Ready to remodel your bathroom but wondering how much it will cost? For such small rooms, bathrooms can be pretty costly to overhaul.
However, a bathroom remodel can also add value to your home, both in terms of what you get out of it as the homeowner and the price it commands when it comes time to sell.
How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom in Canada?
The chart below will give you a rough estimate of some of the costs you can expect when remodeling a bathroom. You can see how a quick update of a toilet and vanity in a small guest bathroom might be completed for under $5,000, depending on labour costs, while a demo and full remodel of a primary bathroom could easily add up to $15,000 or more, depending on labour costs.
|Typical cost to buy and install
|Toilets and sinks
Factors that affect the cost of remodeling a bathroom
Size and type of bathroom
Size might seem obvious when it comes to factors affecting bathroom remodeling costs — the bigger the room, the more materials and labour you’ll likely need to remodel it. But the type of bathroom also plays a role in the price to remodel. Is it a compact powder room with just a toilet and pedestal sink? Or, is it a primary ensuite bathroom with a shower, jetted tub and two-sink vanity?
And who is the bathroom’s primary user? If you are remodeling a guest or child’s bathroom, then you’ll probably stick with the basic fixtures and finish. However, if it’s the main bathroom where you’re looking to instill a high level of luxury, prepare for much higher costs. Not only is the primary bathroom where most homeowners like to spend a little more, but it’s also a focal point for when it comes time to sell.
Remodel vs. renovation
The kind of makeover you give your bathroom will greatly affect the cost. A renovation, which entails fixing up a space via smaller, strategic changes — a fresh paint job or new light fixtures, for instance — may suit your needs and budget better than a remodel. A remodel alters the room in a more significant and typically more expensive way. You might do a full remodel (think major demolition and redesign) or a partial remodel, such as adding a skylight.
Level of finish
There are typically four levels of finish when it comes to remodeling projects. The first is builder-grade, which is typically the most basic and affordable option. This finish will make your space functional, but it won’t be the best in terms of quality. The next level is quality-grade; it’s more expensive but also more durable and often much more visually appealing. If your budget allows, you can consider custom- or ultra-custom-grade finishes, which are the most expensive options because they’re often made specifically for your space and tastes. You might choose imported Italian marble for your vanity countertop, for instance.
Labour and location
Bathroom remodeling costs vary across Canada because the price of goods and services vary by location. On one hand, the cost of labour in metropolitan areas may be higher because the cost for workers to live there is higher, but materials may be more readily available, so those costs may be lower. On the other hand, the cost of materials may be higher in more rural or remote areas, while the cost of labour is more affordable. Keep in mind that the number of available contractors that specialize in bathroom remodels plays into the costs too. If demand exceeds the number of professionals, they’ll likely be able to command a higher price no matter the location.
Other bathroom remodeling costs to consider
Plumbing and electrical system repairs and upgrades
Changing the layout of your bathroom, expanding it or adding new items that didn’t previously exist (like a tub where there was only a shower), may require pricey plumbing and electrical work, assuming you can’t do it yourself. If you need to keep costs down, stick to the original design and floor plan of the room. Again, a renovation may prove to be a more budget-friendly option.
Your province or city may require a permit if you’re doing a significant bathroom remodel. Whether one is needed will depend on your location, your plans and the size of your bathroom. Before you get started on your project, consult your contractor about permit requirements and costs. For good measure, verify the information is accurate by doing some independent research.
How to save on a bathroom remodel
If you’re doing a total remodel, there are a few ways to save:
- Have a plan. Before starting your project, set a budget and understand all of your costs. This will keep you from incurring too many unnecessary expenses along the way.
- Get estimates. Multiple bids from contractors can help you find the best price. Bear in mind, however, the professional with the cheapest quote might not be the right choice.
- Source your own items. Shop around for materials if your contractor can’t provide you with a discount.
If your bathroom doesn’t need a full remodel, consider these more cost effective alternatives:
- A partial remodel. Honing in on one area to remodel is going to be cheaper than the entire room.
- Renovation. This may include changes like swapping out hardware (e.g., drawer pulls and towel racks), reglazing a bathtub or painting the walls and door.
- Redecoration. Artwork, plants and other personal touches can have an outsized impact on the appearance of your bathroom without breaking the bank.
Benefits of remodeling your bathroom
Comfort and functionality
A bathroom may be a small room, but it’s a pretty important part of your home that should suit your needs and make you feel comfortable. Perhaps your growing family needs a bigger space to keep from bumping into each other in the mornings. Maybe your aging parent requires a safer, more accessible shower. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted a luxurious, spa-like environment to escape to after a long day. In any case, a remodel can turn your bathroom into a much more enjoyable space.
Potential increase in home value
Bathrooms, especially the primary bathroom, play a surprisingly large role when selling your home.
Prospective home buyers tend to look at:
- Vanities. They should have good height, ample counter space and storage, and stone countertops, such as granite.
- Flooring. Heated flooring can be a very popular draw in colder climates.
- Showers. Large walk-in showers are big draws in the main bathroom of a home.
- Bathtubs. Having a soaking tub somewhere in the home is always a good idea, especially if you might be selling the home to a family with younger kids.
Nerdy Tip: If you’re remodeling your bathroom primarily for resale value, it’s important to keep in mind the level of finish that’s expected in your market. If you over- or under-improve the bathroom, it may impact your potential return on investment.
If you’re taking the DIY approach for a bathroom remodel, your main expense will be materials, drastically reducing the overall cost of the project. Depending on the size, type and level of finish, you may be able to remodel your bathroom for around $5,000.
The most expensive part of a bathroom remodel is significantly altering the layout of the room, as it will likely involve removal, demolition and disposal of current fixtures, as well as major plumbing and electrical changes.
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