Renovating your bathroom won’t just bring you the steam shower or soaking tub you’ve been craving. It could also improve the resale value of your home.
Bathroom renovations have an average return on investment (ROI) from 60% to 68%, according to HomeGuide, some upgrades add more value than others. But you’ll have to spend the money before you can increase the value of your home — enough that you need to consider home equity loans or other financing to pay for it. You have to expect to spend somewhere between 5% and 10% of the value of your home on a bathroom renovation, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Based on this, if your home is valued at $200,000, your bathroom remodel could cost between $10,000 and $20,000.
While there are a variety of factors that affect bathroom remodeling costs – from materials to room size to labor – understanding the average cost of a bathroom remodel bath can help you plan your budget.
How much does a typical bathroom renovation cost?
The cost of a bathroom remodel will vary depending on the scope of the project, the cost of materials, the size of the room, and other factors. Choosing to DIY your project can reduce costs, while hiring a contractor or plumber will increase your bill.
More minor, inexpensive changes might involve painting walls, replacing light fixtures, or refinishing a bathtub. The most expensive renovations can be installing a shower, tiling a floor or replacing cabinets.
“Bathroom renovations can range from a simple refresh, with cosmetic fixes like painting cabinets and replacing mirrors, to a gut renovation that involves installing a new fancy shower, replacing your sink, re-tiling, and more,” says Allie Weiss, the US digital director of Architectural Digest. “Replacing outdated plumbing fixtures is a common and generally easy-to-execute project, as is adding extra storage and painting to make a drab bathroom feel fresh.”
Here are the average bathroom renovation costs to expect, according to a investigation by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, depending on whether you opt for a minor or major update:
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Breakdown of bathroom renovation costs
Remodeling a bathroom has always been an expensive business, but costs have recently increased due to supply chain issues, labor shortages, and inflation.
“Labour costs are only going up more and more because of inflation,” says Jeremy Maher, COO of Phoenix Home Remodeling. “If someone was to get a quote from a contractor six months ago, and then wanted to start a project now, the price isn’t even close to being the same anymore, unfortunately.”
Your costs could also increase if you have to stay elsewhere while your bathroom remodels, Weiss says. “Have a plan in place for whether or not you can realistically experience the renovation,” she says. “It may be beneficial to stay elsewhere for a while, if possible, as access to your toilet and shower may become limited.”
From showers to cabinets to flooring, here are some of the top costs to plan for when remodeling a bathroom:
Adding a new shower is a major project that can drive up the cost of a bathroom remodel.
“The most expensive thing per square foot is a custom tile shower floor,” says Maher. “With tile floors, glass shower walls, automated shower fixtures, etc., showering is definitely one of the most expensive areas.”
The average cost of installing a new shower is $6,576, according to HomeAdvisor, with a typical range of $3,000 to $10,000.
Replacement of flooring usually costs between $800 and $3,500, or between $7 and $20 per square foot, according to HomeGuide. Costs vary depending on the material you choose and the size of your bathroom. Vinyl and linoleum will cost less, while wood and tile will cost more.
Cabinets can be another big deal, though the costs will vary depending on whether you’re installing new cabinets or renovating the ones you already have. Expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $3,600 to install cabinets and between $200 and $800 to redo existing cabinets, per HomeGuide.
Cabinets have also become more expensive lately due to the current wood shortage, Maher says. “With the cost of wood and inflation, everything goes up,” says Maher. “That’s another reason cabinets can be such an expensive piece.”
If you want to replace your bathroom counters, be prepared to pay somewhere between $15 and $60 per square foot, or an average cost of $450 to $1,500, according to HomeGuide. Materials like ceramic or porcelain tile, laminate, and formica will generally cost less, while higher-end materials like quartz, granite, and terrazzo will drive up the cost.
Plumbing and electricity
If you are considering major structural changes, you may need to hire a plumber or electrician. Installation of plumbing pipes costs anywhere from $450 to $1,800 per light fixture, while rerouting electrical wiring can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot, according to HomeGuide.
While carrying out these projects, you may also need to purchase permits from your city.
“Each city has different requirements,” says Maher. “You may need a permit if you are removing a wall, changing the electrics or working on the plumbing. There are places that even require you to get a permit to change your water heater.
If you need to hire a general contractor, expect the average cost falling around $4,000, according to Angi. As Maher mentioned, labor costs have been rising lately, so you may have to pay more today than you did a year ago.
“It’s a supply and demand issue,” says Maher. “It is becoming more and more difficult to find workers.
The average cost of a bathroom remodel can vary depending on the scope of the project, the size of the room, and the materials you choose. Estimating your costs up front will help you keep your project on budget.
How to finance a bathroom renovation
Once you’ve got your bathroom remodeling project in place, it’s time to figure out how to finance it. Unless you’re paying the full cost in cash up front, here are some financing options that might help.
HELOC or home equity loan
A home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC) can be an affordable way to borrow against the equity in your home. Lenders typically allow you to withdraw up to about 85% of your available equity, which is the difference between the value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage.
A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that you can draw on as needed. A home equity loan, on the other hand, works like an installment loan – you get a lump sum up front and pay it back with fixed monthly payments over a set period of time. Caution: Because both are secured by the value of your home, you run the risk of losing your home if you don’t pay them back.
A HELOC may be preferable if you want more flexibility and don’t mind the adjustable rate. After all, renovating your bathroom may turn out to be more expensive than expected. A home equity loan, however, might be better if you know exactly how much money you’ll need at the start of your project and prefer a fixed interest rate over the life of the loan.
Refinancing by withdrawal
Another option to consider is a cash refinance. With this strategy, you’ll replace your current mortgage with a new, higher mortgage and pocket the difference. You can use the extra funds to finance your bathroom renovation.
However, with rising interest rates, a cash refinance is no longer as affordable as it was a year ago. Additionally, you need to be careful not to extend your repayment term or inflate your mortgage too much.
“There’s a lot of chatter that house prices could go down,” Maher says. “If you opt for cash-out refinancing and the value of your home drops, you may actually owe more than it’s worth.”
A personal loan is another financing option for your bathroom renovation. Some lenders allow you to borrow up to $100,000 for home renovations.
Like a home equity loan, a personal loan is an installment loan that you typically repay in fixed monthly installments over two to seven years.
However, since most personal loans are unsecured, you may need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates.
Bathroom remodel vs bathroom remodel
People often use remodeling and remodeling interchangeably, but there may be a difference between the terms. A remodel often refers to changing the look of a bathroom with cosmetic updates, whereas a renovation can involve more extensive structural changes.
“A renovation may involve cosmetic and functional improvements but retain the overall shell and structure of your bathroom, whereas a renovation is likely to be a larger project which may require demolition, relocation of pipes plumbing, etc,” says Weiss. “Some aspects of a renovation may be okay for DIYers, while a renovation requires hiring a crew.”
Because a renovation is a larger project that might require a contractor, plumber, electrician, or other professional, it’s likely to cost significantly more than a renovation. But if you plan to sell your home, you could get your money back in the end.
“High-tech touchless toilets and faucets are popular, and people love the look of sleek no-threshold showers,” says Weiss. “All of these investment features can absolutely contribute to ROI. For lower cost upgrades, updating your bathroom hardware with a consistent color like brushed brass, ensuring your space has adequate lighting and painting your cabinets white can also improve return on investment.