Hey guys, it’s Topher. I’m the project manager on the construction2style team, and I’m pumped to share my recent breakdown of what a bathroom remodel costs.
Are you ready?
Numbers will always vary from project to project, but the main point of this post is to address the sticker shock that most people have when they receive a bid for a bathroom remodel.
Typically speaking, a bathroom is a much smaller space in comparison to say a kitchen. The size and function both play a factor in why I think so many people can’t believe that they cost so much, especially right now with material pricing skyrocketing.
Most want a nice bathroom, but at the end of the day, it’s not quite the statement piece as a kitchen is, so it’s a little bit tougher getting yourself to spend the money on something that only you or your family will ever see/use.
To answer the question “how much does a bathroom remodel cost” in simple terms is tough because it’s a complex project. This is why at construction2style we don’t give construction estimates until the designs are finalized. And I’ll explain why.
There are, however, basic things that have gone into most bathroom projects we have done that make up a lot of our cost. Here is a list of the items that go into a bathroom remodel and roughly how much they might cost. Hopefully, this gives you better insight as to what it may cost and where the money goes.
Note: This list does not cover all areas of bathroom remodels, but covers the areas where the money is mostly spent.
As is most of this list we’re about to go over, this is all contingent on the size of your space.
Bathroom Remodel Costs
It’s easy to forget about permits and how much those can cost. And this ranges from city to city. In a couple of cities, we’ve gone to pull permits, and they said we didn’t need a permit, which costs $0.
Then we go to other cities and the permit alone costs $800- $4K.
And then some cities require lead inspections if your home is of a certain age, which can cost thousands of dollars. And you have to be lead certified and take classes for that, which also costs money.
So depending on where you live permits can range from $0- $4K for the permit alone.
You can call your city to inquire about permitting costs and what yours will cost in your area.
Dumpsters, here in Minnesota, cost $400-$600 per dumpster (depending on the size you order), and sometimes we have 1-4 on a job site. It just depends on how much our clients like to throw in and add to the dumpster on top of the demo materials, which costs more. They charge more for “not construction” materials.
A lot of times, with a demo, we find unexpected things that you probably didn’t get included in the bid. Such as black mold, asbestos, rotting, things not up to code, etc. These are things no contractor or designer can think up or foresee until walls are broken down.
And if you do happen to have things such as asbestos, you have to hire a professional company to come and remove…which then will cost more.
Contrary to a kitchen, there are more things that need to be removed that are stuck in place. For instance, a shower often has tile walls and a sloped pan.
Getting the tile off the walls and breaking up the floor of the shower can take a couple of days, not to mention if the rest of the bathroom floor is tile. This can be a long and hard process. You also need to own the right tools for this job, which are expensive.
This also leads me to another good point, accessibility. We have never run into a master bathroom remodel where the bathroom is right next to the front door.
Usually, it’s tucked away in the bedroom upstairs at the end of the hall. This makes hauling all the material to the dumpster quite a challenge. Small things like this create a more time-consuming task, and additional materials are needed to protect the floors and walls, eventually leading to a higher cost. Between the demolition of your bathroom, getting it down to the bones as well as the time it will take getting the area cleared, we would recommend planning for around $2,000 for this portion of the project.
Electrical & Plumbing
Often homeowners get blown away by this portion of the bathroom remodel cost the most.
Being skilled costs money, and in these areas, it shows. Electricians and plumbers are not cheap, nor should they be.
They have a specific set of skills that they have been educated and licensed to do. The exact cost is dependent on how much you need to be done. If you are adding a ton of can lights and removing old ones, along with taking your shower across the room to add room for an additional toilet…well, that will cost a lot.
On the lower end of things, I would plan to pay your plumber/electrician combination around $2,100- $6,000. And typically, they don’t give your contractor an estimate unless you pay them the time to come out. Otherwise, they just bill them.
Let me remind you that just because you replaced a toilet and changed the faucet head on the shower, does not mean your plumber should be doing this for free, and more often than not the prior space was not up to code so they legally have to make additional updates. They also have to pull their own permits and have inspections (on top of the general contractor’s permits) which take additional money and time. And they carry liability for the space.
Framing costs anywhere from $7 to $16 per square foot. If you are in your bathroom and taking down walls and rearranging the layout, you’ll have framing costs. Within a bathroom space, we’re typically just framing in a toilet room, or if you’re changing the shower room or want half walls, etc., you’ll be re-framing those as well.
One thing you’ll never do twice is paying for a bad tile job. We would recommend never paying for one in the first place, though. Tile is the one thing that many people try to DIY and often are not pleased with the result. And this is also the one thing we beg clients to NOT DIY.
That’s because tile is one of the hardest things about a bathroom. Anyone can lay and grout tile. But very few people can achieve a high quality and high craft tile job. Not to mention they know what prep work needs to be done to ensure that your bathroom lasts without leaking or getting moldy. Waterproofing your shower alone is a skilled craft that takes anywhere from 3-5 days of work.
The tile itself ranges from about $5-$30 per square foot, and installers, on average, charge $30-$50 per hour. Typically, we spend around $4,000- $9,000 on tile/labor per job for shower surround, shower floor, and floor tile. Again, just depending on the size and the finishings you choose.
Then if you’re adding in niches, benches, shelving…this all costs more.
Cabinetry plays a big part in any bathroom remodel cost. We always recommend custom cabinetry as it plays a big part in the overall design and functionality of your space. Are you single, married, need your own space, storage drawers, electrical outlets within the cabinets for your blow dryer and curling irons, shaving devices, etc. Do you want cabinets with pull-out drawers, all drawers, makeup stations, additional cabinetry for storage beyond your vanity? All of these details play a big part in the overall design and pricing of your space, and each drawer or pull-out costs more.
You can find a vanity at your local hardware store for under $2,000, but we promise that it won’t give you the storage that you want. If you go custom and want the additional bells and whistles, it’ll cost, on average, $5,000. And then if you’re adding in additional storage units and makeup stations, you’ll probably be looking at an additional $3-5K. Then on top of the cabinetry, remember you have the countertop, sink, faucet, and hardware.
Your plumbing fixtures are bathtubs, sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and faucets. And don’t forget about the pipes, drains, and valves that are part of a home’s plumbing system that supplies water to each of the plumbing fixtures and also drains it away. A lot of the plumbing fixtures that don’t get accounted for are the systems that you don’t see that are behind the walls. All of these costs add up to remodel your bathroom.
For a free-standing jetted tub, you’re looking anywhere from $2,500-5K. Free-standing tub faucets are additional, on average, $2K. Then the shower fixtures, on average, $2-3K.
So within our bathroom projects, the plumbing fixtures alone can come in at $8K, and this is just for the materials.
This is where you can really save, in my opinion, if you need to. But if this is your forever home, we suggest you don’t and instead save until you can afford the things you love; otherwise, you’ll regret it within a couple of years.
All of the additional finishings we’re referring to are things such as the countertop, toilet, soaking tub, towel bars, toilet paper holders, and hardware.
If you want these to be statement pieces and have the resources, by all means, go for it. But if you’re running a tight ship with a strict budget, these are the items where I would suggest saving.
Common Additional Charges
Painting: $300-$2K. This depends on whether you hire someone and what kind of paint you use. Typically, a can of paint costs about $35, and painters charge about $1.50 per square foot.
Trim: Some choose to use their old trim, some want brand new. Both will cost money. Most trim costs about $2 per square foot, and labor varies. We recommend new trim and having it painted by a professional. Generally, our trim/labor costs around $1,200. Even if you want to keep the old, it needs to come off and be put back on, and then I’m not sure you want the old going back up.
Drywall: Within a bathroom, there isn’t a ton of surface or wall area. Often you can get away with minimal patching and repair work. But any time you are significantly moving things, adding/subtracting walls, or re-doing texture on the ceiling, there is bound to be some drywall work. Although it’s minimal, drywall costs on bathrooms usually range from $400-$1,000.
Ceilings: Are you scraping popcorn off and want knockdown or flat? If flat, that will cost the most because the tapers have to be extremely detailed to have a nice flat ceiling. Regardless, you’re looking anywhere from $1,500-$3,500.
Fans: Do you need to replace ceiling fans?
These are just a few of the common additional charges that one might not think of when thinking about all the things that go into your bathroom remodel cost.
Extras can be things such as in-floor heat, steam showers, glass shower doors, screen mirrors, outlet drawer inserts, walk-in closets, organization, mirrors, etc.
If you’re putting any/all of these in a bathroom, I would doubt that there is any real budget in place, and if there is, it’s probably not one where you will need to pay close attention to what things cost.
Listed above are some of the things we see common requests for in bathrooms once things are underway that we would consider to be extra or out of the ordinary for most bathrooms.
Glass shower doors are at the top of the list followed by in-floor heat. Glass shower doors are trendy today, but they are relatively expensive in comparison to an insert or option from a local home improvement store. You’ll have to have a technician come out and measure, and then install the custom cut glass piece. This can cost anywhere from $1,200-$8,000 just depending on the size of the door.
In-floor heat is the other thing that we commonly get asked about, but clients seldom go through with it. Between the labor and the cost, it often deters people that are trying to stay within a budget. In-floor heat, depending on how it’s installed, can cost around $1500-$3000. All of this is contingent on what type of in-floor heat you use and the cost of the people who install it.
Then if you’re hiring a contractor, you need to remember that they have additional business expenses that they have to take into accounts such as permits, taxes, subs, and front-end labor.
This is the list of things that you don’t physically see but are all costs that must be covered. In-house items such as insurance, payroll, etc. all need to come from somewhere, and whether you are aware or not, it all is allocated throughout the year in all the projects.
The biggest misconception is that people are getting rich off of one project or off of YOUR project. That’s simply not the case. People need to get paid for the work they are doing. This includes all the time emailing back and forth, the process of design, going to apply and pick up permits. I won’t even begin to put a number on this because it can range so drastically, but it will definitely add a dollar amount to your project.
Okay, But How Much in Total?
In a nutshell here are all of the line items that go into an average bathroom remodel:
- permits | drawings for city approval
- disposal, dumpster
- tile shower surround
- shower floor
- niches, benches, shelving in the shower
- restructuring shower
- main tile floor
- in-floor heating
- vanity, cabinetry
- shower head
- plumbing | new toilet, set toilet, new traps, plumbing permits, new shower valves
- electrical | permits
- free-standing soaking tub
- custom glass shower door
- lighting- sconces, pendants, recessed
- paint walls
- towel bars, hooks, hangers
- project management
- account management
- meetings, consults, 4-hour windows waiting for products and/or appointments with subs and city inspectors
A bathroom remodel, on average, can range from $40,000- $65,000 just depending on the size of your space and the finishes you put into it.
Hopefully, with the information provided, you can plug in your numbers and have a ballpark idea of how much you might spend before diving into a project. People and their specific skills cost money. Elegance and craft cost money, as well. If you get nothing out of this, I hope you hear that.