10 Things Most People Don't Know About Bathroom Remodeling Costs

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Bathroom remodels aren’t necessarily cheap. Take time to learn 10 things most people don’t know about bathroom remodeling costs so you’re prepared.

Remodeling your bathroom is a great way to update your home. It’s a space you can personalize and make more modern so you enjoy it daily.

Getting ready each day will be pleasurable and you’ll love how much more functional your bathroom is when you’re done. One aspect to keep in mind is that bathroom remodels aren’t cheap. They can be costly overall and will require you to plan and budget for the project properly. If you’re considering updating this space in your home then take some time to learn 10 things most people don’t know about bathroom remodeling costs so you’re prepared.

1. The Cost of Permits

You don’t want to forget about the price of permits and how much they can run when you’re thinking about the overall bathroom remodel cost. Keep in mind that it ranges from city to city so you may want to look into it before you start. In some cities you won’t need them but it’s a factor to consider and look into as you budget. Sometimes they can be quite expensive and take some time to pull. It all depends upon where you live and the requirements. You may also need to spend money on bringing things up to code while you’re at it. Many aspects may be out of date as building codes frequently change. Cost violations are not only costly but may cause you problems in the future when you want to sell. It is ultimately the home owners responsibility to pull all necessary permits unless specified in the written contract differently.

2. Renovating Vs. Remodeling

There is also a difference between a bathroom renovation and a bathroom remodel. Although you may hear the terms used together or assume they’re interchangeable, they’re quite different in reference to actual planning and construction. A full-scale remodel will be more costly and you should plan accordingly. Your project may start as a renovation and then move to a remodel if several issues arise with the plumbing and electrical or if emergency repairs are needed. A renovation will work with the existing space and footprint and you’ll most likely just be improving the area a bit. With remodeling comes renovation in addition to construction. You may be moving stuff around and tearing out some features or elements. If you require floor plan changes or expansion then this can add a lot to your overall cost.

3. Installation & Labor

You may also not know that there will be installation and labor costs that come along with a bathroom remodeling project. It can even go as far as making up about 40 to 60 percent of the budget. It all depends upon who you hire to do the job and what work they will need to perform. Keep in mind that the cost of labor and materials will also vary by location. Shop your market and do some comparison shopping to get a better idea of what it’s going to cost you in your geographic location. There may also be time spent fixing previous mistakes in your bathroom that you weren’t aware of. There are not only installation and labor costs to include but also the cost of all your materials as well. The better the material quality the higher the price generally speaking.

4. Disposing of Debris

You’re going to need to get rid of the debris if your project requires demolition. Therefore, you’ll need to rent a dumpster to use. While most materials can go in the dumpster, it may require more money if you run into containments like lead or asbestos. This would be an unwelcome surprise that you’ll need to take care of and that will cost you extra money. It’s also wise to put some additional money in the budget to have some wiggle room for unexpected costs. There might also be an extra cost for “non-construction” materials with your dumpster rental. You might need the dumpster for a long time because breaking up and removing tile from a shower can take time.

5. Electrical & Plumbing

You may also not know or realize that electrical and plumbing will be costly and a significant portion of your bathroom remodeling budget. These professionals are not cheap and most of the work can’t be done by the homeowner in this area. These are skilled workers that cost quite a lot of money to hire. You also need the job to be done right for safety reasons. **Think about how much lighting you’re adding and the workers will have to pull their own permits and have inspections for the work they do. You’ll also need enough power and proper wiring so you don’t overload the circuit. Moving significant plumbing structures underneath the flooring to add additional sinks or moving a tub or shower to a different location in the bathroom will also cost you a lot of money. Think about your home as well because plumbing in an older home can be more complicated. Failure to plan out your plumbing in advance may cost you in the long run.

** It is ultimately the home owners responsibility to pull permits unless specified in the written contract differently.

6. Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry is usually the way to go since it plays a large part in the overall design and functionality of the bathroom. It not only plays a large part in the aesthetics but will also cost you some additional money. It all depends on how much space you need and how many people are using the bathroom. Think about if you want cabinets with pull-out drawers or makeup stations or if you prefer to have some electrical outlets within the cabinets. Buying a vanity at the local store might not provide you with the storage you want so you’ll need to upgrade in this case.  

7. Fixtures

One way to make a huge impact on the appearance of your bathroom is through the fixtures and faucets. This includes updating the toilet, sink, and tub or shower. Pay attention to the size and height of the plumbing fixtures and connections to ensure they fit properly. You’ll put a significant dent in your budget by changing the location of the plumbing hookups. Also, don’t forget about the pipes, drains, and valves that you may not see and forget to account for.

8. Flooring

People may not realize that the size of the bathroom matters too especially when it comes to choosing and laying down new flooring. You may want to add money to your budget if you’re opting for an intricate design such as laying down mesh mosaic tile and grout. Your bathroom might have a lot of odd angles and cuts you’ll need to have the contractor workaround and this will take time. If you’re choosing tile then you’ll want a professional to do it so that you achieve a high quality and high craft end result. There will be certain prep work to do and will require a skilled worker who has knowledge in tiling and waterproofing.  

9. Walls, Doors, & Ceilings

You might also forget about your walls, doors, and ceilings when factoring in all the costs that come with a bathroom remodel project. Doors can be fairly easy to replace but can also cost you money depending on what type you choose. Uncovering walls and ceilings may lead to unexpected surprises that will cost you money too. Are you scraping popcorn off and want knockdown or flat, then put it in your budget. If you find mold for instance then you’ll need to fork over more money to get rid of the problem. It’s best to remove it altogether than to cover it up and pretend you never saw it. The finish of your walls will vary by cost too depending on if you choose to paint, wallpaper, or tile. You should note that wallpaper and tile tend to cost more.

10.  Lighting & Ventilation

Your bathroom will be so much brighter and nicer when you upgrade the lighting and ventilation or fan. If you’re choosing new fixtures that require moving the wiring then you’ll need to account for this in your budget. Light fixtures can quickly add up if you’re installing more of them overall. Demo or patching may be necessary if your new ventilation fan is smaller or older than the previous one. Replacing ceiling fans is an example of one of the most common additional charges that you may not think of when making a list of all things that go into your bathroom remodel cost.


You now have a better idea of 10 things most people don’t know about bathroom remodeling costs. The truth is that you may run into a lot of hidden or additional costs you weren’t ready for if you don’t properly educate yourself and prepare for the project. In any case, you’re going to want to consult with the experts, do your homework about what updates are trending, and plan for all the associated costs and other surprises. There may be some extras you decide you want later on or special additions that look nice and also cost more. Your next step is to determine if a bathroom remodel is in your future and if so to get in touch with the remodeling professionals today for a quote. This will help you properly plan and get your finances in order so you can decide if you want to proceed.

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Written by
Mitchell Clay

Proud father and husband. A big comic book nerd and sweets are my kryptonite. I fell in love with the remodeling industry in 2008 and it's held a tight grip on me ever since.

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