How Much Does It Cost To Remodel A Bathroom?

How Much Does It Cost To Remodel A Bathroom?

Leaky faucets or stained tiles, not enough room or faulty plumbing; a bathroom remodeling can be a daunting undertaking no matter what your reasons.  There are numerous benefits to a bathroom renovation  — safety, aesthetics, or simply functionality.  Home renovation is a multi-billion dollar industry, so you’re not alone in your fantasies encapsulating a better and sometimes even bigger bathroom.  According to Harvard University’s Joint Center For Housing Studies, American households spend upwards of $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs.  In 2017, the total expenditure on bathroom remodeling alone was $18 billion, a jump of over 150% since 1995.


Apart from the immediate benefits, such remodeling can significantly increase the resale value of the house, especially since a bathroom (along with the kitchen) is what makes or breaks a deal.  According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2019 — the ROI (Return On Investment) on a mid-range bathroom remodel is 67.2%, whereas for an upscale remodel the ROI drops to 60.2%.  The ROIs on these jobs were 70.1% and 56.2% respectively in 2018.  The data is based on a national average compiled from 136 U.S. markets and might deviate slightly depending upon the region.


According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs $20,420.  It is described as updating an existing 5×7-foot bathroom and replacing all fixtures to include:


  • 30×60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with 4×4-inch ceramic tile surround;
  • new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control;
  • standard white toilet;
  • solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink;
  • recessed medicine cabinet with light;
  • ceramic tile floor;
  • vinyl wallpaper.


On the higher end, an upscale bathroom remodeling might cost you $64,743 and will include:


  • Expanding existing 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet within existing house footprint.
  • Relocating all fixtures.
  • Including 42×42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls with accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures, and frameless glass enclosure.
  • Including freestanding soaker tub with high-end faucets; stone countertop with two sinks; two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting; a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet; and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan.
  • Using all color fixtures.
  • Using larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on diagonal with ceramic tile base molding.
  • Adding general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture.
  • Cabinetry with custom drawer base, wall cabinets.
  • Extending HVAC.
  • Electric in-floor heating.


As you can see, a bathroom remodeling can be pretty expensive.  However, it is worth noting that the costs of a bathroom renovation can vary greatly depending on how much work you want to get done and what materials you choose.  A low end bathroom remodeling can very well begin at $2,500.  Updating all essential fixtures and surfaces for a small or medium-sized bathroom can be done for as low as $3,500


It is essential to note that a lot of these costs are contractor/labor costs.  As a rule of thumb, labor costs are typically twice the costs of material.  So if you are confident with your skills, you can undertake a predominantly DIY project and save massive amounts of money.  Be careful though.  An amateur approach to a DIY bathroom remodeling can end up costing you more than usual if you make too many mistakes.  For example, a lot of people decide to demolish the existing structures (walls, doors, door frames, etc.) and features (toilet, tiles, bathtubs, etc.) themselves before the work can begin.  Not only will you need expert tools to undertake a DIY project like this, you need to be extra careful where you swing your hammer and what you destroy.  It would be all too easy to damage water pipes and/or electric lines running through the walls or the floor, something which can potentially set you back thousands of dollars.


What Are You Paying For When You Remodel A Bathroom, And How Much?

It is easy to be disheartened by a prospective remodeling project while looking at the costs as a lump sum.  It is wiser to judge the financial aspects based on individual elements.  Home Advisor, a home improvement information website, provides data that can be helpful for those taking the individualistic approach.  Below are some price ranges for various elements, ranging from low to high, that you might end up spending on for your bathroom remodeling.


Option Low Range Mid Range High Range
Install bathtub $400 – $1,500 $2,600 – $4,100 $6,000 – $8,000
Install cabinets $1,200 – $3,500 $4,700 – $7,000 $8,000 – $13,000
Install countertops $900 – $2,000 $2,800 – $4,100 $5,000 – $6,500
Install flooring $800 – $2,000 $2,500 – $3,600 $5,000 – $7,000
Install lighting fixture $120 – $900 $1,100 – $1,700 $2,500 – $4,000
Install shower $450 – $2,000 $3,000 – $4,800 $6,000 – $10,000
Install sink $190 – $900 $1,400 – $2,300 $3,500 – $6,500
Install toilet $130 – $250 $340 – $480 $550 – $780

Obviously, you don’t have to overhaul your entire bathroom just for the sake of something ‘new’.  Have a clear plan and vision regarding what you want out of the remodeling, and pick & choose accordingly.

Apart from this, it will be useful to know what percentage of your total budget you will be spending on which parts.  According to the National Kitchen And Bath Association, following are some estimated costs of bathroom remodeling factors:


  • Cabinetry/Hardware — 16%
  • Countertops — 7%
  • Faucets/Plumbing — 14%
  • Lighting/Ventilation — 5%
  • Walls/Ceilings — 5%
  • Doors/Windows — 4%
  • Fixtures — 15%
  • Flooring — 9%
  • Installation — 20%
  • Design fees — 4%
  • Other — 1%


How To Bring The Remodeling Costs Down?

An obvious, but often ignored, factor is that every one of the remodeling projects includes something different than the next.  Although you can almost never compare your bathroom remodel with someone else’s, there are some good rules to follow.


Make sure you know what you want before you get the job started.  An uninformed mind might conjure up images of a royal bathroom with expansive lighting and extravagant fixtures, but reality might suck when you realize how lighter that image can leave your pocket.  Know what you want, the finishes you want, the tile you want, the tub and shower you want. Additionally, do realise that any changes made midway through the project have the potential of skyrocketing your final costs.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be rigid and settle for something you don’t like once the project is underway, but be very careful and meticulous about every change or upgrade you might want.


When you are settled on what it will look like, leave your contractor to do his work. Make sure you have an iron clad agreement with your contractor and everything has been documented.  If you have made your decisions by yourself as suggested, make sure your contractor doesn’t make any changes without your explicit consent.


You have an option of requesting a ‘labor only’ quote from potential contractors, and a majority of them would be happy to provide you one.  With a labor only quote, it is imperative that you be perfectly ready before the job begins.  Wasted time is wasted money, and most of the contractors won’t appreciate delays in a labor only job.  Beware of contractors who might lowball you and then reveal extra hidden costs once the project is underway.  Remember — if a quote is too good to be true, it probably is.


Additional Tips For Your Bathroom Remodel

  • Once you have your budget down, zero in on the source of financing.  You can fund the project through personal savings, or tap into your home equity through a loan or a line of credit.  If you are planning to borrow money, make sure your credit score is up to the mark by reducing debt and making your payments on time leading up to the renovation.
  • It is not necessary to get all the desired work done in one go if you are unwilling to spend a lot over a short period of time.  However, it is advisable that all the major jobs such as bathtub fitting, laying tiles, etc. are done as a single contract.  This will help you save money.
  • The remodeling can be planned during the off season (winters mostly), which will give you the option of cheaper labor and material.
  • An average bathroom remodeling can take 3-5 weeks, although this number will vary based on your individual needs.  Make sure you have a backup plan during the weeks when your bathroom will be reusable.  Depending upon the amount of work to be done, talk to your contractor and see if a part of the bathroom can be kept functional.  A gym membership might be a good investment, since they do come with showers alongside all the other benefits.
  • Make sure you check out, at the very least, 3 different contractors to get a competitive pricing.  Do not go with the first person you meet immediately, even if they look and sound perfect.  Weigh your options intelligently.
  • Another thing to note is that most of the renovation projects require a permit from the local building authority.  This can be taken care of by your contractor, or you can do it yourself.  What’s important is that you have all your paperwork and permits in order before you start breaking things down.


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