Bathroom Remodel Cost 2015-2016: Low-End, Mid-Range & Upscale

Creating a Functional & Beautiful Bathroom on Any Budget

It’s amazing how such a tiny space can have such a big impact. People don’t spend a lot of time in the bathroom, but they want it to be functional and stylish. No matter how large or small the space or how big your budget, you can turn your old bathroom into a space that has everything you need and adds value to your home and makes it easier to sell it if you are in the process of staging your property.

Low-Cost

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can make some major changes in your current bathroom to up the “Wow” factor. Because it’s a small space, the need for fewer materials enables you to do more with less money. The key is to put your money in the right places.

mid-sized traditional master bathroom By Enviable Designs

How low can you go and still create a beautiful space? Believe it or not, you can take $500 and turn an outdated bathroom into a modern space. The challenge lies in how much work you’re willing to do to cut down on labor costs. Instead of replacing, the focus is on refinishing and repainting.

One of the focal points in a bathroom is the vanity or sink. If you have an old-fashioned pedestal sink, you don’t have to throw it out and replace it with something new. In fact, it can add character to an older home. Just repaint it with ceramic paint and it will look brand new.

If you have one of the more modern vanities with storage under the sink, you can sand it down and repaint. You can also repaint the sink to make it shine. For any kind of bathroom sink or vanity, focus on updating the faucets, if you have a little extra money. For only $100, you can modernize what you already have. To avoid spending any more money than you have to, prime the current faucet, paint it and lacquer it to create a modern look for even less.

Light Fixtures is the next place you want to put your money. A lot of older homes only have overhead lighting, which won’t do much for you when you’re getting dressed and applying makeup or fixing your hair. New lighting fixtures over the sink will do wonders for the space. Replacing current lighting can be quite inexpensive if you can do the work yourself, with light fixtures going for $100 to $200 for basic designs.

Traditional Bathroom with Vanity Lighting By Gast Architects

If you must install lighting where none had previously been, you will have more work to do and must hire an electrician in most cases. However, the pay-off will be worth it, because good lighting is one of the most requested features in a bath.

master bathroom with custom painted insert cabinets and beautiful light fixtures By JCA Architects

Flooring is another important component of updating a bathroom. In such a small space, you can afford to go upscale on this feature and still not spend a lot of money. On the other hand, you can choose something economical to keep your budget low. Homes with wood floors in the bathroom can easily be re-sanded and stained. Just don’t forget to put a sealant on the floor to protect it from humidity and water damage. Polyurethane paint does a good job of preventing damage to wood floors in a bathroom. Make sure you apply multiple coats for adequate coverage.

Bathroom with wooden floors and angled freestanding bath tub By International Custom Designs

The ideal flooring for bathrooms is tile. Choose clearance tiles for a fraction of what you would normally have to pay for the newest designer tiles. Just select a basic pattern that doesn’t look too trendy and it will hold its value longer.

Pure white caeserstone tub surround and porcelain tiles By ID by Gwen

Storage is an important part of any bathroom, and a lot of older spaces lack this important element. In a small room like the bathroom, you have to look up to add storage. Install a cabinet over the toilet or open shelving to make the space look bigger. Add a medicine cabinet over the sink with an attached mirror. You can even purchase wire baskets to place over the toilet tank or on the floor to create storage where nothing else will fit.

Space maximizing bathroom cabinets By College City Design-Build

A breakdown of your costs for this updated space is as follows:

Refinishing the bathroom sink or vanity: $20 to $50

Replacing bath faucets: $200

Installing new light fixtures: $200

Installing new tiles: $500 to $2,500

Adding storage: from $100 to $1,000

For around $1,000 to $2,500, you can completely recreate your bathroom, which is the price most homeowners will love. Of course, this assumes you can do most of the work yourself and you don’t have any plumbing or electrical issues to deal with.

Mid-Range

If low-cost bathroom remodels are all about working with what you have, mid-range updates are about spending your money wisely. You’ll do more than just refinish and repaint, but you won’t be starting from scratch. The focus here is to know what to work with and what to replace.

First, you need to know how much you can expect to spend. The average cost for a mid-range bathroom remodel is $16,000 to $17,000, according to 150 Points. A good rule of thumb is to keep your remodeling project between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your home to get a good return on your investment.

Expect to spend most of your budget on cabinetry, fixtures and plumbing with labor taking the biggest cut if you can’t do some of the work yourself. Flooring and countertops will be the next priority with lighting, updating doors and windows, and painting the walls and ceiling being the lowest-cost items on your budget.

What makes a mid-range remodel stand out? The details are what will create a luxurious space without breaking your budget. For instance, when focusing on flooring, consider adding heated flooring. While this feature feels high-end, it’s actually an affordable addition. It’s also practical because it helps dry out the room and prevents slips and falls.

Heated Bathroom Floors

Choose stain-resistant grout to go with your tiles. While it does cost a little more than traditional grout, it pays off because your floors and shower stalls continue to look good for longer, with less cleaning required.

Lighting is one of the most important elements in a mid-range remodel. Even if you have a bathroom with no windows, you can install a skylight to let in natural light. Fixtures just above the basic, but not high-end, are also a good investment.

Bathroom with skylights for natural lighting By RW Anderson Homes

With a mid-range remodel, you’re going to want to replace the vanity if it’s old and outdated. Choose a stylish design, but you don’t need custom unless you have an odd-shaped room. It should have a nice sink, and double sinks are a must-have for the master bath.

The next place to focus on is the shower. Tile adds an attractive feature to the space while protecting your walls. It’s possible to have a pro refinish your existing tub or shower, but you may also have to budget in a replacement. To save money, you can buy a shower-tub combination, which will eliminate the need for tiling and cut down on maintenance.

A breakdown of expenses for this project is following:

Radiant heat: $400 to $800

Flooring: $400 to $1,000

New lighting: $200 to $400

New vanity: $500 to $1,000

New tiling: $3,000 to $6,000

How much you spend should depend more on how much of the work you do as well as what kind of deals you get. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive options on flooring, tile and the vanity, you don’t want to go with the most basic design either.


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Top 10 Hacks to Improve the Warmth and Comfort of Your Bathroom in the Winter

The soundest advice you’ll ever get on reducing your heating bills and staying more comfortable indoors during the winter is: treat the person and not the house. Yes, toasty warm thermal merino wool socks, extra sweaters and hand crocheted ushankas are all fantastic, but there is one place in your house where they are not going to help you much – the bathroom. Let’s look at ten of the best ways to help your bathroom combat those frosty winter mornings. 😉

1. Don’t let the cold air in!

caulking-and-weatherproofing

Picture cold air as an enemy massing outside your walls looking for any way inside. One of your weakest points of defense are your window frames. If the caulking around bathroom windows is old and cracking remove it (a putty knife does the job quickly) and do the job again. On the outside you will need weatherizing silicone caulk, but on the inside you can get away with inexpensive tubes of acrylic caulk. These days caulk comes in a variety of colors that can match you bathroom’s existing decor.

Inspect the entrances where your plumbing pipes enter and leave the bathroom. If the holes have not been properly sealed they may require caulking or, in the case of large gaps, a can of expanding foam. And don’t forget to insulate electrical outlets on outside walls. Form-fitting foam gaskets can keep cold air from flowing into the bathroom through the prong holes.

Total Cost – Less than $10

2. Treat your windows

According to Sustainability Victoria, an energy watchdog group in Australia, “A single pane of glass can lose almost 10 times as much heat as the same area of insulated wall.” One free way to insulate the windows is with bubblewrap saved from packages shipped to your home. Cut the bubblewrap to fit your window and adhere it with a spritz of water to the window. The bubblewrap will still permit light, but it will block any views you might enjoy.

A more aesthetic option is clear film that is applied with double-stick tape; all is included in commercially available window-treating kits. When the film is trimmed and heat-shrunk with a common hairdryer it is almost invisible. Be careful applying the tape to painted surfaces inside your bathroom; if there is any worries about paint peeling off when removed, use painter’s tape (blue rolls) to avoid the problem. Of course, once the plastic is installed you won’t be able to open your windows again until spring so plan ahead.

plastic-wrap-on-a-window

Total Cost – Less than $10

3. Recruit the sun as your ally

One of the best ways to keep warm air inside your bathroom is with heavy curtains that will also accent your bathroom decor. You can double up on curtains or select thermal curtains to block even more heat from escaping. Always leave the curtains open, especially on south-facing windows, during the day to bathe the space in warming sunlight and close up for the night. If you are in the house all day, do not open the curtains until the sunlight is directly on the bathroom window; when the sun moves away draw the curtains again. One trick to seal thermal curtains snugly against the wall is with magnetic curtain clips.

Total Cost – $20 – $100

4. Improvised bathroom Shutters

If your bathroom is not a public space in your house you can buy rigid foam-board and cut it to fit your windows. Remove them only when light is needed. You can also make your own shutters with pieces of cardboard boxes taped together and fitted into the window space. Also, if you are not looking to keep your bathroom a showplace, an old blanket can help insulate the space in the winter.

Total Cost – Less than $10

5. Quickie…

If your bathroom is equipped with a ceiling vent do not turn it on to help odors escape – the warm air will go right outside with them. 😉

Total Cost – Free!

6. Look out below

We all know warm air rises. But before heated air begins its journey to the ceiling, the British National Energy Foundation tells us approximately 10% disappears through the floor. The simple solution is to cover as much of the bathroom floor with rugs as is practical.

Total Cost – Less than $50

7. If you really can’t stand cold feet

If your bathroom is in line for a renovation, consider installing radiant heat flooring. The idea behind radiant heat has been around for centuries, with heated water snaking through tubes around the house. Today’s electric systems use thin wires, much like an electric blanket, and are controlled by thermostat.

Heated Bathroom Floors

Total Cost – $400 to $700

8. Humidity is your friend

In 1901 Willis Carrier, an engineer, was standing on a foggy train platform in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he realized that the way to cool the air was to remove the water. In 1904 Carrier invented the air conditioning industry with his “Apparatus For Treating Air.” In our winter homes the air is often dry and parched, making us feel colder. We need to “treat the air” to increase the humidity of our indoor air to feel warmer.

The bathroom is the ideal place for that. After a hot shower do not allow the water in the tub to drain away until it has reached room temperature. After all, you paid to heat that water so take advantage of it as it dissipates its heat into the house. The extra humidity will help keep the bathroom a little warmer. Also keep a few houseplants in your bathroom – and well watered. This will increase the humidity and enhance the decor of the room.

Total Cost – Zero after buying the plants and running the water heater

9. Heat the space

You can always heat your bathroom for the time it will be used. If you haven’t used an electric space heater recently today’s models are powerful and stylish. They can stand in towers or be mounted on walls, away from any splash zones. Candles are not only atmospheric and aromatic (what a great way to indulge your senses with pleasant scents and aromas – talking about comfort!), but they are also little heat sources in your bathroom. And with a couple of bricks and an old clay pot you can fashion a Terra Cotta Pot Heater to warm the entire space! 😉

improvised-terra-cotta-pot-heater

Total Cost – A few dollars for the candles; $20 – $200 for a space heater

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