How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Bathroom?

That’s the question everyone wants the answer to- how much will it cost? If only it was that easy. The honest answer is- it depends. There are the obvious factors that go into determining the cost of a project: materials and labor, but there are lots of other issues that can affect price. Here’s a few:

  • Is the tile floor “thin-set” or “mud-set”?
  • Was the house built before 1978 and lead safe work practices need to be used?
  • Is there parking available or is someone constantly running to a meter?
  • What floor is the bathroom on? Is everything going up a few flights of stairs?
  • Is a permit required?
  • How much design time is involved?

Then there are the mechanical/electrical issues that might need to be addressed:

  • Is there galvanized pipe that should be replaced?
  • Does a radiator need to be removed and reset?
  • Is there sufficient electrical and lighting in the space?
  • Is there an exhaust fan in the space? Is it properly vented?
  • Is anything to be moved/ rough-ins being relocated?

I’m not trying to avoid the question, I just want to convey that there is no right answer. But… let’s take a stab at it! We’ll start by outlining a “typical” scenario:

  • The project is in a single-family home, built in the early 1970’s, in the suburbs of Washington, DC
  • We will use good quality, name brand materials
  • The space is 5’-0” x 8’-0” and is located on the second floor
  • The project will be built to current code requirements and a permit will be procured
  • The work will be done by a professional company that is licensed and insured
  • The work will be backed by a 5 year warranty

With that out of the way…


Per our Bath Budgeting Sheet, a remodeled bathroom of this size is most likely going to start in the $50,000 neighborhood. Can it cost more? Yes. A lot more. As outlined in the top left corner of the sheet, there are multiple items that can add to the cost of a bathroom. Some of these items are optional and can be controlled by the homeowner. You decide whether to upgrade some of the material specifications or not. Other additional cost items are a function of the existing space- lead safe work practices in pre-1978 homes, difficult site access issues, older construction techniques (mud set), etc. are examples of existing conditions that will add to the cost of a project.

Is it possible to make this type of project cost less? Of course. You can use value oriented materials, do some of the work yourself- painting is an example, or do more work. That may sound odd but it’s true. There is an economy of scale in remodeling. Typically, the more you do, the less it costs on a unit basis.

Another option is electing to do your own design work, material selections, and project management. You could then hire out the work to individual specialists- tile setters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. There are significant savings with this approach but it is going to require lots of your time. Depending on your fluency with residential remodeling, this path may also significantly lengthen the timelines on your project.

Most of the 5’ x 8’ bathrooms that we remodel are in the $50- 75,000 range. The cost to remodel your bathroom may vary- there are many, many factors that go into the final cost of a project. So, how much does it cost to remodel a bathroom? Well, it depends…

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