Bathroom Remodeling: What It Costs, Turnaround Time, Ideas & Full Guide
Your bathroom might be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it’s also one of the most important. Some estimates suggest that the average person will spend a total of six months of their life in the bathroom. Of course, this isn’t all at once, but imagine if it were! That’s not an insignificant amount of time. On top of that, if you’re a woman or have a more complicated hygiene or makeup routine, that length of time significantly increases.
Why is the bathroom so important? Well, consider that you begin and end every day there. You take care of yourself and tend to your hygiene and cleanliness routines in that space as well. Your shower is where inspiration often strikes (or an impromptu concert takes place). Your bathtub is where you can unwind and decompress at the end of a long day.
Your bathroom should be a space of luxury and convenience. It should be a place that makes you feel calm and happy to be home. It’s not only a space that you use frequently; it’s also one that you’ll commonly offer to others. Visitors may not ever see your walk-in closet or get to experience your new luxe mattress, but they will most likely use your bathroom, so you want it to be as inviting as possible.
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If you’re looking to make some much-needed upgrades to your home, the bathroom might be the place to start. It’s an easier room to renovate because, generally, it’s small (you need fewer materials), which means that everything is less expensive, including labor.
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Bathrooms are on the easier side of spaces to renovate for the following reasons:
The plumbing is usually already in place, or it can be moved easily.
When you redo a space, consider the fact that wires, plumbing, and other mechanicals might have to shift depending on where you land on your final choices for your sink, toilet, and tub. In the bathroom, unless you're completely changing the layout or adding a whole new room, plumbing can most often stay put, reducing the amount you could potentially spend on your project.
Demolition will be briefer.
If you want to pull up and reinstall tile, take down a wall, doing it in the bathroom is going to be your best bet, because again, it’s going to take significantly less time than if you were addressing a wall that’s part of your living room and may or may not be a part of the home’s structural integrity. You generally don’t have to worry about that with bathroom redesigns.
Cost of tile is (relatively) inexpensive.
Even if you opt for higher-end ceramic or glass tile, given the square footage, it’s still going to be relatively affordable. For context, you can generally budget between $2 and $10 per square foot of tile, and this often includes installation. Fortunately, the majority of your bathroom will be composed of some type of tile (the floors, perhaps the perimeter of the shower, even), making it simple as well.
Labor is less expensive.
Because your bathroom is typically not as large as your kitchen, for example, you can budget less for your contractors. You should generally anticipate to spend anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of your material budget on installation and contractor fees.
Bathroom Remodeling Cost
What do you have to budget for your bathroom renovation? On average, a complete bathroom overhaul will cost you somewhere between $8,000 to $12,000, while many bathrooms — complete with new fixtures — will fall somewhere in between. A 45-square foot bathroom in an older home without any issues will cost from $6,000 to $10,000, depending on how well you appoint it. A larger bathroom coming down to the studs could run you double, about $20,000.
However, you should always plan for the unexpected, especially if you live in an older home. For example, you might run into issues with mold or plumbing, which isn’t atypical for an old bathroom. Given that this can be the case, you should generally expect to spend 10 to 15 percent more than you anticipate on any unexpected surprises you find in the walls or when you pull up your existing floor.
What Do I Have To Pay For?
Below are the main points you'll need to keep in mind when you're planning your bathroom remodel. Use the following as a checklist and guide for estimating your potential total cost.
Your vanity will be one of the main focal points of your new bathroom. Not only will your vanity provide much-needed storage for personal grooming items, it needs to be beautiful as well. And, since bathroom storage is almost always at a premium, choosing a piece that best fits your morning and evening routines will not only keep everything in its place but also help your days begin and end more smoothly.
Prices vary depending on the material of the cabinet itself but also the top, which is quite often included with an undermount sink. Vanity tops come in a plethora of materials; vitreous china, granite, marble, glass, and more. A solid wood vanity with a marble top, for example, will be much more expensive than a manufactured wood piece with a china top. In general, expect your vanity budget to start between $250 and $300.
You could also renovate a preexisting cabinet. You can paint it , change the hardware, and install a new faucet. But if you really want to do a full renovation, a total overhaul is usually in order.
On top of that cabinet is going to be a countertop. Sometimes, you can simply use the vanity as it came (for example, many will come with a pre-sealed top so your wood or ceramic is water-protected), while in other cases, you can buy the cabinet without the sink and countertop installed. This gives you room to get creative. For just the countertop, prices start at about $300 and go up from there, though it will depend on the specifications of your bathroom.
Once you’ve chosen your upgraded vanity and chosen a top, you’ll likely want to upgrade your faucet as well. Depending on what you want to get, you’re probably looking somewhere in the $100 to $300 range for a nice mid-grade model, but that can vary on the design, material, and finish.
Unlike other rooms of your home, your bathroom is also unique in that it has the majority of your most important plumbing and water systems linked to it. That means that if you’re having any issues regarding your toilet, tub, or sink, you’ll need to have those fixed while you’re doing the renovation. It’s a good idea to contact a professional for a lot of these jobs, given that they can be dangerous — if not potentially very damaging — if done incorrectly.
Walls And Ceilings
Your bathroom is the wettest room in the house, and having an appropriately-sized fan that takes moisture out is imperative to keeping your new room looking great and functioning in top form for the next several years. Removing moisture generated by showers and time at the sink brushing teeth and shaving, will reduce the chance you'll get mold and mildew so your beautiful new tilework isn't tarnished, and your newly hung drywall and freshly painted trim stay problem-free.
Aside from basic lights that need to go into the ceiling, a bathroom can utilize different fixtures for different purposes. For example, you might want to pair an overhead light with a fixture above the mirror that provides ample light for grooming or makeup. You may also want to install a light in the shower, particularly if the area is dim. Depending on the size and quality, light fixtures can range from $25 to $50 on the low end to a few hundred dollars on the high end (or even higher if you opt for a crystal or luxury fixture).
Of course, in a bathroom you are also going to need flooring, whether you prefer tile or laminate. Fortunately, given the smaller dimensions of the space, you can consider opting for more expensive material, as it’s going to cost less to finish. On the other hand, you can go for a budget option and make the process as inexpensive as possible.
Bathroom Remodeling Labor Rates
While there are certainly some changes you can make yourself, others, such as your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work - not to mention hauling your old tub and out and bringing in your new tub - is best left to the professionals.
Some estimates suggest that you should expect to spend an average of $1,000 to $2,000 on fixtures, as well as an additional $100 per square foot on labor. Alternatively, rates can run you somewhere in the range of $50 to $110 per hour for a licensed, bonded professional. If you’re looking to just replace or update one item or another, Home Advisor suggests that the following are average prices you’ll spend
|Install Bathtub||$400 - $1,000||$450 - $600||$50 - $300||$900 - $1,900|
|Install Countertops||$100 - $1,000||$50 - $150||$5 - $30||$155 - $1,180|
|Install Flooring||$60 - $130||$350 - $650||$30 - $600||$440 - $1,380|
|Install Lighting Fixture||$50 - $120||$150 - $220||$5 - $10||$205 - $350|
|Install Shower||$350 - $450||$350 - $450||$30 - $50||$730 - $1,000|
|Install Sink||$100 - $250||$300 - $350||$15 - $95||$415 - $695|
|Install Toilet||$100 - $500||$350 - $450||$10 - $20||$460 - $970|
Of course, once you’ve purchased your materials and hired your contractors, you’re going to want to know just how long it will be until you can enjoy your new bathroom. Some estimates suggest that on average, it will take a little less than a month — about 23 days — to complete it entirely.
These estimates are comprehensive: demolition might take a day or two, depending on how much material needs to be removed and the overall size of your bathroom; plumbing will take another couple of days if you are having anything moved or you need pipes brought up to code; your electrician will take another day or two if you need to run new lines anywhere in the room, and insulation should take about half a day.
After that, it should take about a day for drywall, one or two days to finish the drywall, two days for tiling, two days for painting, two days for flooring and a day to install the final fixtures like setting the vanity and the toilet. Again, it will take you significantly less time if you’re just updating one or two things, like the vanity or tub, and if you’re keeping your plumbing and electric intact.
Bathroom Remodeling Ideas
Before you begin, it’s essential to nail down exactly what you want the final outcome to be. Consider creating a mood board or an order of operations so that you can get on the same page as your team with what you want, and how quickly you can expect it to happen.
Remember that when choosing various materials — tile, trim, paint colors, fixtures — you want to ensure that they complement each other, not clash. To accomplish this, compile images of the different features and fixtures you want to utilize in your space so that you can ensure they look correct alongside one another. DesignFiles is an online tool that can help you with this process if you aren't familiar with photo editing tools like Photoshop.
Keep in mind that you’ll want the style of your bathroom to flow with other rooms in your home. When you’re putting together ideas, consider pulling a bold color from another room and or a fixture that matches the style of another part of your house, and making that the focal point.
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Ultimately, it’s about taking creative liberty and creating the bathroom you want. If you don’t know where to begin, try closing your eyes and imagine where you want to get ready in the morning, or relax in the evening. Soon, you’ll be able to visualize exactly what you want to create in your home.