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Planning and Budgeting for Your Bathroom Remodel

By UJJBARAN October 14, 2021

Are you considering doing a bathroom remodel yourself? We'll show you how to create a budget and timeline to help keep your renovation on track and ensure success.

Are You Ready for a DIY Bathroom Remodel?

A man and woman holding blue hammers in front of a house.

Most cities and counties require permits for certain remodeling projects, and some require homeowners to pass proficiency exams before starting the work. Know what's required in your area, and make sure your work will pass any required inspections.

Poorly done remodeling jobs look bad, turn off future homebuyers and also can create expensive-to-fix safety and structural problems. So review these issues and questions to see if you're prepared and able to complete a bathroom project yourself.

Before You Start

  • Do you understand the entire scope of the job completely, from budget to materials to code?
  • Do you have the knowledge, experience and tools needed for the job?
  • Do you have the time and temperament to deal with both your day job and the project?
  • Can you deal with permits, licenses and inspections?

Budget for Your Remodel

A dark gray bathroom with a gray vanity, a shower with subway tile and floral tile.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), a bathroom redesign budget is typically dictated by size, which averages $125 a square foot. If you decide to sell your home, an updated bathroom is an attractive selling point, and the expected return on your investment is more than 60% on a major remodel.

Think about everything that you'd like to update, replace and/or add in your bathroom. Use these estimates to get an idea of how much your renovation project might cost you.

Bathroom Refresh

A bathroom refresh can typically range between $200 and $5,000. Projects that might be included in a refresh are:

  • Paint
  • Vanity update
  • New countertop or sink
  • Bathtub refinish
  • New light fixtures
  • New window treatments
  • Cabinet hardware and fixture upgrades

Minor Remodel

A small remodel can typically range between $5,000 and $15,000. Projects that might be included in a redesign are:

  • New faucets, sink, shower and toilet
  • New bathtub/shower or whirlpool
  • Moving fixtures
  • New supply lines, drain pipes, electrical
  • New or additional cabinets/vanity
  • Building dividing walls
  • Replacing flooring

Major Remodel

A major remodel typically exceeds $15,000. Projects that might be included in a large renovation are:

  • New cabinet and fixture layout
  • Adding or removing doorways
  • Moving and/or expanding a bath
  • Redoing plumbing and electrical
  • Upgrading materials, surfaces, finishes
  • Adding skylights and/or windows

Planning for Your Remodel

A gray and white bathroom with a navy vanity, a round mirror and brass bath accessories.

Every project will be different, but this timeline gives you an idea of things you should be thinking about as you approach the start date of the renovation.

Six Months to Start

Research local building regulations and find out which permits and rules govern your DIY project plans. Some communities require homeowners doing their own work to pass tests before taking on renovation projects. 

Four Months to Start

Draw an accurate floor plan of your bathroom, or hire a professional to do one. Make copies and carry it with you. Make a list of all the things you need to buy or secure, project by project, including tools and equipment. Make a detailed budget for the project.

One Month to Start

Find a secure place to store materials, tools, products and equipment. Make an audit of what is stored. Arrange for a dumpster if needed. Set up a bathroom contingency plan.

One Week to Start

Take "before" pictures of the bathroom. Empty the bathroom of all items. Make secure arrangements for pets, children and power tools. Arrange a place for washing tools. Alert neighbors of the remodeling plan and give them your contact information in case of noise or other concerns. Put up protective covering to protect floors, nearby rooms and air vents.

Work Begins

Take pictures of your progress each time you complete a step.

When It's Done

Make sure all work meets code and has passed inspection according to local regulations. Ensure the site has been thoroughly cleaned, including air vents. Scan warranties for purchased materials and products. Make sure all bills have been paid and keep copies.

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