I am not sure how many remodels we have done, but it is a lot! We have flipped more than 200 homes, remodeled many rentals that I own and I have headed up the repairs on homes I did not own as well! Over the years, I have learned tips and tricks to make our remodels affordable but things are not cheap no matter how low you can get the price. Remodeling a bathroom is one of the more expensive projects you will find in a house. Bathrooms can be very pricey depending on the materials used and how big they are. I rarely complete high-end bathroom remodels because they are so expensive, we focus on affordable but nice bathrooms. In this article, I will discuss how much it costs us to remodel a typical bathroom and how to save money when doing it.
What are the price ranges for remodeling a bathroom?
The tricky part about remodeling a house is that the prices can range by an extreme margin! The price ranges come from all of the different materials that can be used as well as the different costs for labor. I will hear about people spending $20,000 to remodel a bathroom and it makes me cringe, but it is no unusual. If you are remodeling a million-dollar house it makes sense to spend that much money on a bathroom. If you are remodeling a less expensive house, there are less expensive options that will often be just as good as the expensive options.
We will spend from $4,000 to $6,000 on a typical full bathroom remodel. That price can drop if we are not rehabbing the bath, or shower, and it can increase if there are major plumbing issues. That cost includes the materials and labor. Again, it is much easier to spend more than that and we have worked hard to keep our costs low.
It is also important to realize that the costs for labor and even materials can vary by region. More expensive areas will have more expensive labor and even material costs. They also may even have more taxes you must pay for the materials. You could pay $2,000 in some areas for a full bathroom remodel or $50,000 if you go all out in an expensive area on an expensive home!
The video below goes over some of our bathroom remodels!
Who should you use to do the work?
One of the reasons for the huge difference in prices for a bath remodel is the difference in costs for who does the work. Most people will hire a contractor or handyman to make the repairs. Obviously, if you do the work yourself it will greatly reduce the costs of the remodel but also take a lot of your time which is worth something.
Contractors can be very expensive for many reasons. They run a business and want to make money which is understandable. I also run a business and want to make money as well. The bigger the contracting business is the higher the markups usually are. Likewise, if you can find a handyman or woman who does not have a big operation you may be able to get the work done much cheaper.
There is always a concern that the work is being done well too. A lot of people assume that the more expensive someone is the better the work is done. However, that is not always the case. Many times more expensive contractors are not any better than cheaper handymen. Extremely cheap contractors or handymen may be extremely cheap for a reason, but that reason is not always that they do bad work. We have worked with many affordable contractors or handyman and we found they were affordable for a number of reasons including:
- They hate marketing and only work by word of mouth
- They are new and have not built up a client base
- They do not get along well with people
- They have strange schedules
- They are horrible at their jobs
Yes, sometimes contractors and handymen are cheap because they are horrible at their work and we have experienced this first hand. We have also worked with some great people who were affordable for other reasons, reasons that we could deal with.
One of the biggest differences in prices I see are contractors who specialize in marketing to homeowners versus contractors who work with investors. Homeowners may not know what things should cost and often will pay more than investors, but it takes more marketing and more people skills to work with homeowners. We tend to stay away from the contractors who specialize in working with homeowners. I like to use a handyman or low priced contractors but we do our homework to make sure they do decent work before hiring them.
What materials do we use in our bathrooms?
When we remodel our houses we do not make them as cheap as possible. We also do not go all out either. One great way to figure out what you need to do or not do is to:
- Look at other house selling in the neighborhood and see what materials they use
- Look at new construction houses in the area and see what they use
You might be surprised to see what materials the new construction homes use. They do not go all out with high-end materials. The new construction companies are in business to make money as well and they know that using super expensive materials will kill their profit.
We buy almost all of our materials from Home Depot using a managed pro account which saves us a ton of money. Not everyone can use the managed pro account. You must spend a certain amount of money to qualify, which can be around $100,000 a year. If you don’t spend that much money you can still get a pro account and save money. If you don’t want to get a pro account you can ask your handyman or contractor if they get a discount.
Many contractors will mark up the materials they buy to make a little extra money. Because of this, we prefer to buy all of the materials directly using text to confirm from Home Depot. Again, most people will not want to go this far for a bathroom remodel but you can ask the contractor for a detailed list of the material costs and receipts.
Here is what we usually spend on materials:
- Vanity: $200 to $400
- Toilet: $200
- Light fixture: $100
- Shower/tub insert: $500
- Tile shower/tub: $1,000
- Tile floor: $800
- Vinyl floor: $400
- Miscellaneous (mirror, towel bar, etc): $250
A lot of people like to use tile on the shower, tub, and floor, but it adds a lot of money to the cost! With the new shower and tub inserts that have a designer type look we find it does not hurt us to avoid tile if possible. It is also easy to double or triple these costs by using a designer store or more expensive materials.
How much does labor cost?
As I said earlier the labor costs can vary greatly across the country and from contractor to contractor. We have varying amounts we pay to our contracts and handymen as well. We have some employees as well who we have working full time for us. The time it takes to do the work can vary as well based on how good the person doing the work is.
We assumed that a contractor would spend from 7 to 10 days working on a bathroom with one person doing all the work. With two or three people that time can be cut down greatly. We also assumed the labor costs would be about $45 an hour but again this could be high or low in some areas. The labor costs run us from $2,000 to $4,000 on a bathroom. Again, if doing tile work the labor costs are on the high side because of all of the time it takes to install the tile.
How do we save money?
Bathrooms can get very expensive! We have only talked about easy bathrooms up to this point. If you want to get into 5 piece master baths with a tub and a shower with custom tile, and fancy vanities you can easily spend more than $10,000 or even $15,000 on the remodel and that is if you work hard to keep the costs down.
We save money any way we can on our house flips. We do not like to lose money and the best way to lose money is to lose control of the budget and pay too much for repairs that are not needed. If a bathroom is in decent shape we will do our best to leave it or make cheap upgrades. Not every house needs to be perfect to sell.
- If a house has decent tile we will leave the tile even if it is a little outdated.
- If a house can use a bath or shower insert we will install that instead of tile.
- We try to avoid moving bathrooms or making big changes in the layout because that means the plumber has to come and he is very expensive.
- We use common vanity sizes as they are much more affordable than custom sizes
- We are careful to save money on the little things as well like mirrors and towel bars as every cost adds up!
Remodeling a bathroom can be a very expensive venture depending on the size of the job and who does the job! Bathrooms are important to the sale of a house but they are not the only thing that matters. If you can get away with not doing a complete remodel it can save you a ton of money. One thing that we will do is look at our competition and see what they are doing or not doing as far as remodels. If a lot of houses are selling without full-blown remodels that means we can probably get away without doing a full-blown remodel as well.