Budget For Bathroom Remodel

How much should I budget for a bathroom remodel?

Second, only to the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most popular rooms to remodel. With all the moving parts, it’s not only one of the more difficult home improvement projects, but also one of the more expensive ones. However, with proper planning, you’ll have no trouble keeping your budget on track while creating the lavish sanctuary of your dreams!

It appears that Australians don’t like to share when it comes to bathrooms. According to research by the Housing Industry Association, more and more Australian families are installing extra bathrooms into their homes, where ever space allows. Bathroom renovations and installations are one of those things that, when done well and on a budget, can add more value to your home than they cost to install. Cheap bathroom renovations don’t necessarily mean the room will be of low quality or lack style, and it’s simply a case of being able to spend money where it matters, and saving money where you can. But what is a cheap bathroom renovation? How much does a cheap bathroom renovation cost? And why?

As one of the most intensely-used areas of our homes, bathrooms are popular candidates for remodelling. Though they can recoup a good portion of the costs at resale (usually 56-70%), bathroom renovations tend to be pricey. That’s why it’s important for homeowners to plan their budgets well. Given that more than two-thirds of renovation projects go over-budget, many homeowners could benefit from more thorough, accurate planning. Just how much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?

In this helpful guide, we arm you with tips and strategies for planning your bathroom remodelling budget and ensuring that your wallet doesn’t take any surprise hits.

At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer a wide range of bathroom renovation Melbourne.

Construction Zone

Unless you’re DIYing your renovation, you’ll use a general contractor (GC) or contract out the work yourself. The latter requires some know-how since you’ll need to get permits, oversee the work, etc. In selecting a GC, get bids and ask for and check references. See how satisfied his or her previous customers are. To save money, you might consider doing the demolition yourself; you can even hold a demolition party to garner help from friends. Also compare buying the materials yourself with the cost of the GC supplying them. You can buy online or at discount stores to save money. The GC gets a deep discount but also tends to mark up prices, so check both options.

Budget For Bathroom Remodel


Man- or woman-power costs moolah. The people who replace that ghastly popcorn ceiling, install sconces and ceiling lights, plumb the fixtures or lay the tile will run up the budget. Keep this in mind when laying out your bathroom plan. Moving lights or plumbing or putting in a window will cost more than sticking with the bathroom’s original layout. It doesn’t mean you can’t vary in some areas, but pick and choose to avoid sticker shock.


One of the major costs in a remodel is moving fixtures, such as the toilet, sink and tub. If you can keep the same floor plan that you have now, you’ll spend less on plumbing.

Then there’s the cost of the fixtures themselves. If you must have that exquisite glass vessel sink, then pick a standard white no-frills toilet (about $125). Or if you want the Kohler Purist Hatbox toilet ($2,991 and up) then opt for a lower-end sink and tub.

Tile Talk

Tile is another major expense, not only the tile itself but the labour involved in installing it. You can limit the tile to the floor, and the tub surrounds with a drop-in shower stall. If you’re lusting after an iridescent glass tile mosaic, consider using the expensive tiles as accents in a field of more pedestrian porcelain ones. Decide if you want to spend your money on a total-body shower wall or a completely tiled shower. Instead of running tile up the wall, think about beadboard wainscoting for a period look or a cool paint colour if your design is more modern.

Countertop Culture

In a kitchen, solid surface or stone countertops can bust your budget because of sheer square footage. In the bath, you can get away with granite or even marble, if you’re smart about it. A single-sink vanity won’t take a lot of stone. If you want two, then pedestal sinks (take your pick of beauties from Kohler, Porcher, American Standard and more from about $140 to $300 each) and a refinished side cabinet or bedside table with a remnant of granite or marble on the top will save you money, give you the storage, and have you in step with today’s trend of furniture cabinetry versus built-in.

Plan carefully, set your budget and be creative; you’ll end up with a beautiful bathroom that hasn’t broken your bank account.

Before you begin remodelling, consider this.

A bathroom and shower can be a lot of work, and there are a lot of decisions a homeowner or investor has to make before starting the remodelling project, including:

  • Your budget.
  • Space and square foot of your bathroom.
  • The scope of the bathroom remodel.
  • Design ideas.
  • Who will be doing the work?

Establishing a budget for your remodelling project before you begin work will help you determine the scope of the bathroom remodel and narrow down what materials or decor will meet your design ideas within your budget.

It also helps you identify who will be doing the majority of the work. If you’d like to keep the remodel cost on the lower end, you may have to do most of the projects yourself, compared to being able to hire a contractor if your budget is higher.

The average bathroom remodels cost.

Deciding on the scale of your renovation can be tough. While it may seem like a good idea to do a high-end bathroom remodel, it may be difficult to recoup your remodel cost when it comes time to sell. Keep in mind that the square footage or size of your bathroom, whether you hire a contractor for the job or do the work yourself, and the quality of the fixtures will greatly affect your total remodel cost.

Light remodel

The lowest tier of a bathroom remodelling project, a light remodel makes minor but noticeable improvements to space. It can include:

  • Changing the paint colour of the walls.
  • Replacing a light fixture, towel bars, mirror, or medicine cabinet.
  • Reglazing the tub or shower.
  • Replacing the toilet.

According to Home Depot (NYSE: HD), a light can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, possibly less if you do the projects yourself.


According to Remodeling’s home survey, a mid-range bathroom renovation is a more extensive remodel that could include:

  • Adding new paint or wallpaper to the walls.
  • Replacing the floor and shower surround with ceramic tile.
  • Replacing the tub or installing a walk-in shower.
  • Moving or replacing plumbing fixtures.
  • Updating the vanity and mirror or medicine cabinet.

Universal design

According to Remodeling’s home survey, a universal design bathroom remodels defined as a higher-end wheelchair-accessible bathroom. A remodel like this could entail:

  • Installing a walk-in tub or walk-in shower and an accessible toilet.
  • Improved lighting and electrical features.
  • Replacing the vanity or sink.
  • Upgrading the floor to tile or other high-quality flooring.
  • Tiling the walls and installing towel bars that withstand the significant weight.

Looking for bathroom renovation? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.


According to Remodeling’s home survey, an upscale bathroom renovation is defined as enlarging a smaller bathroom and including luxury fixtures and features, such as:

  • Expanding the bathroom to 100 square feet.
  • Relocating all of the major fixtures within the bathroom.
  • Designing a modern shower with built-in fixtures.
  • Include a secondary tub.
  • Installing a double sink vanity with quality countertops.
  • Having a separate room for the toilet.
  • Include heating and cooling features.
  • Improving the lighting to include multiple LED sources.
  • Replacing the floor with high-end tile or stone.

Who Will do the Work?

The first thing you need to do is decide who will be doing the labour. Will you be DIYing your project, hiring subcontractors to handle different phases, or having a general contractor manage the entire project?


When you hire a general contractor, they’ll manage all aspects of the project, keeping everything moving forward and sometimes hiring subcontractors to handle specific elements of work. In some cases, they also include design services. You’ll pay the GC a total price, and they’ll use your payment to cover the costs of labour, materials, etc.

You could forego a GC and hire subcontractors yourself, but the project management duties will be your responsibility. If you have the time, knowledge, and organizational skills to handle it, then you could save some money. You’ll need to account for the labour costs of any subcontractors you choose to hire.

Average Rates of Subcontractors:

  • Bathroom Designers – $60-$160 per hour
  • Plumbers – $45-$65 per hour
  • Electricians – $65-$85 per hour
  • Carpenters – $70 per hour
  • Tile Installers – $5-$10 per square foot
  • Handymen – $60-$90 per hour

Whether you’re hiring a general contractor or multiple subcontractors, you’ll need to work out the payment arrangements with them. On top of getting a quote for the total price, you should ask them about any deposits or milestone payments that they may require.

Both parties need to work out the payment terms and schedule ahead of time: you’ll need to make sure that you can make the payments when they’re due, and the contractor will need to plan their cash flow so that they can procure materials and pay labourers.


Doing some or all of the work yourself can help you save a lot on labour expenses. Particularly handy homeowners may be able to handle most of a small, mid-range bathroom remodel. If you’re not so skilled at installation work, you can still shave off a big chunk of your expenses by DIYing the tear-out phase of your renovation.

However, DIYing does come with its costs. You may need to buy or rent tools, equipment, and other supplies that a contractor would already have.

What’s the Scope?

Next, you’ll need to figure out how extensive your remodel is going to be. Are you just giving your half-bathroom a small facelift, or are you completely transforming your master bathroom suite? The scope of your remodel will determine the size and allocation of your budget.

Consider whether or not costly alterations will need to be made, such as rerouting plumbing and electricity, or knocking down a wall and extending your bathroom into another room. Nail down your plans early so that you can accurately estimate your budget.

Unexpected Costs

Unexpected costs are a common culprit of blown budgets. The tear-out phase of remodels is the most risk-prone time for surprise expenses. That’s because once walls and floors get opened up, hidden damage can be discovered. Mould and water damage are some of the most prevalent types, and the repair costs can run anywhere from $500 to $3,000.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid hidden damage, you may still have to replace elements you formerly thought were fine. If it’s been many years since your home’s plumbing or wiring was installed, then you may need to update it to meet code.

As Mom always said, it’s better to be safe than sorry: assume that you’ll have unexpected expenses and factor them into your budget. Generally, it’s recommended to account for an additional 10-20% in costs.

Material Costs

Purchase materials on your own if you can, as contractors charge a commission when you purchase through them. While the contractor may best procure building materials like insulation and drywall, you can buy individual pieces, such as mirrors, lighting, hardware, and appliances.

Below, we give a quick overview of the typical prices associated with essential bathroom materials.


Like with most materials, tile costs depend on the type of tile you choose. Standard ceramic tiles cost $1-$5 per square foot, while ornamental mosaics can run as high as $100 per square foot.


Low-budget options like tile, laminate, or cultured marble typically cost $4 per square foot, while upscale materials, such as natural stone or quartz, cost about $100 per square foot. Granite, a long-time favourite for luxe renovations, can cost as much as $200 per square foot. When it comes to solid countertops, you can reduce costs by choosing thinner slabs.


If you’re choosing pre-built cabinets to compose your bathroom vanity and other storage solutions, you can find affordable options. At IKEA, for example, small, low-end cabinets cost $40-$90. Larger, mid-range options are priced at $200-$700.

Anything custom will cost you. If you want built-in custom cabinets, the price will be affected by carpenter fees and your choice of wood. The cost can be as much as $2,000+ per cabinet.


Sinks are often the focal points of bathrooms. Therefore, many boast artful designs. While you can find sinks for as little as $50, designer sinks can easily cost over $1,000.

Hardware & Accessories

Small fixtures like hardware & accessories are some of the least expensive components of a bathroom renovation. You can easily find a wide selection at home improvement stores, like Home Depot. Sets, including towel racks, towel rings, and toilet paper holders cost anywhere from $10 to $270, depending on material and quality.

Showers & Tubs

Showers and tubs are the bathroom showstoppers, and they’re priced accordingly. The average shower installation costs $900-$2,000, but high-end showers can cost as much as $6,000. This pricing includes the cost of buying and installing valves, shower doors, the pan (floor), and the surround (walls). Standard shower/tub combos cost $500-$1,000.

The average cost of installing a mid-range bathtub is $2,500, while premium air-jet tubs typically cost $13,500.


Given that bathrooms are where we do most of our primping and grooming, it’s worthwhile to have more than a single overhead light. Individual light fixtures cost about $40-$100, and some may have built-in fans for ventilation. Upscale light fixtures, however, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay an electrician for the installation labour.

If you want recessed lighting, count on spending $800 or more for the fixtures and installation.

Budget Allocation

The way your budget gets allocated largely depends on your design choices and priorities. But if you’re looking for some standard guidelines, you can reference the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s cost breakdown:

  • Design – 4%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Flooring – 9%
  • Walls & Ceilings – 5%
  • Doors & Windows – 4%
  • Faucets & plumbing – 14%
  • Countertops – 7%
  • Cabinetry & hardware – 16%
  • Fixtures – 15%
  • Lighting & ventilation – 5%
  • Other – 1%

Final Tips

Be Realistic: If you’ve got a luxurious design plan, don’t expect it to build it with a small budget. Evaluate your expectations and be realistic about what they’ll cost to achieve.

Predict Delays

Time is money. Delays can lead to extra storage payments, material replacements, alternative labour hires, and even hotel costs, if you can’t stay in your house. Try to look for where delays may occur in your remodelling process and take preventative measures.

Plan Your Design Thoroughly

When time isn’t invested in proper design planning, you can discover mid-renovation that your design isn’t going to work in reality. There may not be enough space, or you may find there are interfering factors you hadn’t realized before. Go through your design plans diligently to check that your new build will be as perfect as it seems on paper.

Resist “Scope Creep”

Making changes or additions mid-construction always costs more. Resist the temptation to keep tacking on “just one more thing”.

Get Multiple Quotes

Shop around for the contractor that gives you the best value—and that doesn’t always mean the lowest price. Look for one who will give you the best quality for a price that fits your budget.

Check out our range of Melbourne bathroom renovation here.

Provide Adequate Information for Quotes

Estimates based on too little information can’t be accurate enough for budget planning. To get useful quotes that are better than ballpark guesses, make sure that you provide contractors with thorough documentation and invite them to assess your bathroom in-person.

Decide whether you need a contractor to assist with the bathroom remodel. Also, consider the durability and aesthetics of the fixtures you choose in relation to their expense. Try to find a balance and something that provides a nice, clean look for space without unnecessary added expenses. Don’t forget that a well done, the timeless bathroom will hold its value long after a trend comes and goes.

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