The cost of renovating our bathroom


When folks reach out with a bathroom renovation project in mind, often the first question they ask is “how much will it cost?” The answer is nuanced: it always depends. It depends on your vision for the space, how big your space is, your taste in materials, and of course… the unknowns (dun, dun, dunnnn). If we’ve learned anything from all of our home renovating, it’s that you should expect something unplanned to come up that adds a little extra to your costs, so it's always good to leave some buffer room.


To help you prepare for generally how much your bathroom renovation will cost, this blog post breaks down the time and material cost for a project we’ve done. For all the reasons listed above, these numbers can’t simply be applied to your bathroom renovation, but you’ll get a sense of costs when renovating on a budget. In the Day household, we always renovate on a budget by reusing whatever materials we can, looking for good quality products at a discount, and buying products locally.



What a difference right?! This glammed up bathroom took us about 12 days (88.5 hours) and cost us a grand total of $1,589.00* in materials. We are certain we’ll see the ROI when we sell our home. In the next few sections, we list the time and cost** breakdown for each part of our bathroom renovation: demo, shower, vanity, accent walls, and flooring.


*Total cost includes local tax (~8.5% in Longmont, CO), rounded up to the nearest dollar. Prices may vary from when we purchased in mid 2020.


**Note: we steer clear of labor cost and only focus on the cost of materials. But, we’ve added the time it takes so you get a sense of how much time you’d need to commit or hire out.


 

Demo


We had zero additional costs for the demo because we already had all the tools we needed. It took about 8 hours to remove the tile in the shower, the flooring, the vanity countertop, and the mirror and lighting fixture above the vanity.


1.“Breaking ground” on the project as Tell removes the first wall of tile from the shower.

2. Exposed insulation once all the tile and backer board is removed from the shower.


 

Shower

We opted for classic white subway tile in our shower, which also happens to be very affordable—and in our opinion, looks amazing! Subway tile costs 15¢ per tile at Home Depot or Lowe’s. At $1.20/sf, the total cost to tile about 80sf was just over $100. Win!


We also saved money by refinishing the dingy shower pan with tub and tile paint. It would have cost at least $450.00 to replace it.


In total, the shower cost $757.00 and took 51.5 hours to complete. This does not include the cost of tools like a wet saw tile cutter, which shaves hours off of tiling and makes the finished outcome 10x better.





1: DensShield backer board installed

2: RedGard waterproofing applied

3: First tiles are laid, verrryy meticulously

4: Complete shower with tiling, painted shower pan, new matte black fixtures, and a bonus can light thanks to Tell’s electrical experience.


 

Vanity

The vanity was in good condition, it was just totally dated. It had an orange-y wood stain on the cabinets and a blue linoleum countertop (yuck!). We decided to replace the sink and countertop, but we kept the cabinets and freshened them up with a coat of paint. By salvaging the cabinets, we saved at least $300 (many vanities are in the $1000s of dollars!)


The total cost for the vanity, mirror, and lighting was $473.00 and it took 7 hours.




 

Walls & Floors

Last but not least, the shiplap walls and pergo floors. It cost a total of $359.00 to finish about 100sf of wall and 30sf of floor. Again, this does not include the cost of tools like a miter saw and skill saw that make the difference between shabby and top quality construction.



1: Prepping the wall for shiplap.

2: Shiplap pre-light and mirror installation.

3: Lighting and mirror up. Unfinished floor and vanity.

4: Finished floor and vanity.


 

Ok, so...how much will your bathroom renovation cost?


Like we said earlier, you can’t simply apply our costs to your project, but you may be able to reuse the framework we provided and insert your own material choices. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself when choosing the big ticket items that will affect your bottom line:


Are you using the existing floor plan or do you plan to move walls around to expand your bathroom?

  • Moving walls and changing the floor plan will most likely require you to reroute plumbing and electrical—thus, increasing the cost to renovate significantly. Here in Boulder County CO, the average plumber and electrician costs at least $135/hr.

Are you replacing the tub or toilet?

  • A basic toilet will run anywhere from $100-$200, while fancier toilets can run $500+

  • A basic tub with standard dimensions is around $200.

Are you replacing the vanity?

  • Depending on the size and style, vanities can run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Are you replacing the countertops?

  • We found a nice, good quality countertop for under $200 at Home Depot, but just like anything else, you can pay $$$$ as you look for top quality products.

What’s your tile taste?

  • We opted for $1.20/sf subway tile and we think it looks great. However, tile comes in all shapes, sizes, and prices; you won’t have to look hard to find tile that costs more than $20/sf--that’s 17x+ what we paid!

We hope this post helps you with budget and time planning for your next bathroom renovation. Reach out or leave a comment if you have any questions. We love to hear from you!


-Joy & Tell


Want to see the cost and time breakdown for our bathroom in Google Sheets? Here ya go!



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