A bathroom renovation is a big project and the size and complexity of each project are different. This also means that the price can vary a lot as well.
Some bathroom renovations can be simple. Basic repairs along with modern updates to important fixtures are all that is required.
On the other hand, other projects require tearing down your whole bathroom and building a new one. Sometimes it’s simply necessary and cheaper to start from scratch.
Even though the bathroom is one of the smallest areas in every home, it’s very important. The bathroom is essential for maintaining our hygiene, our look, and taking care of our basic physical needs.
Simply put, this area is reserved for different activities, and it requires greater functionality.
This is why you should approach your bathroom renovation seriously. At the same time, renovating your bathroom can be really expensive if you don’t know what you are doing.
For this reason, we’ve prepared this guide to help you understand all of the costs and adjust them according to your budget.
Why renovate your bathroom?
Let’s first go over the reasons why you should renovate your bathroom.
Many people wonder whether this is a worthwhile investment and rightfully so. Before going through with the project, you need to know what you will be getting in return.
Here are some of the benefits of a bathroom renovation:
1. More storage space
The bathroom is a room just like any other in your home. This means that you should consider how you use the space you have available. Sadly, many older bathroom designs never considered how to utilize space efficiently for storing your belongings.
Starting over from scratch can help you save valuable space and organize your bathroom better. For example, you can change the placement of your bathtub, add new cabinets, and remove fixtures you don’t really need.
2. Repair existing problems
Older bathrooms are notorious for having leakage issues, mold, loose tiles, blocked drains, and other problems over time. One of the biggest reasons why people renovate their bathrooms is because they can repair all the issues that are bothering them.
Sadly, a lot of the problems can’t be fixed easily, and they are caused by old design and structural mistakes. The only way to deal with them is by renovating. Furthermore, a brand new renovation can help you prevent those same issues from ever happening in the future.
3. The increased market value of your home
Many people see these kinds of projects as an expense only. However, bear in mind that a new, functional, and good-looking bathroom will raise the value of your home. This means that you can actually make money on your investment if you decide to sell your home.
As we mentioned earlier, bathrooms are a crucial part of every home. Buyers always like to see a new bathroom with great design. It can convince them to purchase a property and even give more money than they planned.
4. Increased functionality
Apart from rearranging the space of your bathroom, you can also increase functionality in other ways. First of all, there are constantly new products like new vanities, fixtures, and cabinets that bring more functionality.
You need to organize your bathroom so that it’s comfortable to use. Functionality is especially important if you live with a large family, and your bathroom is a busy area.
5. Improved energy efficiency
As more and more people are becoming conscious about the environment, there are new energy-efficient bathroom solutions. When remodeling your bathroom, you can add various products like radiant flooring, toilet suits with low flow, and water-saving fixtures, that improve energy efficiency.
You can also change tiles to improve insulation and spend less energy on heating/cooling your bathroom area. For the same reasons, you can also change your windows and save on utility costs as well.
Check out this link to see how much you can save
Things to consider before remodeling your bathroom
Before you can consider the price of the whole project, you first need to know what you will be remodeling. No matter what you do, the functionality should be at the center of your project. Here are some things you should consider before you start remodeling:
- Bathroom cabinets: Can you use your bathroom cabinets without them getting in the way? Are there different cabinets you can add to your bathroom to save space and improve functionality? This is very important to consider when making a plan for remodeling.
- Drawer cabinets: If you want to replace cabinets, look for options with drawers rather than doors. They are easier to access and can be organized or cut around plumbing to fit in perfectly.
- Choosing between bath or shower: You know what you like. If you don’t mind either, then consider how much space you have in your bathroom. Showers generally take up less space and are more practical.
- Shower tiles: If you go with the shower, make sure to consider which tiles you will be adding. It’s important that they are sloped properly and that they provide enough traction to avoid slipping.
- Plumbing: If you are constantly having issues with clogged drains or leakage, chances are you need to replace your plumbing. There are larger pipes that can be used now that have less chance of clogging.
- Windows: If you have the option, add a window into your bathroom, preferably looking to get a window that can be opened for more ventilation. A modern change to windows is the window sill. Previously the window sill was made from wood and painted. More modern bathroom renovations include a window sill that is made from the wall tiles. This makes the sill not only look good but very easy to clean.
- Accessibility: Accessibility is important in every bathroom, no matter how affordable or expensive it might be. Consider leveled faucets that can be gripped easily and handheld showers, as these things can be used by anyone. No matter what you do, plan for all the permanent elements first before adding the rest.
- The height of elements: There are no general rules about how higher various bathroom elements should be. To figure this out, the best thing to do is simply test out the height you or your other family members like. Measure the height you’ve settled in for each element and write it down.
How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom?
The first thing you should know is that bathroom renovation costs vary from one area to another. In general, the costs can range from around $5,000 to $25,000.
Sometimes the price can even be over $25k depending on your preferences. You need to understand that there are many factors that affect the price and that we are only giving you the average estimates. Here some of the averages based on the “level” of renovation:
- Budget renovations – from $5000 and up to $10,000
- Standard renovations – from $10,000 and up to $18,000
- Luxury renovations – over $18,000
Here are some of the factors that affect the price:
- The housing market you are in.
- New windows.
- Bathroom size.
- Moving or installing new fixtures and plumbing.
- Adding luxury elements such as underfloor heating.
- Adding new bathroom lighting.
- Cost of fittings, tiles, and fixtures.
- The prices of the service provider who will renovate your bathroom.
- Material quality.
- Changing floor plans.
We understand that you would like to know the exact price for your project, but things simply don’t work that way. There are so many factors that affect the price and calculating total costs is not easy. However, you should bear in mind that you can call local bathroom renovation specialists for a free quote.
There are many ways you can save up on costs without jeopardizing quality.
Bathroom renovation cost breakdown
One of the largest expenses of bathroom renovation cost is labor. This includes all of the installing, repairs, and replacements done by the professionals you hire. Labour comes out to around 20% of the total remodeling budget but it can often go up to 40%.
Other major costs include toilets, showers, toilets, and similar fixtures that come around at 15%. All the plumbing materials and faucets also account for 15% of all the total expense. Flooring will be at approximately 10%.
All of the other project expenses like countertops, lighting, walls, doors, windows, design services, and disposal elements will account for the remaining 40% of costs. In most cases, they are all about the same.
Cost breakdown for different price ranges
Here you can see a summary of approximate costs for every budget. This breakdown is designed to help you get a better understanding of the costs that await you. Don’t take them bluntly and expect that you will get the same numbers in your area.
Vanity top $150
Vanity top: $600
Vanity top: $1.800
How to keep bathroom renovation costs down
If you are on a tight budget, but your bathroom is in dire need of renovation, don’t worry. There are things you can do to keep the costs down. The first thing you should do is make a list of the things you absolutely need.
For example, if your plumbing is bad, you should consider replacing it. You should keep your plumbing in the same space, as moving the pipes can increase your costs. However, if you are bored with your shower, you can simply add a new screen or some other details to get that fresh look.
Not everything needs to be replaced to look fresh and new. Some bathrooms don’t need a complete overhaul, and you can remodel them without spending too much money. Another way to save money is to avoid replacing tiles, as you can just do tile resurfacing.
Tips for making your renovation affordable
Bathroom and kitchen renovations always increase the value of your home. Even if you aren’t doing the renovation for these reasons, it’s still good to know that that they will be assets in the long run. What’s great about bathrooms is that there are many ways you can save some money.
Here are some of the budget renovation tips that can help you.
Prioritise and take your time
If you are on a tight budget then you need to prioritse. Work on replacing broken elements first and repairing fixtures you absolutely need. Additionally, think of your remodeling project as a work in progress and tackle one thing at a time if necessary.
Don’t change the basic layout
Moving your plumbing pipes, shower, toilet, or tub is more complicated and costs more money. All of these elements need to be fixed to outlets and plumbing to operate properly. This will require more work, which means higher costs.
If you can, keep the basic layout the way it is. You can move around other things if you want to bring change into your bathroom.
Learn how to install everything on your own
If you aren’t changing the layout of your bathroom, then installing all the elements is much easier. This includes the toilet, tub, sink, and so on. You just need all the necessary tools and a bit of practice. Look for instructions online and take it one step at a time.
Everyone can learn how to do this, and it’s really not that big of a deal. There is no need to drill any new holes or anything like that. You will just have to screw everything in the right place and carefully position all the bathroom fittings.
Buy materials yourself
Contractors are always willing to get the necessary materials and fixtures for your bathroom renovation project. They usually have a supplier they buy from in bulk, which means lower prices to you. However, you can check websites like Gumtree and look for materials. You can often find cheap clearance sales.
This approach does require more work and time on your part but it can save you a lot of money. No matter if you are working with plumbers, electricians, or designers, get the supplies on your own. Simply put, you will be paying them only for their labor.
DIY whenever possible
Even if you aren’t a handy person and the only thing you know how to assemble is a chair from IKEA, there are certain things you can do on your own. For example, everyone can paint their bathroom on their own – it just takes a bit of time. You can also remove the fixtures and save hundreds of dollars on labor.
Bathroom renovations under $5000
If you are really tight on your budget, there are some general steps you can take to keep the costs to a bare minimum. Don’t expect anything fancy. Still, you can make your bathroom look fresh and decent even at less than $5000.
Here is what you can do:
- Regrout and clean tiles on your own
- Have your basin and tub resurfaced by a professional (this is a cheap service)
- Paint your vanity and walls
- Clean your tapware or replace it with a new one
- Replace handles
- Buy a new shower enclosure and replace it
- Replace the shower head
- Buy used elements that are in good shape
- Limit tile only to essential areas and use wallpaper on the rest of your walls. Note the image above has no tiles. The customer chose to paint exposed brickwork, keeping costs to a minimum.
You can modernise your bathroom
For a budget lower than $5000 there are many things you can’t get. However, one thing you can do for that money is to modernise the look and feel of your bathroom. Consider neutral paint jobs, lighting, flooring, and tiling that will make the whole difference of how your bathroom looks.
On the other hand, bear in mind that old vanities reek of outdated bathrooms. Getting a vanity cabinet that has a single sink can save you a lot of money. Even for such a small budget, you can get one and modernise the look of your bathroom.
Avoid changing the floorplan and work on cosmetics
If you want to keep your bathroom renovation costs under $5000, then don’t even think about changing the floorplan. Floorplan changes are always expensive, and along with plumbing relocation, it can take a large portion of your money. This is why you should focus on cosmetic changes to remain within the $5k.
If you want the room to feel larger, add different lighting and put new paint on the walls. Also, consider sticking wallpapers on your walls wherever possible to save money on tiles. This is how you can make space look larger and better without spending a lot.
Finding professional tradies for your bathroom renovation
The best way to find reliable tradies is by using Google and through word of mouth. Looking at their websites for professional advice and information will show you they know what they are talking about.
Start asking around with your friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues and see who they recommend. People close to you won’t recommend service providers that didn’t give them quality results.
By following up a reference, you will increase the chances of finding professionals that have good workmanship skills, know their way around people, and have integrity. You don’t want to work with people who have a poor work ethic. Get multiple recommendations and compare them to find the best tradie.
For a bathroom renovation project, you will need to hire a professional plumber.
Apart from asking people who you can trust, you can also talk to some of the other tradies you have hired in the past. They often work together on projects and know other people who can do a good job.
Sometimes you can find tradies that can take care of multiple aspects of the project. For example, tilers can often do the paint job as well. These kinds of professionals are often well-networked, so asking for suggestions from them is a good idea.
However, in these situations, you need must do a background check. Look at their site, client testimonials, reviews, and make sure to ask if they have a license.
There are often “professionals” that don’t have official licenses for the work they do. This means that they’ve learned to do this work on own. Even though there is a chance that they might be really good, there is also a high probability that their knowledge isn’t well-rounded.
It’s also generally a good idea to look for plumbing companies or other service providers that have insurance. If they get hurt while renovating your bathroom and they don’t have insurance, you might be forced to pay for their medical expenses. If they are insured, their insurance will take care of it.
Cheap bathroom renovation ideas
By now, you certainly understand that bathroom renovations can go two ways. They can either be super expensive or affordable. A lot of homeowners buy into the myth that they must spend more than $15,000 to refresh their bathroom area, but this is not true. Thinking outside of the box and being creative can get you a long way.
With this lean and low-cost approach, your bathroom will be functional, bright, fresh, and clear. People won’t even notice you haven’t spent tons of money on remodeling it. However, knowing where to start can be difficult, especially if you don’t have any experience with this kind of work.
Here are three cheap remodel ideas we suggest:
1. Use similar materials that cost less
One of the cheapest bathroom remodeling ideas is to refurbish, refresh, and retain all of the materials you already have. However, if you are forced to change materials and get new ones to look for inexpensive alternatives. Look for materials that don’t lack functionality and look similar to fancier options while being cheaper.
2. Add new hardware to your cabinets
Purchasing brand new vanities and installing them can be really expensive. If you want a cheap way to bring your old cabinets back to life, simply strip all of their current fittings and doors and replace with new ones. Before doing this, consider the dimensions and the placement of screw holes.
You need to make sure that you find replacement fitting and doors that will fit perfectly. By doing this, you will avoid additional work of making screw holes or even cutting hardware.
3. Avoid replacing existing tiles
Replacing tiles is one of the most expensive parts of a new bathroom. If your existing tiles aren’t too dated and look ok, then consider keeping them. Focus more one new shower screens, fixtures, fittings, and new vanity.
Many older bathroom tiles are too ugly to keep and need replacing. Places like Gumtree and other websites are a great place to find run out sales on tiles. Just make sure when purchasing, that you have enough to cover your project.
Planning your bathroom renovation project
As we mentioned several times by now, a bathroom renovation project isn’t a simple thing. Even if we are talking about cosmetic changes only, you need to know what you’re doing at every given moment. With this approach, you will be able to make all the adjustments you wanted.
At the same time, you will complete the project faster. When you are prepared, there is less room for mistakes, and this means lower costs as well. Having a plan prevents disasters and ensures you will complete the whole project.
Establish your goals
When starting a remodeling project, think about adding more functionality and comfort to the bathroom area. Don’t set your eyes on increasing the resale value. You can expect around 60% of your remodeling costs to be added to the value of your home.
Do this project for yourself, and if you decide to sell your home in the future, you will rest assured that you have added value to your home. Take a good look at the current state of your bathroom and decide what you want to do.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Does it look outdated?
- Is it poorly laid out?
- Are you having plumbing issues?
- Is your bathroom easy to use?
- Is it comfortable?
- Are you simply tired with the way it looks and want to refresh it?
By answering these questions, you will get a better idea of what you actually need to do. There is no need for tearing down your whole bathroom if you want to look it newer. Earlier, we mentioned some ideas for renewing the looks of your bathroom without breaking the bank.
Set a renovation budget
Before doing anything and making plans, you need to know how much you are willing to spend on the renovation. Determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend and put it on paper. After you’ve done that, start making a list of all the things you would like to do.
First, make sure that you list out all the work you must do. After you’ve done that, consider your options and the prices that go along with them. Add all of the costs and if you have more money in the budget, then do the same for those improvements you would like to have.
Do a thorough research
No matter if you plan on doing the project yourself, you want to hire contractors or a bit of both, you need to do your homework. Getting informed about the process is essential to make sure you don’t miss out on anything important. Here are some things you should do:
- Find reviews about contractors and products.
- Look for reliable contractors through referrals.
- Find out what the labor prices are in your area.
- See what kind of materials are available and which ones are best suited.
- Find out if you need a permit.
- Talk about the project with your contractor and consider potential issues.
- Learn about the whole process.
- Get the tools you need.
- Talk to your friends about their experiences.
- Learn how long the project will take.
Put it all on paper
Once you’ve done all the things mentioned above, put all of it on paper. This is your roadmap or plan for the whole project. It will help you navigate through the project and ensure that everything is in order.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing the project alone or you have contractors working for you. Most importantly, this piece of paper will help you manage costs. You can track how much you’ve spent so far and make potential changes if necessary, to avoid going over your budget.
In general, you want the cost of your bathroom renovation to be proportional to the overall value of your home. This is how you will add the most value to your house. If you go over the top, then don’t expect that you will be able to get a good price if you plan on selling the house.
If you think that this is a difficult DIY project, then consider hiring a bathroom renovation company that will take care of everything for you. However, bear in mind that you will have to pay more. Good luck with your renovation project!