How to Budget for Bathroom Renovations

by Taylor Haahr on March 25, 2019 · 2 comments

bathroom renovations

Bathrooms are one of the most high-traffic, well-used rooms in your house. They also tend to be a little neglected (considering their use) and really expensive to renovate. Even though most bathroom renovations typically manage to recoupe 50 to 70 percent of their costs, they can still be an incredible price undertaking. A low-end bathroom renovation can start around the $3,500 range, jump to around $20,000 for a mid-range bathroom renovation up to over $50,000 for a high-end renovation.

Who Does the Work?

The first step to figuring out the costs of your bathroom renovation is deciding who does the work. You can be as involved or hands-off as you want to, it all depends on what you want to pay.

General Contractor

Hiring a general contractor means that you are hands-off, for the most part, during the renovation. You hand over the money and sit back and wait while the project is being done. Your general contractor will take care of hiring everyone you need to hire from designers to electricians and plumbers.

This is the most expensive choice of them all but its also the easiest for you as the homeowner. It means paying not only for the individual subcontractors but the general contractor overseeing them all — hourly rates for your different contractors can vary from $50 to $200 an hour. Likely more if you want it to…


If you don’t want to pay the cost of the general contractor, you can hire the various subcontractors on your own. While you save money on the overall contractor, you do have to dedicate time to managing the project yourself.

Whether you’re hiring a general contractor or your own subcontractors, make sure you work out the payment plans and schedule beforehand.


If you happen to be skilled at handiwork, have the time and want to save some money on your bathroom renovation than doing it yourself might be a good solution for you. And you certainly don’t have to undertake the entire renovation, perhaps you just want to hand the demolition or the painting.

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Note that if you are not good at renovations they can end up being significantly more costly in the end if you do it incorrectly. Plus, if you don’t have the tools, equipment, and supplies that a traditional contractor does you’ll likely have to rent it which could also become costly.

Pick the Scope

Once you’ve decided who is going to do the work, you need to decide what work they’re going to be doing. Are you working on a full-bath in your house or doing the guest’s half-bath? Is it simply a face-lift or are you doing a full in-depth renovation?

Whether your renovation includes replacing expensive materials such as your bathtub, sink or vanity, or if it involves electricity, plumbing and moving walls — this all helps to predict the costs of your renovation.

Material Costs

After you’ve decided how you’re going to do your renovations (via a general contractor, subcontractors-only or do-it-yourself) and the scope of the work, it’s time to take a look at your different material costs. What kind of material costs do you have to consider?

  • Flooring
  • Counters and cabinets
  • Sinks
  • Hardware
  • Paint
  • Shower/tubs
  • Lighting

Now, the costs of your materials can vary significantly. You could pay $50 for a sink or up to $1,000 if you’re looking for something particularly fancy. Likewise, you could spend $1,000 on a tub or $14,000 for a high-end one with all the bells and whistles.

Unexpected Costs

Once you’ve budgeted your contractors, subcontractors, scope, and materials, you are not done yet. Most renovations are plagued with unexpected costs (which is likely why they end up over budget), and even if you’re lucky enough to stay on a budget wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

What might some of these unexpected costs be, you ask? You might come across some hidden damage when you start to pull away the surface coverings, replace elements you originally thought were okay — you might even break something, or you might have to update components to meet new codes, depending on the age of your home.

Regardless of what happens, it’s best to be prepared. Most recommend that you add 10 to 20 percent of your budget to cover unexpected and surprise costs.

Planning Your Perfect Bathroom Renovation

Whatever you decided to do for your bathroom renovation, they are not spur-of-the-moment decisions. You need to plan a budget for your bathroom renovation. Especially considering two-thirds of home renovations end up going over budget. But if you’re smart, good at planning and compare your local costs — you can make your bathroom renovation both affordable and achievable.

Are you planning a bathroom renovation this year? Share in the comments below!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer Jank March 27, 2019 at 10:37 am

I can’t say I’ll be renovating a bathroom this year. $50K for a bathroom? WOW. Good thing you reminded everyone that renovations often go over budget. I warned my mom about this when she redid her house, but she was still surprised by the tab.

2 Gregory Built Bathroom Renovations May 31, 2019 at 9:35 pm

No matter how much you plan and budget all the necessary scope, there will always be an excess of pay. Yup, pretty much experienced on my own but the thing is you can still be at the goal just the unexpected expenses do keep pops up sometimes.

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