A bathroom remodel involves many tasks, from removing fixtures that are being replacing to installing new fixtures and minor repairs. Once you set your budget and before you buy any materials, you need to decide who will do the work. Depending on how much you want to do, you can save money by contributing “sweat equity.”
Once you know how much work you'll be doing yourself, you can start building your budget. Each item on your prioritized list includes both labor and material costs, although so for those tasks you plan to do, your cost in dollars will be zero.
You can use the table below to create a rough estimate for the items you want to include in your bathroom model. When you have determined how many items on your list fit within your budget, you're ready to meet with one/more remodeling professionals to get proposals.
Picking the Right Home Professional
You can find remodeling companies that will work with you, i.e. some will let you do your own demo and buy all the materials. Other companies want to handle everything from design through purchase of materials and clean up, and you'll pay extra for this start-to-finish project management, which is a great choice if you have the money and lack the time/or patience to handle the project yourself.
Smaller handyman companies may offer more flexibility letting you purchase all the materials. You'll save money but spend quite a bit of time running to the store for materials, especially when the tub or mirror you carried home is defective (happens a lot). Home owners most often handle demo, buying the major items for the project, cleanup and painting (contractors should complete work through a primer coat so they can find and correct problems before they leave the job site.
Another way to squeeze a large project into a budget not big enough for all the things you want, is to split the project into several phases, completing one before you start the next. Some ambitious home owners start a project and after several weeks or months, will call a handyman business to complete the work. Bathroom remodels can run anywhere from a $1,000 (painting and towel holders) to $30,000 or more when walls and plumbing are being moved, along with high end fixtures throughout.
Build Your Bathroom Remodel Budget
Estimating any remodeling project isn't magic, nor is it guaranteed which is why you need to include contingency. The table below can help you match priorities to your budget. Begin with the highest priority requirements and continue to add items until you reach your budget. To insure you complete the project on budget, should be included to cover costs you can't predict before starting (the higher number should be used if your are doing a lot of plumbing work and/or moving walls).
Add items in the following sequence:
- First priority is safety, i.e. non-slip floors for children and seniors.
- Next priority should be resolving any water issues as repairs cost more when deferred.
- Now it's time to add your high priority, bathroom focal point, i.e. it might be a new vanity and matching mirror or a jacuzzi and tile floor.
- If there's room in your budget, work down through medium and low priority items and you'll know exactly where to stop if you run into problems.
After you have add up projected costs, consider the following ways to keep costs down:
- Re-glaze your bathtub/shower to save the cost of removing and installing a new unit.
- Avoid moving plumbing, which adds cost. Be aware that many new vanities will require the plumbing to be moved several inches, which is less costly.
- Find creative solutions to add space or storage without having to move walls, i.e. you can add shelving built into the walls.
- Buy less expensive fixtures when they don't have moving parts, i.e. your sink or vanity. You will save time/money with higher quality toilets and faucets, i.e. check for metal parts inside, not plastic. You can find these at a local plumbing supply house or online, i.e. www.build.com has a nice selection of discounted, brand name products plus good customer service and they package their products to withstand the rigors of shipping
The ideal solution isn't always obvious. My company worked with a customer to remodel a half bath. They found a beautiful cherry vanity and searched for months for a matching mirror. They were thrilled when we finally offered to custom build the mirror to match (above right).
|Remove/move wall to add room
|May require a building permit
|Add cosmetic wall
|1 day +/-
|Must be 50 degree/warmer
|Add new light fixtures
|1-4 hrs each
|Requires licensed electrician
|Replace light fixtures
|1-2 hrs each
|Frame & finish both sides
|Add built-in storage/shelving
|Upgrade plumbing for water pressure
|Requires a licensed plumber
|Find & correct water leaks
|Repair water damage
|Replace sink(s) and/or faucets
|Replace vanity and/or countertop
|Replace mirror/medicine cabinet
|More if cabinet size different
|Replace bathtub and/or shower
|Plumber may be needed
|Replace bathtub/shower surround
|Tile bathtub/shower surround
|Depends on tile size, walls …
|Replace towel racks, toilet paper …
|Paint ceiling (2 coats recommended)
|More if repairs needed
|Paint walls (2 coats recommended)
|Varies by complexity
|Remove existing flooring
|Install new linoleum
|Install new ceramic tile
|Depends on # of cuts
|Add contingency (10-20%)