Gut Renovation Guide: Process, Cost, and Timing

If you’re considering a whole house remodel for your home, commonly known as a gut renovation, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’ll take you through all the essential aspects of a gut remodel, from understanding what it entails to estimating the cost and the time it takes to complete. 

We’ll explore the step-by-step process, key considerations, and expert tips to ensure your gut renovation project is a resounding success. Whether you’re revamping your entire home or specific areas, these insights will help you navigate the complexities and achieve your dream space through a well-executed gut remodel. 

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable gut renovation contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about their whole house renovation projects – here’s what you need to know about the process, costs, and timing.

What Is a Gut Renovation?

gut renovation worker

A gut remodel refers to a comprehensive renovation of a property, typically a house, where almost everything inside is stripped down to the bare structure and rebuilt from scratch. This type of remodeling project goes beyond surface-level updates and involves removing the existing interior components, such as walls, flooring, plumbing, electrical systems, and fixtures, leaving only the shell or framing of the building intact. 

The goal of a full gut renovation is to rebuild and create a completely new and customized space that meets the homeowner’s specific needs and design preferences, with all new home systems. Often, an older home that hasn’t been remodeled in decades could require a full gut renovation.

Generally, the parts of a home that last the longest are the foundation, the wall/roof framing, and sometimes the stucco. But the other systems I mentioned above need to be upgraded over time. The only way to access all these systems is to rip off all the wall and ceiling material….drywall and plaster. 

And once you demolish all the wall material to get access to the home’s systems, you’re performing a gut remodel. You may or may not decide to replace the home’s stucco depending on whether it’s still in good condition. Obviously, you can access the inside of the walls from one side and don’t need to remove the stucco to do this.  

gut remodel tools

How Much Does A Gut Renovation Cost?

A full gut remodel of a house can be a significant undertaking, and estimating its cost can be complex, with the price varying depending on the region and the scope of the project. In the Los Angeles area, for example, a gut remodel can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 per square foot. However, this is just a rough starting point, and the final cost will depend on various factors.

To get better estimates, request bids from different contractors, making sure they break down the costs for easy comparison. It’s a good idea to get at least three bids and ensure they are within a reasonable range of each other. If you receive vastly different bids, consider asking more contractors to bid and provide them with a detailed scope of work. Remember to include a contingency of 10-25% in your budget to account for unexpected expenses and changes during the remodel.


Gut Remodel Process And Timing

The timing of a gut renovation can vary depending on the size of the property, the complexity of the renovation, and the availability of materials and labor. On average, a gut remodel can take several months to a year to complete. The gut remodel process involves several key stages:

  • Planning and design: The first step, which can take a few weeks to a couple of months, is to plan and design the remodel. This includes determining the scope of the project, identifying the areas that will be gutted and renovated, and creating a layout that meets the homeowner’s needs and preferences. Involving an architect or designer during this stage can be beneficial to create detailed plans and ensure that the design aligns with the homeowner’s vision.
  • Obtaining permits: Gut remodels will usually require building permits from local authorities due to the extensive nature of the renovation. The necessary permits should be obtained before commencing any demolition or construction work to ensure compliance with building codes and regulations.
  • Demolition: Once the planning and permits are in place, the demolition phase begins. This involves stripping down the interior of the house to its structural elements and removing walls, flooring, fixtures, and other components. 
  • Structural changes: If the gut renovation includes any structural changes, such as adding or removing walls or making major alterations to the layout, this work is carried out at this stage. Structural modifications may involve the expertise of a structural engineer to ensure the safety and stability of the building.
  • Construction and renovation: After the demolition and structural changes are completed, the reconstruction and rebuild phase begins. New walls, flooring, electrical systems, plumbing, and fixtures are installed according to the design plans. This stage requires coordination among various professionals, including contractors, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.
  • Finishes and detailing: The final phase of the gut remodel, which can also take a few weeks to a couple of months, involves adding finishes and detailing to complete the project. This includes painting, installing cabinetry and countertops, adding lighting fixtures, and other aesthetic elements.

It’s important to note that unexpected issues, weather delays, and other factors can impact the timeline of a gut renovation. Effective communication with contractors and professionals involved in the project can help manage expectations and keep the remodel on track.

gut remodel scaffolding

Tips For A Gut Renovation

Here are some tips for a gut remodel to keep in mind:

  • Budget realistically: Gutting a house can be expensive, so set a realistic budget for the project. It’s helpful to research and understand the average costs in your region for similar remodels. 
  • Plan for temporary housing: Depending on the scale of the gut renovation, you’ll most likely need to arrange for temporary housing during the construction phase. Consider the logistics and budget for this aspect of the project.
  • Be flexible: Gut remodels can be unpredictable, and unexpected issues may arise. Be prepared to adapt to changes and make decisions when necessary to keep the project moving forward.
  • Plan for future needs: Think about your long-term needs and how the remodeled space will serve you in the future. Consider factors like family growth, aging in place, and potential resale value.

gut renovation walls

Hiring A Gut Renovation Contractor

Gut renovations are complex and require the expertise of skilled professionals, such that finding the right Los Angeles contractor for your gut renovation is crucial. But the process of searching for remodeling contractors can be extensive and time-consuming, involving multiple tasks like seeking testimonials, reviewing portfolios, checking qualifications, and contacting references.

When it comes to planning and coordinating a gut remodel project, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish.


Call now (818-317-3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

How can we help with your project?

Explore More Remodeling Topics

Remodeling Cost Guides

Cost Guides

design ideas

Design Ideas

Finding a Contractor

Finding a Contractor

Picking Materials

Selecting Materials

remodeling advice

Remodeling Advice

room addition project articles

Home Additions

kitchen Remodeling Guidance

Kitchen Remodeling


bathroom remodeling advice

Bathroom Renovations

adu and garage conversion blog topics

ADU Construction

backyard Remodeling Projects

Backyard/ Exterior

general home remodeling resources

Home Remodeling