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Budgeting for a Bathroom Remodel

Incepector Handyman > Ideas, Tips & News > Budgeting for a Bathroom Remodel

Trying to figure out a budget for your bathroom remodel can be a daunting task. Consider the following article by Steven Moore, Internet Marketing Director and member of the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), on the many different factors that go into a contractor’s bid for bathroom remodels. This information will help you determine approximately what your budget should be.

“First, the contractor needs to make sure that he has enough money in the contract to cover mistakes. Now, I know what your’re thinking: “They should pay for their own mistakes” and that’s true to a certain extent, but people aren’t perfect and they’ll make mistakes, so a businessman has to compensate for it. As a result, they mark up the material about 10 to 20 percent to cover for any little mistakes that may happen. They also have to pay for the back end, like secretaries, legal services, advertising, truck maintenance, office supplies and similar expenses. Most people don’t think about that when they see the final price of the bathroom remodeling project, but it really does add up.

Next, the contractor has to pay for the front-end, like materials and the labor of employees. The average construction worker earns about $20.00 an hour, so if you have three employees working 50 hours a week for two weeks on a bathroom-which is typical-you’ll have 240 hours of regular pay (3 employees x 40 hours per week x 2 weeks) for $4800.00, plus 60 hours of overtime (3 employees x 10 overtime hours per week x 2 weeks) at 1.5 times the regular wage, which adds an extra $1,800.00. Then you have to factor in payroll taxes and worker’s compensation insurance. Add it all up, and the cost of labor alone is over $7,260.00.

Then add that to the $4,000.00 for the typical materials used, and that already creates a bill in excess of $11,000.00. Then you have to account for the back-end expenses and provide some profit to the owner of the company. That’s why the cost of a typical bathroom remodel in the United States is about $16,000.00.

Understanding these costs will help you weed out low-quality contractors. If a contractor tells you that he can remodel your bathroom for $9,000.00, you should ask some questions to figure out why the price is so low. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with added costs later, or a bathroom that you’re really not happy with.

As you set your budget for a bathroom remodel, keep in mind that you should spend 5 to 10 percent of your home’s value on a bathroom remodeling project. If you have a $200,000.00 house, this means you should plan to spend $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 on your bathroom. If you have a significantly higher priced home, 1.5 million for example, $75,000.00 would be an appropriate amount to spend since larger homes generally have larger bathrooms where luxury fittings are more, well, fitting. Homes valued less than $100,000.00 should spend about $10,000.00 for a quality bathroom remodel. In most circumstances, anything below that will include linoleum floors, a leaky bathtub, and other materials that you won’t be happy with. With a budget under $10,000.00 you’ll most likely end up spending more to get the job done right the second time.

Whether or not you purchase materials yourself or have the contractor do it, make sure the materials are of high quality. Remember that the bathroom is one of the most abused rooms in your home, exposed to heat, cold, constant use, steam, mildew, mold and a variety of other causes for deterioration. Buying low quality materials won’t pay off in the long run. Watch for shortcuts such as exposed particle board and non-painted or sealed wood. Longer lasting materials will ultimately be more cost-effective.”


Expand an existing 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet within existing house footprint. Relocate all fixtures. Include 42-by-42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls with accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures, and frame-less glass enclosure. Include a customized whirlpool tub; stone counter top with two sinks; two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting; a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet; and a humidistat controlled exhaust fan. Use all color fixtures. Use larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on the diagonal with ceramic tile base molding. Add general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture. Cabinetry shall include a custom drawer base and wall cabinets for a built-in look. Extend HVAC system, and include electric in-floor heating and heated towel bar.



Update an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom. Replace all fixtures to include 30-by-60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with 4-by-4-inch ceramic tile surround; new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control; standard white toilet; solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink; recessed medicine cabinet with light; ceramic tile floor; vinyl wallpaper.