Per square foot, no room in the house takes more work or costs more money to remodel than the bathroom. The combination of plumbing, moisture content, electrical wiring, and decorating schemes packed into the smallest residential spaces create unique demands on remodelling a bathroom. Yet, these same demands also place unmatched value on bathroom spaces, whether in terms of day-to-day living or home property values.
Bathrooms are utilitarian by nature and get a ton of daily use in every household. This makes them prime spaces for renovations: No one wants to get ready for the day in a dingy, dated bathroom or shower in a tiny stall with mildew. Only one obstacle holds homeowners back from this project: It can be expensive! But the truth is there is a bathroom remodelling project for most budgets.
Online sources say you can spend about $6,500 up to nearly $70,000 on a bathroom remodel or renovation, depending on square footage, labour, and any high-end fixtures and amenities. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) report that homeowners spent a mean of $32,000 renovating their bathrooms in 2019, roughly twice what they spent on redoing a guest bath (about $18,000) or a powder room (about $12,000).
Here, we’ll break down some bathroom remodelling costs and design trends so you can calculate how to get the greatest impact for your spend.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer a wide range of bathroom renovation Melbourne.
Bathroom remodels costs by scale.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry puts the cost of a bathroom renovation at about $35,000. That’s roughly $875 per square foot for a 40-foot bathroom or $350 per square foot for a one that’s 100 square feet.
Fixr.com, which provides cost guides and comparisons for hundreds of remodelling projects, lists the average cost of remodelling a 100-square-foot bathroom at $20,000, including floor plans, demolition, updating plumbing and electrical systems, painting, installing wall and floor tile, and adding a new tub/shower, faucets, toilet, sinks, vanity, countertop, and linen tower. That comes out to about $200 per square foot.
But you don’t have to start from scratch to make a huge impression. “A new toilet, new tub, all nice and white, is not a lot of money,” says Douglas Huebner, CEO of the home design and renovation company The Habitatilist and a top New Jersey real estate agent serving the Maplewood, Montclair, and South Orange areas.
“Add a new mirror, new wall sconces, and a new vanity, and you’ve got a new bathroom.”
Here are a few examples across several price ranges:
Partial bathroom remodel: $3,000 to $10,000
Includes new tile, toilet, and sink. Replace just the sink and the toilet for about $500 to $3,000.
Small bathroom remodel: $6,500
Redoing a 40-square-foot bathroom (about 8×5 feet) costs about $163 per square foot. Labour and fixtures can adjust this from $1,500 to $15,000 or more. That’s roughly $70 per square foot for DIY or up to $250 per square foot for a licensed contractor and high-end fixtures.
Midrange bathroom remodel: $21,4000
A mid-range remodel of a 5×7-foot bathroom — to include a new vanity and sink, recessed medicine cabinet with lighting, 30×60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub surrounded by 4×4-inch ceramic tile, single-lever temperature, and pressure-balanced controls in the shower — costs about $21,400, or $611 per square foot.
Upscale bathroom remodel: $67,000
The larger the room and more upscale the fixtures and features, the greater the price tag. An upscale bathroom remodels that includes expanding a 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet costs about $67,000, or about $670 per square foot, Remodeling magazine says. This example added a glass-enclosed shower with body-spray fixtures, a freestanding soaker tub, custom cabinetry, and electric in-floor heating.
What’s the most expensive part of a bathroom remodel?
In general, two of the most expensive parts of a bathroom remodel are moving a waste line and replacing a vanity, Huebner says. If you change the bathroom’s layout, that involves moving the toilet, sink, or tub and needs the help of a professional plumber. Expect to pay about $45 to $65 per hour in labour. For a 40-square-foot bathroom, hooking up new fixtures to current plumbing plus cleanup takes an estimated 46 hours and costs roughly $2,070 and $2,990; moving any fixtures more than three feet costs an additional $500 to $1,000.
As for vanity, prices vary whether it’s pre-made or custom-built, but a vanity easily can cost about $1,300 to $1,800, Huebner said. The Ridgemore 71-inch double vanity in white with a granite top hits the low end of this range at about $1,300. A more high-end option would be the Charlton Home Larosa 73-inch double vanity with a white marble top and grey manufactured-wood base costing about $2,800.
Here’s how other materials and features affect pricing:
- Wall and floor tiles: Natural stone, porcelain, and ceramic are popular in bathrooms. Natural stone and porcelain cost about $5 to $20 per square foot compared to $1 to $5 per square foot.
- Countertops: Prefabricated countertops cost less than natural stone. Quartz costs about $100 per square foot compared to cultured marble at $4 per square foot.
- Faucets: Chrome is a less expensive finish than brushed nickel; matte black, antique bronze, and brushed brass cost more. Also consider the type of sink (pedestal, wall-mounted, console) and whether the faucet is wall-mounted or touchless. The Farrington 8-inch two-handle high-arc faucet in matte black by Glacier Bay sells for $129, for instance, while Zurn’s single-hole touchless bathroom faucet in polished chrome costs $376.
- Bathtub: An alcove tub installed with a shower is the most common type of tub and comes in a variety of widths and colours, Fixr.com says. Bootz Industries sells a 30x60x74.5-inch alcove bath and shower kit with a left-hand drain in white for $638. Integrated grab bars can be an additional cost. A standalone soaking tub costs from $500 to $3,000, as does add jets or other features.
- Shower: If you have an alcove bath and shower combo, add about $150 for a basic pressure balance valve tub and shower set. Shower valve systems that add varying body sprays or allow for better water control can cost about $550 and up—tired of that rod and shower curtain? DreamLine has a 56x60x76-inch frameless sliding shower door in brushed stainless steel for about $800.
- Toilet: Prices vary from about $100 to $1,000 depending on the size of the “rough-in” (the distance from the finished wall to the floor drain), height, having a round or elongated bowl, water efficiency, and added features, such as a bidet toilet seat.
Finished Products vs. Labor and Expenses
Like a kitchen remodel, there will be substantial costs in finished products from flooring, bathtubs, shower surrounds, cabinets, countertops, and numerous bathroom fixtures. These products, however, don’t typically have the same price tags as major kitchen appliances and full cabinet and countertop installations. Plus, bathroom remodelling is a more labour-intensive process between tearing out old bathroom amenities and tedious tile and plumbing installation. 60-70 per cent of bathroom remodel costs are labour and expenses, and about 30-40 per cent is finished product. Of course, this cost breakdown indicates only an estimated average, as the cost breakdown of specific projects can vary quite a bit.
Looking for bathroom renovation? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Difference Makers: Plumbing, Bathroom Designs, and Bathroom Tile
Undoubtedly, the biggest difference-maker is plumbing and bathroom design. Already one of the costliest and involved subcontractors for bathroom remodelling, if a homeowner wishes to relocate a toilet, sink, or bathtub within the bathroom, extensive plumbing installation will be required, causing a substantial spike in the cost of labour and expenses. If you’re set on relocating your bathroom plumbing, not only will you need a substantially larger budget, but you’ll need more contingency room in your budget, as any number of obstacles can arise once the walls are torn out.
Another reason bathroom remodelling costs tend to skew toward labour and expenses is the prevalence of bathroom flooring and shower tile. Even the size of the tile will play a role in the cost breakdown of your new bathroom floor. Smaller tiles may cost less from the manufacturer but will require more labour to install. Dot inserts for your tile can also get expensive quickly, as tile accents can cost $12-$40 to cut per insert.
Should you remodel your bathroom all at once or in stages?
If you’re suffering from sticker shock, don’t worry. Bathroom remodelling isn’t all or nothing. You can cut down on bathroom renovation costs by going one step at a time. A bathroom can still benefit from new lighting or ventilation updates followed by a new bathroom vanity or granite countertops. You can always upgrade some features later down the road.
While it’s easy to replace a light or faucet at a later date, you should have your contractor do the larger tasks at the same time. If you plan to replace the tub and install tile floor, it’s best to do that all at once. You may save on labour charges if they can do a few tasks in one day instead of doing these tasks on separate days a few months apart.
Choose quality over quantity, especially based on the amount of traffic the bathroom gets. It’s a waste of money and a source of future aggravation if you buy a cheap toilet that leaks after you’ve redone the floor.
To save money, wait for sales at your local hardware store and look for rebates on high-quality materials. That way, you end up with a product you know will last and won’t have to have someone replace fixtures from your remodel too soon.
Easy Ways to Cut Your Bathroom Renovation Costs
Do Your Demo
Before you install that new mosaic tile shower, you’ll need to tear apart those icky existing fixtures. You can hire a pro for this demolition phase, which might set you back roughly $1,000. Or you can tackle some or all of the teardown yourself and have more money to spend on your new bathroom.
A DIY demo does still require some planning. For one, you’ll need the right tools: likely a sledgehammer, a large crowbar, a pry bar, and an old claw hammer you don’t mind ruining. Make sure you know what’s behind the walls—especially electrical wiring and water pipes—before you start swinging. Finally, don’t assume your demo won’t cost anything. In addition to tools, you’ll probably need to rent a dumpster or hire a hauling service to cart away debris.
Check Out a Recycling Center
Lightly used building materials cost a fraction of what you’d pay for something new at the neighbourhood home centre. At many resale resources, such as Diggers List and Habitat for Humanity ReStores, you’ll find tubs, faucets, tile, windows, laminate flooring, and more.
The assortment can be hit-or-miss, so it’s necessary to keep an eye out for the products you want. Some past items for sale have included a contemporary vanity with a built-in sink for $100 and an antique brass faucet set for $400 (retail price $2,300).
Add Extra Light
Adding a window or skylight is a popular—and pricey—solution for brightening a dim bathroom. But you don’t have to cut a big hole in your roof or the side of your house to let in the sunshine.
A sun tube, also known as a solar tube, is an ingenious device that you install between the attic rafters. These flexible tubes range from about 10 inches in diameter up to more than 20 inches, and they funnel natural sunlight down to your bathroom from a small opening cut into the roof. Sun tubes cost between $200 and $400, compared to the $1,500 you’d likely spend on a double-paned window or skylight.
Learn to Love Subway Tile
That glass mosaic tile with pewter accents you have your eye on is certainly gorgeous. But at $100 per square foot, it’s probably not in the budget for the whole bathroom.
Instead, consider using your expensive tile choice as a decorative border or feature wall, and go with white subway tile for the remainder of your tiled surfaces. Clean, simple, and less than $3 per square foot, classic subway tile has a timeless appeal that harmonizes with nearly every bathroom style.
Refresh With Paint
Even the least expensive tile can eat up your design budget. But you don’t need floor-to-ceiling tile to make a dramatic impact in your new bathroom.
Save a chunk of change by limiting tile to the floor and shower area, and paint the rest of the walls. For more warmth and texture, you can add easy-to-install wainscot or faux beadboard, which typically comes in at a lower price than tile. And, of course, you’ll also save money if you do the painting yourself instead of hiring a professional.
Check out our range of Melbourne bathroom renovation here.
The Huge Cost Differences of Bathroom Remodeling
No remodelling project shows the cost difference between economic and luxury projects, and no remodelling project holds the potential for greater swings in the breakdown of finished products vs. labour and expenses. You might be able to find a low-end shower door, for example, for as little as $300, while luxury shower doors can run more than $3,000. A bathtub can range from $400 to more than $8,000 to buy and install. Shower surrounds can be just as varied. For a master bath with a separate shower and tub, installation costs can range from $3,500-$12,000. These huge differences in cost are also supported by the Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report. Other remodelling projects show twice the cost when upgrading from a mid-range to an upscale project. Meanwhile, an equivalent upgrade for bathroom remodels causes the average cost to triple.
Now when you approach the contractor about wanting to pay only $2,400 for his or her labour, you might hear the phone click so try this approach instead: Tell your contractor that you’re willing to pay $2,400 in labour for five days of work. If the project exceeds five days, you’ll pay another $75 per day for up to four days.
But inform him that if he gets the work done within the five-day limit, you’ll pay him a $1,000 bonus. You’ll pay a $500 bonus plus the daily extension fee if the work is done within seven working days. You just gave incentive for the contractor to triple his or her profit and to get your job done quickly. Either way, you get your project done at or very near your $5,000 limit as long as you don’t go crazy on materials.
Before hiring any contractor, make sure you do a good background check. Make sure he has a license for the work he’s performing in the state he’s performing it and make sure he has at least liability and workman’s comp insurance. Always check references. See my piece on working with contractors for more details.
At this point, you’ve done a lot of work to fine-tune your project. Try to avoid any changes to the plan after you have agreed upon a price. You will almost certainly pay a premium for any additional work you give the contractor after you’ve sealed the deal.
And of course, you can save additional money by doing some of the work yourself. You can probably save $500 to $600 for just doing the demolition and painting yourself. But be careful not to take on tasks that can create problems for the contractor. Tile installation consists of nearly half the labour costs in a bathroom renovation but is warned that this is hard and tedious work that will likely take you two or three times as long as a professional and may not end up looking very good.
Like most construction projects, the bathroom can consist of many different factors. No two remodels alike. So, it’s hard to address every scenario here.
However, beware in construction, you don’t always get what you pay for. Do your homework before starting any major project.