What Is The Most Expensive Part Of A Bathroom Remodel?

The bathroom is one of the most frequently visited rooms in any home. Everyone in the household uses the bathroom, and for that reason, they are a prime renovation opportunity. There is nothing worse than starting the day in a dingy room ripe with the smell of mildew. Yet, many homeowners balk at the idea of a bathroom remodel because the cost is daunting. There is a remodel perfect for just about any budget. It is all about knowing how to make your money work for you.

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, in 2019, homeowners spent an average of $32,000 on bathroom remodels. That is around twice what homeowners spend on powder rooms or guest baths. The question is, how do those costs break down? Once you have that knowledge, you can prioritize the most important aspects of your bathroom remodel to get the most from your budget.

Cozy bathroom with tub and glass door shower

Size Matters

Remodeling.net shows that the cost of a universal bathroom remodel in 2021 is almost $40,000. An upscale bathroom remodel costs just over $70,000, and a midrange reno project tallies at just under $25,000. As far as resale value goes, a bathroom remodel will help you recoup between 55 and 60% of your costs.

Let’s take the universal bathroom cost and work with that for a moment. If you were remodeling a 40-foot bathroom, then your spend is $1000 per sq ft. But it’s just $400 per sq foot if your bathroom is 100-foot. Those costs include demolition, plumbing updates, electrical work, floor plans, painting, tile installation, as well as new fixtures and fittings.

You don’t have to start from scratch if your budget doesn’t allow it. There are also plenty of components you can tackle yourself to save money and allow your budget to work harder for you. For example, you might not feel comfortable tackling the tiling, but you can paint. You might not want to tear the toilet out and replace it, but you might feel comfortable installing a cabinet.

The Costliest Items

There are two particularly costly items to consider.

The first is moving a waste line, and the second is replacing your vanity. A plumber is necessary for layout changes that involve moving a toilet, tub or sink. The cost of this, depending on where you live, is likely to be over $2,000. Then there will be additional costs around moving fixtures over three feet.

Vanities, whether custom or pre-made, easily cost over $1,000. The total cost will depend on the size of the vanity and that will depend on the size of the bathroom. The material you choose will also influence the price and there are DIY options if you want to save money. For example, you can pour your own concrete countertop and finish it in line with the overall aesthetic.

Tiles are another costly item, they typically run from five to $20 per square foot for ceramic, natural stone, or porcelain. At the highest end, that is $800 for a 40 sq ft bathroom. However, you can find tiles for just one to five dollars per square foot which will reduce that price greatly. Of course, you can save money by tiling the shower area only and painting the rest of the bathroom.

The point is that even the most expensive items in a bathroom remodel can be done on a more affordable level. If the item you want most is a rain shower, then you can have that and stay under budget by cutting costs elsewhere. The same is true of any remodel, renovation, or addition.

Other Factors To Consider

Speak to your contractor about the length of the project because if this is your only bathroom, then you will need to factor in the cost of staying in a hotel or visiting elsewhere to use facilities. You will also need to consult local regulations to find out whether you need a permit to have your work carried out. If you are only replacing fixtures and fittings, then you are unlikely to need one. However, if you are planning a major overhaul, then there is a good chance that you do. That is another cost to consider.

Once the remodel is underway, be prepared to find trouble. You should always have a contingency fund to deal with outdated plumbing or wiring, as well as water damage, whether it’s recent or historical. Typically, experts suggest that 10% of your budget is earmarked as a contingency fund. So, bear that in mind as you budget your project.