How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost? (2023)
Typical Cost Range: $2,000 – $18,000
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If you’re thinking about remodeling one or more of your home’s bathrooms, your first question is probably about cost. The typical cost of a bathroom remodel ranges from $2,000–$18,000 depending on the project’s scope and type, with the average cost landing at around $5,500. Below, we’ll break down the various factors that go into remodeling costs and address some frequently asked questions about bathroom remodeling.
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Bathroom Renovation vs. Bathroom Remodel
Some people use the terms “renovation” and “remodeling” interchangeably, but there are actually notable differences that affect your investment level and whether you should hire a contractor.
A renovation is less intensive than a remodel and includes mostly cosmetic changes. This could be putting in new flooring or fixtures, painting the cabinetry, or installing a new mirror. The bathroom layout remains the same and there’s no major construction. For that reason, you can often manage a bathroom renovation yourself and for less money than a remodel.
A remodel is more construction-heavy and could include knocking down walls, flipping the layout, or installing new appliances and cabinetry. These projects usually require plumbing and electrical expertise and are best left to professionals, making them more expensive.
Average Bathroom Remodeling Costs
The total cost of your bathroom remodeling project depends on your bathroom’s size and the project’s extensiveness. For example, making cosmetic changes to a powder room will cost far less than high-end changes to a large primary bath.
Jim Fuson, owner of 21st Century Home Inspections, says that bathroom remodels can get complicated. “The sky’s the limit on bathroom design. If we’re going from just your traditional single-person shower, and now we want a two-person shower with dual shower heads and all the little toys inside, you may end up looking at increasing your water heater storage capacity.”
Projects like this might involve a new tankless water heater, additional electrical work, or radiant heat floor installation, which all increase your overall cost.
Average Bathroom Remodel Costs
Looking at all bathroom renovation projects combined, here are some recent averages:
Bathroom Remodel Cost by Type
Because size is such a significant determiner of cost, here’s a breakdown of different bathroom types and how long they typically take to install. The total cost usually ranges from $100–$200 per square foot.
|Type of Bathroom Remodel||Average Cost||Average Time|
Full bath remodel
Primary bath remodel
Wet room installation
Luxury bath remodel
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Cost Factors of a Bathroom Remodel
Beyond your bathroom’s size, the areas you choose to renovate and your selected materials can go a long way in determining the final price tag. The most expensive material costs are the wet area, vanity, countertops, and tiling.
Remodeling a Wet Area
The bathroom’s wet area is the portion of the room that is waterproofed because it’s designed to get wet. Typically, this encompasses the bathtub, shower, or combination of the two, as well as the walls around it. It’s also usually the most expensive part of a bathroom remodeling project.
Since there are so many projects possible with the wet area, the time and expense of this renovation can vary greatly. It might take just a few hours if you’re just having the tub refinished or a liner installed. However, large projects like converting all or part of a bathroom into a wet room can take several days to a week, since they involve substantial demolition.
Regarding wet room fixtures, a new bathtub alone can cost $600 for a simple alcove tub to $5,000 or more for a jetted bathtub, not including the labor to install it. When it comes to a shower remodel, the cheapest option is a prefab unit, which you can install as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project for a minimum of about $525. However, professional installation of a custom shower can cost up to $10,000 since it usually includes new tile, replumbing, and more.
Upgrading or refinishing your cabinets is typically not as expensive as many other parts of the project. Ready-to-assemble cabinets can cost as little as $50–$200 per unit, and you can install them yourself, though they won’t last as long as more durable materials like solid wood or hardwood. Of course, more durable material costs more, and a high-end double vanity can cost $2,000 or more. Remember that bathroom cabinetry needs to withstand more humidity than cabinets in other rooms.
Cabinets usually go hand-in-hand with countertops, and you’ve got a choice of materials here, too. Additionally, bathroom countertops don’t have to stand up to the same level of use as kitchen countertops, so you have a few more options.
The least expensive materials are laminate, tile, and sealed wood, though these may be difficult to clean or be susceptible to damage. Granite, marble, and solid surface materials like quartzite are more expensive and durable, but they need to be properly sealed and may show stains.
Changing Faucets and Plumbing
Faucets themselves are a relatively minor expense, and you can change them yourself for a few hundred dollars. This hardware is available in zinc, stainless steel, and brass in several finishes. Chrome-finished plastic is also available, and though it’s the least expensive option, it’s not recommended because it’s often flimsy and lacks durability. Good hardware will come with a substantial, even lifetime, warranty.
Although the faucets themselves are inexpensive, making substantial changes to the plumbing isn’t. When you start tinkering with your bathroom’s layout and its existing plumbing—changing the location of the toilet or tub, for example—you’ll need to hire a licensed plumber to do the work. Plumbing work typically costs $75–$130 an hour.
Upgrading Your Toilet
Depending on your old toilet’s condition, you may decide it’s time for an upgrade. A new toilet costs an average of $600 for both the unit itself and the installation, though you may be able to find a bargain model as low as $100 if you install it yourself. Alternatively, you could look into higher-end models like dual flush toilets, bidets, or smart toilets.
Installing New Flooring
Bathroom flooring is another factor that provides many options, including some that can save you a substantial amount of money. Natural stone and hardwood are higher-cost options, but new options in vinyl and laminate flooring can mimic their appearance at a much lower price. Floor tile made of ceramic or porcelain is another popular option, and it can be quite inexpensive, though tiles are harder to install and keep clean because of the grout.
All these options are priced by square footage, so the larger your bathroom, the higher the material and labor costs. The amount of time the project takes also depends heavily on the tile size you choose. If you want a more luxurious bathroom floor, you can opt for a radiant heating system under the tile work. The cost range for such a system is typically $16–$25 per square foot.
Replacing Light Fixtures
Another inexpensive fix is choosing new light fixtures for your bathroom. Once again, if you’re just swapping out existing fixtures, you can often do this yourself for a relatively low price. However, moving lights around or adding new ones means you’ll need to hire an electrician. Electrician costs can range between $40 and $120 an hour. Electrical work, particularly in an area that needs to handle so much moisture, should be completed by a professional. Even general contractors usually employ subcontractors for this job.
Ventilation is essential to ensure that your bathroom can dry between uses so that mold and mildew don’t become a problem. Typically, this takes the form of an exhaust fan. Replacing this fan costs between $250 and $500, but if you need to install one from scratch, you may also need to install ductwork and vents. For this, you should hire a professional, driving the price closer to $1,000.
The above is not an exhaustive list of bathroom renovation options. Here are some other factors that can go into a primary bathroom remodel:
- Tub and shower wall surrounds, including waterproof drywall
- Shower doors or curtains
- Hardware (drawer pulls, towel racks, toilet paper holder)
- Medicine cabinet
- Hot tub
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Additional Bathroom Remodel Cost Considerations
There are a few costs that come with a remodel that many forget to include in their budget. Keep the following expenses in mind when estimating how much your remodeling project will cost.
Although cosmetic renovations don’t require a permit, more extensive remodeling projects do. Changes such as adding new windows, installing or removing new plumbing, moving an outlet, and replacing a water heater typically require permits.
You may also need a permit if your remodel’s total cost exceeds a certain amount. Since building codes vary from city to city, make sure to check with your local planning or building department when designing your new bathroom and making your budget. As the homeowner, you are responsible for the permits, though some contractors will assist you with applying for them.
If you need to make your bathroom more accessible, don’t forget that ADA-accessible appliances are often more expensive than standard ones. For example, a walk-in tub or roll-in shower will likely cost more than a standard tub or shower. Reduced-mobility features such as grab bars and shower seats make your bathroom safer but also add to material and labor costs.
Where you live also affects material and labor prices. The cost of a bathroom remodel in one state may be a couple thousand dollars higher or lower in your area. Ensure you get a detailed estimate of your specific project before assessing your budget.
Disposal of Materials
In some cases, homeowners are responsible for material disposal during and after the project. Depending on how much construction and replacements your project involves, you could be left with fixtures you no longer need, flooring that’s been removed, or an entire wall to get rid of. Make a plan with your contractor ahead of time to see who will be in charge of disposal and what the best method is. If you can’t safely and properly dispose of the materials yourself, you may need to hire a specialized waste company to take them away.
Keep in mind that not all materials can go to your local waste dropoff center. You’ll need to research where your county requires you to take each material.
Should I Remodel My Bathroom?
The decision to remodel your bathroom comes down to your budget and tolerance for disruption to your daily life. On the one hand, bathroom remodeling often has a substantial return on investment (ROI) when it comes to your home’s value. However, not everyone has remodeling money in the budget. Let’s look at some benefits of remodeling.
Return on Investment (ROI)
According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2022 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange bathroom remodel costs an average of $27,164 and recoups an average of $15,990 for a 58.9% ROI. Universal design and upscale remodels cost more and have a slightly lower ROI (56.7% and 53.5%, respectively), but they still add resale value to your home.
Assume there will be unforeseen expenses that affect ROI. We recommend planning a 30% cushion in your budget. That means if the average cost is $5,500, you should be prepared to spend at least $7,150. And while bathroom remodeling has a strong ROI, other projects can add more value, such as window and siding replacement (67.4%–69.4%) or midrange kitchen remodeling (72.2%).
If you have an older home, a home that wasn’t designed well, or a resident in your home with limited mobility, a bathroom remodel can remove safety issues. You may need to relocate electrical outlets farther away from water sources, add more lighting or ventilation, or make the layout or appliances more user-friendly for your housemates.
Better Energy Efficiency
Old water heaters, appliances, and light fixtures could be adding an unnoticed burden to your home’s energy usage. Installing low-flow toilets and shower heads will help conserve water, and updating your water heater and light fixtures can lower your electricity bill.
A common bathroom complaint is minimal storage, which often results in a bathroom that’s cluttered or not functional. Remodeling to add more cabinetry or create a more usable layout can improve your bathroom’s appearance and functionality.
Bathrooms are a room that can become outdated quickly. There’s also a lot of personal preference that goes into designing a bathroom. A great bathroom remodel can freshen up the room, bring it up to date, and make it a space you enjoy being in if your existing room isn’t your style. This is not only a win for you but for your home’s value and future buyers.
DIY vs. Professional Remodel
You may still be wondering whether to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor or do the work yourself. Here’s a quick summary of each option’s pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of DIY
Pros and Cons of Professional Remodel
How To Hire a Pro for Your Bathroom Remodel
You should carefully vet who you hire to do your bathroom remodel to avoid poor results and wasted money. Carefully read their website, look at customer reviews, and discuss price and project scope before hiring them. We recommend asking the following questions:
- Can you provide proof you’re licensed and insured?
- What kind of experience do you have remodeling bathrooms?
- Can I see photos of the bathroom remodels you’ve done?
- Can you provide references from customers?
- How many projects do you work on at a time?
- What is the timeline for my remodel?
- Will permits be required? What is the process for that?
- Will you provide a choice of brands and materials, or do you only work with set options?
- How do you vet your subcontractors? Will you work with a subcontractor I want to use?
- Will you provide a written estimate and warranty for the work?
How To Save on Bathroom Remodel Costs
While some costs in a remodeling project aren’t negotiable, there are some areas where you can save money using these tips:
- Solidify your remodel plan with your contractor in advance so you don’t end up with costly surprises or redos.
- Do some research or talk to your contractor about material dupes that are more cost-effective.
- Don’t rework the room’s layout if you don’t need to. Keeping the existing footprint can save you thousands.
- Refinish the sink and shower instead of fully replacing them.
- Consider the aspects you can do yourself, such as painting, to avoid paying for extra labor.
Explore Other Home Project Costs
If you’re intimidated by the average cost of a bathroom remodel, know that some choices can bring the price down. For example, you might consider an inexpensive flooring option that looks expensive, or you can refinish your tub instead of replacing it. In addition, you can reduce labor and plumbing costs, which are typically the most significant part of a home improvement project, by avoiding substantial changes to the plumbing and electrical system of the bathroom. Finally, while you obviously can’t plan for the unexpected, intentionally having some extra room in your budget will significantly reduce your stress level.
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FAQ About Bathroom Remodel Costs
What is the difference between a full bath remodel and a partial bath remodel?
Typically, the difference is the same as between a bathroom remodel and a renovation. In other words, a full bathroom remodel makes substantial changes to the layout and plumbing of a bathroom, usually including the wet area. On the other hand, a partial bath remodel makes changes to features like cabinets, fixtures, and walls while leaving the general layout intact. As you might expect, a partial remodel costs less than a full remodel.
Where can I find bathroom remodel ideas?
You can approach the idea phase of the remodeling process in several different ways, but it’s usually a good idea to consider functionality first. Thus, think about what your current bathroom lacks. It might be proper lighting, sufficient storage, or an efficient layout. Then start looking at different bathroom styles to see what appeals to you.
Check out our list of bathroom remodeling tips for some ideas.
What is the most expensive part of the bathroom?
When it comes to remodeling, the highest single cost is labor, which usually accounts for 20%–65% of the final cost. However, if you’re looking at the tangible items within a bathroom, the wet area (tub, shower, and wall surrounds) is the most expensive part. A tub alone can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.
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