What Is a Realistic Budget for a Bathroom Remodel?

As with any home remodeling project, it is difficult to determine exactly how much a bathroom remodel will cost in your area. Just as every home is different, so too is every bathroom, and every homeowner has their own vision for what their dream bathroom should look like. This means that some remodels will be small, quick, and inexpensive projects, while others may take weeks and require a great deal more parts and labor.

Creating a realistic budget for your bathroom remodeling project is a matter of having a strong vision in mind and a clear plan for executing that vision. Failing to do so can mean changing your mind repeatedly throughout the process, causing the costs to balloon up. In this article, we will discuss how to make a plan for your remodel so that you can put a budget together before you even call your contractor.

Step 1: Know What You Want

Any good remodeling project always begins with a vision: start by imagining what your dream bathroom will look like. If you’re not sure, think about what you could do to make baths and showers more pleasant and comfortable. Is there a design aesthetic that you find relaxing? For example, do you prefer a sparser, more minimalistic environment, free of any clutter? Or do you want your bathroom to pop with personality? Would you like the room to feel more open and spacious? Or do you value a cozier environment when you’re enjoying a soak in the bath?

You’ll also need to make practical considerations when planning your bathroom remodel. For example, many homeowners nowadays seek to take steps toward water conservation. Installing a low-water toilet or a water-saving shower head can help to lessen your environmental impact as well as cut down on your utility bills, so installing them may be a part of your bathroom remodel.

A bathroom also needs to be easy to use for all the occupants of the home. If anyone who will be using the bathroom is older or otherwise struggles with mobility issues, then they may benefit from a walk-in shower. A seat and handrail are also worth taking into consideration.

Finally, you’ll have to decide if there are any luxuries you want to shell out for. Modern technology has given us many new comforts for today’s bathrooms, including heated floors, shower speakers so you can listen to music, and many others.

Step 2: Make a Plan

Once you have an idea of your needs, the next step is to create a plan for your bathroom remodel. This is the most important part of budgeting since it’s how you will determine your needs as far as contractors, materials, and other financial considerations.

Proper planning means starting out with as much information as possible. Measure out a clear floor plan for your current bathroom and determine what, if any, changes need to be made. Will any walls need to be knocked down or replaced? Consider plumbing and electricity as well. If you want to move a sink, for example, you will probably have to relocate multiple pipes, which will increase your budget. By the same token, if you wish to install new lights or any other technology, you may need a contractor with electrician skills to rewire the bathroom. This, too, will increase your final budget.

Your budget will also need to include all the materials for your bathroom remodel. Know where those materials will come from. Will you buy them wholesale? Or will you purchase them through your contractor? In many cases, materials may be discounted if they are ordered by contractors, so this may be the most cost-effective way to acquire them.

Of course, any remodeling project begins with demolition. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need to remove the old bathroom entirely. You may not have access to it at all during the entire project, and if extensive plumbing and electrical work is required, you may need to shut off the water and power to your entire home while the project is underway. This means you may have to factor in the cost of staying in a hotel at least some of the time that the remodel is going on.

Step 3: Finding the Right Contractor

At this point, you should have a rough idea of what your budget is going to be. The number will depend entirely on the size of your bathroom and your overall vision, so it’s difficult to estimate in an article like this one. On average, guest-sized bathroom remodels cost around $15,000 to $18,000 for all materials and labor. For a larger primary bathroom, which is a more ambitious project with many different options, you can expect to pay as much as $30,000 to 50,000+.

Determining a realistic budget for your specific needs will depend upon two factors: the square footage and the upgrades you will be purchasing. Generally, labor for remodeling costs anywhere from $200 to $300 per square foot, with much of that cost coming from the plumbing and infrastructure scope of work. How large is your bathroom, and how much plumbing work will need to be performed? Will you be purchasing an entirely new toilet and/or shower or bathtub? Each of these can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, depending on what you’re looking for.

With a realistic budget in mind, you can begin speaking with contractors. Finding ones in your area is as simple as an internet search for “bathroom remodel near me,” but you shouldn’t be in a hurry to hire one. Talk with them first and discuss your budget with them. Often, if it sounds too good to be true, it could be. If a contractor’s prices seem unrealistically low, they may not offer top-quality work. Make sure they are properly licensed and insured to perform the work they do.

Finally, make sure the contractor you are considering isn’t trying to override your vision with their own. Contractors like JMG Contracting, for example, pride themselves in listening to customers so that you can end up with exactly the remodel that you want.