The bathroom is crucial to the livability of a home. If a bathroom doesn’t function well, it can be a source of stress and discomfort. Furthermore, the bathroom more than any other room is susceptible to change as your family changes.
It may be worth considering adding a second bathroom or expand the size of an existing one as the family grows. When children enter their teen years, the demand for space and function becomes more of a necessity. Additionally, as people age, the bathroom needs to accommodate different needs for health, convenience, and safety.
For these reasons and more, a bathroom remodel is an extremely popular home improvement. Fortunately, it’s also a good investment when it comes to the value of your home. Bathroom remodels typically return 93% or more of the cost when it’s time to sell the house. This makes a remodel not only a smart project but budget-friendly over the long term.
What Should a Bathroom Remodel Cost?
As with any home improvement, the cost can vary tremendously from situation to situation. A major renovation, which might include expanding the square footage of the bathroom by removing walls, moving or modifying the plumbing, or adding additional fixtures can cost $50,000 or more.
A more modest remodel leaves walls and plumbing where they are and focuses on replacing or updating fixtures and décor and generally costs between $10,000-25,000.
What Not to Do When Remodeling a Bathroom.
When planning a bathroom remodel, there are a couple of important things to avoid:
- Don’t over-crowd the space. An average bathroom doesn’t have a lot of extra square footage. By adding outsized, ornate features and fixtures reduces space and adds visual clutter without improving organization or function. Try to keep a small bathroom minimal and streamlined.
- Don’t make it too different from the rest of the house. It may be tempting to make your dream bathroom ultra-modern or ultra-stylish, but if the rest of the house is more classic and traditional, it will not appeal to potential buyers. Opt for neutral colors and classic styles to maximize the return on your investment.
What to Include in the Scope of Your Bathroom Remodel.
While there are many features and fixtures that could be included in a bathroom remodel, some are more important and valuable than others. Here’s a list of what to focus on, in order of priority:
The shower is an essential fixture in a bathroom. Showers tend to be better for seniors and people with disabilities and are more functional than a bath. Luxurious walk-in showers are also in huge demand by many homebuyers. Whatever your situation, a shower upgrade should be a part of your bathroom remodel if you have the space for it and it doesn’t require significant plumbing modifications.
Plan for at least 32 square inches of space for the shower, although 36 inches is ideal and even larger if more than one person will be showering at the same time. The door should open outward and requires at least 30 inches of clearance.
- Budget $500-$750 for a walk-in shower kit (if you don’t need to change plumbing or add a tile surround) and $300-500 for professional installation.
The bathtub is a major fixture in a bathroom and has a significant visual impact.
If it’s outdated, stained, chipped, or just ugly, consider replacing or refinishing it. If it’s a newer, fiberglass bathtub, replacement is a fairly simple job that many homeowners can do themselves. If it’s an older porcelain or cast-iron bathtub, it’s not only difficult to replace but it is also valuable. It should be kept and refinished by a professional.
- Budget $200-$400 to replace a fiberglass bathtub plus professional installation if needed.
- Budget $250-$400 to refinish an old bathtub.
Old fashioned toilets waste a lot of water, which impacts the homeowner’s yearly expenses. Replacing a toilet improves function, saves water, and makes a bathroom look better. Furthermore, installing a new toilet is something most homeowners can do themselves, so it’s a budget-friendly upgrade.
- Budget $250-500 for a new toilet.
Modern bathroom sinks come in a wide array of styles to suit any budget. An old sink made of high-quality materials may need nothing more than a simple refinish, but a new sink adds style and appeal to a bathroom. A key decision is whether the sink should be a pedestal-style, or integrated into a cabinet and vanity. Most small bathrooms lack sufficient storage, so a drop-in countertop model is often preferable.
- Budget $100-200 for a drop-in sink, plus installation if necessary.
Upgrading bathroom tile can be an expensive project, depending on the surface area of the bathroom, but it’s a project well worth doing. Old tile can be stained, cracked, or dated, while new tile transforms a bathroom into a showplace. Whether it’s a tub or shower surround, backsplash, or an entire wall, evaluate your tile and add it to your bathroom remodel.
Counter and Cabinets
Bathroom storage is crucial for the regular use and function of a bathroom. Cabinet updates might be as simple as repainting doors and replacing knobs or adding new storage shelves.
Countertops are also something to consider along with the sink: choosing an under-mount sink adds style and simplifies cleaning.
Lighting and the Mirror
The bathroom is where most people do their grooming, so good lighting and a good mirror are crucial. People love the proper lighting in a bathroom as well. Make sure the general overhead light is good and consider adding vanity lights over and around the mirror and lighting around the bath and shower area.
There are many variables when it comes to planning and budgeting a bathroom remodel, but these guidelines should help you prioritize and plan accordingly. An improved bathroom will lift your spirits every time you use it, and you’ll profit from your upgrades when it’s time to sell your home.