Cost of Remodeling a Bathroom

To establish a reliable cost of remodeling a bathroom, you are faced with a seeming myriad of choices for fixtures, vanity cabinets, shower surrounds, etc., from which to choose from, ranging from the inexpensive (cheap), to the extravagant (real expensive).

Just as you would do for renovating any other room in the house such as a kitchen or bedroom, you want to have a definite idea of what you’re looking for in the way of style and decor with your bathroom upgrade.

That, in essence, is the easy part. The nuts-and-bolts part of determining the cost of remodeling a bathroom, is however, another story.

tile work

Some of those ‘nuts ‘n bolts’ things (e.g. – the main items) to consider for the cost of remodeling a bathroom would be:

Room Modification
Does you’re project entail expansion in any way? Are you knocking out a wall or two, and erecting another one somewhere else?

If you are, you will need to account for expenses such as demolition (tear-out) and debris removal, rough/finish aspects of renovating this particular room, including all mechanical installation, painting, flooring, etc. Quite a bit of cost even before the fixtures and other items are installed as the finished product.

Bathroom Fixtures
You’re most likely going to want to remove the old bathroom fixtures in favor of new ones. Decide on the type of fixtures you would like to see in your new bathroom.

Are you interested in replacing the old tub with a new one, or would you like to see some other inexpensive bathroom shower ideas?

Same question applies to lavatory facilities. Believe it or not, you can spend some big bucks on a new toilet system if your inclination is to have a ‘state of the art’ facilities.

Cabinetry
As is the case with kitchen cabinets, custom-built bathroom vanity cabinets can be had – at a price. To save some of the cost of remodeling a bathroom, however, without cutting quality, you might consider installing stock bathroom vanity cabinets and counter tops. With the rise in popularity of big home-improvement stores, bigger selections and better craftsmanship are the now the norm.

Bathroom Floor
Are you partial to ceramic tile, hardwood, or an inexpensive high-quality vinyl floor? There are different types of flooring to suit most needs and budget requirements.

Don’t forget all the other things that go into the makings of a great bathroom remodel. Items such as: a stylish medicine cabinet, new lighting, and a lighted exhaust fan w/heater.

Be sure that the focus of your style and decor options fit the intended size of the finished room. Say, for example, you want a large corner shower installed, make sure the floor plan allows ample spacing for anyone to be able to enter/exit a shower safely, and with ease and comfort. Same would true for installing the lavatory. Give people plenty of room where they feel comfortable and not crowded.

With this in mind, there are certainly many different styles and price ranges from which to choose for all manner of room designs.

Tip

You may see that a design looks wonderful on paper, only to be surprised to find that as installation progresses, you notice that the feel of the room seems a little ‘tighter’ than expected. To avoid this type of situation, get a better sense of the floor layout by using a piece of chalk to draw the dimensions of all the fixtures and cabinetry onto the rough floor surface. This step will give you a visual of the actual fixture placement, and how it might ultimately look (in terms of spacing).

The Full Cost Of Remodeling A Bathroom

For purpose of illustration, we’ll show what an average price might be for the cost of remodeling a bathroom (40 – 60 sq. ft.) within the framework of a modest budget. Nothing too extravagant or overly cheap. Just simply what the typical renovation might be for the average John and Jane Doe household.

The following guide is intended to help you establish a budget using costs derived from gathering your own information.

Initial Paperwork/Management Costs

  • Financing the project. If you don’t have the funds to pay for it right away, you’ll have to borrow the money. In obtaining a home-equity loan, for example, you would make monthly payments anywhere from $100 per month, and up.
  • Any architectural renderings and/or draftsman costs, along with the price of the many sets of blueprints or general drawings to be printed. The use of draftsman and especially architects do not come cheap. Expect to pay a minimum of several hundred dollars and up, for their services.
  • Obtaining permits. If you are expanding and knocking out walls, and/or erecting new walls, you will need to get a building permit from your local governmental permitting agency, as part of the cost of remodeling a bathroom. $25 to $75
  • Your personal time. In terms of the cost of remodeling a bathroom, most people would probably overlook the time one personally have invested, especially if managing the job themselves. Don’t be afraid to put a price on your time invested. $25 to $35 per hour

Sub-Contractor/Labor Rates

Demolition
To remove and dispose of the old materials (vanity cabinets, sink, flooring, lighting, bathroom fixtures), you should expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $750. Add another $100 if a wall or two needs to be removed. Cost should include a dumpster, or other method of disposal.

Framing
If you are installing new sofits, or adding new walls/ceilings, this is the time to do it. A good (insured) carpenter will do it for you by the hour at around $25 to $35 per hour, or by the job.

Mechanical Contractors
Typically, for bigger jobs, they would give you an estimate based on the total square footage. However, in smaller jobs such as remodeling a bathroom, they would probably prefer to work on an hourly rate basis.

Look for mechanical subs to charge an hourly rate anywhere from $65 to $90. If you want them to furnish the job with materials, let them know so that they will add that to their estimate.

Note

If managing the project yourself, look at doing either a lump-sum (all inclusive) cost, or a time-and-materials arrangement with the contractors. By doing the latter, you would pick out the main items you want installed, and have the contractor supply the essential material.

Let’s say, for example, you hired an electrician to do your electric work for you. You agree to supply the main lighting, fans, etc., while he provides the necessary switches, wiring, wall plates, fuses, etc. It’s a win-win situation for everybody, because you get a certain amount of control of costs, while the contractor is relieved of trying to pick out what he thinks you might like (in the way of style/image), and having to pay for it all ahead of of time.

Then ask the contractor to give you a reasonable estimate as to how much time he will have in the project, and at what specific hourly rate. It also allows him to concentrate on his job without any added distractions.

Usually a contractor will include any mark-up into his hourly rate. Check with him/her beforehand to make sure there are no fees or add-on costs at the end of the job.

Please see our Remodeling Contractor page for more detailed information regarding selection criteria, and types of contracts.

Insulation
Insulation can be installed by yourself for the cost of buying stock insulation (and a couple of hours of your time) at one of the big-box home improvement stores. Bags containing R-13 insulation (covering approximately 40 square feet) will cost about $10 a bag.

Estimate how much open space (square footage) there is in the exterior walls you want to insulate. Buy the corresponding number of bags per square footage, and install.

Drywall
Hang and finish. Look for this to be accomplished one of three ways:

  • By the sheet $45 to $65 per sheet
  • By the hour, at a cost of around $50 to $75 per hour, plus materials
  • By the job. If you prefer to let them handle everything, have them price labor and material, including delivery.

Trim Carpenter
Usually is paid by the lineal foot of trim installed at $2, or by the hour at $25 to $35, plus materials. Also can be priced by the job.

Painting
Price is determined by the number of different colors used and whether the color is light or dark, if you’re covering new drywall versus just a repaint, and whether or not your using oil on the trim work. Look for a prices to be around $50 to $60 per hour, or in a lump-sum arrangement.

Flooring
A few different ways to choose from when it comes time to do the flooring. Usually, minimum rates apply for specific rooms, such as a bathroom or kitchen.

  • For vinyl flooring, look to pay anywhere from $10 to $13 per square yard for moderately-priced, high-quality vinyl. Labor will run you $5 per square yard to install. This should include any minor floor prep. If there is major prep work to do such as repairing, or installing new sub floor, that could run you another $150 to $200, plus the cost of the lumber to be used.
  • For ceramic tile installation, look to pay around $4 to $7 per square foot for labor to install, plus the cost of the materials.
  • For hardwood flooring, it will cost around $10 per square foot to install, stain, and finish new hardwood flooring. To refinish existing floors, it will cost about $3 per square foot. If floor space is small (as in this case), the refinishing pro will probably charge a base price of about $400 to $500.

Final Clean
Often overlooked when calculating the cost of remodeling the bathroom. This should include a thorough cleaning of all cabinetry, inside and out, ductwork, walls, floor, windows, and light fixtures. Expect to pay 15¢ sq ft. if cleaning the whole house.

Some cleaning services prefer to charge by the job with prices ranging from $50 to $100 depending on need.

Other Costs

  • Bathroom Lighting- $50 to $200 depending on styles and number of fixtures.
  • Exhaust Fan – $25 to $250
  • Medicine Cabinet – $50 to $300
  • Bathroom Hardware – $35 to $100
  • Shelving and mirrors cost will be around $100 to $400

Installing either a tub or shower, or both (with hardware) will comprise the bulk of expense. Depending on type of materials used (ceramic tile versus fiberglass), and type of installation (custom versus ready-to-install kits), the cost of remodeling a bathroom can vary widely.

The Bottom Line

For you house flippers, using the normal-sized bathroom template (40 – 60 sq. ft.) remodel, the cost of completely remodeling a bathroom using contractor grade (‘industry-talk’ meaning average) materials and installation will be somewhere around the $2500 to $3500 range.

If the renovation in question is for your primary residence, the total cost of remodeling a bathroom could vary from ($5000) on the low end, to ($20,000) way up at the upper end depending on size of room, styles, material used, and various other ‘bells and whistles’. If you decide to go custom on all your cabinetry and bathing area (custom tile-work) and floor, you should expect to pay substantially more in the cost of remodeling a bathroom.

Tip

Want to save as much as 15% to 25% of total cost of remodeling a bathroom? Instead of hiring a general contractor, manage the job yourself. See Selecting A Remodeling Contractor for more detailed info.

The quality of the rough and finish sub-contractor work will also play a major factor in the image that you’re trying to project. Work done ‘on the cheap’ will show. If you want quality results, your total cost of remodeling a bathroom will certainly reflect the necessary expense.

For you house flippers out there, you’re main goal is to hold down the cost of remodeling a bathroom within budget while maintaining quality. You’re bottom line depends on it. Don’t be cheap in your approach to pricing, but don’t do something will not add value to the remodeling that you cannot recoup with the sale of the house. In other words, don’t spend $1500 on a really swell tub when $250 for a good-quality model will do.

The opportunity to use stock items during bathroom remodeling makes perfect sense in a house flipping venture. This method will enable you to actually save money if remodeling the entire house (with equally beautiful results), as opposed to going the custom route.

Since flips involve, in many cases, whole-house renovation, the cost may be a little different as if you were remodeling just one room (bathroom), because you’re integrating total expenditures such as wiring and plumbing into the total cost of the renovation.

With this in mind, look to spend anywhere from the least expensive $2500, to the upper end $7,500 with an average of about $4000 for the cost of remodeling a bathroom.

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For more great information on the cost of remodeling a bathroom, please go to our page that looks a few good bathroom remodeling tips.