You Need a Comprehensive Bathroom Remodel Budget

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re getting ready to remodel your bathroom. Before you start buying tiles and paint, be sure you know exactly what you want to do with the space and the total bathroom remodel cost. Make sure that you start by creating a detailed bathroom renovation budget so you’ll know exactly where your money is going.  

Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who need to create a bathroom remodel budget in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & San Diego Counties.

GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened bathroom remodel contractors, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.

Related: Estimate the cost of your remodel with our bathroom remodel cost calculator

Why You Should Create a Bathroom Remodel Budget

All renovations are notorious for running over budget, and bathroom remodels are no different. Because homeowners want quality high-end fixtures and features, they may often forget to budget for installation costs and other details. If you decide to move the toilet over three inches, that’s major plumbing work that could increase the bathroom remodel cost by several thousand dollars.

Find renovation contractors who can help with your bathroom remodel budget

When you decide how to spend your money at the beginning of the project—making all your design and materials decisions before you even hire a contractor—you’ll have a lot more control over the process and are more likely to stay close to your budget. Industry experts find that a third of bathroom remodels go over budget by a whopping 30%. 

So, deciding where and how you’re spending your money is critical to a successful project. One thing to keep in mind is that good bathroom remodels in Los Angeles will certainly add resale value to your home. 

Tips for Creating a Bathroom Remodel Checklist

How extensive is your project? Are you freshening up your powder room or ripping out your master bath and starting from scratch? The scope of your project determines not only your total bathroom remodel cost, but it will dictate the amount of time your project will take to complete as well.

The first thing to do when you’re working on your budget is to make a checklist. Including demolition, construction, moving of various fixtures, adding new elements like a steam shower or bidet, finishes, and materials. Walk through your bathroom and note absolutely everything you want to change, down to the towel & tissue holders. 

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Then, determine a rough bathroom remodel estimate once you add up all the costs above. Although it seems backward, understanding the bottom line up front keeps you from making regrettable decisions and helped you focus on what’s really important in your renovation. Once you understand what these various aspects cost and then factor in labor costs, it’s easier to make your choices.

Total your costs as you go, so you’ll know at the outset what you can really afford and if you need to save a bit more money to get your dream bath. Don’t meet with bathroom renovation contractors until you have some sense of your budget. 

How to research bathroom remodel materials and finishes?

How to create an effective bathroom remodel budget

In order to get a sense of the costs you need to include in your budget, you’ll have to do some homework and research various options. Talk to the pros at the kitchen and bath showrooms, go to home improvement stores, and yes, scroll through Pinterest and Houzz for inspiration.

Home magazines are a great jumping-off point; go old-school and rip out pages you like. A Pinterest board is fine, too, but moving paper around and cutting out photos for a mood board lets you see the big picture in one place. You can check the manufacturer’s websites to define some of these costs as well.

Get Budget Numbers and Do the Math

Once you’ve got your wish list finalized, start looking at prices so you can refine your wishes into reality. A spreadsheet is a great way to keep track of everything, but be sure to leave a column for contractor costs and overruns. You’ll want to create a budget estimate for the materials you can control—fixtures, finishes, etc. And you can also research bathroom remodel budget estimates online for the installation and labor costs, just make sure you are researching costs that are specific to your area… a remodel in Los Angeles will likely cost significantly more than a remodel in Boise! 

You may not know the exact bathroom contractor costs until you meet with them and get estimates. By knowing your material costs ahead of time, you’ll be able to determine which elements you need to cut back on…if labor & construction costs are higher than anticipated. Usually, at least 50% of bathroom remodel costs are comprised of construction/labor, not materials. 

How Much Do Bathroom Remodels Cost in Los Angeles and Southern California?

Forget what you read about national averages for a bathroom remodel cost, if you live in Los Angeles or Southern California. Here, a small bathroom remodel will cost about $25,000, while a major renovation in your master bath costs $40,000 or more. 

One thing you probably noticed when you were making your budget is that a bathroom remodel has a lot of components. This includes shower tile, shower doors, tub, faucets, toilet, floor tile, lighting, mirrors, vanity, hardware, and more. As they say, it all adds up. You may be able to purchase some fixtures on your own, but you’ll pay your bathroom remodeling contractor for most of the rough materials and labor. 

Related: Home Improvement Financing and Loan Options

How to Share/Discuss Your Budget With Potential Bathroom Contractors

bathroom remodel budget selections

When you’re meeting with a bathroom remodel contractor, be upfront about your budget and your wish list. Share your bathroom remodel checklist. Ask them to use your checklist to provide you with a complete bathroom remodel cost estimate.

When you ask multiple contractors for bathroom remodel estimates, these bids will almost never be in the same format and you’ll need to review them carefully in order to get an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison of their true scope and costs. Use a bathroom planning checklist to make sure all the items in your scope are included in each estimate. As far as materials, you’ll need to determine whether each bid has the contractor or you paying for specific material items such as paint, tile, hardware, plumbing fixtures, mirrors, lights, etc.

It always helps to ask your contractor questions like:

  • Will they estimate labor costs for the installation of items you’ve already bought?
  • Will they give you a bottom-line number for the entire project?
  • Will they split the quote to account for both?

Check out this link for a more complete list of questions to ask your contractor.

How to Find the Right Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Everybody wants to do a bathroom remodel for cheap but keep in mind that the quality of the work should be your primary concern. Finding the right bathroom remodeling contractor is about more than getting the lowest price; if you have to redo everything in a year it wasn’t that great a deal. If one estimate is way out of line (that’s why you get three), either that’s an unrealistic number or it’s way overpriced. Review all the quotes carefully for any unreasonable differences and ask why a given number is so far off.  What you’re looking for is a bathroom remodel contractor who will make the most out of your budget, in quality and design. 

What else should you look for in a bathroom remodeling contractor? In most cases, only general contractors are qualified to perform full bathroom remodels. This is because bathroom remodeling requires multiple trades: tile, electrical, plumbing, paint, demolition, carpentry and possibly framing. You’ll want to hire a general contractor rather than hiring each of these trades yourself. And make sure your general contractor is fully licensed and insured. An unlicensed or uninsured contractor is a red flag…if they can’t run their business legitimately, you shouldn’t expect them to do a great job on your remodel.

Not sure how to find a remodeling contractor in Southern California? Let GreatBuildz help streamline your renovation experience—we’ll connect you with screened and dependable bathroom remodel contractors in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, and San Diego. We’ll also give you project support so you can turn your inspiration into reality.

Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information:

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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