Homeowners can be somewhat torn on how important a bathroom remodel is to the market value of a property. Everybody will tell you that a kitchen is the most critical source for return on investment for your remodeling budget – which is true – but are many areas used more frequently than the bathroom?
What makes a bathroom remodel so valuable is that it pays back in a multitude of ways. There’s the obvious market value increase of a memorable commode, not to mention the increased quality of living that an open, relaxing space has to offer. Bathroom renovations will also help increase energy efficiency with the installation of low flow water fixtures and non invasive lighting.
Like any home improvement project, budget is always something to take into consideration. Homeowners need to weigh pros and cons of what are important features to include, and where to focus their finances. In order to do that, it’s important to understand where the biggest costs are going to be in a bathroom remodel:
It’s no surprise that 30 – 50% or more of your bathroom remodel budget will be spent on labor. The more rigorous the project, the higher that labor cost is going to be unfortunately.
Consider if you want to change the layout of the bathroom. That involves paying a plumber to move water lines, an electrician to run new wiring, a construction contractor for demo and the rebuild, as well as a tile specialist for new flooring / shower / backsplash. That doesn’t include a painter and/or a finish carpenter.
Some of that labor cost can be recouped with DIY work, most frequently the demo part of the project. Plumbing and electrical needs to be performed by a professional however.
Since bathrooms are generally smaller than other areas of the house, the good news is that labor costs for plumbers, electricians, etc. are generally lower because the job is done faster. It’s nothing for these trades to be done with their work in a single day or even an afternoon.
That’s not the case with tile installers though, whether it’s the floor, a shower, backsplash, etc. Tile installation is a very time consuming process – but in a way you want it to be so that the job looks nice.
Tile can only be laid in sections, and the mastic must be allowed to dry before the finishing grout can be applied. Before that the area needs to be measured and spaced out for aesthetics which is why many times a tile job can take 2-3 days or more.
It should also be noted that different tile materials will affect the budget. Natural stone tiles can cost 10X as much as basic ceramic products.
Low end bathtubs are going to start off with a price tag of around $400 even on sale at big box stores. High end, freestanding soaking bathtubs can be priced at $2,000 to $3,000 or more. All of these fixtures have great ROI when it comes time to sell the house (as well as an increased quality of living), but will put a significant dent in the budget at the time of remodel.
Low flow toilets don’t cost a considerable amount more than standard models, and they’re reported to save upwards of $150 per year in water bills. That may not seem like much, but compounded over 10 years it definitely adds up. Plus, sometimes there are tax incentives or rebates for having water saving fixtures installed.
When you really think about it, there aren’t that many places to spend money in your bathroom. Lighting, painting, trim, and other miscellaneous items are going to pale in comparison to the big three of tiling, fixtures, and finally the vanity.
A vanity has become an increasingly important aspect of the bathroom for convenience as well as market value. His and her vanities are now the norm that buyers are looking for, but pedestal/wall mounted features also offer more room and make the bathroom look bigger. Vessel vanities provide a unique, modern look as well.
There are simply tons of options available in vanity choices, each with varying costs. Countertop material choices are included in that pricing as well, with marble/granite being more high end and laminate a more cost-efficient choice.
Bathroom Remodel Cost Summary
The ultimate thing to remember is that no matter how you want to lay out a bathroom or what features you want to include – it will all cost to have the work and installation done. Any time plumbing is added to the normal construction work, the labor prices will increase.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it though. There have been “Million Dollar Listing” type shows where a sale is lost simply because the master bathroom doesn’t have a tub to soak in. You’re in the bathroom multiple times a day for a number of different functions, you might as well enjoy the stay.