How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Bathroom?
You may have been daydreaming about upgrading your bathroom for a while now. With so many remodeling shoes on TV, a completely redesigned bathroom now seems more accessible than ever. Of course, daydreaming about it and actually building it are two very different things. How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom anyway? Where do you begin?
We are going to take a look at three different price ranges encompassing basic, midrange, and high-end bathroom remodeling projects. Of course, these are just guidelines, but they should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect for your specific remodeling project.
Before we get to that however, let’s take a look at a few universal situations that will either positively or negatively affect your bathroom remodeling costs.
Situations That Will Add Expense
Adding plumbing to an area of your home where there is none.
Knocking down walls, or building additions to house your new bathroom.
If damaged or rusty plumbing is discovered.
If a mold or termite problem is discovered.
High-end cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, tile, or counters.
Situations That Will Lower Expense
Building within the established “footprint” of your current bathroom.
Working with the plumbing that you already have in place.
Doing some of the minor work yourself (keeping in mind that specialty work like plumbing and electricity should not be attempted by amateurs.)
Using new, but standard cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, tile, or counters.
Researching and choosing a trusted contractor to handle your project responsibly, and on budget.
Price Range: $3,000 – $10,000
This initial price range is attractive to those with a very limited budget, or those who are looking to update their bathroom in the hopes of selling their home. At this price range, you will mostly be dealing with standard, off-the-shelf fixtures, cabinets, lighting, and countertops.
If you are particularly creative, you can do a lot in this price range. For instance, while you may not be able to tile the whole bathroom, you can make a very good use of a partial tile job, or some accent tiles. Or, if tile is completely out of your budget, consider perhaps a chair rail, with the wainscoting or beadboard underneath (just make sure you have plenty of ventilation, and are using the appropriate vapor barriers for any type of wood that will be exposed to water.)
Another smart thing to do in this budget range is to choose one or two aspects of the bathroom that you really want to highlight, splurge on them, and then stick to the basics everywhere else. For example, you can dress up a very basic vanity with some beautiful, higher end lighting. Likewise, by splurging on a beautiful, vintage styled pedestal sink, you may be able to get away with a repurposed freestanding cabinet as storage instead of built-ins.
As with any project, you can save a lot of money by doing some of the work yourself. Of course, it is always recommended that you speak with a general contractor and designer prior to beginning any project, as they can help guide you in everything that from building permits, to waste removal.
Countertops: Look for cultured marble or granite.
Tile: Try very basic tile with a few expensive accent tiles, or mid-priced tile concentrated only around the bath or shower stall.
Walls: Paint will be your most affordable option, but remember that you can tile sections of the room. You may also consider properly sealed wood accents with a vapor barrier
Cabinets: Try refinishing or refacing the cabinetry you already have in place. If that won’t work, consider buying some freestanding furniture as storage. Any built-in cabinetry that you get in this price range will be of a very basic grade, but you can also dress it up with paint or stylish hardware.
Fixtures, Finishes and Lighting: Nearly everything in this price range will be bought off the rack. Again, you can splurge on one or two special accent pieces, but for the most part, you will be working with standard grade materials.
Price Range: $10,000 to $25,000
This price range would encompass a bathroom remodel with higher end fixtures, a project that requires plumbing to be moved around only slightly, and a bathroom that can stay in the original footprint of the existing bathroom. In your research, you are probably going to find that the average bathroom remodeling cost falls in this general price range.
If you are going to put out this amount of money on your project, it is not advisable that you do so in order to sell your house. The turnaround time will be too quick, and you are not likely to get your entire investment back; the way you would with a lower end bathroom remodel.
You have a little more money to play with in this scenario, so you are going to see a significant upgrade in the quality of cabinetry, fixtures, and finishes that you can select. Depending on the size of the room, you could tile the entire bathroom (understanding of course, that tile prices vary wildly, and you may be somewhat limited in choice.)
You will also have more freedom in customizing your cabinetry, vanity, medicine cabinet, and other storage options. Adding more storage to your bathroom is one of the easiest ways to keep it looking neat and tidy. Even though you will want to spend lots of time in your brand-new redesigned bathroom, you don’t necessarily want to spend all that time cleaning it.
You can add more attractive and more efficient lighting, and plumbing fixtures, which can help mitigate the long-term cost of this project. Higher-quality fixtures tend to be better made, and last longer. You will not need to worry about replacing things as frequently as you might with a lower budget remodel.
Plumbing: You will be able to make some small adjustments here. If a toilet needed to be moved slightly to allow for a larger sink to be placed, that wouldn’t be a problem. Plumbing fixtures will have to stay mostly in the same place though.
Cabinets: You will be able to replace cabinets in this price range. If you are happy with your existing cabinets, you can pay for higher end refacing and hardware. You probably won’t be able to afford 100% custom cabinetry, but semi-custom pieces are well within range. A good contractor and designer will be able to work with you to get you the absolute most bang for your buck.
Countertops: Look for granite, marble, or quartz. Keep in mind that the smaller an area you need to cover, the higher you can go in quality without seeing too much of a price difference.
Tile: Rather than sticking with ceramic tile, you will be able to afford porcelain. Porcelain tile is much stronger, and is likely to last much longer. You will have a much wider selection of tile designs available to you at this price range. You could install a custom backsplash, or more elaborate accent tiles.
Walls: At this price range, you can probably tile your entire bathroom. Of course, by sticking to paint, or even beadboard, you can shuffle your money towards other things such as an upgraded sink, tub, or lighting. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Window treatments are another way of adding some style to your bathroom.
Fixtures, Finishes and Lighting: Rather than sticking to off-the-shelf pieces from big-box stores, you can go with higher quality fixtures that have better durability. You can also design some custom lighting for your bathroom.
Price Range: $25,000 and Up
This price range tends to encompass two different situations:
A remodeling project that requires a complete gutting of an existing bathroom, possibly including an addition to the home, or breaking through walls to add extra space.
People looking to custom build a personal oasis in their home.
One of those situations is more out of necessity, while the other is more out of personal preference. Either way, a project on this scale is looking at a minimum of $25,000 on average. There really is no upper limit to this price range, because depending on the size of the bathroom, and the quality of the fixtures you are looking to install, a luxury bathroom remodel could easily hit $75,000 or higher.
Of course, the cost to renovate a bathroom can skip up dramatically if you need to move your existing plumbing, or add new plumbing. Something as simple as switching the side of the bathroom your toilet is on could become very expensive if plumbing lines have to be moved to accommodate.
However, for those comfortable spending in this price range, the benefits are tremendous. When you get to completely custom design your bathroom, you are essentially creating a personal spa right in your own home. If you have ever dreamed of a steam shower, a corner tub with jets, natural limestone tile, or even a sauna, you can get it.
Plumbing: Plumbing can be moved and placed wherever you would like it at this price range. New plumbing fixtures can be added as well.
Cabinets: Custom cabinetry is available at this price range. You can work with a designer or contractor to dream up completely personalized pieces built to fit your space.
Countertops: Quartz, granite, marble, concrete… Take your pick! You will probably be getting a custom cut countertop, as opposed to the lower price ranges where they are usually dealing with a remnant.
Tile: At this price range, natural stone tile becomes available. These tiles are sought after because each one is individual, but the added labor and difficulty in cutting these tiles bumps up their expense.
Walls: At this price range, higher end tile becomes available, as do custom window treatments.
Fixtures, Finishes and Lighting: All high-end. Copper sinks, freestanding claw-foot tubs, jetted tubs with tile decks, steam showers, radiant floor heating, etc. if you are looking to make an investment in your own home, for your own enjoyment, this is a great place to put your money.
Here’s the Bottom Line:
Deciding to remodel your bathroom is an investment in your home. It will add value to your property, and add enjoyment and utility for your family. As with any investment, you want to get your money’s worth. One great way to do that is by hiring an experienced and trusted contractor to handle your project.