Homeowners often imagine that remodelling a small bathroom—one that is about 50 square feet or less—will be much quicker, much easier, and much less expensive than remodelling a large bathroom. And they are often surprised to find that it’s only a little bit quicker, a little bit easier, and a little bit less expensive. The reason? A small bathroom has most of the same elements as a large bathroom, and remodelling requires assistance from the same in-demand professionals as does a large bathroom. The reality is that a 50 square foot bathroom maybe one-third the size of a large 150-square-foot bath, but remodelling it typically costs about 75 per cent of a large bath in terms of time, money, and effort.
Still, there are ways to make your small bathroom remodelling job a little quicker and less costly.
Whether it’s a tiny powder room or a shower stall that’s basically on top of the toilet (been there!), a small bathroom can make those morning and evening routines a lot less glamorous, and, more importantly, less efficient. But before you toss in the towel and call a broker to help you find a new place, hear us out—you need some strategic styling tips to make small bathrooms look as good and work as hard as their larger counterparts. And you’re in the right place because we’ve got over thirty easy storage and styling solutions that’ll make you forget how small your bathroom is.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer a wide range of bathroom renovation Melbourne.
Bathrooms can be categorized as one of three types, regardless of size. Recognizing the type of bathroom you have will help you be realistic in your planning.
Larger homes often have a powder room or half-bath, that has little more than a sink, toilet, and a door for privacy. It is a convenience bathroom used by family members and guests when they do not need the amenities of a full bathroom. The small size and a limited number of fixtures mean that a powder room can be remodelled fairly quickly. Still, because it is a secondary bathroom, it also means that you can take your time since there is at least one other bathroom that can fill in during remodelling.
This term refers to any bathroom with a full range of amenities—toilet, vanity, sink, and tub/shower. It is a bathroom that is normally used every day. In homes with two or more full bathrooms, one full bath may be designated as the master bath, with others are dedicated to one or more children. Full bathrooms get lots of use, which has an impact on the fixtures and materials you choose for it.
This is a full-service bathroom, with sink, toilet, and shower or shower/tub combination, but one that is used sporadically, mostly when guests visit. In empty-nest homes, a kids’ full bathroom might be converted to a guest bath. Because guest baths get only occasional use, many people choose to use economy fixtures and materials, which can greatly cut costs. And because this is a secondary bathroom, you can take your time remodelling it, which also saves cost.
This is a full-service bathroom that you use daily. In homes with two or more full bathrooms, the term “master” usually designates the one used by the home’s owner daily. In homes with only one bathroom, that bathroom serves as the master bath, even if it is quite small. This is typically a fairly important room, one in which owners might spend a fair amount of money on quality, durable, and attractive fixtures and materials.
Along with defining the type of small bathroom, you’re remodelling, consider who will be using the bathroom.
If your small bathroom happens to be your master bathroom, you use it for everything, from applying makeup to using the toilet to showering. You may want to splurge on storage cabinets and higher-end materials. After all, you will have to look at this bathroom at least twice a day for many years.
Small bathrooms for children may need to endure decades of use and abuse. Small kids need a bathtub; showers are useless. Floors are most important since little kids can flood bathroom floors with water simply by stepping out of the tub. Good durable fixtures and waterproof floors and walls are essential for bathrooms used by kids. Good storage is essential here, too.
If this bathroom is for overnight guests, you may want to skimp on the quality of materials. You will not need increased storage space for guests, either.
For a powder room, you need little more than a sink, toilet, and towel bar. The sink can even be a decorative sink—a vessel sink, for example—because guests’ only need is to wash their hands.
Elderly or disabled
This special class of users may require additional or augmented features such as grab bars, lower counters, and no-slip flooring areas. If your small bath can accommodate it, a walk-in bathtub is a great aid for elderly or disabled persons.
Time Is Money
There is no way around it: It costs more to remodel quickly than it does to take your time. This is primarily because a quick remodel requires a general contractor (GC) to coordinate the project with various subcontractors (plumbers, electricians, tiling contractors), and you are paying for the general contractor’s skill and experience. While a homeowner can serve as his or her general contractor—interviewing, hiring, supervising, and paying individual professionals to do their work in order—this is always a slower process than allowing a GC to coordinate his preferred subcontractors. Hiring your subcontractors, though, can save you quite a bit of money, as you eliminate the time and overhead of the general contractor.
The cheapest route of all also typically the one that takes the most time: doing all or most of the work yourself. A very (very) skilled DIYer with plenty of time and a group of willing friends and helpers may be able to finish a bathroom remodel nearly as fast as a general contractor. Still, very few homeowners fall into that category. And there is the issue of quality: good contractors will do the job professionally, while many DIY installations will be recognizable as the work of an amateur.
While there are exceptions, the formula plays out true to form in most instances:
Pro vs. DIY. Or Both
The choice of whether to do the work yourself or to hire pros (a general contractor or managing your subcontractors) will, of course, depend on your assessment of your skills, but also your budget and your schedule. If you have limited DIY skills and the small bathroom is the only bathroom you have, then getting the remodel done quickly and correctly is worth the extra cost of hiring pros—even if it means taking out a loan to do it.
On the other hand, if your home has one or more additional bathrooms that can fill in, and if you have moderate to advanced DIY skills, then there is no reason you can’t take your time and do all or most of the work yourself. This route also has the advantage of giving you the time to find and buy all the materials for your bathroom, which can offer huge cost savings.
Some contractors are perfectly willing to split the work with energetic and skilled homeowners. You can, for example, offer to do all the demolition and painting/finishing work yourself, in exchange for a discounted bid from a general contractor. And if there are other tasks you are able and willing to take on, discuss this with your contractor. But make sure to discuss it upfront. Time is money for a general contractor, and he will not want his progress delayed while a homeowner dawdles over installing the ceramic tile floor, for example.
Choosing and Buying Materials
Bathroom contractors always provide you with a range of choices as you select materials and fixtures, but you can still expect to pay some markup on those materials. There is no better way to reduce costs than to do your research and look for discounted materials from online sources or local retailers who might be closing out last year’s product lines. If you have the time and a place to store materials, buying everything you need to remodel your small bath well in advance will make your remodelling job much cheaper and much faster.
Some general contractors will install the materials you choose and buy yourself, but others prefer to (or even insist on) working with the suppliers they are familiar with. If you are working with a contractor, discuss this upfront and make sure you are in agreement.
A general overview of the remodelling process will help you determine where you can save time or money.
Both DIY and contractor remodelling jobs depend on good up-front planning in order to control costs and keep things speedy. Some of the key elements include drawing plans (essential if your remodel will involve layout changes to the bathroom), obtaining building permits, signing contracts with any pros you will use and scheduling their time, and sourcing and ordering materials. A general contractor will do most of this work for you (which is why he costs more), but to save money, you can do all the planning work yourself.
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All remodelling jobs start with tearing out and removing elements that will be replaced. Depending on the level of your remodelling job, this can be a simple matter of removing old fixtures and flooring, or as complicated as removing everything down to the wall studs and floor joists. Either way, this can be hard work, but it is not difficult, and most homeowners can do this work themselves to save money. Most demolition can be done in a weekend. You will need to rent a roll-off dumpster or arrange for a disposal company to take away a pile of demolition debris.
This refers to any structural framing work that is required. Low-level may require no rough-in framing at all, while others may involve work like framing in a new shower stall. While some skills are involved, DIYers can usually do this work if they have moderately good carpentry skills. The framing rough-in may require an inspection to make sure the work is done correctly.
The plumbing work is one area where DIYers should be cautious, as the results of a bad installation can be catastrophic. Very skilled DIYers can do their plumbing (and save lots of money), but most DIY remodelers hire pros for the plumbing work. The plumber may make several visits over the course of the remodelling job—that’s one reason why this is one of the more expensive components of the project. Two inspections are required: one at the rough-in phase, another after the final installation.
This is another task that should be left in the hands of pros unless you are one of the very few DIYers who are experts at it. A licensed electrician will run new circuits where required, install lighting and vent fans, and will arrange for the work to be inspected. Later, after the inspection is complete and the walls and ceilings are finished, the electrician will return to hookup outlets, light fixtures, and fans. Two inspections are usually required: one at the rough-in phase, another after the final installation.
Most remodelling jobs will involve opening up at least some of the walls and ceilings, and after the plumbing and wiring rough-ins have been inspected and passed, a drywall pro or DIYer can then install and finish the drywall. This is somewhat tedious work, but it is well within the skill level of most DIYers. The money-savings here are modest, though, because professional drywall installation is not pricey.
Tile and flooring.
Ceramic tile can pose one of the higher costs for a bathroom, both in terms of time and materials costs. Ceramic tile showers and floors are premium materials that many homeowners choose to leave to the pros for installation. Tile work can be difficult to get right for a DIYer, but the cost-saving rewards can substantial, as this is labour-intensive work. Other flooring options are considerably less expensive, as well as friendlier to DIY installation. Tile and flooring is one area where you can save money by doing your research and buying materials online or when product lines are being discontinued.
In most instances, vanities, vanities, and other wall cabinets are installed after walls and ceilings are finished but before the final plumbing fixtures are installed. This can be somewhat clumsy to do in a small bathroom where space is limited, but many DIYers can tackle it.
The final step is for the plumber and electrician to return to install the various fixtures and make the plumbing and wiring connections. There is an inherent hazard with any plumbing and wiring work, but when pros have run the plumbing and wiring inside the walls, the final hookups are well within the skill range of experienced DIYers. Make sure, though, that the final installation is inspected.
Average Bathroom Remodel Costs
In the United States, a bathroom remodel costs anywhere between $10,000 to $25,000. However, it’s not as simple as it looks. To understand bathroom remodel costs, you also have to understand different aspects that go into it. No two remodelling projects are the same. Every homeowner has a different set of requirements, and the bathroom remodels costs largely depend on what those are.
For instance, the size of the bathroom, the scope of the remodel, and so on. Let’s look at some of the factors that affect your bathroom remodel costs.
Size Of The Bathroom
Let’s start with the size of the bathroom. There are three main types of bathrooms: master, full and guest or powder room. Each of these is of a different size. While the master bathroom is the largest among them, the powder room is the smallest.
The cost of your bathroom will depend on the size of the bathroom you’re remodelling. For instance, the cost of a master bathroom remodels ranges from $15,000 to $30,000. On the other hand, remodelling your guest bathroom will cost you $5,000 to $10,000. Even though the bathroom is often the smallest room in your home, the bathroom remodels costs tend to add up quickly. As simple as it may seem, there’s more to the costing than the size of the bathroom.
While the size of the bathroom is vital to understand bathroom remodel costs, so is the scope.
Scope Of The Bathroom Remodel
Not just the size, but the scope of your bathroom remodel will affect its final cost. As mentioned earlier, no two remodelling projects are alike. When most people think of a bathroom remodel, they picture a ‘before-after’ scenario. Think of a bathroom that’s been stripped to its bare shell and rebuilt from scratch.
While that may be the case for many, it isn’t the norm. A bathroom remodels can also be something small as updating the lighting or installing new cabinets and storage options. For these reasons, your bathroom remodels costs depend on the scope of your remodel.
When you’re thinking about remodelling your bathroom, you need to ask yourself some questions. What needs to be changed? What doesn’t need to be replaced? How will I change it? Etc.
Let’s put this into perspective with some numbers. A partial master bathroom remodel costs $10,000 to $15,000, and a full-scale remodel can go anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000. This shows that the scope of your remodel can drastically affect the bathroom remodel costs.
Similarly, every decision that you make affects the final cost of your remodel. For instance, if you decide to change the bathroom layout, you are looking at a more expensive remodelling project. On the other hand, if you want to make small upgrades like replacing the fixtures, the remodel cost will be much less. Which also brings us to our next point.
Cost Of The Fixtures
What’s a bathroom without fixtures? Fixtures are your sinks, toilet, shower, bathtub, etc. Obviously, for any bathroom remodel, you will need to pay attention to the cost of these fixtures.
A bathroom sink can cost anywhere between $100 and $5,000. Similarly, you can expect to pay around $500 to $6,000 for a bathtub and $2,000 to $7000 for a shower/shower enclosure. Now you might be thinking, ‘why is there a huge difference in the price of each fixture?’
The type of fixture you select will depend on your bathroom remodel budget. Stock fixtures tend to cost less, while custom or luxury fixtures will cost more. For example, a stock sink will cost around the $100 range, and an ultra-luxury sink will cost closer to the $5,000 range. The cost of these fixtures and their overall impact on your bathroom remodel costs depend on your choice.
However, there is one aspect that most people fail to consider while calculating the gross cost of the fixtures: its installation and labour charges.
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Labor Charges For The Bathroom Remodel
The contribution of labour charges to bathroom remodel costs is significant. Surprised? Here’s why you shouldn’t be: installing things is difficult and time-consuming.
Your bathroom is a reasonably complicated space, even though it may not look like from the outside. A small bathroom wall can hold a complex web of plumbing and electrical work. Hence, you need professionals to come in and do their magic. But how much do they cost? A contractor can charge anywhere between $50 to $150 an hour for your bathroom remodel.
Not just your contractor, you’ll also see plumbers and electricians coming in to work on your bathroom. These labour charges constitute roughly 20 per cent of your bathroom remodel. Hence, they are an essential aspect of your total bathroom remodel costs.
You can bring the labour costs down with some sweat equity. Demolition, painting, tiling, light, and faucet installation are some tasks that can be done on your own. Of course, significant tasks like plumbing and electrical work are for the professionals, but these small tasks help you save a ton of money in the long run.
Bathroom remodels take time; do not rush the process as you may overlook important elements. Always get a written schedule and list of deadlines with your contract to know what to expect. Make sure that your payment schedule and the total amount is agreed upon and put in writing into your contract before the project begins.