The bathroom is one of the most essential rooms of the house and a refresh can add considerable value to your home. In this cost guide we delve into the range of potential costs associated with a bathroom renovation.
When renovating a bathroom, cost is a considerable factor for deciding on style, features and amenities. But how much should you expect to budget for when planning a bathroom refresh?
For an estimate figure, you can expect to spend anywhere between $10,000 to $35,000+. The cost can vary depending on the size of your bathroom, the materials used, as well as any labour costs. However, it is possible for a renovation to cost lower around $5000 if you are willing to swap out a few items or keep the refresh a largely cosmetic update.
Expect to pay more if you are thinking of a complete renovation or:
- Undertaking any structural work
- Want new features that require additional plumbing works
- Are moving plumbing from one area to another
- Replacing all wall and floor tiles
How long will my bathroom renovation take?
Depending on the scale of the project, the renovation will take time so allow anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks of labour. Factors that can affect this timeframe include:
- Any structural works
- Moving plumbing and/or electrical elements
- Having large amounts of tiles to lay
- Unforeseen events, like discovering asbestos in your wall or floor cavity.
The research, planning and design of the renovation, with no major structural changes, allow around 6 to 8 weeks for this phase. This includes:
- Time to develop the design
- Selecting materials and fittings
- Getting quotes from a range of businesses.
Which tradies do I need for my bathroom renovation?
Wondering who you may need to hire for your bathroom project? These are the most common trades you will need to call on:
Bathroom builders can manage and run your project completely on your behalf, and often have all trades on staff to cover different aspects of the job. If not, they can coordinate sub-contractors. This will cost you extra but will take the hassle out of any renovation job.
If you are hiring individual trades:
Architects help to design floor plans for your new bathroom, ensuring everything is logically laid out to suit your lifestyle. Expect to pay for the privilege of their expertise.
Carpenters and cabinet makers can help install custom storage in your bathroom, such as a vanity, cabinetry or any other timber elements such as a new door or window.
Electricians can help install lighting, power points, heating, ventilation and much more.
Painters will need to paint any areas that are not covered by tiles or other elements, preferably with a moisture and wear-resistant paint.
Plumbers are perhaps the most crucial tradie on your project, so make sure you hire one who has a good track record of working on bathrooms.
Tilers are another crucial trade who can can make or break the look of your bathroom. They also need to get small details right, like making sure your shower recess drains properly.
Waterproofers will use a variety of sealants and membranes to make sure your bathroom is properly sealed - so you don't have leaks sprouting up all over the place.
Does my bathroom renovator need to be licensed?
Most elements of a bathroom renovation, such as plumbing and tiling require the use of a licensed contractor. A complete bathroom renovation will typically require a licensed builder, with some states having a licence specifically for bathroom and kitchen renovations. Individual trades such as plumbers, waterproofers and sparkies all need to be qualified and licensed.
Hiring a bathroom renovator
When it comes time to hiring a contractor make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask then include:
- Are you licensed?
- Are you insured to work in my home?
- How long will my job take?
- Can you provide a written quote?
- Do you have references I can follow up?
- Can I see examples of your work?
Complete bathroom renovation costs
So how much will you have to spend? As a guideline, expect to spend in the region of:
- $5,000 - $15,000 for a cosmetic makeover or smaller bathroom renovation using budget materials and fittings.
- $15,000 - $25,000 for an average sized mid-range renovation using mid-range materials and fittings
- $25,000+ for a high end bathroom renovation using top of the range materials and fittings.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) found $17,000 to be the average value for bathrooms installed as part of a renovation in 2015. The best way of working out how much your project will cost is to get a range of quotes from local businesses who specialise in renovating bathrooms. You may be surprised how different they are..
#hiptip: Get at least three quotes before you commit to hiring anyone, so you can compare price and level of service
Estimating your bathroom renovation costs
Some of the major costs to plan for include:
- Plumbing, especially if you are moving plumbing or installing new elements.
- Tiling, which could include floor and wall tiles.
- Frameless shower screen, semi-frameless shower screen or standard shower screen.
- Bath, which could be integrated or freestanding.
- Toilet, which could be a standard version or have an in-wall cistern.
- Vanity, standard or wall mounted which looks cleaner and gives you more floor space.
- Lighting, which could be task, general or mood.
- Waterproofing, to ensure your bathroom doesn’t leak.
Plumbers charge a call-out fee of $60 to $100, with hourly rates anywhere from $100 - $150 depending on the plumber. The fee your plumber charges will depend on where you live and may vary according to the plumber’s skill level.
Expect to pay:
- $80 to $250 to replace and fit bath or basin taps or a new shower head
- $160 to $550 to install to install a toilet, basin, sink or bath
If a plumber is quoting for a large project such as your bathroom renovation project, ask for an itemised quote which details all the elements they are charging for.
The size of your bathroom is going to be a major factor in the cost of your renovation, and since so much of a bathroom is tiled, you need to know what the boundaries of your budget are. Expect to be quoted on a per square metre rate by bathroom tilers, which could range from $35 per square metre to $120 per square metre. $60 per square metre is the average for laying bathroom tiles. The cost of the actual tiles would be on top of this, so be sure to factor this in.
For wall tiles expect to pay from $20 to $28 per square meter for standard white ceramic wall tiles (600mm x 300mm) to $68 per square metre for steel grey polished porcelain wall tiles (150mm x 600mm). Moving up in price expect to pay around $86 per square metre for handmade Spanish white gloss ceramic subway tiles (150mm x 75mm) and $159 per square metre for artisan manufactured ceramic wall tiles (200mm x 200mm).
For floor tiles expect to pay $35 to $50 per square meter for ceramic or porcelain tiles, $50 to $100 per square meter for high quality porcelain and $80 to $130 per square meter for high quality natural stone tiles.
Baths range in price from affordable and versatile acrylic, to durable cast iron and flexible fibreglass to high end natural stone. Expect to pay anywhere from $350 for a plumber to replace and fit a bath. New baths can range from as little as $400 to thousands of dollars, with stone freestanding versions at the upper end of the scale.
#hiptip: Keep your existing plumbing layout to avoid costly works
Shower screens vary in price according to their size and if they are framed, semi-frameless or frameless, with the latter being the most costly. Expect to pay in the region of $400 to have a basic framed shower screen installed. Frameless shower screens use thicker glass, and are consequently more expensive - expect to pay in excess of $600 depending on the size and number of panels.
Depending on the toilet you choose, these can cost from $150 to $750 or more for a floor-mounted hidden cistern or wall hung toilet. On average, a good quality floor-mounted vitreous china toilet costs between $275 and $450.
Bathroom vanities range in price from:
- $467 for a 900mm wall hung vanity with hidden handles
- $849 for a 750mm floorstanding console vanity
- $999 for a 1500mm double bowl vanity
- $1360 for a 1200mm wall hung vanity with integrated cermaic basin
Expect waterproofing to cost anywhere from $500 to $750 for an average sized bathroom.
Alternatives to a complete bathroom reno
If you’ve estimated the cost of a dream bathroom renovation and the amount is higher than you can afford, there are ways to modernise your bathroom without breaking the bank. Some alternatives to a complete bathroom renovation include:
- Installing a new shower screen
- Bath and basin resurfacing
- Painting bathroom tiles
- Installing a skylight
* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.
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