A bathroom renovation will not only improve your daily life, but it can also help increase your home’s value. While upgrading your bathroom can add value, it can also get expensive fast. This is why it’s important to know where to spend your money and where to save. There’s a big difference between upgrading fixtures and building a new bathroom from scratch. Find out how much a bathroom renovation costs and other factors you need to know about in this cost guide.

Average Costs

The average bathroom renovation costs approximately $13,393. Most homeowners spend between $7,785 and $19,338. The size of your renovation will greatly affect this price. You can spend as little as $4587 to $9174 updating the essentials in a small to medium-sized bathroom. For larger and master baths, you can expect to spend at least $17,000.

A bathroom renovation provides some of the highest resale returns as a home improvement project. However, you have to be careful about where you spend your money, as expenses can quickly add up. Before you hire a bathroom renovation specialist, you should have a budget in mind and roughly know where you want to spend it. Asking questions, setting realistic expectations, cost estimates and budgeting from the start can mean the difference between finding a contractor you trust and enjoy working with versus a long and trying few weeks.

Renovation Costs

On average, most small bathrooms measure about 40 square feet. Half-bathrooms are usually about 20 square feet or less. You can expect to spend an average of $3,931 on fixtures and an additional $100 per square foot on labour. For a licensed, bonded professional, labour costs can be anywhere from $65 to $144 per hour. The biggest difference between a small and large bathroom is the number of materials needed and the labour costs.

The following chart shows the costs of median-grade materials found in typical home improvement stores. For high-end and custom materials, such as granite or stainless steel, you could end up paying 2 or 3 times more.

Option Materials Labor Removal & Disposal Total
Install Bathtub $525 – $1,310 $589 – $786 $65 – $393 $1,179 – $2,490
Install Countertops $131 – $1,310 $65 – $196 $6 – $39 $203 – $1,546
Install Flooring $78 – $170 $458 – $851 $39 – $786 $576 – $1,808
Install Lighting Fixture $65 – $157 $196 – $288 $6 – $13 $268 – $458
Install Shower $458 – $589 $458 – $589 $39 – $65 $956 – $1,310
Install Sink $100 – $250 $300 – $350 $15 – $95 $415 – $695
Install Toilet $131 – $655 $458 – $589 $13 – $26 $602 – $1,271

Renovating by Function

When planning your renovation, it’s important to consider the room’s function. The function will determine what type of finishes you will install. For example, a kids bathroom renovation is usually less expensive as the fixtures are functional. It will likely only require a new basic bathtub and new surround. In contrast, the master bathroom of your dreams will cost a lot more. Depending on how many shower heads you want and what kind of marble will be used, your dream bathroom could end up costing a lot. A guest bathroom will fall between these extremes, but again, it all depends on the function and types of finishes you use.

  • Powder Room Renovation
    A powder room is a main floor half bathroom that is intended for guests to use. It has a sink and toilet but no shower or tub. These bathrooms tend to be smaller, usually measuring about 15-25 square feet. The average cost for a powder room renovation is around $1,834.

  • Guest Bathroom
    A guest bathroom is typically a private three quarter or full bath used primarily by overnight guests. They are mid-range renovations that will cost approximately $196 per square foot. There are no special considerations for renovating a guest bathroom beyond personal preference of fixture and finish choice.

  • Master Bathroom
    A master bathroom is likely to be the most expensive bathroom renovation. This is because it can be a focal point for selling your home. It can be easy to spend around $327 per square foot on custom fixtures. A large portion of your budget will go towards increasing the size of the bathroom. This requires moving walls, electrical, plumbing, and engineering and architectural specialists.
  • Kids Bathroom
    A master bathroom is likely to be the most expensive bathroom renovation. This is because it can be a focal point for selling your home. It can be easy to spend around $327 per square foot on custom fixtures. A large portion of your budget will go towards increasing the size of the bathroom. This requires moving walls, electrical, plumbing, and engineering and architectural specialists.

Bathroom Renovation Considerations

When you look at the home renovations that are most likely to pay for themselves, kitchens and bathrooms are tied, according to a widely-quoted assessment by the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC). Both will likely boost your home value and give you a return on investment (ROI) between 75 per cent and 100 per cent of what you spent.

As with any home improvement project, your budget will greatly determine the scope of your project. Below are the costs associated with common bathroom renovation upgrades. Consider their pricing when putting your budget together.

Shower/Tub

The first question you should ask yourself before undertaking any bathroom renovation is whether you want a shower, a tub, or both.

  • Households with young children may make better use of a tub while older homeowners may prefer a simple shower. An older couple might also want a safety tub.
  • A basic shower head can cost as little as $19, and a higher-end model complete with all the bells and whistles can cost as much as $786. Installation costs will vary depending on the features of the shower head but it’s safe to assume that you’ll pay the average plumbers’ rate of about $65 an hour.
  • If you’re renovating in preparation for a home sale, you may be tempted to go with a higher-end shower but this could hinder potential buyers. Install something nice, that can always be upgraded later.
  • If you’re planning to stay in your home, your choices should be limited only by your budget and tastes.
Note: these costs are for replacement tubs and showers which already have the proper plumbing and supports in place.

Tile

Tile is another bathroom upgrade that can have a big impact. Different colours and shapes can make your shower stand out, while a unified look incorporating matching shower and floor tiles offers the appearance of a continuous floor design.

  • Slate and other natural stones are popular, but you must be sure to check the porosity when you use them in your bathroom renovation. Some stone types require a lot of maintenance and some may simply be unsuitable for a shower. You may consider ceramics, porcelain, marble or even granite instead.
  • Whatever material and colour you go with, use tiles no larger than 6 inches on your shower floor. Tiles will need to be slightly angled toward the drain, and grout between the tiles adds slip resistance.

Toilet/Sink Fixtures

Another easy update that makes a big impact is updating your toilet and sink. Even an older sink can benefit from the addition of new fixtures.

  • Slate and other natural stones are popular, but you must be sure to check the porosity when you use them in your bathroom renovation. Some stone types require a lot of maintenance and some may simply be unsuitable for a shower. You may consider ceramics, porcelain, marble or even granite instead.
  • Whatever material and colour you go with, use tiles no larger than 6 inches on your shower floor. Tiles will need to be slightly angled toward the drain, and grout between the tiles adds slip resistance.

Towel Racks/Cabinetry

These items can be overlooked when carrying out a bathroom renovation. Cabinet hardware such as hinges and handles can also be the perfect accent to finish off a bathroom. For the best resale value, they should match the style and the finish of the sinks, towel racks and showerheads hardware. If you’re not planning on selling, buy whichever finishes will compliment your style best.

Flooring

There are many options for your bathroom floor. Since it’s a small space, costs are easily kept to a minimum, although choosing high-end material can still make it quite expensive. You will also need to consider the price to rip out the existing floor.

  • Linoleum costs about $6 to $9 per square foot. It’s great for bathrooms as it’s waterproof and resistant to spills. Because linoleum expands and contracts, you must let it acclimate to the room before installation.
  • Marble costs about $20 to $23 per square foot. It’s a beautiful choice, but installing it correctly generally requires the help of a professional. The downside to marble is that it’s prone to cracks and staining, and it requires regular maintenance.
  • Ceramic costs $1.31 to $2.10 per square foot. It’s durable, easy to clean and naturally germ-resistant. The colour of ceramic tile varies greatly from lot to lot.
  • Porcelain is a tough, slightly more expensive sub-type of ceramic; it costs around $7 to $11 per square foot. The porcelain manufacturing process allows for a variety of design. But, because porcelain has a low porosity, it requires a special setting compound.

Plumbing and Electrical

When renovating your bathroom, keep this rule of thumb in mind: if you don’t have to modify or move it, don’t. Any changes made to the internal electrical or plumbing systems inside your walls will require permits and contractors. To keep costs down, use existing plumbing and electrical systems when possible.

Moving the plumbing isn’t as difficult when you have a basement or good crawlspace. Oftentimes, the plumbing is run beneath the house and involves very little work between the walls. The work must still be done by a licensed plumber or electrical contractor, but it’s much less disruptive to the interior of your home.

Permits and Legal Requirements

Renovating a bathroom comes with many of the same requirements and considerations as adding a new bathroom. But there are differences, especially where electrical and plumbing are concerned. In a renovation, you don’t usually have to install new systems, but an additional bathroom will require new lines.

  • Electrical and plumbing alterations must be done by licensed professionals, and the structure must be able to carry any additional weight (heavy tiles, a large luxurious bathtub, moving a wall, etc.). Anything that involves changes to the house’s structure, such as enlarging a window, will also require the services of a professional.
  • Be sure that your bathroom has proper ventilation or a window and ensure that the electrical system is up to code.

Whether you’re renovating to increase the overall value of your home, or just looking to improve your everyday life, a bathroom renovation is a great project to take on. Be sure to think about what changes you would like to make and create a budget based on that. Speak with a bathroom specialist to figure out how to make your bathroom renovation a possibility.