The national average to remodel a small bathroom is typically $6,500, but it can range anywhere from $1,500 up to $15,000 or more. For a complete remodel, you will likely pay $70 per square foot for low-end fixtures with DIY labor, and up to $250 per square foot for high-end fixtures installed by a licensed contractor. Labor can also vary depending on your location – a contractor in Cedar Rapids, IA will charge a fraction of what you’d be billed in Manhattan.
A remodel is an inexpensive way to increase value while updating the look and feel of your home. On average, you’ll recoup about 66% of the remodel cost after you sell your home, and updated homes usually sell faster. If you’re remodeling to sell, choose inexpensive but new fixtures. High-end fixtures don’t always add any extra value to a sale. Save those to create the perfect master bath for your next home.
Small bathroom remodels are great for skilled DIYers who have the tools, knowledge and time. However, most homeowners should consult a licensed professional when undertaking the project to ensure plumbing pipes and other features are up to code.
Small Bathroom Remodel & Renovation Cost Averages
Small Bathroom Remodel Costs
Most small full bathrooms measure about 40 square feet. Half and three-quarter baths – or a half bath with a shower only – can be 20 square feet or less. Expect to spend an average of $3,000 on fixtures and an additional $100 per square feet for labor. Labor can run anywhere from $50 to $110 per hour for a licensed, bonded professional. The biggest difference between a small and large bathroom is the amount of materials and labor costs. High-end finishes – like granite, stainless steel, fully tiled bath or shower – will always add expense.
The following chart only considers costs of median-grade materials found in a typical home improvement store. For high-end and custom materials, you may end up paying 2 or 3 times more. In some cases, there may be equipment and job site supply costs, although these tend to be between $10 and $250.
|Option||Materials||Labor||Removal & Disposal||Total|
|Install Bathtub||$400 – $1,000||$450 – $600||$50 – $300||$900 – $1,900|
|Install Countertops||$100 – $1,000||$50 – $150||$5 – $30||$155 – $1,180|
|Install Flooring||$60 – $130||$350 – $650||$30 – $600||$440 – $1,380|
|Install Lighting Fixture||$50 – $120||$150 – $220||$5 – $10||$205 – $350|
|Install Shower||$350 – $450||$350 – $450||$30 – $50||$730 – $1,000|
|Install Sink||$100 – $250||$300 – $350||$15 – $95||$415 – $695|
|Install Toilet||$100 – $500||$350 – $450||$10 – $20||$460 – $970|
How you plan to remodel often depends on the room’s function. Its function determines what types of finishes you install. A kid’s bath usually has less expensive and functional fixtures. On the other hand, a master bathroom may have high-end finishes for more of a spa feel. For example, a kid’s bathroom remodel may only need a basic tub and new surround, but your dream spa room may include a glass tiled walk-in shower with six shower heads and glass mosaic features. Guest baths usually fall between these two extremes.
Powder Room Remodel
These are perfect DIY opportunities, with final costs falling below $700 for a basic DIY remodel. Even a professional remodel would only cost $1,400 on average. A powder room is a main floor half bathroom intended for guest use. It has a sink and a toilet with no shower or bathtub. This simple setup with minimal plumbing and electrical lends itself well to a DIY project. In residential settings, it’s the smallest type of bathroom with about 15-25 square feet.
This is an excellent opportunity for a mid-range remodel for about $150 per square foot. A guest bathroom is typically a private three quarter or full bath set aside for overnight guests. There are no special considerations for remodeling a guest bathroom beyond personal preference of fixture and finish choice.
A master bath usually gets the most attention because it can be a focal point for selling your home. It’s easy to spend $250 per square foot or more on custom fixtures like a fully tiled, walk-in shower. Remodeling costs for master baths usually come from increasing space in the bathroom. This requires moving walls, electrical, plumbing, and engineering and architectural concerns.
A child’s bathroom focuses on function. Expect to pay on the lower end, around $100 to $150 per square foot. These types are for practical use rather than aesthetic design. You’ll typically use lower end finishes. However, be sure to maintain a unified look throughout the bathrooms.
Hire a Small Bathroom Remodeling Expert
Estimating Other Price Factors
Updating a 1980’s bathroom into a modern masterpiece is about more than the fixtures. If you’re acting as the general contractor, you may need to organize the various subcontractors’ schedules. For example, you’ll need to schedule framing, plumbing and electrical subcontractors before the drywall and tiling professionals can complete their portions of the project. Waiting on contractors increases time and money spent. For a hassle-free remodel, hire a general contractor.
- Location: In a basement, consider plumbing locations. Moving waste lines in a floor leads to concrete work at $65-$80 an hour and plumbing costs between $40-$75 or more an hour. You’ll need to budget for leveling concrete costs: a necessary step to correctly install your flooring of choice.
- Overall Design: If you have a high-end master bath, try matching the look and feel in other bathrooms throughout the home. A unifying design is easier to sell. If you’re unsure what to do with the second bath, hire an interior designer. They can often help get a unifying look on a budget.
- Structure: Making more room in a bath costs more than you may think. It may include demolishing walls and building new ones with electrical, plumbing, and drywall.
Small Bathroom Renovation Costs
Though sometimes used interchangeably, a remodel and renovation are slightly different. Remodeling is changing the appearance of the bathroom, but renovation is repairing or updating it. Out with the old and dated and in with the new and modern.
Don’t forget that size matters. It’s often cost effective to put high-end finishes in smaller bathrooms. Hardwood floors or glass tile are more expensive per square foot than vinyl but in a smaller space, the total expense can be minimal. Plus, it almost pays for itself when it comes time to sell. Homebuyers pay attention to beds and baths so it’s best to put your money where they’re looking.
Gutting/Demolishing & Redoing Half/Small Bath
Demolition only costs between $500 and $1,500 for a small bath. However, it’s a good place for a DIYer to save on project costs. It requires no specialized tools but does require some knowledge of demolition basics. Understand how to remove a wall without damaging electrical wires or plumbing is prior to starting a DIY demo. If you’re unsure, contact a professional. Demolishing is more than swinging a hammer.
- Demolition safety: wear safety glasses, hat, respirator, and gloves. Ceramic tile is sharp and creates unhealthy dust. If your home was built before 1978, get a lead and asbestos test for about $550.
- Waste Disposal: This will be very location specific, but expect the cost of a construction dumpster to run between $300-$600.
- Demo Basics: don’t hit an electrical or water line. Knowing what’s behind your walls and how not to damage it is basic demolition. The best advice is don’t go in swinging – hire a professional if you’re unsure.
Hire a Pro for Your Half Bath Demolition
Converting to a Full Bath
Converting to a full bath requires, at minimum, a new bathtub. New bathtubs cost an average of $3,000 installed. A half bath only has a toilet and sink. A three-quarter bath has only a shower, toilet, and sink – no bathtub. A full bath has a toilet, sink, and either a bathtub with shower or both separate fixtures. Converting a half or three quarter to a full requires bathtub installation which takes up more room than most showers. Expect to increase the size or redesign the layout of your current bathroom.
Adding a Shower to a Half Bath
Adding a shower to a half bath costs an average of $3,500. It has the exact same considerations and costs as converting a half or three quarter to a full. The only difference is you’ll need a shower installed in a space that generally only has a toilet and a sink. You’ll need more space or a new layout with plumping and possibly rerouted or new electrical.
Retiling a Small Bathroom
A new shower means new tile. New tile costs an average of $1,000 for ceramic or porcelain. Glass or stone tile can be more expensive. You can also consider retiling the entire bathroom for a contemporary look.
Renovating for More Space
Installing a bathtub or shower in a small space means you’ll need to make room. This may result in altering the layout of your current space and moving plumbing to accommodate new drain locations.
- Increasing the space and redesigning the layout is going to require hiring an architect or structural engineer with a national average of $5,000, but expect to pay quite a bit less for just a bathroom. Some contractors are also able to do the design work.
- Rerouting plumbing: $45-$150 per hour.
- Rerouting Electrical: $50-$100 per hour.
- Demolition and wall construction: will require a carpenter for about $70 per hour.
Small Bathroom Ideas When Remodeling on a Budget
Even on a budget, you can update the look of your bathroom with these tips.
- Re-grout for a fresh, new look. $400 on average.
- Resurface your bathtub: $475-$600
- Refinish Cabinets: $150-$300
- Install new faucets: $150-$250
- Paint: an easy DIY job at $10-$80
Selling a home comes with required inspections – make sure your DIY work is up to code to avoid additional remodeling costs. When doing any DIY work, research all local and national codes, get proper permits, and have inspections completed. Because of the wet environment and load requirements, specific electrical and load bearing codes exist for bathrooms. Not following local building codes can result in further renovation costs at resale and create safety hazards.
To save money, many homeowners are doing DIY renovations and remodels. A homeowner with the right experience and tools can pull off an entire bathroom remodel without sacrificing quality. But more often than not, the end result could look cheap, affect resale and present safety hazards. Licensed contractors leave a professional look and feel to their work.
Common pitfalls of a DIY project include oddly cut tile, cabinetry that isn’t level, and uneven grout. If you’re determined to try doing it yourself, start small and work on a half bath first. Bathrooms are one of the top items on a homebuyer’s checklist. If you’re looking to upgrade to resell, choose a professional every time.
Hiring a Pro
Bathrooms present a great project for DIYer’s with the right tools, knowledge, and time. Too often, those three things don’t line up. Since you’ll get an average of 60% to 70% of your investment back with the home sale, it’s better to hire a remodeling professional. A pro will take care of all permits, inspections, and most of all make sure your home is up to code. Also, bathrooms are a top consideration for prospective homebuyers. Presenting them with a professional finish goes helps sell your home.
Hire a pro for your bathroom renovation
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