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and relaxation, and it’s difficult to do either of these things when you’re focused on leaky faucets, mold issues, outdated fixtures, or a too small of a room.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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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 square footage dedicated to other bathrooms, by size of home
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:
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.
Related: A Brief History of the Bathroom
Top image credit: DeForest Architects
Cost vs. Value, Remodeling Magazine
National Association of Home Builders
U.S. Census Bureau
National Kitchen and Bath Association
This Old House