Renovation Costs 101: Bathrooms

½ baths, main bath, ensuites, oh my!

Renovating any type of bathroom is a good idea as it will give you a decent ROI, can save you money if there are water leaks, can actually improve the health of your indoor air (no mold, easier to keep clean), and there’s the direct benefits like better storage, function, and enjoyment.

For the approximate pricing I give, which can still vary greatly, I’m assuming a fairly straight-forward renovation, working with a general contractor and designer. As mentioned in the previous renovation cost post, always add at least 10% to these numbers for unknowns that will come up. Sometimes bathrooms can have more surprises than other rooms and you may need a healthier contingency fund, closer to 20%.

The simplest renovation to do is obviously the ½ bath, also called powder room or two-piece bathroom. Toilet; vanity with a sink and faucet (plus countertop and backsplash), or a pedestal sink; flooring; towel rod or ring; paper holder; mirror; light; and sometimes a medicine cabinet.

If there is no water damage, the renovation of a ½ bath is pretty straight-forward. You can anticipate a starting budget for what I listed above around $4000. This would be for a pretty basic level of finishes and selections, mostly big-box items, not moving the location of the fixtures, and working with a general contractor and designer. A DIY version of that would bring the number down, obviously. And, of course, this number can go waaaay up if you want better quality items, which I would recommend.

This 1/2 Bath got glammed up with some cool wallpaper.

Here’s a little helpful tip: Don’t purchase faucets from the big-box stores because the inner workings aren’t made with quality materials, like brass, anymore. You think you’re getting a name-brand faucet, but I have learned from those in the industry that there are agreements with these stores and the manufacturers to have their product made at a lower price level. They look the same, but inside they are not and they won't last as long.

Okay, back to pricing.

Next type of bathroom is your average main bath, also called a 3-piece bathroom. These have a vanity with a countertop, backsplash, sink, and faucet; toilet; bathtub with a tub/shower combo faucet; mirror; light fixture; medicine cabinet; towel bar; towel ring; and a paper holder; and flooring. Using average level finishes and fixtures, not moving the location of any of the fixtures, no water damage, and working with a general contractor and designer, you can budget a starting price at $20000. If you chose some lower priced items that will help bring things down. This is also something a DIYer can tackle with some know-how and good research.

Last main type is the ensuite. These can vary so much in their size, what is in them, and what level of finishes and fixtures you want to go for.

Basic ensuite: Vanity, toilet, and shower. At a minimum, this would be $20000, similar items in it to the main bath description above.

Wouldn't this make for a nice, cozy soak?

Mid-level ensuite: Double sink vanity; toilet; tub; and shower. This is going to start at $30000 if you can keep the selections reasonably priced. I know we all have numbers in our head for what we think is reasonable, but to give you an example, an average priced toilet is anything under $1000. Some will balk at spending over $300 for a toilet and others are willing to go for the $10000 toilets! Nothing wrong with choosing one of these, just figure out your priorities and put your money where it matters for you.


Overall, this is the most typical budget for an ensuite that I see.




High-end ensuite: The same thing applies here as it did with the kitchen pricing: It can only go up! Once you start selecting higher end fixtures, quality finishes and going for custom vanities, the price goes up quickly. With all the variables and options available, this level would start at $50000.

One aspect with the high-end ensuite to keep in mind is you won’t enjoy the same ROI, if you’re renovating for selling, as you would the mid-level ensuite. If you are living in a million+ dollar home, then that’s a different situation, but for your average to above average house, you don’t want to spend too much on things. Most people won’t value the same things as you and might not appreciate all the fancy features your bathroom has, nor want to pay for it. Choose wisely!

As always, if you need some guidance on the level you should renovate to for your home and help with the design, please reach out and get the answers and help you’re looking for.