a year ago
The kitchen and bathroom are the most complex and expensive rooms to remodel. A well-renovated bathroom can increase the comfort level of the home. Thus, many homeowners make the bathroom a priority in home renovation. Of course, there are many remodeling plans for a spacious bathroom. But what should you do with a limited-spaced bathroom to get the maximum benefits?

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A full bathroom becomes one of the most popular home improvement projects and can add the highest resale value to your home. Some estimations show that a new bathroom can pay itself by adding the resale value at least the same amount as the remodeling cost. A luxurious bathroom will attract potential buyers, while an out-fashioned bathroom can delay the sale.

However, bathroom renovation is also one of the most difficult projects to estimate the cost as there are many variables and the quality of materials varies significantly. So how much difference are we talking about in remodeling different types of bathroom?

Cost Survey in the Industry

HomeAdvisers’s survey in 2018 created a digital marketplace that allows homeowners to explore home improvement costs and contact prescreened professionals, showed the average cost of bathroom remodeling is $10,246 in 2018, with the majority falling between $5,943 and $14,771. It ranges from $3,500 to $7,000 to update all essential fixtures and surfaces for a small or medium-sized bathroom, while large master bathrooms may go beyond $13,000. However, these numbers are averages of a large sample including both DIY and installations by contractors. Skilled homeowners who shop on a budget can often save costs by doing the work on them own, while contractor may charge much, much higher, especially when a bathroom is being demolished to the studs and structurally expanded.

Another source, the National Kitchen and Bath Association, reported that the average amount spent on a bathroom remodel in 2016 was $11,369. Estimated costs of various bathroom components:

  • Cabinets and hardware: $1,818 (16 %)
  • Vanity countertops: $795 (7 %)
  • Faucets and plumbing: $1,591 (15 %)
  • Lighting and ventilation: $568 (5 %)
  • Walls and ceilings: $568 (5 %)
  • Doors and windows: $455 (4 %)
  • Fixtures: $1.705 (15 %)
  • Flooring: $1,023 (9%)
  • Installation labor: $2,273 (20 %)
  • Design fees: $455 (4 %)
  • Other: $114 (1 %)

A survey by NKBA showed that half of homeowners paid between $10,000 and $29,999 for a bathroom remodel, while 31% paid more than $30,000.

Levels of Remodeling

A helpful way to manage bathroom remodeling costs is by categorizing different levels of work involved. Typically, when a project is of the facelift variety, it is to save money, and the materials used tend to be chosen for economy. But homeowners who are pulling out the stops to hire a general contractor are usually willing to spend large sums, choosing more premium fixtures and materials. This means that a "remodeled" bathroom can cost around $1,000 for a DIY homeowner who is replacing surface materials and perhaps a fixture or two, or as much as $50,000 or more for a bathroom that is gutted and expanded, and filled with top-end materials and fixtures.

LEVEL 1 - DIY Facelift (Faucet, showers head, etc.)

At this level of remodeling, homeowners are tackling the work themselves, and are replacing the cosmetic surfaces and perhaps the toilet and sink. But they are leaving the core elements—the plumbing, wiring, ventilation, and wall structures—alone. The bathtub and shower also remain untouched at this level. This type of remodel might include:

  • Replacing the flooring with luxury vinyl
  • Replacing the old vanity and sink with a new RTA (ready-to-assemble) vanity and sink
  • Installing a new toilet and mirror
  • Painting the walls

The price range depends on the quality of materials selected: Are you bargain shopping at the big-box home improvement centers, or buying from designer stores?

DIY Facelift Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

LEVEL 2 - DIY Complete Makeover

For this project, in addition to all the jobs mention above, small changes or extensions to plumbing lines may be necessary but doesn't require new circuits or major rerouting of plumbing lines. This type of remodel might include:

  • Replacing floors and wall surfaces with ceramic tile
  • Replacing old vanity and sink with new special-order vanity with quartz or granite countertop with an integrated sink.
  • Adding linen closet cabinet
  • Replacing old bathtub with new bathtub with tiled wall surrounds and premium shower valve and glass door
  • Installing a new toilet
  • Replacing vent fan

The price range depends on the quality of materials selected: Are you bargain shopping at the big-box home improvement centers, or buying from designer stores?

DIY Complete Makeover Cost: $5,000 to $15,000

LEVEL 3 - DIY Expansion Bathroom

This is a very popular remodeling project because many homeowners prefer to make structural changes to utilize the bathroom better. At this level, a homeowner with excellent carpentry and demolition skills may handle demolishing walls and reconfiguring the bathroom layout to occupy a bigger space in the house and make a complete makeover. Surprisingly, the cost difference is not that great when compared with a DIY makeover, because the biggest investment is in extra homeowner labor time—the additional lumber, drywall, and plumbing pipes required are not that expensive. But a homeowner tackling this kind of remodeling should also have the skill to do wiring and plumbing changes, which are usually necessary. A gut-and-rebuilt bathroom entails everything found in a complete makeover, as following:

  • Demolition of wall and ceiling surfaces
  • Framing new walls
  • Installing a new window and door
  • Hanging and finishing drywall

Homeowners should evaluate their skills and the time required carefully for this project. A structural expansion can take a lot of time, so make sure you have at least one other bathroom in use during your project. More than one homeowner has spent a full year completing a bathroom remodel of this scale.

DIY Expansion Bathroom Cost: $7,500 to $20,000

LEVEL 4 - Contractor Complete Makeover

Like the DIY version, this kind of project demands replacing all surfaces and fixtures in a bathroom, but in such a case, the work is done by one or more professional contractors you hire. At this point, an owner/builder contractor is a good choice. An owner/builder construction contractor is an experienced carpenter who does most of the hands-on work by himself but also subcontracts the tasks that he is not qualified for to other professionals. For example, the owner/builder contractor may hire a licensed plumber to do any plumbing work necessary, while doing all the rest of the work himself. He might also hire a small group of other carpenters to work with him.

A typical bathroom remodel on this scale will include all the features described in the DIY Complete Makeover (above), possibly using more premium materials and fixtures.

Contractor Complete Makeover Cost: $15,000 to $30,000

LEVEL 5 - Contractor Expansion Bathroom

The new bathroom is an actual room expansion in this sense, and it becomes an important project that is almost a brand-new bathroom. It requires gutting the bathroom down to the studs, demolishing walls, and reframing new walls to create a larger bathroom space. There may be a large-scaled rerouting of all plumbing lines and the installation of new electrical circuits. Very few, if any, of the old bathroom fixtures, are retained. In rare cases, this kind of project may need a structural bump-out or small room addition that changes the overall footprint of the house itself, including new foundation work.