How to Cut Costs on a Bathroom Renovation


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I’ve always wanted the bathroom of my dreams without it costing an arm and a leg. So I decided to dig in and investigate how to cut costs on a bathroom renovation to see if it was possible.

Here’s what I found out:

On average bathroom renovation costs just under $10,000. But using used fixtures can bring that cost down to as low as $2,500. Higher end bathroom remodels, however, can be as much as $25,000. Performing the demolition of the old bathroom yourself can save an additional $2.50 per square foot over hiring that service.

In addition to being relatively inexpensive, this revamp project has a good resale value. While, on average you aren’t likely to recoup more than 60% of the costs when you sell, finding creative ways to cut costs while beautifying your bathroom will put more of those dollars back in your pocket.

In the end, it all depends on your budget, on the size of the project and your ideas.

Before starting the bathroom overhaul, there are a few bathroom remodel cost breakdown considerations you need to look at.

So let’s dig in further on how to cut costs on a bathroom renovation.

co-authored with Ron Wolf, civil engineer, and DIY enthusiast.

Here are the Ways to Slash Your Bathroom Renovation Costs

1. Reuse your bathroom fixtures to save big

When renovating a small bathroom, replacing all the fixtures could cost you from $8,000 to even $10,000, which is a fair price.

Even if you are planning to add a new bathtub, some modern cabinets and new tiles, the price won’t vary a lot.

However, if you are looking for bathroom fixtures that are made for special purposes, the price is definitely higher. For example, when you want to make the bathroom handicap –accessible, the price of materials can raise from $2,000 to even $3,000.

Therefore, take a look which materials you can reuse and which you should remove.

Another good tip is to consider reglazing that old tub or toilet. The national average in the US for this on a tub is just under $500. Compare that to the cost of ripping out an old one and putting in a new one, and you could save big time!

But for everything you ever wanted to know about toilets and bathroom renovations, my friends over at Toilet Lounge cover all the bases.

Want to save even more? Refinish the tub (or sink, tile or toilet) yourself with this Rust-Oleum Tub And Tile Refinishing 2-Part Kit (click to check current price on Amazon). It’s under $30 on Amazon Prime. Unlike reglazing, it works on Ceramic Tile, Porcelain, Fiberglass, Acrylic, Cast Iron or Steel Surfaces.

It goes on just like paint. 2 coats and you’re done; instant bathroom remodel! 4 stars and almost 2,000 reviews can’t be wrong!

2. Swap faucets on fixtures to improve the look without replacing the whole thing

Check out the bathroom sink faucets with free shipping and at least 4 stars (click to see the best ones on Amazon) available on Amazon and start saving today!

Also, make sure to check out matching bathroom tub faucets (click to see the best ones on Amazon with free shipping and at least 4 stars) on Amazon too.

Getting rid of those old gold or brass fixtures that are water stained or chipped can instantly make it look like you replaced the entire fixture for a fraction of the price!

3. Pricing of new vs. used bathroom fixtures 

As previously mentioned the bathroom remodel cost breakdown will rise according to your demands and needs.

In case you wish to remove all the old fixtures and add new ones, don’t just head off to your local home center, because you probably won’t find the desired fixtures at the best price.

Instead, opt for buying used or even recycled fixtures online.

Reused sinks and tubs can be good as the new ones, without blowing your bathroom renovation costs.

Another idea is to refurbish your bathroom on a budget by refinishing and fixing up your existing bathroom.  This can be much less costly than a complete remodel.

Everything including the kitchen (er, bath) sink!

Of course, it might surprise you to realize that Amazon has a lot of freestanding bathroom sinks (click to see the best ones on Amazon with free shipping and at least 4 stars) and many are well under $1,000.

4. Less expensive flooring solutions

When it comes to the flooring of your bathroom, most people choose tile; ceramic, marble and granite being common choices.

Instead of blowing most of your bathroom renovation costs on fancy and colorful tiles, opt for a just few that make a bold statement as wall accessories.

Then, purchase some white tiles that will complement the colorful ones.

These days more people are choosing simple raw materials such as bamboo or stone. Covering the floor with stone pavers instead of tiles will give your bathroom that rustic and warm feel. Much easier for maintenance and practically forever lasting.

Of course, if your existing subfloor is concrete, you can Stain Your Concrete (click to read my step-by-step guide) in 5 easy steps for a beautiful and inexpensive floor.

5. Use light to brighten the room without expensive fixtures

bathroom renovation costs middle class dad claw tub and big bathroom window

More light makes a lot of difference to a room, especially in the bathroom.

Instantly, it becomes more spacious and inviting. However, adding double pane windows can be expensive and really skyrocket your bathroom renovation costs.

A popular renovation trend is a solar tube that serves as a skylight for top floor bathrooms.

Not only does it provide enough light, but it’s not expensive to install. The highest price is about $400, but you can install it yourself for $200.

This sun tube is placed between the attic’s rafters, thus, enabling the sunlight to enter the bathroom. And there is no need to demolish a wall for the sun tube.

The Natural Light Energy Systems 10-Inch Tubular Skylight (click to see current price on Amazon) comes with free shipping, almost 5 stars and is under $200. It provides the equivalent light of up to 500 watts.

If your existing windows struggle with moisture trapped between the glass, learn how you can Remove the Moisture Between the Glass (click to read my detailed DIY fix post). That post is almost always the most popular post on our website.

6. How the bathroom walls can make or break a remodel budget

bathroom renovation costs sink and toilet with beadboard wall

Although tiles are the most typical choice for the bathroom walls, there are other ways of redoing them on a budget.

For example, instead of covering the whole bathroom with them, just cover the walls around the tub.

Then, paint the remaining walls in a white or neutral shade so as to make the room look bigger. Put a faux beadboard in order to add a classy touch.

Beadboard, sometimes called wainscoting is simply paneling that you attach to the walls on the bottom third. It’s been used for centuries as a decorative accent, to prevent or sometimes cover up wall damage. Most typically it is capped off, as you see in the picture, with some decorative trim.

You can install beadboard yourself quickly and easily using this handy Boulanger Primed MDF Beaded Wainscot Kit (click to see current price on Amazon Prime).  It’s under $120 and has almost 5 stars and is an Amazon’s Choice Product so you know this will be great!

Each kit comes with 24 panels so it covers 48 square feet.

Since it even comes with the molding at the top, simply attack (probably glue and caulk would be best) and paint and you’re done! Since the bathroom is prone to moisture make sure and use a mildew resistant paint for easy long-term care and maintenance.

Compare that to the cost of adding tiles to your walls and you can save big!

As a result, your bathroom renovation costs can come in way under budget and have a new lovely bathroom to enjoy.

How much does cost to remodel a bathroom?

The current national average in the US is just under $10,000.

However, that can vary greatly depending on whether you re-use some existing fixtures and buy the new fixtures used. We’ll get into that below in our bathroom remodel cost breakdown.

Low-end bathroom remodels can come in as low as $2,500 and higher end remodels can come in as high as $25,000 or more.

How much of the work you do yourself will also have a big impact on the bathroom remodel cost breakdown too.

Check out this handy bathroom remodel calculator to get some good estimates for your project.

How much does it cost to update a small bathroom?

Small bathrooms, especially half-baths without a tub or shower can be much less expensive to remodel.

You can also save money by not installing custom cabinets and just using a stand-alone countertop sink cabinet like you see at the big box home stores like Home Depot. Those can often be had for anywhere from $500-$1,500 depending on whether the countertop is granite and whether the cabinet is real wood or particle board.

Lighting can also be quite inexpensive to redo, especially if you just buy the new fixture at Home Depot and replace it yourself.

Toilets can run anywhere from $130-250 on the low end, and again, you can save a lot by watching a quick video on YouTube on how to replace a toilet yourself.

All told, on a small bathroom update, you can probably expect to spend as little as $1,500 doing most of the work yourself and using less expensive fixtures.

On the high end using a contractor, that price could jump to $7,000 to $9,000 for a small bathroom.

How long does it take to remodel a small bathroom?

If you are doing a complete remodel including flooring, you are looking at about 4 weeks from start to finish if you are hiring the work out.

In most cases, unless you’re paying them more or have hired someone off of a local forum like Craigslist, they probably aren’t working weekends, so we’re talking about 4 weeks of Monday through Friday.

This includes demolition of the old bathroom, removal of debris and fixtures not being used in the new bathroom, ordering and delivery of the new products, and installation of everything.

How much does demolition cost per square foot?

bathroom renovation costs middle class dad bathroom demolition

Before introducing new bathroom features and layouts, it’s of utmost importance to remove the existing fixture in the bathroom. This is commonly known as the demolition part of a remodel.

For this particular job, you can either hire a professional, who will remove the elements with precision, or do the job yourself.

By taking charge of this task yourself, you can save a lot of money.

The average bathroom remodel cost breakdown for demolition is about $2.50 per square foot if you hire someone.

Of course, costs will vary a lot by area, state, and country. If you have an old house possibly containing asbestos or lead paint, those factors could possibly add to that cost.

If you do it yourself, just know that when you are tearing the bathroom apart, you need to be careful so you avoid damaging anything not being removed.

Also, make sure to avoid hitting electrical wires as well as pipes. Make the whole job easier by renting a dumpster where you’ll throw the debris.

Did we cover everything you wanted to know about bathroom renovation costs?

As you can see, there is no need to invest tens of thousands to get the most out of your bathroom renovation costs. You can do some (or all) of the work yourself and save big. Save even more by reusing your fixtures and/or buying used fixtures.

And when it comes to fancy tiles and bold colors; sometimes less is more (and fewer dollars too).

Hopefully, by following these bathroom remodel cost breakdown guidelines, you‘ll be enjoying the bathroom of your dream in no time.

And you’ll save big on your bathroom renovation costs.

Any tips, suggestions or questions on a bathroom remodel cost breakdown?


About the author of this post.

Ron is studying to become a civil engineer by day and a blogger by night. He learned construction by spending summers working for his father’s construction company in Australia. Since his mother was a landscape artist he has the complete vision and experience for even the toughest DIY projects.


Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.

Middle Class Dad bathroom renovation costs bio
Of course, I have to add that while Ron has construction experience and I have done a lot of DIY projects, neither he nor I are licensed contractors, architects or professionals in this field. Ths we are offering our opinions based on our experience and research. If you need a professional opinion you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.


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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

4 thoughts on “How to Cut Costs on a Bathroom Renovation

  1. We are about to update our bathroom. We aren’t moving or changing anything, but the 70s green tub and sinks have to go.
    We got a new vanity with sinks and countertop for 999. Then we decided to get tile for the floor and around the tub. We bought fixtures on sale. We were looking into reglazing the tub but it doesn’t seem to last long, and a company we checked quoted us close to$700!
    I will look into buying a used tub, but I wouldn’t know where to look!

    1. Hi Jenni

      They may not have them in your town, but Habitat for Humanity has retail stores (called ReStores) that sell used fixtures for the whole house. They use the proceeds to help fund the work they do, but you can get great deals in the process. Here’s a helpful link from them to see if any locations are near you: https://www.habitat.org/restores

      Hope that helps!

      Thanks for being here,

      Jeff

  2. Costing is always important cause before starting remodeling projects we should have estimated budget. We may decide the remodeling costing budget with our contractors. They can give us proper idea about all this renovation process. However, your budgetary ideas are also helpful for general people.

    1. Thanks, HR

      I agree and the post was really designed for a lower-level DIY type of homeowner more than someone looking to spend $40k on a full-blown remodel where the budget and contractors obviously become a lot more important.

      Thanks for being here!

      Jeff

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