What You Need To Know About Remodeling The Bathroom

Thinking about remodeling your bathroom? Be sure you read this first.

Thinking of remodeling your bathroom? Bathroom remodels and upgrades are by far one of the most desirable remodeling projects, and for good reason. Our bathrooms are places of retreat and relaxation, and it’s difficult to do either of these things when you’re focused on leaky faucets, mold issues, outdated fixtures, or a too small of a room. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, bathroom remodeling ranked highest in most common jobs booked, beating out kitchen remodeling projects. Before you hire a bathroom remodeling contractor, be sure you understand these facts and figures about remodeling, and see if your home is keeping up with the trends.

Small bathroom remodeling costs

For some homeowners, a bathroom remodel may be on the smaller scale, like updating major fixtures as well as the surfaces. Remodeling Magazine defines a midrange bathroom remodel in the following manner: “Update an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom. Replace all fixtures to include 30-by-60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with 4-by-4-inch ceramic tile surround; new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control; standard white toilet; solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink; recessed medicine cabinet with light; ceramic tile floor; vinyl wallpaper.”

  • Average midrange bathroom remodeling job cost in 2015: $16,724
  • Average midrange bathroom remodeling resale value in 2015: $11,707
  • Average midrange bathroom remodeling cost recouped in 2015: 70%

Master bathroom remodeling costs

Some homeowners choose to remodel and expand a bathroom, like a master bathroom, which may have high end features and encompass a larger square footage.  Remodeling Magazine defines an upscale bathroom remodel in the following manner: “Expand an existing 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet within existing house footprint. Relocate all fixtures. Include 42-by-42-inch neo-angle shower with ceramic tile walls with accent strip, recessed shower caddy, body-spray fixtures, and frameless glass enclosure. Include a customized whirlpool tub; stone countertop with two sinks; two mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting; a compartmentalized commode area with one-piece toilet; and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan. Use all color fixtures. Use larger matching ceramic tiles on the floor, laid on the diagonal with ceramic tile base molding. Add general and spot lighting including waterproof shower fixture. Cabinetry shall include a custom drawer base and wall cabinets for a built-in look. Extend HVAC system, and include electric in-floor heating and heated towel bars.”

  • Average upscale bathroom remodeling job cost in 2015: $54,115
  • Average upscale bathroom remodeling resale value in 2015: $32,385
  • Average upscale bathroom remodeling cost recouped in 2015: 59.8%

Bathroom remodeling: where your money goes

Although average costs of a bathroom remodel might be within your budget, it’s important to know where that money is being spent. The National Kitchen and Bath Association surveyed its members to find out just where most of the money is spent when remodeling a bathroom.

  • Design Fees: 4%
  • Installation: 20%
  • Fixtures: 15%
  • Cabinetry & hardware: 16%
  • Countertops: 7%
  • Lighting & ventilation: 5%
  • Flooring: 9%
  • Doors & Windows: 4%
  • Walls & Ceilings: 5%
  • Faucets & Plumbing: 14%
  • Other: 1%

How large is the average bathroom?

Homes built today tend to dedicate more square feet to nearly every room in the house, according to the National Association of Home Builders. In 1983 the average home size was 1,725 square feet. In 2013 the average home size was 2,598 square feet, a significant increase in overall square footage, with an average master bathroom size of 160 square feet (or about 6% of the home). It goes without saying that the larger the home, the larger amount of square footage is dedicated to the bathroom. Below you’ll see the average amount of square footage dedicated to both the master bathroom as well as the total square footage dedicated to the other bathrooms in a home.

Average square footage dedicated to the master bathroom, by size of home

  • Average size of master bathroom in a new home = 160 sq ft
  • Average size of master bathroom for new homes under 2,000 sq ft = 115 sq ft
  • Average size of master bathroom for new homes 2,000 – 2,999 sq ft = 144 sq ft
  • Average size of master bathroom for new homes over 3,000 sq ft = 210 sq ft

Average square footage dedicated to other bathrooms, by size of home

  • Average size of the other bathrooms (combined) in a new home = 191 sq ft
  • Average size ofthe other bathrooms (combined) for new homes under 2,000 sq ft = 93 sq ft
  • Average size ofthe other bathrooms (combined) for new homes 2,000 – 2,999 sq ft = 146 sq ft
  • Average size ofthe other bathrooms (combined) for new homes over 3,000 sq ft = 313 sq ft

How many bathrooms do homes typically have?

Of the 569,000 single-family homes completed in 2013, 4.7% had one and ½ bathrooms or less, 33% had 3 or more bathrooms. Homes built today are more likely to have more bathrooms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 48% of homes built between 2005-2009 had 2.5 bathrooms compared to just 10% before the 1960s. Here is the percentage breakdown (by decade) of how many homes had 2.5 bathrooms or more:

  • Before 1960s: 10.1%
  • 1970s: 16.7%
  • 1980s: 23.9%
  • 1990s: 35.8%
  • 2000-2004: 43.9%
  • 2005-2009: 47.9%

Just how long do bathroom fixtures last?

Despite the fact that bathrooms are high on the list of rooms to remodel and update, most bathroom fixtures and features can last several decades or even a lifetime.  Given the cost of materials, fixtures, and other bathroom features, it’s important to select durable and well-made materials in colors that you will want to see for years to come. This Old House gives us the scoop on just how long some typical bathroom features last.

  • Medicine cabinets: 20 years
  • Cultured marble countertops: 20 years
  • Copper plated wiring: a lifetime
  • Light switches and other electrical accessories: 10 years
  • Showerheads: a lifetime
  • Shower Doors: 20 years
  • Bath cabinetry: lifetime
  • Toilets: unlimited (but internal components may need replacing)
  • Whirlpool tubs: 20 – 50 years
  • Natural wood flooring: 100 years
  • Natural stone floors: 100 years
  • Vinyl floors: 50 years
  • Linoleum floors: 25 years
  • Carpeting: 8-10 years
  • Electric or gas water heater: 10 years
  • Tankless water heater: 20 years

Related: A Brief History of the Bathroom

Top image credit: DeForest Architects

 

Sources:

Cost vs. Value, Remodeling Magazine 

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2015/

National Association of Home Builders 

http://www.nahb.org/en/research/housing-economics/special-studies/spaces-in-new-homes-2013.aspx

U.S. Census Bureau 

https://www.census.gov/construction/chars/highlights.html

National Kitchen and Bath Association 

http://www.nkba.org/ 

This Old House 

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20219708_last,00.html

Anne Reagan

Anne Reagan

With a background in furniture and antiques, Anne has spent the last several years writing about home improvement and interior design. An avid traveler, she loves to collect pieces that tell a story and in her off hours she can be found hunting for vintage furniture and textiles.

One Comment

David B

One the easiest and best home improvements you can do is to add a Hand Held Bidet Sprayer to your bathroom. Unlike a Bidet it can fit in any size bathroom. It requires no new plumbing, is very inexpensive and it will actually save you money on toilet paper forever.

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