How much does a bathroom remodel cost?
The bathroom is the most used room in the house, and now that you finally have the time and/or the money, a remodel can make all those necessary trips in there a better experience. It can also increase the sales value of your home considerably. The cost to remodel a bathroom can vary considerably depending on how much remodeling you want to do, how large the bathroom is, and which state you live in—in some you pay a lot more because of the higher cost of labor and materials.
By combining the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, which collects prices from all over the country, and other reports by national remodeling companies, our conclusion is that a bathroom remodel can cost from $2,500–$26,000, or about $125/sq. ft. A bathroom addition can cost more than double that of a remodel, so those estimates are not included here.
The projected prices below include living wages, safe working conditions, and principled business practices.
||$2,500 — $12,000
||$19,000 — $26,000
||Up to $62,000
Minor – The design of the bathroom doesn’t change at all, but everything is made to look better with paint; new fixtures and flooring; and repaired, refaced, or repainted cabinets, shower, and tub. A minor bathroom remodel costs about $2,500—$12,000 for a 100 sq. ft. bathroom and $5,000 for a half bathroom.
Midrange – The design of the bathroom doesn’t change, but almost everything is replaced—a new shower/tub and toilet; new flooring, cabinets, fixtures, lighting fixtures, and wall coverings. A midrange bathroom remodel costs about $19,000—$26,000 for a 100 sq.ft. bathroom and $13,000 for a half bathroom.
Upscale – The bathroom is completely redesigned, and most of the large items like the cabinets, shower/tub, and toilet are replaced and moved to other places in the space. Plumbing and electrical work is replaced, along with everything from the midrange remodel list above. An upscale bathroom remodel costs about $62,000.
As mentioned above, you can save a lot in remodeling costs if you leave the bathroom design as is. For example, moving a shower, sink, or toilet to another corner of the bathroom could triple your plumbing costs. The plumber will need to do a lot of extra work under the bathroom flooring to rework the pipes and waste lines, and if the floor joists go in the wrong direction, you have the additional cost of paying an engineer to fix it.
When looking at the overall cost, labor costs the most, and your location, job conditions, and budget will affect the end price, according to Best Kitchens & Baths in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Consider hiring a company like Home Genie in Loveland, CO—their flat rate is $85/hour for all handyman work, which could save you a lot compared to hiring individuals for each aspect of the work at different price points. Most large companies won’t even bid on a small or half bath remodel, so the handyman option is preferable anyway.
Do your own estimates: RS Means provides industry standard pricing which is updated every quarter, and if you sign up for a free trial, you can enter the details of your project and get an accurate and current estimate of the total cost. This will give you a good idea of what to expect regarding the quotes you get from different contractors.
The more concrete your budgeting numbers before you start, the more likely you are to stick to them. Some remodeling companies like San Diego Remodel Works, CA, recommend spending months in the pre-planning stages. They say the closer you are to including every single item in your budget, like faucets and hardware, the more accurate the quote you can get. Because they have been in the remodeling business for years and know the cost of everything off the top of their head, they’ll be able to put an estimate together much faster than a newer contractor.
Recoup value of 56%–80%
Based on the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, you’ll recoup approx:
- 80% of the cost of a midrange, minor bathroom remodel
- 70% of the cost of a midrange, major bathroom remodel—it will increase your home’s resale value by approx. $13,500.
- 56% of the cost of an upscale, major bathroom remodel—it will increase your home’s resale value by approx. $35,000.
However, these are the average numbers by combining all the costs and sales numbers around the nation. Mortgage companies will not give buyers bigger mortgages if the cost of your house per square foot is much higher than all the recent sales around you, so you might not get back much of your investment.
A good designer can save you up to 30% of your final cost due to diligent pre-planning. He or she will help you nail down your final choices and be able to show you samples and the finished result with drawings; or, like Monica of Interior’s Creation in Miami, FL, on design software, to give you a visual of the finished product. This can be very helpful in ruling out certain ideas you thought would look great, but the software shows you they wouldn’t.
A designer can also be of great help if you are designing the bathroom for an older or disabled person. Aging in the Comfort of Home in Elizabeth, NJ, is a certified specialist in this type of design, and he can remodel the bathroom to fit the needs of those in the home.
Costs By Service
If you’re pricing by the product plus labor on each stage of the remodel, expect to pay standard costs, but also be aware that the longer a remodeling company has been in business, the likelier it is that you can get a better deal on the total. This is because they are well connected with many of the local companies in that industry, and as such, can build you a package deal made up of contractors whose work they admire and whose prices fit your budget.
BDM Residential Remodeling in Atlanta, GA, has eighteen years of remodeling experience and a team that works together effortlessly. Aware of all the things that can go wrong on a project, he can create backup plans to cover them and save you time and money. Other companies like Budget Remodeling Company in Anaheim, CA, buy in bulk and so they can offer major savings and promotions on the cost of your flooring, tile, cabinetry, and more.
The following list reads in order of cost. The numbers for each service are the average, nationwide costs for a 125 sq. ft bathroom.
|Bathroom Remodeling Service
||Average Cost (125 sq. ft bathroom)
|Electrical wiring and lighting to code
||$65 – $85 /hour
|Plumbing to code
||$45 – $65 /hour
|Purchase and install cabinetry
||$400 – $600 /36” unit
||$900 – $6,500
||$800 – $7,000
|Upgrade or replace a shower or tub
||$200 – $13,000
||$130 – $7,500
|Installing or replacing sinks
||$100 – $7,500
||$100 – $1,000
||$12 – $10,000
||$150 – $400
||$150 – $300
||$70 – $1,000
||$5 – $500
- Electrical wiring and lighting to code $65–$85/hour – One of the newer reason as to why people are remodeling their bathrooms is to turn them into spa-like places of rest and comfort. For many, that includes new features like high-tech showers, mood lighting, digital controls, built-in sound, LED lighting, and showerheads with speakers. An electrician will have to wire all that, and possibly have to bring older wiring and outlets up to code in the process.
- Plumbing to code $45–$65/hour – Your plumber may find that when (s)he pulls up the flooring, the pipes below are rotting, or there is a lot of mold. Older homes will have to be brought up to code. Some plumbing needs could include:
- Moving or installing a bathroom sink and drain
- Moving or installing a new toilet
- Moving or installing a new shower or bathtub
- Purchase and install cabinetry $400–$600/36” unit – Stock cabinets will cost four to five times less than custom-made ones. Many home improvement stores sell ready-to-assemble bathroom cabinets plus the sink and hardware. A RTA vanity cabinet with one sink can cost $200, while a large number of custom-made cabinets with sinks can cost up to $20,000.
To find out which of your favorite distributors offers the best deal, pick a standard, ready-to-assemble cabinet with a door and three drawers plus the composition, hardware, finish, and warranty; and ask each distributor for pricing, along with prices for a pre-assembled unit. Installation labor will cost you about 50%–70% of your cabinet cost. Custom cabinetry can use all available space better, but it will stretch out the remodel time by about twelve weeks, depending on the size of your project, and can cost up to $2,000 per cabinet.
- Install tile $900–$6,500 – Shower walls are usually tiled. Ceramic tiles cost about $10/sq. ft. installed. Check the grade level of the tile you’re about to install—grade 3 is only good for walls, but grades 1 and 2 are good for floors. Tile also has a water absorption rating—the lower the number, the more water resistance it has. Tile installers charge $5–$10/sq. ft.
- Install flooring $800–$7,000 – Most bathroom designers recommend installing tile or stone slab—marble, travertine or granite—for the bathroom floor, because they don’t absorb moisture. Keep in mind that some tile can be slippery when wet, so check for the tile’s COF or slip-resistance rating and make sure it’s higher than 0.60. Many remodelers opt for painted wood, hardwood, vinyl, or laminate instead, with the latter two costing about $5.50/sq. ft. installed.
Radiant heating is a newer feature many people with bigger budgets are installing—using hot air, water, or electricity underneath the top flooring to heat the bathroom floor. This costs $4–$6 more per sq. ft., but you can save by only installing it in the places where you’re likely to have your feet for a while—around the toilet, by the shower, and in front of the mirrors. If you use different flooring materials over the spots with radiant heating, it makes it easier to fix should it ever need repair work, and you won’t have to replace the flooring in the whole room. Installing electric radiant heat mats should take an electrician about an hour of work, and the total cost is about $8,000 less than installing hydronic lines.
- Upgrade or replace a shower or tub $200–$13,000 – Most child-free homes don’t use the tub anymore, but having one can help sell a home to those with young families. Some Realtors go so far as to say selling a home without a tub will make it harder to sell and recommend a shower/tub combination in a remodel.
Reglazing the tub can cost $200–$300. The cost of replacing fixtures or tile can be low, while the cost of replacing a shower or tub comes closer to $3,000, with $1,000 of that going toward plumbing costs and the rest toward the tub and the wall treatment (usually tile). A jetted bathtub can cost up to $5,000. If there’s only been a shower or tub in place before, a shower/tub combo might cost more to install because of the additional plumbing required.
- Install/replace toilets $130–$7,500 - These are available with a 10”/12”/14” base, and a height of either 15” or 17”. Newer, higher-end models include a high tech, self-cleaning toilet with overflow protection and a motion-activated seat, built-in nightlight, self-deodorizer, and hands-free flushing.
- Installing or replacing sinks $100–$7,500 - Double vanities have a much higher appeal to house buyers, so if you have any space at all to do so, add this feature in. An alternative can be to install a wider sink with two faucets.
- Repairing or refinishing countertop - It might cost less to fill chips or retile existing countertop.
- Install countertop $100–$1,000 - From $1–$300 sq. ft. installed, the type and quality of the countertop will determine the price of its purchase and installation, with glass as the highest-priced material and laminate, Formica, or tile at the lower end. Solid surfaces like marble can scratch easily and need to be resealed every few months, while laminate can peel and fade in color. Natural stone looks good but needs a fair bit of maintenance. Engineered stone requires less. Quartz, depending on its quality, is low maintenance but can be hard to find in sizes small enough for vanities. Uninstalled, it costs about $75/sq.ft.
- Fixtures $12–$10,000 -
- Sink faucets $25–$3,200
- Showerheads, shower panels, and faucets $90–$10,000
- Shower lighting, sconces, ceiling lights $10–$4,500
- Mirror $12–$3,000
- Permits $100+ - If you have to do any rewiring, install plumbing, or install a mechanical feature, you’ll need to appropriate permits. Permits are set in place by local government to protect both you and your neighbors by ensuring the work done meets local health and safety regulations.
- Reface cabinets $150–$400 - If you have more than the standard two cabinets in your bathroom, you can save by having them refaced rather than replace them. General choices range from ready to finish to melamine.
- Paint walls $150–$300 - Other than the shower/tub areas, satin or semi-gloss paint is oftentimes a preferred choice to tile because it’s easier and less costly to update. Consumer Reports says “Don’t waste money on bath-specific paint. Our testing reveals that any interior paint with good scores in mildew resistance ... holds up well. At $28 per gallon, it’s over $40 less per can than premium bath-specific paints.”
- Fan $70–$1,000 - The bathroom fan is vital because without one, high humidity can cause damage to paint or wallpaper, and even drywall and wood. Some fans even include motion-activated lights or heat-exchange. In some states, you have to have a fan to bring your remodel up to code. HGTV.com says “Plan to spend $80 to $400 for a new ventilation fan. Add another $250 to $500 for professional installation by an HVAC contractor.”
- Hardware $5-$500 - Bathroom cabinet and drawer handles can cost from $2–$20 each.
Many contractors are knowledgeable about energy-saving, environmentally friendly products. For example, A & S Construction Services in Westminster, CO, specialize in energy and water efficiency and have a master electrician, master plumber, and heating and air contractors on their team. Peter Glaser Construction in Washington, D.C., uses Energy Star-rated products and attends new product seminars on a yearly basis. Check this list to see if your state offers rebates on your purchase of energy-saving vent fans, lighting, or tech products. Also consider adding as many energy-saving features to your remodel as possible.
- Install skylights and larger windows to increase the amount of natural light.
- Buy a low-flow toilet and showerhead.
- Install motion-sensor sink faucets.
- Buy an Energy Star ventilation fan.
- Also consider buying nontoxic building materials.
Expect the whole process to take about three months, to happen in the following order:
- Agree on budget and timeframe with your contractor or designer. Ensure all cleanup is included in the quote.
- Design – get permits – select materials – order materials. Some specialty items take up to twelve weeks to arrive.
- Teardown – address water damage or mold issues ($500–$3,000 if needed).
- Update electrical work and plumbing
- Subflooring and flooring – tiling and paint – fixtures, lights, and accessories
- Final walkthrough to make sure everything quoted has been completed to your satisfaction. All good contractors, like Copple Construction in Alexandria, VA, include a 1–2 year warranty on their work.
How to choose your contractor
- Get at least three comprehensive bids from skilled contractors who have been to your home and measured your bathroom. For example, Fresh Floor Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, FL, does an in-home consultation and measurement, an electrical and plumbing survey, and a needs and layout optimization analysis before presenting any bid.
- All contractors must be licensed and insured, like Ready 1 Renovation USA in Atlanta, GA, who only hires certified and licensed professionals.
- Don’t pay a large amount of money up front unless the cost is for product purchases. As On The Job Services in Pearland, TX, says, “Why do they need 50% to get started when they have not done 50% of the work?”
- Check review sites like the Better Business Bureau to see feedback on a contractor’s past work.