Bathroom renovations are a two-in-one choice that will benefit your lifestyle and boost your home’s overall value. The great thing with bathrooms is that there is little limit to how you choose to renovate or how much to do. You can design a new luxury spa bathroom or just update the space with new fixtures and paint. Before you start renovating it’s important to have a solid game plan in mind. While there are a lot of potentials, it is just as easy to get carried away and spend far more than necessary.
With this guide, you’ll learn all you need about bathroom renovations, how much does a bathroom renovation cost, and some tips and ideas for your own.
Reasons to renovate
Before anything, start with the reason you want to renovate your bathroom. Not only will this give you a clearer idea, but it’ll also help with budgets and design plans. Are you tired of the look and feel of the bathroom? Do you want more luxury in your master bathroom? Or are they just too few bathrooms in your home and you need more? There’s no right or wrong answer, so take a look at your home and your personal needs.
If you love your home and know you want to stay, then start planning now for future needs and changes. Bathrooms can quickly become difficult to navigate as you get older and can even become a safety hazard. If a renovation to change the bathroom is your focus, then incorporate some aging-in-place changes. It’s also a great way to support visiting grandparents or older relatives with an easy-to-access bathroom.
Types of bathrooms
“Bathroom” is a general term, but when it comes down to renovations, there are specific types of to consider. Keep in mind that renovations can be as detailed or minimal as you want them to be. Even among different types of renovations, the work involved will vary depending on different goals and ideas. Still, knowing some popular renovations is a great way to get a head start on the planning and design stages.
Powder room or guest bathroom
This type of renovation is also called a “½ bath,” as the bathroom itself only has two fixtures: a toilet and sink. The idea behind this is to create a space where guests can easily access and use the bathroom as needed. Typically, a guest bathroom or powder room is located on the main floor, near the living room or dining room. Because it’s a simple addition, the work itself isn’t as involved as a full bathroom, making it a cost-effective addition.
Similar in concept to a powder room, yet with more fixtures, a three-fixture bathroom is designed for one person. It includes a toilet, sink, and shower, and a small floor plan. Usually, the three fixtures are lined against the same wall, directly across from the door. That said, the layout can just as easily be customized, but the idea is always to have open floor space. Like a powder room, three-fixture bathrooms add convenience for guests or as a main floor bathroom. If you have a guest room, then attaching a three-fixture bathroom will make it feel like a private guest suite.
A full bathroom is your typical bathroom that is completed with a shower and bathtub, vanity sink, and toilet. Homes will have at least one full bathroom, usually near the bedrooms for convenience. Having more than one full bathroom in your home will improve value, but they don’t always have to have a full tub and shower combination. Having a full bathroom with a shower will still do the trick, as long as at least one other bathroom in the house has a tub.
This is a two-in-one-layout that blends a bathroom design with other uses such as a laundry or dressing room. It has the space for typical bathroom fixtures—shower, sink, toilet—and additional space for any other appliances. A laundry room combination would include a washing and dryer machine, typically stacked to free up floor space. Those that include a changing room are generally part of a master suite. These spaces are much larger and have a walk-in change area similar to a walk-in closet. Basement bathrooms benefit the most from a utility bathroom, where maximizing space and purpose are key.
Master suite bathroom
Master bathrooms focus on space, luxury, and privacy in their designs. These are always attached to a master bedroom and are popularly designed with a spa-like feel and appearance. The cost of renovating bathrooms for a master suite is typically higher than standard bathroom renovations. Unlike other bathrooms, a master bathroom may include both a walk-in shower and a separate soaker tub. Because the space is customized to the homeowner, no two master bathrooms are ever the same. However, they are guaranteed to add great value and appeal to any home and are a must-have.
Renovation vs remodel
With bathroom renovations, it’s also important to know if you plan to renovate the space or remodel it. While these two words are used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two.
When renovating a bathroom, the goal is not to change the physical layout of the room. Instead, it’s more about improving or updating what is already there. This can be as minimal as new fixtures and lighting or as involved as installing a new walk-in shower. It can focus on installing new tile flooring to replace an old, outdated floor. Bathroom renovation costs can also be less and don’t always need a permit for the work. Depending on the type of work as well, the renovations can be completely DIYed or left to a professional.
Bathroom remodels typically involve changing the room’s layout and design, making it more costly and involved. This can range from expanding the bathroom or altering the layout of the plumbing or cabinets. Remodels generally will need the help of a professional contractor to handle more complicated work. Plumbing or electrical changes in a remodel will always need a permit before any work can begin. Remodeling can do much more to improve the overall design and appeal of a home, especially in a poorly designed bathroom. While it may cost more, the long-term benefits and payback will be much higher.
Bathroom renovation cost Canada
Renovations for bathrooms will vary depending on the work involved, professional design services and labour, and the quality of materials. For some estimates of what you can typically expect, the following costs are averages for bathroom renovations:
Average cost: $15,000
Low-end cost: $5,000
High-end cost: $25,000+
Things such as the bathroom size, quality of materials, and the type of fixtures and finishes chosen will vary among renovations. Changing the floor plan as well, such as expanding the bathroom, will add much more to the final cost. New drywall, framing, plumbing, and electrical wiring will all need to be factored into expansion plans and budgets. For the best estimate of your renovation, hire a contractor, and have them help.
Expanding cost: $1,000 – $15,000
Fixtures can range drastically in price depending on their quality. While this can be an area to cut costs, some fixtures are worth investing a little more. Anything that is used daily, like a toilet or shower, should be a higher quality to avoid premature breaks and costly repairs. Some standard prices to expect for fixtures include:
Toilets and sinks: $200 – $1,800
Showers: $300 -$3,000
Vanity: $300 – $4,800
Countertops: $200 – $2,000
Per square foot
Another way to get a better estimate to answer, “how much does a bathroom renovation cost?” is to start with the square footage. From there, you can decide what type of bathroom renovation to do or how much work is necessary depending on the cost.
Showers can be seen as a remodel of their own and are popularly done. The traditional shower and bathtub combination is removed in place of a single, large walk-in shower. Glass enclosure showers are a current popular trend that adds a sense of spaciousness and luxury in any bathroom. A separate soaker tub may be included for the master bathroom, but it’s a personal choice for most homeowners.
Cost: $1,000 – $15,000
Walk-in shower remodel: $5,000 – $15,000
Master bathroom and ageing-in-place
Master bathroom remodels focus more on the addition of luxury features, high-end materials, and large spaces. Many designs include a soaker tub, walk-in shower, double or single vanity, and custom cabinets and fixtures.
Master bathroom cost: $10,000 – $25,000
Aging-in-place renovations will vary depending on the specific needs of the homeowners. Still, some universal changes include expanding the shower and adding handrails or a bench inside. Cabinets with slide drawers are easier to open and close, and raising toilet seats makes them safer and easy to use. Nonslip floors as well are another addition for added safety. If wheelchair access is a factor, then widen the doorway and create more open floor space.
Ageing-in-place cost: $1,500 – $9,000
Bathroom permits are largely dependent on the type and scale of work involved, so not all renovations need one. Simple cosmetic updates, including new fixtures and paint colours, won’t need a permit. Building a brand-new bathroom may need a building permit, while plumbing and electrical work will definitely need one. The bathroom renovation cost Canada and requirements for a permit will also vary by city. Before you start, check your local city requirements. If you have a general contractor, they’ll be able to handle the work and permit research for you.
Permit cost: $350 – $1,800
While bathroom renovations can become an expensive project, there are some ways to cut costs without cutting quality. For example, water-saving fixtures can cut down on energy and water use and so save more long-term.
Low-flow showerheads: These cut water consumption to less than 2 gallons per minute (GPM), compared to standard showerheads that use 2.5 GPM and more.
Low-flow toilets/dual flush: Like showerheads, low-flow toilets cut back how water is used per flush. Standard toilets use 1.6 gallons of water, while a low flow design cuts it to 1.28 gallons per flush. Dual toilets further customize how much water is used by flushing less for liquid waste or more for solid waste.
Aerators: These can be easily installed onto sink faucets to cut the amount of water flow without cutting the pressure.
Refinishing cabinets: Unless your kitchen cabinets are beyond repair, consider refinishing them instead of replacing them. Refinishing is also an easy DIY project that saves costs and still gives the cabinets a whole new look. New cabinets cost between $2,000 – $15,000, while refinishing ranges between $1,500 – $4,000.
Second to kitchens, bathrooms are one of the best rooms to renovate for a high ROI. If you plan to sell, then an updated bathroom will attract and appeal to potential buyers. Even minor cosmetic upgrades will see a great return, making every type of renovation worthwhile.
These figures are according to Remodeling Magazine’s cost vs value 2020 report:
Midrange bath remodel: 64% recoup
Upscale bath remodel: 56% recoup
Universal design bath remodel: 62% recoup
Bathroom addition (midrange): 54% recoup
DIY vs hiring a professional
There are just as many areas in a bathroom that can be DIYed as there are areas best left to a professional. DIYing comes down to a matter of time, skill, and quality. While a full bathroom DIY renovation may save money to start, there isn’t a long-term guarantee. Not all buyers will appreciate a DIY job, and any issues or added fees are the homeowner’s responsibility.
With a professional, even if you spend more initially, the long-term savings will be better. They’ll guarantee that the quality of work is at its best and that the project doesn’t drag on. You may even get better prices on materials through a contractor who has the right connections. The value added to your home will also be higher, and there won’t be any risk of costly repairs or mistakes. That said, some parts of a bathroom renovation can still be DIYed. Combining the help of a professional with your own skill will save money without losing quality.
Tackle easier jobs yourself, like painting or buying fixtures beforehand, to cut costs. High-end fixtures are a quick way to increase costs, but even a low-cost fixture will still look just as attractive. Another trick, if you have the time, it to tackle any demolition yourself. Things, like ripping out old tile or, if you’re careful not to damage the pipes, removing old tubs can be DIYed. That alone can save $1,000 in professional labour. Resurfacing where you can as well, such as countertops and cabinets, will save much more than buying brand new. In the end, the bathroom renovation cost won’t be as high, but the result will be just as appealing.
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