Bathroom remodels are among the most widely pursued remodeling projects. As bathrooms are also among the most used rooms in any household, they are more likely to be in need of a remodel. Not just that, the ROI on a bathroom remodel is also significantly higher than other remodels, but so is the cost to remodel them.
The average cost for a mid-range bathroom remodel in the United States is just shy of $20,000. If you consider the fact that more than ⅔ of remodeling projects go over-budget, the numbers tend to add up quickly.
Since that’s the case, how can you approach the budgeting situation? With adequate planning, some helpful tips, and some patience — you’ll have nothing to worry about. Keep reading to find out how you should approach budgeting for your upcoming bathroom remodel.
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Understanding the Cost
In order to plan a budget, you need to understand the cost behind a bathroom remodel. As mentioned earlier, the average cost to remodel a bathroom is around $20,000. However, the average cost isn’t necessarily applicable in your case as the actual cost depends on the scope of the remodel.
For conservative remodeling projects, you can expect to shell out anywhere between $3000 to $7000. On the other end of the spectrum lies the upscale remodel which usually costs around $60,000. However, it’s crucial to have an idea about the average cost in order to get to the next step of budgeting.
1. Set Realistic Goals
You need to approach budgeting from a realistic perspective and not a “Pinterest Bathroom Board” perspective. Before you go ahead, you need to lay down the scope of work for your bathroom remodel.
Do you want to gut the existing bathroom to its bare bones and build it from scratch or do you want to simply replace important fixtures?
The scope of the remodel will play a huge role in determining your budget. By laying down the plan as early as possible, you’ll be able to get an accurate estimate for your budget.
2. Understanding the Labor Cost
Another factor that is required to get an accurate estimate is the amount of labor involved in the bathroom remodel. Labor costs make up a huge chunk of your total budget. Hence, it is important that you have a clear idea from the get-go.
Typically, you’d be hiring a general contractor for the remodeling. Next, the contractor will hire other sub-contractors for specialized tasks like plumbing and electrical work. The average cost of an electrician is around $65 to $85 an hour, while a plumber can charge anywhere between $45-$65 per hour. These are the two most expensive aspects of a bathroom remodel which cannot be done on your own as well.
That being said, that’s something you should make your peace with. In fact, it’s better to understand the unavoidable costs from the start. You don’t want to save a couple of hundred bucks now; only to spend it later on leakages and damaged fixtures over the next few months.
3. To DIY or Not to DIY
Hiring professionals for skilled work doesn’t mean that the DIY aspect of a bathroom remodel should be completely neglected. You just need to be mindful that while you get to reduce your budget with a little bit of extra hands-on effort on your part — you would have to factor in the sweat equity that is involved as well.
If you’re particularly handy, however, there are many tasks that you can do which will save you money on labor costs. And if you aren’t, merely taking care of miscellaneous tasks such as the moving of cabinets saves you money on unnecessary labor. This saved money can be used for other purposes or can be used to make up for unexpected costs.
4. Factor in Some Unexpected Expenses
One of the main reasons why people tend to go over-budget is because of additional unexpected expenses. Your bathroom is a fairly technical space with intricate plumbing and electrical work. It is also prone to mold due to moisture retention. Hence, you are more than likely to come face to face with a problem that you were previously unaware of.
Unfortunately, it almost always happens after the remodeling begins. This is why you should factor in at least 20% of your total budget for any unexpected costs that may come up.
By doing this, you are saving yourself from a lot of trouble. You will ensure that you don’t go overboard with the budget, and also be mentally prepared to handle whatever problems that arise along the way.
5. Explore the Cost of the Materials
Contractors usually tend to charge a certain percentage as commission when you buy material through them. Hence, it’s recommended that you buy most, if not all of the material by yourself.
Nonetheless, some materials like insulation and drywall should be bought from the contractor itself as they are experts in their space. But you can easily purchase things like appliances, cabinets, mirrors, hardware, etc. that fit your tastes, and do not require expert advice.
6. Breaking Down the Budget for Specific Items
Not every aspect of your bathroom requires the same ratio of your budget. For instance, the cost of the cabinetry will be significantly higher than the cost of lighting. Hence, it’s crucial that you allocate a set percentage of your budget accordingly. The following cost breakdown is recommended by the National Kitchen and Bath Association:
- Design – 4%
- Labor – 20%
- Flooring – 9%
- Walls & Ceilings – 5%
- Doors & Windows – 4%
- Faucets & Plumbing – 14%
- Countertops – 7%
- Cabinetry & Hardware – 16%
- Fixtures – 15%
- Lighting & ventilation – 5%
- Other – 1%
Other Things to Remember While Budgeting for Your Bathroom Remodel
If the above points indicate anything, it’s that planning is key in budgeting for your bathroom remodel. Well-thought-out planning only helps you in your budgeting structure. Hence, it is important that you revise your plan accordingly while finalizing your budget to make efficient and informed decisions.
That being said, you should know that there’s usually another aspect tampers with your budget: Possibility of delays. Sometimes, delays are inevitable and come at the expense of inconvenience. So, it’s a wise idea to incorporate the possibility of a delay and the subsequent costs attached to them in advance.
Just as much, you must also get multiple quotes from different contractors to truly reap the fruit of your budget plan. The goal here is not to hire the one who offers the cheapest quote. That can sometimes lead to a compromise in the overall quality of the remodel. The ultimate goal here is to be informed on market rates, and subsequently make a decision based on the value provided by the contractor.