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What do you need to know about bathroom remodeling budgets?

“How much does a bathroom remodeling project cost?”  This question is nearly impossible to answer without first exploring the specifics of your project, your home, and your individual requirements.  You must also understand how much the components of a bathroom renovation actually cost and also how much you are willing to spend when determining the budget for your project.

The budget required to upgrade your bathroom is affected by many factors.  Size, the quality of materials, and whether you are a DIYer or plan to work with a design/build firm all affect your budget.  Other factors include the scope of the project, the age of your home (and of your pipes), and any previous remodeling work done on the bathroom.

A bathroom packs a lot into a relatively small space, including durable materials, fixtures, plumbing, lighting, and more.   This impacts the cost of a bathroom project, so you tend to spend more per square foot in a bathroom than any other space in the house.  The average spend for a bathroom remodel is about $450/sq. ft., however you also tend to recoup on average 100% of the costs in resale value.  If you are not planning to sell, you will see a return on investment in the way this renovation enhances your lifestyle!

Bathroom remodeling expenses fit into the following categories:

  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Installation: 30-40%
  • Materials, fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, doors, windows, lighting, and other goods are the remainder of the cost
  • Contingency: always allow 10-20% extra

There are two big factors that influence your costs: the materials you select and your space.  With such an array of materials available in a wide range of cost options, and so many accessories for bathrooms, it is very easy to see your budget fluctuate.  Everything from shower to tiles to cabinetry and faucets can change the cost of a bathroom design.  Set your priorities early on and let this guide your decisions.  You may be able live with spending less on cabinetry and countertop materials but have your heart set on an extra-large shower with a unique mosaic tile design.  If you cannot afford everything you want, pick one or two items to splurge on or use more expensive tiles in a small area to create a feature.

Your space also has a large impact on costs as a larger space requires more materials and, especially in the case of tile, more labor to install it.  Changing the layout, moving fixtures or plumbing, and extending the room will always add to your costs.  You may want to extend your bathroom but can you afford to knock down a wall and move plumbing around?  Perhaps your bathroom expert can suggest other ways to meet your design requirements using the existing space.

Bathroom budgets range from a partial remodel to an upscale remodel, as follows:

  • In a partial remodel, you replace specific items, such as cabinets, countertops, faucets, and toilet.
  • A basic renovation maintains the existing structure and layout, and mainly uses off the shelf products, lower end materials for countertops/tile/fixtures, and a single sink.
  • The mid-range project uses better quality fixtures, faucets, flooring, and sink, and includes other features like a recessed medicine cabinet or a larger shower.
  • With the upscale remodel you may re-design the layout and structure of the room exactly as you want it, allowing you to move fixtures around and extend the size of the room.  This deluxe remodel could include more tile work, a double vanity with two sinks, upgrading the plumbing, and higher end materials that are more durable and unique.

You get what you pay for, and this is definitely true when remodeling a bathroom.  A larger budget allows flexibility to play around with the layout of the room and to select the perfect materials and design features.  Investigate which products and features fit your requirements and style, but also learn how much these things cost.  If you cannot afford everything on your wish list, then look at alternative products and materials that fit within your budget.  Your bathroom design professional is an excellent resource to help you learn what you can achieve within your budget.