AV equipment and different types of cable required for different systems. Give yourself several weeks to do research and make your selections in this area. On the spreadsheet tool we’ve allocated 3 weeks. It may be helpful to speak with AV consultants and specialists in stores that sell related products.
Windows & Doors
Windows have one of the longest lead times. If you are planning to install new windows, this will be one of the first decisions you want to make. You may find some standard sized windows in stock at large home supply stores, but most replacement windows need to be ordered in a custom size. Depending on the manufacturer you choose, the turnaround time can be anywhere from 2-8 weeks. Doors tend to be more common in standard sizes with shorter lead times. On the tool we’ve allocated 8 weeks for worst-case scenario.
For wooden windows and doors, Marvin, Fleetwood and Andersen offer some of the best on the market and have some interesting design tools on their website. Consumer reports offers a nice summary of the different brands available.
If you are installing new moldings, baseboards or handrails, the number of choices available might surprise you. The simplest approach is to have any new trim match existing trim in the house. Talk to your contractor about your options. He will likely present you with some choices and take care of this purchase for you.
There are thousands of options for tile, and a long list of applications. Whether you are selecting tile for your kitchen backsplash, shower walls or bathroom or kitchen floor, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to shop around.
Tile can be found at many retailers, from Amazon to Home Depot to local specialty design stores. At large stores with their own warehouse you might find a selection of tile in stock and available at the quantity you need the same day. However waiting until the last minute would severely limit your selection. It is best to give yourself enough time for tile to be shipped from a central warehouse, usually about 2 weeks. If you are shopping online, you will also need time to order and receive samples before making your selections. We’ve allocated 2 weeks for delivery on the spreadsheet, but start shopping for tile at least 4 weeks before you need to make the purchase.
Bath and kitchen fixtures
A lot of sinks, faucets and bathroom accessories will be available in stock with large retailers. When in stock, they are usually shipped or available for pickup within 2 business days. If you are looking for a specialty item or something custom that would be on special order, the wait time could be 6-8 weeks. We’ve allocated 2 weeks which should be adequate for most items.
Cabinets, primarily for kitchens and bathrooms, have very wide range of choices in terms of price and quality. Good-looking cabinets can be found in large home stores in standard sizes, or they could be custom ordered to fit your exact dimensions and needs through high-end manufacturers. Likewise, the delivery times can vary widely. A few select brands can turnaround cabinets in as little as 10 days, while others can take up to 10 weeks. The average turnaround time for cabinets from order to delivery is about 5-6 weeks. Prior to the order, be prepared to spend several weeks just on the cabinet design process. It can take up to 2 months for the retailer to create plans, confirm measurements, and create a design that you are happy with at a cost that fits within your budget. For the schedule tool we’ve allocated 3 months, but give yourself even more time if you are planning for a highly customized order.
Cabinet hardware & accessories
After you have completed your cabinet design and placed the order, there is one more critical element to decide on for the cabinets – pulls or knobs? There is a wide selection of hardware available. Consult with your cabinet designer for recommendations and a count of how many you need at what size. These can be ordered at the design store, at a home store or online. Don’t forget to ask for a discount on a large order. We’ve allocated 2 weeks to give a cushion for shipping.
You will probably incorporate some available accessories with your cabinet order, such as a lazy susan, or a spice rack. A lot of accessories can also be purchased off the shelf as add on items after your cabinets are installed.
The most popular types of countertops currently are granite and quartz (engineered stone.) If you are ordering new cabinets, you will want to do that first. You can then use the cabinet design with floor plan and dimensions to get estimates for your countertops. After cabinets are installed, a representative from the countertop retailer will come to your home and take specific measurements of the counter space to make sure they manufacture the countertop with precisely the correct dimensions. From there it usually takes about 2 weeks for them to fabricate the countertop. If you have selected a material that is out of stock, you may have to wait an additional few days to month+ for that material to arrive. We’ve allocated 3 weeks to schedule the measurements and fabricate the countertops after the cabinets are installed.
If you select in-stock items it should only take a couple of business days for them to be prepped for shipping and delivery, and then delivered within 2 weeks. Although appliances are not installed until after cabinets and countertops, you may want to select them even before or at least during cabinet design. For the cabinet layout the designer will need to know the dimensions of appliances you will be using. If you have not selected specific models at the point, you will at least need to know if you are selecting appliances of standard or custom sizes.
There are many specialty and large department stores that carry a wide selection of light fixtures, with most products available in stock. If purchasing online, give yourself at least a week to receive the lights via UPS or FedEx ground shipping. We’ve allocated 10 days for this. However, this is an item that you might want to purchase in the store, or at least try to see samples in a showroom before ordering online. Lighting can take some time to select. Some retailers have design consultants available to come to your home and help with selections. If you decide to make your purchases online and have not seen the items in a showroom, check for reviews and be familiar with the return policies. You should give yourself extra time to exchange fixtures that don’t turn out to look good in person.
Whether you’re looking at hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, marmoleum, vinyl or carpet, you may easily find a product you like that is available in stock for a very quick turnaround. Most retailers can get even out-of-stock items from local distributers within a few days. For items that need to be ordered, you should be able to get the product within 3 weeks on average. For highly specialized products that may need to come from Europe or are made to order, you might need to wait as long as 6 weeks. This is uncommon and we’ve allocated 3 weeks for this selection.
Paint can be mixed to order and purchased same-day, so there is delivery time to factor in. The selection of paint colors however can be a long process. Give yourself time to review paint chips in the store and paint various samples on your walls before deciding which colors to choose. Keep in mind that paint colors look different at different times in the day based on lighting. Even if you are not using a designer to help you select the items above, consider hiring a color consultant to help you with your paint selections. Some paint stores have color consultants on staff that can assist at no extra charge.
Next, read our 10 Shopping Tips for your remodel.