Who doesn’t love to curl up on the couch with a marathon of your favorite home improvement shows on HGTV? Even if you have no intention of buying a home in Central America or ditching your two-story colonial for a tiny house, you can get loads of great home improvement ideas — and get a vicarious remodeling fix — by watching some of these popular programs.

The Reality TV Affect On Home Building

But does a diet of too many reality TV shows skew your idea of what a real home improvement project looks like? Probably. The average home improvement show is just 23 minutes long once you cut out the commercials, so of course the producers are glossing over a whole lot of work before getting to the tiny reveal. In real life, a kitchen renovation takes from six to eight weeks to complete — an awful lot of takeout and washing dishes in the bathtub.

Even on shows where they do share the timeline of a renovation project, it’s often compressed into an unrealistically short period. Remember “Trading Spaces” on TLC? In this popular reality show, they gave teams a weekend to completely makeover a whole room. Much of the drama came from wondering whether they could get everything done by the deadline, and compromises were often made.

Real Life Home Building

In real life, do you want to change your design ideas just to get things done faster? Probably not. This is where the reality of a building schedule differs from the prerogatives of a television producer. A TV executive’s bottom line is about staying on schedule to shoot a show and make it entertaining. A quality home builder, on the other hand, works for you. It’s his or her job to make sure that your remodeling project gets done right. That means dealing with inspectors and weather delays, for starters.

It also means taking the time required to do the job well. Faster is rarely better when it comes to building something designed to last for decades, and your home is not a place to cut corners.

So when you’re planning your home renovation, try not to be disappointed if the job schedule is longer that you anticipated. A good contractor will keep you apprised of all timetable changes and will work hard on your behalf.

And that’s a reality you can definitely embrace.