Renovating your bathroom will not only bring you the steam shower or bathtub you’ve been dreaming of. It could also improve the resale value of your home.
According to HomeGuide, bathroom renovations have an average return on investment (ROI) of 60% to 68%, with some upgrades adding more value than others. But you’ll have to spend some money before you can increase the value of your home – enough that you may need to consider home equity loans or other financing to pay for it. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, you should expect to spend between 5% and 10% of the value of your home on a bathroom makeover. If your house is valued at $200,000, your bathroom renovation could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.
Although there are a variety of factors that affect the cost of a bathroom remodel—from materials to room size to labor—understanding the average cost of a bathroom remodel can help you plan your budget.
How much does a typical bathroom remodel cost?
The cost of a bathroom renovation depends on the scope of the project, the cost of materials, the size of the room, and other factors. Deciding to do your project yourself can keep costs down, while hiring a contractor or plumber will increase your bill.
Minor, less expensive changes might include painting walls, replacing fixtures, or refinishing a bathtub. More expensive remodeling could include installing a shower, re-tiling a floor, or replacing cabinets.
“Bathroom renovations can range from a simple refresh with cosmetic repairs like painting cabinets and replacing mirrors, to a gut cleanup that includes installing a luxurious new shower, replacing your sink, retiling and more,” says Allie Weiss from the USA Digital Director of Architectural Digest. “Replacing outdated plumbing fixtures is a common and usually easy-to-perform project, as is adding extra storage and repainting to make a lackluster bathroom feel fresh.”
Here’s the average expected cost of renovating a bathroom, according to a survey by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, depending on whether you want a small update or a large one:
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Cost breakdown for bathroom remodeling
Renovating a bathroom has always been a costly endeavor, but costs have increased recently due to supply chain issues, labor shortages and inflation.
“Inflation is driving labor costs up,” said Jeremy Maher, Phoenix Home Remodeling’s chief operations officer. “If someone got a quote from a contractor six months ago and then wants to start a project now, unfortunately the price isn’t even close to the same.”
Your costs could also increase if you have to stay somewhere else while you’re renovating your bathroom, Weiss says. “Have a plan on whether or not you can realistically survive the renovation,” she says. “It may be an advantage to stay elsewhere for a while if possible as your toilet and shower access may be restricted.”
From showers to cabinetry to flooring, here are some of the top costs to expect when remodeling a bathroom:
Adding a new shower is a big project that can add to the cost of a bathroom makeover.
“The most expensive thing per square foot is a custom-tiled shower floor,” says Maher. “With the tile floor, glass shower screens, automatic shower faucets and things like that, the shower 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.
According to HomeGuide, replacing the flooring typically costs between $800 and $3,500, or between $7 and $20 per square foot. The cost varies depending on the material you choose and the size of your bathroom. Vinyl and linoleum cost less, while wood and tile cost more.
Cabinets can be another big problem, although costs vary depending on whether you’re installing new cabinets or refinishing existing cabinets. Expect to pay between $500 and $3,600 to install cabinets and between $200 and $800 to revamp existing cabinets, per HomeGuide.
Due to the current lumber shortage, cabinets have also become more expensive recently, Maher says. “Everything goes up with the cost of lumber and inflation,” says Maher. “It’s another reason cabinets can be so expensive.”
If you’re looking to replace your bathroom countertops, prepare to pay anywhere from $15 to $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 typically cost less, while higher-end materials like quartz, granite, and terrazzo drive up costs.
Plumbing and electrical
If you want to make major structural changes, you may need to hire a plumber or electrician. Installing plumbing pipe costs between $450 and $1,800 per fitting, while rerouting electrical wiring can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot, according to HomeGuide.
Completing these projects may also require you to purchase permits from your city.
“Every city has different requirements,” says Maher. “You may need a permit if you’re removing a wall, replacing electrical, or working on plumbing. There are some places where you even need a permit to replace your water heater.”
If you have to hire a general contractor, expect an average cost of around $4,000, according to Angi. As Maher mentioned, labor costs have increased recently, so you may be paying more today than you were a year ago.
“It’s a matter of supply and demand,” says Maher. “It’s getting harder and harder to find workers.”
The average bathroom renovation cost 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 remodel
Once you’ve set your vision for your bathroom renovation, it’s time to figure out how to fund it. Unless you’re paying the entire cost in cash upfront, here are a few 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 your home’s equity. Lenders typically let you borrow 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 when you need it. A home loan, on the other hand, works like an installment loan—you receive a lump sum up front and pay it back in fixed monthly payments over a set term. Be careful: since both are secured against the value of your home, you run the risk of losing your home if you don’t pay it back.
A HELOC might be preferable if you want more flexibility and don’t mind an adjustable rate. Eventually, your bathroom remodel may turn out to cost more than you anticipated. However, a home equity loan might be better if you know exactly how much money you need when you start your project and prefer a fixed rate of interest over the life of the loan.
Cash Out Refinancing
Another option to consider is payout refinancing. With this strategy, you replace your existing mortgage with a new, higher mortgage and pocket the difference. You can use the extra funds to fund your bathroom remodel.
However, with interest rates rising, cash-out refinancing isn’t as affordable as it was a year ago. You should also be careful about extending your repayment period or overinflating your mortgage.
“There’s a lot of talk about house prices going down,” says Maher. “If you do a payout refinance and your home value goes down, chances are you actually owe more than it’s worth.”
A personal loan is another financing option for your bathroom remodel. Some lenders allow you to borrow up to $100,000 to renovate your home.
Like a home loan, a personal loan is an installment loan that you typically repay in fixed monthly payments over a period of two to seven years.
However, since most personal loans are unsecured, you may need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rates.
Bathroom remodel vs. bathroom renovation
People often use remodeling and renovation interchangeably, but there can be some differences between the terms. A remodel often refers to changing the look of a bathroom with cosmetic updates, while a renovation can involve major structural changes.
“A remodel can include cosmetic and functional improvements while maintaining the overall envelope and structure of your bathroom, while a renovation is likely a larger project that might require demolition, rerouting, and so on,” says Weiss. “Some aspects of a remodel might be okay for a do-it-yourselfer to take on alone, while a renovation requires hiring a team.”
Because a renovation is a larger project that might require a contractor, plumber, electrician, or other professional, it’s likely to come at a significantly higher price point than a remodel. But if you are planning to sell your home, you could end up making your money back.
“High-tech, touch-free toilets and faucets are popular, and people love the look of sleek, curb-free showers,” says Weiss. “All of these investment characteristics can absolutely contribute to ROI. For much more affordable upgrades, you can upgrade your bathroom fixtures to a solid color like brushed brass, ensure your space is adequately lit, and paint your cabinets white to improve ROI.”