Bathroom Remodel

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Bathroom Remodel

No other room in the house costs more money to remodel on a per square foot bases than the bathroom.  Bathroom remodels can range as follows:

  • Lower range averages $350+ per square foot.
  • Midrange averages $600+ per square foot.
  • Upscale averages $900+ per square foot.

The total expense of a bathroom remodel depends on the size and layout of the space, the amount of work that is performed, the quality of materials, and whether you change the layout and size of the room.  Considering

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical/Wiring
  • Ventilation
  • Cabinetry
  • Tile
  • Lighting
  • Moisture
  • Accessories

and all the decorating options available – it is easy to see how this can create exceptional demands on remodeling a bathroom.

Bathroom Remodel Estimates

A realistic, meaningful, and well developed bathroom remodel estimate requires time and an experienced Contractor to prepare.  Only a professional design/build remodeling contractor such as DAD’s Construction can do this for you.  Expect to pay for this level of service.  What’s the benefit?  You know exactly what you are getting and how much it will cost.  There is no guessing or pointing of fingers because of someting you thought you were getting but did not.

Sure, it is important to know the total cost of the estimates you receive.  However, what is more important is where that money is going.  Understanding this cost breakdown will help you choose the best overall value.  Moreover, this will also identify Contractors who are giving you unrealistically low, misleading bids.

Here is what you want and will get from DAD’s Construction:

Bathroom Remodel DAD's Construction

Nevertheless, there is no other room in the house that can match the value and return on investment.  Day-to-day living and your homes property value increases exponentially with your bathroom remodel.

Bathroom Remodel Expenses – Products and Labor

Sure, kitchens are expensive with all the cabinetry and appliances.  However, a bathroom remodel goes farther with bathtubs, plumbing fixtures, mirrors and glass, tile, lighting, ventilation, storage, closet space, water proofing and moisture elimination.  Quality plumbing fixtures for a shower can easily range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.  A simple shower valve and head or a hand shower with a rain head makes a big difference in price.  It is not just the finish trim (the pretty stuff you see on the outside), what is behind the wall really counts!

Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionFor a bathroom remodel, high quality machined solid brass valves are worth their weight in gold.  Cheaper options can leak slowly for years – even decades – slowly destroying your house and costing you significantly more down the road to repair the massive amounts of water damage you never saw!  Installing these higher quality values and multiple valve systems requires an experienced Plumber working with a sharp Contractor – not some overly advertised “plumbing guru”.  Get it wrong and the entire bathroom from the shower, sink and toilet will not function correctly.  All of this impacts the proper functioning of the entire sewer system for the house.

What is Involved in a Bathroom Remodel?

Bathroom RemodelApproximately 60-70% of a bathroom’s remodel costs are labor and materials.  Around 30-40% are finished products.  A bathroom remodel is very labor intensive.  What does this tell you?  If you are getting a bathroom remodel performed cheap, the person you hired is using cheap labor and materials!  Experience counts for everything in a bathroom project.  Think not?  Wait and see the cost when you find out your shower pan has been leaking for years!  Mega dollars to fix!

Professionals and Trades When Remodeling Your Bathroom

A bathroom remodel contains all of the building elements.  Consider for a moment that in this small room, you need the following experienced professionals and trades:

Professionals and Trades to Correctly Perform a Bathroom Remodel


Permit Technician




Structural Engineer




Finish Carpenter

Title 24 Engineer









Glass & Mirror



Water Proofing








Does Size Matter When Remodeling a Bathroom?

It does not matter if your bathroom is 40 square feet or 100+ square feet.  All or most of the above professionals and trades will be involved – unless you want a mess!  You may think you can remodel a bathroom without “all this nonsense”.  However, try it and see what happens a few years down the road (or sooner).  I can promise you, go it alone without a highly experienced Contractor such as DAD’s Construction, and you will pay substantially more in the future.  I have never been wrong on this – never!

It is no different than going to the Dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.  If you do not and wait until you have a nasty cavity, how much is that root canal costing you along with all the extra pain and suffering?  Should have gone for the twice a year cleaning and checkup – way, way cheaper and no pain!

Difference Makers: Design, Plumbing, and Tile

Without question, the biggest difference in bathroom costs are:

  • Design
  • Plumbing
  • Tile
  • Fixtures
  • Finishes

Bathroom Remodel DADs ConstructionIf you are looking to relocate a toilet, convert a bathtub into a shower, enlarge a shower, add a bathtub or second sink, or relocate a sink, there will be extensive plumbing involved.  The same is true if you are adding a whirlpool bath.  These things require a lot of work in the walls, under the floor/ground, and in the ceiling/roof spaces.  The exact amount of work and cost to relocate plumbing cannot be determined until after the walls, floor, and ceilings are opened.  In similar fashion, the same is true when removing walls.  I do not know of anyone who can see through walls, floors, and ceilings to determine what needs to be done until after they are completely opened up.  It is not like on TV or YouTube where they always seem to magically know this stuff!  It is impossible – they do not know unless they built the house.

Why Does Tile Impact the Costs to Remodel a Bathroom?

Bathroom Remodel DADs ConstructionTile matters significantly.  Size, shape, and pattern all changes the cost of labor and materials to install.  Porcelain, ceramic, and stone tiles are not interchangeable.  All have vastly different costs to install and big differences in durability and water absorption.  A bigger wall tile takes longer to install.  Why?  It is not possible to stack large, heavier tiles on the wall before a reasonable drying time (they will sag).  Using smaller, lighter tiles allows for more tiles installed per day.  This also generally reduces labor and the cost of application materials.  Larger tiles require more expensive application products.  Selecting the correct tile grout is really important.  Careful, a smaller, lighter tile may be terrible quality, have a short life, and absorb moisture.  Let your Contractor point you in the right direction.

Never buy any tile:

  • That is on sale
  • From some “tile district”
  • Through an unknown supplier
  • From certain countries
  • A Home Improvement store
  • Contractor who has some extra from a previous job and will give you a good deal on it

Regarding accents, liners, and borders, these can cost $15 – $75 each.  To ensure the proper pattern sequence, there will generally be 20-30% waste.  Lastly, lots of horizontal or dot cuts will generate loads of waste and can raise the price quickly.

How Can There Be Huge Cost Differences in Bathroom Remodeling?

Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionLet’s break it down:

  • Economical vs. luxury
  • Design
  • Labor
  • Cost of finished products
  • Experience of Contractor

Economical vs. luxury – A fiberglass tub surround from a home improvement store vs. a tile surround.  There is a big difference in the price of materials, installation, and labor between these two.  The same is true for a bathtub.  The price of a low-end tub is around $150 vs. $3,000 plus for a high-end tub!  For a master bath with a separate shower and tub, installation costs can range from $4,500 – $15,000.  Consider further the tub enclosure.  A low-end enclosure can run as little as $200 with a high-quality costing $1,000 plus.

Economy RemodelMidrange RemodelLuxury Remodel

Does it Pay to Spend Less on a Bathroom Remodel?

Does it matter – you bet!  Read Does It Pay To Spend Less?

Careful!  It is very easy to get wrapped around the axel when thinking economical, luxury, and required.  It is very easy to have an economical bathroom seem like a luxury project.  How?  Two reasons:

  1. Age of the bathroom.
  2. Building codes.
  3. Condition of the bathroom.

Age of the Bathroom

Bathrooms constructed prior to 1979 (1978 and older), typically contain unhealthful levels of lead in paint or surface coatings. In similar fashion, bathrooms built prior to 1980 utilized materials containing asbestos.

Remodeling a bathroom under these conditions requires special procedures to ensure you, your family, the Contractor and his workers, and your neighbors are protected from the harmful effects these products can cause during a bathroom renovation.  It also requires your Contractor to have special certifications to work in these areas (see DAD’s Construction Certification).

Building Codes

Building PermitsBuilding Codes change frequently.  There is no grandfathering.  For example.  Previously, a bathroom was allowed to have a window or a fan.  Today, however; it must have both for mold and moisture control.  Therefore, if your bathroom currently has a window but no fan, a fan must be installed.

In similar fashion, if your bathroom has a fan but no window and there is access to the outside through a wall, a window must be installed (again, for mold and moisture control).  This has nothing to do with economical or luxury.

Another example is the bathroom circuit.  Bathrooms must now be on their own dedicated 20amp GFCI/AFCI circuit breaker.  Ever wonder why the breaker or GFCI trips while you are blowing your hair dry in the bathroom and making coffee in the kitchen – or using the microwave?  It is overloaded!  That is how fires get started – especially if the existing circuit breaker is over 15 years old.

These all serve as some of the many examples how even an economical bathroom can have a price that seems luxury.

Condition of the Bathroom

If the bathroom has water, moisture, mold, fungus, insect, wood rot, or structural damage, this can add significantly to the remodel cost.  Many times, this damage is not visible until after demolition begins.  Here to, this can raise the price of an economical remodel to resemble a luxury remodel.

Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionDesign – Relocating plumbing is costly (see discussion above)!  The same is true for moving walls, expanding the shower and/or adding features in the shower.  Adding a bigger tub, moving, or adding windows, custom built cabinets, and closet organizers will make a huge difference in the cost.  Even adding just 1 additional electrical receptacle can add hundreds to over a thousand dollars to the cost!  Don’t want to add that home run to the service panel to support that extra receptacle – or exhaust fan – or recess light?  I can show you instances where this caused a home fire.  In at least one instance, the house was totally destroyed by fire.  Yes, properly installed electrical and circuit breakers matter.

Why is Labor a Big Part of Bathroom Remodeling?

Labor – Okay, this seems to be the most difficult to grasp.  Who do you think is better qualified to install a relocated toilet – some guy plucked from the corner or an experienced Plumber?

Consider further the topic of permits.  If there are no permits for your bathroom remodel, who do you think will be installing that relocated toilet – the street corner guy of course!  Why?  Because he’s significantly cheaper – he has no idea what he is doing.  If he did, he would be a licensed and insured Plumber – but that would make him more expensive.

Is the professional Plumber worth it?  Ask the guy who had his toilet relocated by a “budget plumber” and now it keeps backing up and flooding the downstairs family room with sewage!

Does it really Matter what Products go into my Bathroom Remodel?

Cost of Finished Products – You will never get high quality plumbing fixtures at fireside prices or for an amazingly low price on the internet.  Did you know that most internet returned merchandise is piled on a pallet and sold by internet auction?  So, that fancy Kohler faucet you purchased online at an amazing price is the same one that was returned damaged or defective by some ding-dong corner Plumber.  You do not get diamonds for coal!

Unless you have decades of hands on experience with plumbing fixtures, tile, electrical, etc., let your Contractor guide you.  Let the Contractor buy all materials.  Why?  Read Who Buys the Materials?

DAD's Construction

How Important is the Experience of the Contractor when Remodeling my Bathroom?

Experience of the Contractor – This has so much to do with how your bathroom is going to turn out, how long it will last, and your overall remodeling experience.

Since 1983, DAD’s Construction has been helping families remodel and renovate their bathrooms to better serve their needs, enhance their lifestyles, and make them fall in love with their homes all over again. Using our exclusive remodeling programs that have been developed and refined over many years and hundreds of projects, DAD’s will make your bathroom that special place for pampering and relaxation or for the kids to do their thing without fighting for the sink.  DAD’s is committed to making sure your bathroom is designed to make you happy, your project runs smoothly, and the process is pleasant and satisfying.

Bathroom Remodeling Experience

For over 45 years, DAD’s has been providing quality design/build bathroom remodeling and renovation services.  We take special pride in the thoughtfulness, responsiveness, and innovation of our design work as well as the high quality of materials, products, craftsmanship and personal service we provide our clients.  We can turn the bathroom you have into the bathroom you want; designed and remodeled to make you happy.

DAD’s is an EPA certified and registered Lead Safe Renovator featuring Energy Star® products.

For more information on selecting the right Contractor, see How Do I Choose a Contractor? and Best Local Contractor

What about Permits for a Bathroom Remodel?

Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionA bathroom remodel requires Building Permits.  These generally cost $1,200 – $2,000 depending on the city, size, and complexity of the remodel.  Never acquire the permits yourself.  Insist on the Contractor getting the permits, scheduling all the inspections, and be physically present for all the inspections.  For more on Permits, see Building Permits and Why Do I Need a Building Permit?

If you do not obtain permits for your bathroom remodel and there is an electrical, water, etc. issue causing substantial damage, most home insurance companies will not cover the repairs.  I personally know of a home where the homeowner did not insist on the person performing the work get a permit (this person was also not licensed.  Only a licensed Contractor can get a permit).  The electrical work performed by this person was faulty and it caused a fire that destroyed the home.  The insurance company never paid a penny on the claim.  The homeowner lost everything.  How much money did the homeowner save by not hiring a licensed Contractor and getting permits to remodel the bathroom?

Who is Responsible for the Building Permits?

Whoever gets the permits is the responsible party.  Do not fall for the scam where the Contractor (a) tells you permits are not required or (b) permits are your responsibility.  I will say it again, whoever pulls the permits is the responsible party.  If your Contractor is trying to convince you to pull the permits or worse, not get permits, fire them immediately.  Only hire a Contractor like DAD’s Construction that takes full responsibility for the job including the permits.  You hired the Contractor to take charge and be responsible for everything – that is what you are paying for.  Demand it or find another Contractor!

Always Hire a Reliable and Dependable Contractor to Remodel your Bathroom

Design Build Bathroom Remodel | Best Local Contractor DAD's ConstructionAlways work with a trustworthy contractor like DAD’s Construction.  We are experts in bathroom remodeling who can manage projects in an efficient manner.  DAD’s Construction will do everything to minimize the possibility of change orders.  Our team will make sure we have all the necessary information to prepare a proposal that meets your requirements.  Rest assured that we will provide you with a detailed, by line-item contract.  We will make sure that the contents of this agreement are properly and clearly communicated to you.  If you have questions or need updates regarding your project, we will always answer your inquiries.

How Can I Receive More Information on Remodeling my Bathroom?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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“Taking Care of Your Home . . . The Way We Would Our Own”

Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation Contractor,  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.