What Is the Average Cost to Remodel a Bathroom? How to Budget Accordingly

Remodeling a bathroom is a great way to update a home and increase its value. Whether it’s a full-scale renovation or just a minor rehab, the cost of remodeling a bathroom varies based on the fixtures and finishes you choose. The good news is that a high-end look doesn’t always cost as much as you might think.

Setting a reasonable budget might seem like a moving target, but it’s best to prepare to spend around $11,000, which is the national average for a bath remodel. On the low end, homeowners can expect to pay around $1,500 for a powder room renovation. But a major gut job can reach more than $20,000.

Here, home improvement experts explain the wide range of bathroom remodel prices and offer ways to lower costs without skimping on sophistication.

How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost?

The average cost to remodel a bathroom ranges significantly by location, bathroom size, and extent of the changes. For a half bath or powder room, a modest remodel can cost as low as $1,500. The higher range can exceed $20,000 for spacious build-outs that entail installing new plumbing, tiling, and room additions.

On average, homeowners should expect to pay around $11,750 for a bathroom remodel, roughly the national average. Although several factors will ultimately determine how much a bathroom remodel will cost, a good rule of thumb is to budget at least $100 per square foot.

This price may differ if you live in a state where material and contractor costs are higher. Alex Capozzolo, founder of SD House Guys, says that in San Diego, California, the average cost to remodel a full bathroom is approximately $15,000 to $20,000 and the average cost to remodel a half bathroom ranges from $7,000 to $10,000.

In major metropolitan areas, labor prices are likely to be higher per hour than in rural or suburban areas. Yet, spacious bathrooms require more cabinetry, plumbing, tiling, and flooring work, no matter where you live.

Factors That Influence Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Davin Eberhardt, home designer and founder of Nature of Home, says that when estimating any home repair job, homeowners should consider direct costs, such as materials and labor, as well as indirect costs, such as overhead, permits, and design costs. 

Capozzolo adds that many factors influence the overall cost of a bathroom remodel. The size and layout of the room, labor costs, plumbing, electrical work, materials, fixtures, and availability of supplies and materials all factor into the final ticket price. For a complete bathroom remodel, cabinets, vanities, tiles, lighting, windows, and even paint may increase costs. Alternatively, you might be surprised to learn that sinks, toilets, showerheads, and faucets can be relatively inexpensive unless they are equipped with top-of-the-line technology or features.

How to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel

Join AAOA for Free!

All types of rental property owners welcome

Shopping around for fixtures and contractors or DIYing whenever possible can help homeowners save on bathroom remodel costs in the long run. For example, Eberhardt says homeowners can consider reusing existing fixtures or buying used ones to save money.

However, Capozzolo notes that it’s important to keep in mind the quality of materials used, “as this will affect the durability and longevity of the renovation.” He recommends shopping around for prices on fixtures and finishes before deciding to upcycle old ones. New or resurfaced cabinets may benefit from fresh draw pulls and knobs. 

In addition to opting for less expensive materials, homeowners can choose to do some of the bathroom remodel work themselves to cut back on labor costs. “Labor costs can vary depending on the scope of the project and the contractor used,” Capozzolo says. The typical range is $30-$80 per hour. To negotiate the best deals and to lock in rates for all needed materials, homeowners should get several quotes from contractors and suppliers before starting work.

Remodeling a Bathroom on a Small Budget

For homeowners looking to remodel a bathroom on a small budget, there are many inexpensive features you can do yourself. “Updating accessories such as soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, towel bars, towel rings, and robe hooks can be an easy and practical way to update the bathroom,” says Eberhardt. Adding or replacing hardware items is a weekend project that can freshen up a bathroom without breaking the bank. 

Try hanging new wallpaper, retiling a backsplash, or refreshing textiles, like curtains, rugs, and toilet seat covers. Accessories can breathe new life into a bathroom as well. Hanging artwork, adding plants, replacing lighting, or swapping in a new mirror or medicine cabinet can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of a bathroom, Capozzolo says.

Tips for Planning a Bathroom Remodel Budget

The cost of a bathroom remodel varies depending on the materials used, the extent of the renovation, and the cost of labor. Although a bathroom remodel can cost as low as $1,500 and as much as $20,000, a modest budget is around $100 per square foot.

If you need to do more with less thanks to a small bathroom remodel budget, opt to update fixtures, refresh cosmetic accessories, or replace faucets and lighting fixtures. If you’re looking to bring an outdated bathroom into the modern era, expect to replace your tub or shower, and factor in the potential for additional plumbing and electrical work.

With any major renovation, ask contractors about the cost and time frame for required building permits. Remember, it’s important to get these details right from the outset. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for big fines or long delays.

Source: Better Homes & Garden