28 June 2009

That bathroom cost how much?!



One of my brothers and I had a brief e-mail exchange last week concerning a bath renovation project that fell into his lap last week. The brother in question is the king of the do-it-yourselfers. He knows what he's doing and over the years, he's done a great job on his and his family's home.

The bath project in question started out as an expedition into a wall to fix a slow leak. The home in question is 100-year-old-or-so former school that he's converted into a home for his large family. As is usually the case in an older building, fixing a simple leak is never simple and such a job rarely consists of a quick fix.

In the course of cutting into a wall to find the bad water line, he ended up with a full-blown construction site on his hands. It happens. What really got him though was how much money he ended up spending on what was supposed to have been a minor repair in a secondary bath.

I sympathized, but it's not as if there's anything I could do about the cost part. Bathroom renovations are expensive and quick fixes either don't exist or they are not something that will really improve what's already there. I get called on a lot of bath jobs, but I don't end up working on most of the rooms people call me about. I live in a part of the world with somewhat older housing stock. Older housing stock means small bathrooms. Unless a bath is being expanded or it's part of a larger renovation project, I can't make enough money on the job for it to be worth my time. That may sound haughty or cold, but so what. Even a small bath remodel requires a lot of my time, generally the same amount of time it takes to work on a larger job. I make more money on larger jobs, so it makes no sense for me to take on a time-intensive small bath.

I'm not alone in this either. Anybody who's ever tried to find a contractor or designer willing to work on a downstairs powder room knows what I mean.

Anyhow, the great Kelly Morisseau from KitchenSync had a link on Twitter yesterday and it led to a blog called Confessions of a Tile Setter. Confessions is written by a man who goes by the name of Suntango, and Suntango's Texas-based blog is filled with all kinds of insight regarding the renovation business form the perspective of a skilled tradesman. In Suntango's blog entry from last Friday, I found this:
According to an annual construction cost survey by RemodelingOnline, a mid-range remodel of a 5x7-foot bathroom averages $11,585-$14,889; for an upscale expansion of a 5x7 bathroom to 9x9-feet within the existing house footprint, costs run $35,111-$43,050. These are averages; actual costs may be higher or lower.According to an annual construction cost survey by RemodelingOnline, a mid-range remodel of a 5x7-foot bathroom averages $11,585-$14,889; for an upscale expansion of a 5x7 bathroom to 9x9-feet within the existing house footprint, costs run $35,111-$43,050. These are averages; actual costs may be higher or lower.

According to a construction survey by RemodelingOnline, a mid-range remodel of a 5x7-foot bathroom averages $11,585-$14,889.

Here in Texas that is a bit high. However, you could easily shell out $30,000 in a small bathroom with upscale materials like a heated floor, heated toilet, heated towel bars, gem quality Natural Stone Tile, upscale fixtures, TV Monitor in mirror, etc.

For an expansion of a small 5x7 bathroom to 9x9-feet or larger within the existing home, cost can easily get into the high teens to close to $30,000. Again this can escalate with added features and trades.
You can pretty much hang your hat on these figures gang. In my experience, they are dead on. If you're thinking about a bath renovation sometime soon, keep these numbers handy as you work out a budget for it.

4 comments:

  1. I agree that while the figures may seem high they are good benchmarks. The bathroom is the most expensive room per square foot.

    Despite the slow economy, people still want the bathroom to be a spa-like retreat where they can get away from the problems of the day. Such amenities have increased the remodeling averages in the last 10 years.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Ann. I hate being the bearer of bad news when I get a bathroom remodel inquiry. The baths profiled on TV and in magazines rarely have price tags associated with them. Do you do many bath remodels?

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  3. We started a very small bath remodel project in an old pier and beam home. It was about 5x10 and we were to remove and replace the tub, tile shower walls, flooring, cabinets, and new granite top with new plumbing fixtures. We added a new light fixture and niche in the tub-shower wall.

    The cost was at about $3600.00 and several days work.

    When we removed the tub we found the flooring was rotted out, the customer added tearing out the fur down and old cabinets for more room, and we had to level and rebuild the wood beam flooring to level it. The customer was understandably upset when the work cost shot through $6200.00.

    The tub the customer ordered was defective so we had to take it back and find another one. More money and time.

    These were inexpensive materials but the labor was the kicker at about $400.00 a day for a couple guys to rebuild the sub floor. This bath had previous work done and they had simply left several hundred pounds of old wood, tile, and just trash under the bath flooring.

    This is a draw to insects like termites and we had to remove and haul all that off as well so we wouldn't get blamed for it in the future. That cost money too.

    Folks need to be prepared for unexpected costs when looking a remodel.

    Ed Sunderland
    howtofloortile@blogspot.com

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