The process of building a home involves many steps that must be completed in the proper order. After the framing and roofing are finished, drywall installation is one of the next major milestones.
Once the drywall is hung, the interior of the home really starts to take shape. But there are still several important stages left before the home is ready for move-in. These include finishing the drywall, installing flooring, adding interior doors and trim, completing cabinetry and countertops, and installing lighting, plumbing fixtures, and appliances.
The timeline for completing a home after the drywall stage can vary greatly based on factors like the size of the home, choices in finishes and fixtures, and how many contractors or subcontractors are involved. But in general, homeowners can expect the process to take at least 4-6 weeks from drywall to final completion.
This article provides an overview of the typical phases and timeframes involved in finishing a home after the drywall has been installed. Understanding the roadmap can help homeowners plan and budget appropriately for this critical stage of the build.
Installing drywall is one of the most crucial steps in finishing the interior of a home. While it may seem simple, correctly hanging drywall requires some skill and know-how to get it done efficiently. On average, professional drywall installation in a new 2,000 square foot home takes 2-3 days from start to finish. However, the time frame can vary considerably depending on several factors:
– Size of the home: Larger homes with more rooms and wall space will require more time. In general, experienced installers can complete 300-400 sq ft of drywall per day.
– Number of installers: Having multiple installers dividing up the work will help speed up the process. Most professional crews have 2-3 installers.
– Accessibility: Tight spaces, high ceilings, and lack of access can slow down installation. Simple square layouts are quicker.
– Wall type: Standard drywall on wood framing is fastest. Curves, arches, and ceilings add time. Thicker fire-rated drywall is more difficult to work with.
– Prep work: The home must be properly framed and ready for drywall. Any delays with prior construction phases will push the timeline out.
While an experienced crew can finish drywall installation relatively quickly, it still takes 1-3 days for joint compound and tape to fully dry before finishing and painting can begin. Proper planning and sequencing is crucial so drywall finishing is not delayed.
Mudding and Taping
Once the drywall sheets are installed throughout the home, the seams between each sheet need to be finished to create a seamless look. This process is called mudding and taping. It typically takes 1-3 days depending on the size of the home.
The first step is to use drywall joint compound, also called mud, to fill the seams between drywall sheets. The mud is applied using a drywall knife to spread it into the seam. A paper or fiberglass tape is then embedded into the mud to reinforce the seam.
The tape is coated with a thin layer of mud over top to fully embed it. This layer is allowed to dry completely before applying a second, slightly wider layer of mud over the first to feather out the edges. After drying again, wider layers of mud are applied in succession to gradually smooth out the seams for an invisible finish.
Between 3-5 coats are usually needed, allowing each layer to fully cure before applying the next. The final skim coat feathers out 4-12 inches on either side of the seam for a seamless look once primed and painted. The mudding and taping process is labor intensive, but done properly, it results in a smooth, continuous wall surface.
Priming and Painting
After the drywall mud has dried and been sanded smooth, it’s time to apply primer and paint to the walls and ceiling. Priming is an essential step as it seals the drywall and evens out differences in texture and absorption between the joint compound and the paper surface of the drywall.
Most pros recommend priming within 24 hours of the final sanding on the mudded seams and corners. The freshly sanded drywall is still smooth and clean at this point. Any longer and dust or dirt may accumulate on the surface, making it harder to get a uniform finish with the primer and paint coats.
Primer designed for new drywall is recommended, often called “PVA” drywall primer or simply “wall primer.” Avoid general-purpose primers not made specifically for new drywall. The right primer will soak in evenly across the entire surface.
Painting can begin as soon as the primer has dried thoroughly, usually within 2-4 hours. This stage goes relatively quickly compared to drywall hanging or mudding. Expect a crew of 2-3 professional painters to complete a 2,000 sq. ft. home in 1-2 days. Higher ceilings or lots of trim details may add time.
Most pros recommend 2 coats of quality interior latex paint. Technique is also important – cutting in edges smoothly, applying an even coat, avoiding drips, and following good drying time between coats. With 2 painters, 2 coats can be completed in 1 day in most cases.
So the typical timeframe for priming and painting walls is about 2-3 days after drywall installation is complete. This provides time for hanging, mudding, drying, sanding, and cleaning prior to starting the priming and painting process. Proper prep work is the key to getting great results.
Installing flooring is one of the final steps in completing a new home construction project or remodel. The timeline for installing flooring can vary greatly depending on the types of floors selected.
– Hardwood floors: Installing hardwood flooring is labor intensive and requires proper acclimation to the environment, moisture testing of the subfloor, and careful installation. After the subfloor prep work is complete, expect the actual hardwood installation to take 2-3 days for a typical single family home.
– Laminate or vinyl plank floors: Laminate and vinyl plank floors are floating floors that click together rather than being nailed down. This allows for faster installation, usually 1-2 days for a typical home.
– Tile floors: Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile requires a mortar bed or backerboard substrate. Laying the tile and grouting takes skill and precision. For a whole house, tile floor installation may take 5-7 days or longer.
– Carpet: Carpet is one of the fastest flooring materials to install. Seaming, stretching and securing carpet can often be accomplished in just 1-2 days. Prepping the subfloor adds time.
The timeline can extend if there are complex patterns, custom details, or special order materials involved. Professional installers with the proper tools can complete jobs much faster than DIY homeowners. Considering flooring timelines early is important to keep a new home or remodel on schedule.
Interior Trim and Doors
After the drywall is complete and painted, the next step is to install the interior doors and trim. This includes baseboards, door casings, window casings, crown molding, and any other decorative trim details.
The installation of interior doors and trim helps give each room its finished look. It covers any gaps between the walls and floor, and frames out the doors and windows nicely.
When installing interior doors, it’s important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pre-hung interior doors make installation easier, with door already mounted in the frame with hinges. Alternatively, slab doors require mounting the door in the frame and installing hinges.
Interior door knobs, handles, and hardware should also be installed at this stage. Making sure doors open and latch properly with correct hardware installation.
For trim installation, carefully measure and cut pieces to fit tightly against floors, walls, windows, and doors. Nail the trim into place with finish nails, being careful not to dent or damage the wood. Seamlessly installing trim results in an elegant finished look.
Caulking gaps and touch up painting may be needed after trim and door installation. But once complete, the interior doors and trim add a polished look throughout the home.
Cabinetry and Countertops
Installing kitchen cabinets and countertops is one of the final steps in finishing a new home construction project, typically coming after the drywall, flooring, plumbing, and electrical work is complete. The timeline for cabinet and countertop installation can vary based on the size and complexity of the kitchen design, as well as the materials selected.
For a medium-sized kitchen with stock cabinetry and laminate countertops, the installation may take 2-3 days. More elaborate cabinetry with custom sizes and features can take 5-7 days for installation. Natural stone countertops like granite require extra fabrication time, so that can extend the schedule by 3-5 additional days.
The order of operations is to first install the kitchen cabinets and ensure they are level and secure. Next, measurements will be taken for the countertops based on the final cabinet layout. After countertop materials are cut and fabricated, the installation typically takes 1-2 days.
So in total, a homeowner can expect the cabinetry and countertops portion of new home construction to take approximately 1-2 weeks. This will happen in the final stages, after all structural, mechanical and electrical work has been completed. Proper planning, ordering of materials and coordination with cabinet/countertop vendors is important to keep this part of the project on schedule.
After the drywall installation is complete and the walls are prepped, it’s time to install the plumbing fixtures throughout the home. This includes sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, and any other water or drainage components.
The plumber will return to the home to hook up the plumbing fixtures, connecting supply lines, drains, and vent pipes according to code. Bathroom sinks and vanities are secured in place and properly drained. Toilets are installed and connected to water supply and waste lines. Bathtubs and shower stalls are put in, with fixtures like faucets and shower heads added.
Proper installation of plumbing fixtures is critical not only for functionality, but for protection against leaks and other problems down the road. The plumber will ensure everything is done correctly and according to plan before moving on to the next stage of construction. With the walls closed up by drywall, it’s an ideal time to get all plumbing components working properly.
The final major step in finishing a house after the drywall phase is installing all of the electrical fixtures like lights, switches, and outlets. This involves having an electrician come in to hook up all of the electrical components and make sure they are properly connected to the home’s electrical system.
The electrician will begin by installing all of the light fixtures, chandeliers, and ceiling fans according to the plans. They will securely mount each light and ensure all wiring is properly connected and concealed.
Next outlets and switches will be installed throughout the house. The electrician will place each switch and outlet at the proper height and location based on building codes. All outlets and switches will be securely fastened to electrical boxes and connected to the correct wiring.
The electrician will also install important components like the main electrical panel, doorbell, and any internal wiring for technology like speakers, alarms or home automation systems. They will confirm proper voltage and load capacities for each circuit.
Once all fixtures are installed, the electrician will thoroughly test each one to confirm proper functionality. They will check for continuity, grounding, and circuit loads. All lights, switches, and outlets should now be fully operational.
The final step is having the building inspector approve the electrical work. They will check that all national and local electrical codes have been properly followed. Once approved, the electrical phase is complete and the home is another step closer to completion. Proper installation of electrical by a licensed electrician helps ensure safety and full functionality of the new home.
The timeline for completing a house after the drywall installation can vary greatly depending on the size of the home, types of finishes and fixtures selected, and how many contractors or DIYers are working on the project. However, for a typical 2,000 square foot single family home, here are some general timeframes to expect:
- Drywall Installation: 1-2 weeks
- Mudding and Taping: 1-2 weeks
- Priming and Painting: 1-2 weeks
- Flooring Installation: 1-2 weeks
- Interior Trim and Doors: 1-3 weeks
- Cabinetry and Countertops: 2-4 weeks if custom, 1-2 weeks if pre-fab
- Plumbing Fixtures: 1-2 weeks
- Electrical Fixtures: 1-2 weeks
So, in total, most experts estimate around 2-3 months to go from drywall completion to a finished home, assuming multiple contractors are working on the different phases concurrently. The tasks with the longest timeframes are usually cabinetry, countertops and custom finishes like tile showers. Getting all the inspections scheduled and passed also adds time. But with efficient project management, a typical single-family home can be move-in ready within 12 weeks or so after the drywall goes up.