Renovating your bathroom won’t just bring you that steam shower or soaking tub you’ve been dreaming about. It could also improve the resale value of your home.
Bathroom renovations have an average return on investment (ROI) of 60% to 68%, according to HomeGuide, with some upgrades adding more value than others. But you’ll need to spend some money before you can increase your home’s value – enough that you might need to consider home equity loans or other financing to pay for it. You should expect to spend somewhere between 5% and 10% of your home’s value on a bathroom remodel, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Based on that, if your home is valued at $200,000, your bathroom remodel might cost somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.
While there are a variety of factors that affect bathroom remodel costs — 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 remodel will vary depending on the scope of the project, cost of the materials, size of the room, and other factors. Choosing to DIY your project may keep costs down, whereas hiring a contractor or plumber will add to your bill.
More minor, low-cost changes could involve painting walls, swapping out fixtures, or refinishing a bathtub. Pricier remodels could be installing a shower, retiling a floor, or replacing cabinets.
“Bathroom remodels may range in scale from a simple refresh, with cosmetic fixes like painting cabinets and replacing mirrors, to a gut renovation that involves installing a luxe new shower, replacing your sink, retiling, and more,” says Allie Weiss, the U.S. digital director of Architectural Digest. “Replacing dated plumbing fixtures is a common and usually easy-to-execute project, as is adding in additional storage and repainting to make a lackluster bathroom feel fresh.”
Here are the average bathroom remodel costs to expect, according to a survey by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, depending on whether you’re going for a minor or major update:
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Cost Breakdown of Bathroom Remodel
Remodeling a bathroom has always been a pricey endeavor, but costs have increased lately due to supply chain issues, labor shortages, and inflation.
“Labor costs are only going up more and more from inflation,” says Jeremy Maher, chief operations officer of Phoenix Home Remodeling. “If somebody were to get a quote from a contractor six months ago, and then they want to start a project now, the price isn’t even close to being the same anymore, unfortunately.”
Your costs might also increase if you need to stay somewhere else during your bathroom remodel, Weiss says. “Have a plan in place for whether or not you can realistically live through the renovation,” she says. “It may be beneficial to stay elsewhere for a time, if it’s feasible, given that your toilet and shower access may become limited.”
From showers to cabinets to flooring, here are some of the major costs to expect 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,” Maher says. “With the tile floor, glass shower walls, automated shower fixtures, and things like that, the shower is one of the most expensive areas for sure.”
The average cost of installing a new shower is $6,576, according to HomeAdvisor, with a typical range of $3,000 to $10,000.
Replacing the flooring will typically cost between $800 and $3,500, or between $7 and $20 per square foot, according to HomeGuide. The costs will vary depending on the material you choose and the size of your bathroom. Vinyl and linoleum will cost less, whereas wood and tile will cost more.
Cabinets can be another biggie, although costs will vary depending on whether you’re installing new cabinets or refinishing ones you already have. Expect to pay somewhere between $500 and $3,600 for cabinet installation and between $200 and $800 to reface existing cabinets, per HomeGuide.
Cabinets have also gotten more expensive lately due to the current lumber shortage, Maher says. “With the cost of lumber and inflation, everything is going up,” says Maher. “That’s another reason why cabinets can be such an expensive part.”
If you want to replace your bathroom countertops, prepare 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 typically cost less, whereas higher-end materials like quartz, granite, and terrazzo will drive costs up.
Plumbing and electrical
If you’re going for big structural changes, you may need to hire a plumber or electrician. Installing plumbing pipes costs anywhere from $450 to $1,800 per fixture, while rerouting electrical wiring may cost between $2 and $4 per square foot, according to HomeGuide.
When completing these projects, you may also have to purchase permits from your city.
“Every city has different requirements,” Maher says. “You may need a permit if you’re removing a wall, changing electrical, or working on plumbing. There’s some places that even make you get a permit to change your water heater.”
If you need to hire a general contractor, expect the average cost to fall around $4,000, according to Angi. As Maher mentioned, labor costs have been increasing lately, so you may have to pay more today than you would have a year ago.
“It’s a supply and demand issue,” Maher says. “It’s becoming harder and harder to find workers.”
The average cost of a bathroom remodel can vary depending on the scope of the project, size of the room, and materials you choose. Estimating your costs upfront will help you keep your project within budget.
How to Finance a Bathroom Remodel
Once you have your bathroom remodel vision in place, it’s time to figure out how to finance it. Unless you’re covering the full cost in cash upfront, here are some financing options that could 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 of your home. Lenders typically let you take out up to 85% or so 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 you need it. A home equity loan, on the other hand, works like an installment loan — you get a lump sum upfront and pay it back with fixed monthly payments on a set term. Be careful: Because both are secured against the value of your home, you run the risk of losing your home if you fail to pay them back.
A HELOC may be preferable if you want more flexibility and don’t mind an adjustable rate. After all, your bathroom remodel may turn out to cost more than you anticipated. A home equity loan, however, could 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.
Another option to consider is a cash-out refinance. With this strategy, you’ll replace your existing mortgage with a new, higher mortgage and pocket the difference. You can use the extra funds to finance your bathroom remodel.
With interest rates rising, however, a cash-out refinance is not as affordable as it was a year ago. Plus, you want to be careful about adding time to your repayment term or over-inflating your mortgage.
“There’s a lot of chatter that home prices might go down,” Maher says. “If you take a cash-out refinance and your house value drops, there’s the chance that you may actually owe more than what it’s worth.”
A personal loan is another financing option for your bathroom remodel. Some lenders let you borrow up to $100,000 for home renovation.
Like a home equity loan, a personal loan is an installment loan that you’ll typically pay off with fixed monthly payments over a period of two to seven years.
Because most personal loans are unsecured, however, you may need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest rates.
Bathroom Remodel vs. Bathroom Renovation
People often use remodel and renovation interchangeably, but there may be some difference between the terms. A remodel often refers to changing the appearance of a bathroom with cosmetic updates, whereas a renovation may involve bigger structural alterations.
“A remodel may involve cosmetic and functional upgrades but maintain the overall shell and structure of your bathroom, while a renovation is likely to be a bigger project that could require demolition, moving plumbing lines, and so on,” Weiss says. “Some aspects of a remodel might be OK for DIY enthusiasts to take on solo, while a renovation requires hiring a team.”
Because a renovation is a more extensive project that could require a contractor, plumber, electrician, or other professional, it’s likely to come with a significantly higher price tag than a remodel. But if you’re planning to sell your home, you could make your money back in the end.
“High-tech touchless toilets and faucets are popular, and people love the look of sleek curbless showers,” Weiss says. “All of these investment features can absolutely help with ROI. For much lower-cost upgrades, updating your bathroom hardware to a uniform color like brushed brass, making sure your space has adequate lighting, and painting your cabinets white can also improve ROI.”