How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Cost

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How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Cost

Recently, I visited clients for bathroom remodeling projects in Mission Viejo and Irvine, California.  I was asked what the important considerations are before moving forward and a rough idea of cost.  In other words, how much does a bathroom remodel cost and what should I be thinking about for my bathroom remodel?  Here are the important factors to consider:

  • How much does a bathroom remodel costBathroom remodel midrange averages $540 per square foot.

  • Bathroom remodel upscale averages $789 per square foot.

  • Powder Room remodels average $200 to $400 per square foot.

The total bathroom remodel cost depends on the size and layout of the space.  The amount of work that’s performed, quality of materials, and whether you change the layout and size of the room is very important.  It is also important to determine if you are going to perform a bathroom remodel or renovation.  There is a big difference!  For more on this, see Bathroom Remodel vs Renovation.

Facts to consider when thinking about how much a bathroom remodel will cost.

Here are some very important facts about bathroom remodeling for Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Irvine, San Clemente, and all other South Orange County California communities:

What is a bathroom?

How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel CostA full bathroom is made up of four parts: a sink, a shower, a bathtub, and a toilet. Each utility is counted as one-quarter, so you add and deduct a quarter for each. Therefore, a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower is considered a three-quarter bath. A bathroom with just a sink and a toilet is a half-bath.  If you have a tub/shower combination and a sink and toilet, that’s a full bathroom.

On a per square foot basis, bathrooms are, by far, the most expensive rooms in the house to remodel and renovate.

Does size matter when thinking about how much a bathroom remodel costs?

How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel CostSize does not always matter.  What matters is what’s inside.  Why does your 50 square foot bathroom cost more to remodel than your neighbors 50 square foot bathroom – or more than some average on the internet?  It’s what’s inside.  Even if bathrooms have an identical layout, the price can be dramatically different.  All due to the amount of work performed and the quality and type of materials used.

Think of it this way.  Two cars, both from the same manufacturer and are the same make, model, color and style.  Why does one cost $10,000 more?  Because the one costing more has every option offered inside the car.  Taking it a step further, once inside the car you notice how amazing the sound system is.  Can you see why it sounds so great?  No, you can’t – it’s all behind the walls – but it sure sounds amazing!

When considering how much it cost to remodel a bathroom, how does the price per square foot matter?

How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel CostUnderstand the math: The lower the square footage, the higher the per square foot cost.  For example, if a bathroom is 50 square feet and you replaced the toilet with a new $300 toilet, the cost is $6 per square foot ($300÷50).  If the square feet were 100, the cost per square foot is $3 ($300÷100).  The price of the toilet did not change, only the square footage changed.  Understanding this is extremely important in understanding bathroom remodel pricing.

The inverse is also critical to understand. What’s the inverse?  Instead of installing a $300 toilet in that 50 square foot bathroom, install a $100 toilet.  Now the cost is $2 per square foot ($100÷50) – a $4 or 67% reduction.  If a person or advertisement illustrates a full price to remodel a bathroom or simply wordsmiths (skillfully uses words but provides little in the way of details), be very skeptical of that.  In other words, what exactly are you getting for that price?  You want to know the name, make, model, and color for everything!

What about the contract to perform a bathroom remodel?

How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel CostBefore you sign a contract to remodel your bathroom, make sure you receive a detail, by line item, estimate of all the costs.  This should illustrate everything that is going to happen and include all makes, models, sizes, and colors.  This document should show you the total cost and the percentage each item represents of the total costs.  How detailed should this document be?  Well, as an example, for a toilet, you should see a separate line for the toilet, wax seal, bolt kit, angle stop, and water supply line.

How specific should it be?

Below are examples for a toilet.  Which one tells you exactly what you are getting?

  1. Kohler® Wellworth® Classic White Elongated Toilet with Class V Flushing Technology.
  2. Toilet.
  3. White Kohler toilet.

I hope you picked number 1!  That’s specific!  Clear, concise, and easy to understand information.  This is the only way you will truly answer the question “How much does a bathroom remodel cost?”  It’s also the only way you will know what you are truly getting.

When it comes to pricing, your contract should illustrate the prices of every component, summarized by major construction category.  The contract should be very clear that it includes the costs for all materials, parts, miscellaneous items, labor, installation, sales tax, and delivery.

Expect surprises like insect, water, and mold damage. Whatever estimate you receive, add another 5-10% for potential surprises. About 70% of the bathrooms I’ve renovated have at least one of these.  It’s usually impossible by looking at the bathroom if there are potential surprises lurking behind the walls.

Always, and I mean always, remove and discard everything down to the studs. This is the only way you won’t be wasting your money and you’ll resolve any surprises that are hiding.  Remember – it’s a bathroom where there is lots of water and moisture every day, several times a day.  It adds up over the years.

Bad news doesn’t get better with time. If there is a problem in your bathroom, the costs to renovate and repair the damage gets bigger the longer you wait.  Even if you stopped using it for months or years, the costs only get larger.

What should you expect when remodeling your bathroom?

Remodeling a bathroom has two fundamental parts.  These are demolition and what goes back.

Demolition

Demolition of bathroomRemove and discard everything down to the studs.  That means all cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, sinks, mirrors, and faucets.  This also means removing the bathtub, shower, wall/deck/apron tile, and towel bars.  The TP holder, hooks, plumbing p-traps, water supply lines, angle stops, and toilet are also discarded.  All lighting, electrical outlets, switches, exhaust fan, flooring, drywall, and insulation are also removed. 

May also include the removal, replacement, or relocation of windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and entrances/exits/openings.  The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducting and registers may also get removed.  A bathroom remodel can also include adding room by using other areas from inside the home or by adding an outside addition.

Plans and city building department permits and inspections are required for a bathroom remodel.  For more information on permits, please see Building Permits.

What goes back?

All new cabinets with accessories and convenience items, granite or quartz countertops, tile or stone backsplashes (typically with an accent liner), undermount sink, faucet, mirror, medicine cabinet, exhaust fan, and tile flooring.  A new tile surround bathtub or shower or tub/shower combination with shampoo cubbies in the bathing areas.  If a shower is in the project, hot mopping the shower will need to be performed.  Upgraded Decora (paddle) style electrical switches and TR/AFCI and TR/GFCI outlets, dimmers (can be Smart/Wi-Fi type) will also go back.  Electrical could include added and/or corrected circuits (for example, bathrooms must How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Costbe on their own dedicated 20 amp circuit), and LED recess lighting.  Wall and ceiling insulation (saves you money on your heating and cooling bills and makes the bathroom a lot quieter), drywall, and premium paint completes the remodel.

This could also include adding a second sink, washlet, replacement door, new pocket door, cabinet toe-kick LED accent lighting, wall sconce lighting, wall hutch, hamper area, or additional storage areas.  The remodel/renovation can also include relocating the sink cabinet, tub, and/or shower – or adding a tub or shower. It can also include removing, adding, or changing walls and ceilings around.  To learn more about bathroom trends in Orange County, please see the related DAD’s article Orange County Bathroom Remodeling Trends.

Is a Powder Room a Bathroom?

Just so there is no misunderstanding, a Powder Room is not a bathroom.  It’s a Powder Room.  It has a sink and a toilet.  If you want to add a shower or bathtub, anything is possible . . . but that’s not cheap to do!

I hope this article helps answer the question “How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom.”  For more information on remodeling your bathroom, see the article Bathroom Remodel by DAD’s Construction.

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 dan@dadsconstruction.com 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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Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor, https://www.dadsconstruction.com.  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.