Remodeling a bathroom ranks as one of the top home improvement projects that homeowners are eager to invest in.
This is especially true when it comes to a small bathroom, because this space can be particularly unattractive and not very user friendly.
Typically, the cost to renovate a small bathroom is around $7,500-10,000 depending on the quality of building and finishing materials, as well as complexity of labor.
The good news is that its usually fairly easy to recoup 93-99% of your investment, if you decide to sell your home. A remodeled bathroom boasts one of the highest ROI’s compared to all other interior or exterior projects.
Here, we cover the most popular updates for small bathrooms and include prices for professional labor and materials.
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Average cost to remodel a small bathroom
Across the US, homeowners report spending around $7,000-12,000 to remodel a 5×7 bathroom, using mid-range quality materials. A higher-end remodel that would make use of upscale fixtures, accessories, tile and paint can cost $14,000-18,000.
With professional labor and materials included, fully renovating a small bath costs about $160 – 280 per square foot. A low-end bathroom, using budget building materials can cost $135-150 per square foot.
This estimate includes:
– all new fixtures ( toilet, sink, tub or shower enclosure)
– tile walls and flooring
– new paint on walls and ceiling
– storage cabinetry
– lighting fixtures
Its important to note that things like plumbing, electric work, moving around the original placement of the toilet, sink and shower/tub are not included.
For a more accurate price quoute you can use our Bathroom Calculator
One of the biggest factors that will impact your total budget is the local cost of contractor labor. Pros charge markedly different rates, depending on their geographic location.
High income suburbs and cities will have labor rates that are significantly higher than the national average. For example, renovating a small bathroom in Manhattan can be $15,000-18,000, while a similar bathroom in Eagan, Minnesota will run $9,500-11,500.
Overall, professional labor will constitute the bulk of your spending. It usually comes out to be around 35-40% of the total. Cabinetry and counters are around 20%; bathroom fixtures are also 20%. Flooring is typically 9-10% of the total cost.
If you are planning to hire a designer to help with your bathroom style and layout, expect to spend around 4-5% of your total budget on her fees. Most professional designers charge $70-130 per hour.
One way to save hundreds of dollars on the cost of your bathroom is to source the materials yourself. If you hire a General Contractor (GC) the cost of materials will already be included in the total price. However, you may be able to find better deals and nicer looking accessories and building materials than what the GC may be offering you.
Doing the demolition of the old fixtures, tile, flooring, etc yourself can also save you around $500-950, depending on the amount of work involved.
At the end, it all comes down to how much of your own time you want to spend on this project vs. paying more and leaving everything to the pros.
Remodeling Costs Breakdown
Here is a chart that provides a quick overview of prices for essential bathroom fixtures that would be replaced in a standard remodel.
|Install bathtub||1,000 – 1,200||1,900 – 2,400||$3,000 – 4,000|
|Tub only||350 – 450||$500 – 900||$1,200 – 2,500|
|Install shower enclosure||$1,100 – 1,300||$1,500 – 3,500||$4,000 – 8,000|
|Prefabricated shower kit only||$450 – 600||$700 – 1,200||$1,800 – 2,600|
|Glass shower door (prefabricated)||$160 – 250||$430 – 600||$750 – 1,380|
|Shower head||$25 – 50||$75 – 155||$420 – 980|
|1 towel bar||$5 – 11||$20 – 30||$63 – 170|
|Single sink vanity||$120 – 185||$350 – 500||$1,200 – 2,250|
|Dual Sink vanity||$270 – 350||$680 – 999||$2,000 – 3,980|
|Faucet||$58 – 85||$115 – 250||$550 – 800|
|Toilet||$90 – 120||$160 – 375||$700 – 3,000|
|Stand alone sink||$60 – 120||$250 – 530||$650 – 1,200|
|storage cabinets (prefabricated)||$90 – 180||$250 – 400||$500 – 800|
|Custom vanity countertop||$450 – 600||$750 – 1,300||$1,900 – 3,000|
|Mirror||$40 – 85||$150 – 375||$650 – 1,300|
|Tile Floor (30 sq.ft)||$900 – 1,000||$1,200 -1,800||$2,500-4,5000|
|Accent shower wall ( 20 sq.ft.)||$520 – 680||$750 – 1,000||$1,500 – 2,300|
|Tile backsplash (15 sq.ft)||$375 – 420||$520 – 650||$700 – 900|
|2 light fixtures||$130 – 250||$400 – 675||$930 – 1,550|
|Paint (5×8 room, ceiling, trim)||$325 – 375||$450 – 550||$525 – 650|
|Hang wallpaper (5×8 room)||$500 – 575||$600 – 800||$900 – 1,000|
|Interior door||$50 – 100||$170 – 280||$500 – 950|
Changing the bathroom layout
One of the biggest complaints in small and half-bathrooms is the inconvenient placement of the essential fixtures, such as the toilet, sink and tub. When considering a full gut renovation, many homeowners want to figure out if they can change the layout of the bathroom, and move fixtures around. The biggest factor in this is the exceedingly high cost.
If you are on a budget, its best to avoid trying to move around fixtures becomes it involves extensive and very expensive plumbing work. Sometimes its possible to get away with moving the sink or toilet a few inches away from its original position, because the existing plumbing lines allow you to do this in a fairly simple way. This can cost $1,200-2,500.
However, if you want to completely rearrange the layout of your bathroom, prepare to spend thousands of dollars on top of your original remodel budget. It may be very difficult and time consuming to build new connections to the existing vent, drain and water lines. The further away you need to move the fixtures from these lines, the more expensive this job will be. If you need to remove the subfloor and work on plumbing that is under the floor joists, this will cost even more.
Its not unusual to pay $3,000-4,000 to move just the toilet from one corner of the bathroom to the other. Furthermore, when you embark on this project, you risk running into unpleasant surprises, once the plumber starts to work. One common issue that happens often in old houses is the discovery that your plumbing is not up to code, and it needs to be replaced.
Overall, you should plan to at least double your original bathroom budget, if you are considering moving fixtures around. Its very important to get at least 3-4 quotes from local licensed plumbers, to see who can offer you the best deal. More experienced pros may come up with innovative solutions and save you some money.
Pro Tip: you can make your bathroom a lot easier and more comfortable to use by changing the direction in which the door swings. You can either do this yourself, or hire a handy man for $50-75.
Installing a shower enclosure
A standard size enclosure, with professional installation can run from $1,500 to 3,500. Installing a larger shower with multiple sides and special hardware can range from $3,500-8,000.
If you DIY the installation and are looking to get a small prefabricated shower kit (31 x 31), you can pay as little as $500-650 for it.
These are available in different shapes: half-round, rectangular or square. They can come with a shower base and door, or a combination of wall, shower base and door. Basically, you can find the shower kit that fits the size and configuration of your bathroom. Make sure to measure all your bathroom dimensions carefully.
Vanity and cabinetry
In a small bath, your goal should be to maximize functionality, while saving space. If you don’t have a lot of square footage to spare, think of vertical and floating, wall mounted bathroom accessories.
A good quality single floating bathroom vanity is around $400. A basic single sink vanity, that stands on the floor can be purchased for as low as $120-150.
A larger cabinet system and floating dual sink vanity can run from from $600 to 2,000.
Tower storage cabinets range in price from $100 to 400.
Custom built cabinets and shelving cost start out at $100-250 per square foot.
If you are doing a high-end remodel, installing custom countertops is an appropriate update. Marble, quartz, granite, tempered glass and soapstone are popular material choices for a bathroom counter.
On average you can expect to spend $40-60 per square foot installed on basic quality granite and quartz, $80-120 per square foot on high quality granite and quarts. Marble and soapstone cost $95-140 per square foot. Tempered glass is $75-100 per square foot.
Sink and toilet
There is a very wide range of in quality, design and style when it comes to bathroom sinks and toilets.
high end: $1,000+
Wall mounted sink:
high-end: such as Kohler and Duravit, starting at $550-600+.
budget: $90-130 (high-efficiency models available)
high-end: $650-3,525 (many models have an integrated bidet system)
One of the best ways to breathe new life into an old bathroom is to add tile. You can retile the entire bath (floor, walls, shower/tub enclosure), or do only specific parts.
Homeowners who have a low budget and want to save money, often do tile on the floor, paint the walls, and may do an accent tile backsplash around the vanity.
Depending on the tile materials you want to use, a professional tile installer will charge $550-1,300 to put up an accent wall.
The average cost of installing tile flooring alone in a 5×8 bathroom is $1,200-1,900 depending on materials used, and job complexity. This price is for installing 1×1 foot tile. Smaller tile will cost more because its more labor intensive.
The average cost to install tile on a bathroom floor runs about $28-35 per square foot, including materials.
Budget materials cost around $6 per square foot (includes: cement board sub-floor, screws, thin set, grout, tile and waste)
Labor to install tile starts around $21-24 per square foot. The reason why its so high is because the tile guy will have to work for three days:
Day 1: come and install subfloor, install thin set, cut and install time. Let dry for 24 hours minimum
Day 2: grout the seams. Let dry for at least 24 hours
Day 3: wipe off access grout, seal the tile, finish the job
Additionally, the contractor may need to remove the toilet and vanity/bathroom cabinet in order to install the tile everywhere. You don’t want to tile around these fixtures, because if you ever want to change the vanity, you will end up not having tile under it!!! Complete hack job.
Another reason for this is that if there is every a big water spill, the place that has no tile will call a big leak, especially if its a second floor bathroom. So a contractor will charge extra to remove the fixtures before tiling the floor. If he suggests not doing this and saving money, fire him immediately!!!
Marble (18×18): $6.79-11.99/sq.ft
Granite (18×18): $5.99-20.81/sq.ft
Onyx (12×12): $6.99-16.80/sq.ft
Slate (24×24): $11.96-21.96/sq.ft
Travertine (24×24): $23.96/sq.ft.
The cost for small glass tiles ranges from as low as $4.95/sq.ft to as high as $22.95/sq.ft depending on the quality of glass and design.
One of the best ways to save on tile installation costs is to install basic porcelain tile as the backdrop, and use more upscale tile as an accent in strategic areas around the bathroom. Today, you can find very attractive porcelain tile local tile discount stores for around $2-3 per square foot.
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Painting and wallpaper
Professional wallpaper installation costs $55-80 per double roll of wallpaper. Together will materials, hanging wall paper in an 5×8 bathroom would cost $550 – 900.
On average, vinyl coated wallpaper costs $15-30 per roll, and its recommend for use in a bathroom, as it provides extra resistance to moisture penetration. Higher quality, fancier patterns vinyl can run $40-60 per roll.
Premium wallpaper can cost as much as $100-130 per roll, and can only be installed by a professional. Faux leather wallpaper is very expensive, with prices ranging from $200-350 per roll.
Overall, hanging wallpaper is a rather high-end project, especially if you need to hire a contractor for the installation.
By comparison, painting a bathroom is significantly cheaper, around $350-500. This estimate includes ceilings and trim.
The final price will depend on the amount of labor and the type of paint you want to use. High end paint, such as Farrow and Ball can cost as much as $90-110 per gallon. However, it offers very rich hues and will last significantly longer than your average quality Home Depot paint.
For a small space, using expensive, better quality paint may be a smart investment, especially if you can save on the cost of labor by doing it yourself.
Ample lighting is essential in a small bathroom, especially if it doesn’t have any windows or skylights.
On average, bathroom vanity lighting can cost from $150 to 450, depending on the the design and finish. A bathroom chandelier can cost as little as $100, average $250-500 and go up to $2,000, depending on the number of lights, and style.
If you are looking to install recessed lighting, you will need to hire a professional electrician. The cost will run about $120-200 per light.
Cost of glass bathroom materials and fixtures
In recent years, the use of glass in various bathroom applications has exploded in popularity. This is particularly true for bathrooms that have a modern design aesthetic.
Here is what you can expect to pay for the most popular bathroom fixtures and materials made of glass:
Glass shower door: framed doors start as $450-600. Frameless glass doors cost $1,000-4,000
Mosaic glass tile: average $4-8 each, premium $10-30 each
Glass subway tile: average $3-6 each. premium $8-15 each. Home Depot offers a decent selection of budget friendly glass tile that actually looks nice.
Tempered glass countertop: average price is $75-110 per square foot installed. Alternatively you can purchase a bathroom vanity with a tempered glass countertop. These can range in price form $600 to 900
Glass Sink: this item can be as cheap as $60-100 or as expensive as $900-1,300
Faucet: simple glass design faucets cost around $120-250. However, there are also custom made, blown art glass faucets, from brands like Tapologie, that are $1,900-2,500
Floating glass shelves: this is one of the least expensive bathroom fixtures that can cost as low as $15-20 at Home Depot. Average price for each shelf is around $45-99
DIY bathroom renovation: how much can you save?
If money is tight and you are pretty handy, you can try doing most or all of the work to update your bathroom on your own. As we mentioned earlier, contractor labor is extremely expensive and constitutes around 40% if not more of the total cost. Plumbing and electric work aside, you can get away with spending $2,500-4,000 on a bathroom remodel, if you DIY the rest of the labor and purchase materials yourself.
Some homeowners report spending as little as $1,500-1,900 to completely remodel a small bathroom: new paint, tile flooring, new toilet, sink, faucet, vanity, tile backsplash, acrylic tub, 2 new light fixtures. Of course, in this scenario budget quality materials were used.
Is a high-end remodel a smart investment?
Its very easy for your budget to balloon to unexpected proportions once you start looking at all the beautiful features and materials your bathroom can potentially have. However, splurging on a $2,000 dollar toilet or a custom marble countertop may not necessarily be a wise move from a financial stand point.
As it turns out, small bath remodels that cost under $10,000, bring back the highest ROI at resale. In hot markets, you can get as much as 99-102% of your investment back!
On the other hand, upscale remodels that cost around $20,000 or more fair a lot worse when it comes to returns. At resale, these fancy bathrooms only make back around 70-75% of the total spent.
To determine your budget if you are remodeling in order to put your house up for sale, its best to consult with an experienced realtor. Depending on your local market, and the value of your house, he will recommend the optimal level of a remodel that prospective buyers would want to see.
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