The bathroom is arguably one of the most important rooms of your home. It certainly gets more regular use and has more moving parts than most other rooms. From dripping faucets to outdated fixtures & tile, to water-damaged vanities, you may find any number of reasons to consider a remodel. When looking for a contractor in our area, the bathroom remodel cost in Los Angeles is top of mind.
For Los Angeles, most small bathroom remodels will cost around $25,000, and larger master bathroom remodels will cost around $40,000. We’ll go over the factors to consider, but keep in mind that labor can account for 50+% of the total, and the bathroom remodeling cost in LA can range from $15,000 to $60,000.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable general contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about bathroom remodeling costs – here are the factors to consider when thinking about cost:
Related: Estimate the cost of your remodel with our bathroom remodel cost calculator
How Does Bathroom Size Affect the Cost of Remodeling?
Your first step should be to determine the square footage of the room. Any contractor is going to put heavy emphasis on the size of your bathroom in calculating an estimate. A master bath is going to cost more than upgrading a half bath. From the types of materials selected to where you choose to locate fixtures, numerous factors can increase the cost of a remodel.
In Los Angeles, a very small bathroom remodel (powder room or half-bath) will cost you from $3,500 to $9,500. Depending on the quality of fixtures and the scope, a bathroom remodel can range from $100 to $600 per square foot, which also depends on whether it’s DIY or you hire a licensed contractor to do the work.
Regardless of the size of a bathroom, the costs of each aspect of your remodel add up. You’ll see the costs begin to add up starting with demolition, which can range anywhere from $850 to $2,500. Here are some other costs to consider:
- Toilet: $150 to $400
- Tub: $250 to $900
- Electrical: $150 to $850
- Painting: $250 to $950
- Vanity/Countertop/Faucet: $350 to $4000
- Floors: $450 to $1,800
- Drywall/Patching: $450 to $1,500
- Tub/Tile Shower Walls: $1,500 to $4,500
You may also pay several hundred dollars for miscellaneous building materials and supplies.
How Does the Cost of Remodeling Increase with Bathroom Size?
Bathrooms can vary greatly in cost per square foot, depending on materials, labor costs, and location. However, labor and material costs are strongly impacted by size, which accounts at least in part for the price variations. Bathrooms can be as small as 40 square feet; some go up to 100 square feet or more. Contractors often price based on the overall scope of the project. Its very hard to gauge the cost of a bathroom on a per-square-foot basis.
Can I Reduce the Cost of Bathroom Remodeling in Los Angeles?
For one, you can try negotiating with a contractor. Perhaps they can recommend more affordable solutions, such as keeping the same layout or working out a timeline that allows them to be more flexible. It can cost thousands of dollars to relocate plumbing—labor can cost from $50 to $150 per hour. Therefore, keeping your piping and fixtures where they are can reduce the total price. Plumbing work is a major consideration when converting a half bath to a full bath.
There are other factors that can translate into less expensive bathroom remodeling in Los Angeles. Here is how you can decrease pricing:
- Pick materials carefully: Linoleum flooring cost less than other options such as ceramic or natural stone tile. For countertops, choose ceramic or acrylic over stone or marble to save significantly.
- Update the fixtures only: Investing only in newer, more efficient fixtures avoids the cost of demolition, design, and other factors, such as new flooring or walls.
- Re-caulking/re-grouting: Replacing an entire shower tub wall may be necessary, especially if there is rot. However, you can brighten things up and seal them more affordably than replacing all the walls.
- Do your own painting: You’ll still have to buy paint and other materials, but at least you won’t have to add labor charges to your remodel total. Performing your own demolition can also save you money, but it should only be performed by people with some experience and the right tools.
- Get multiple bids: Shopping around takes time, but, by getting at least three bids, you’ll have the leverage to be aggressive in your negotiating strategy.
What Should I Pay a Bathroom Designer/Remodeler?
The average cost of design service may range from $2,000 to $8,000. If you’re just looking for advice, designers will often provide a one-time consultation for a small fee.
When working with a bathroom remodeling company, be wary of any requests for a large up-front deposit. The maximum is 10% of the full project amount, or $1,000, whichever is less. The right way to do it is to ask for payments throughout the process—for example, a progress payment when materials arrive. Never pay the entire balance in one payment—or 50%, for that matter—and check for proof the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured.
What Are Some Ways to Remodel My Bathroom?
Planning what you’re going to do helps achieve a more successful remodel. Common bathroom renovation projects that Los Angeles homeowners consider include:
- Re-tiling: Tiling is something you may or may not need but, if your budget allows for it, there are many options. Labor can cost $20 to $40 per square foot for removing/replacing existing tile; while replacing underlying damage to backerboard and framing will raise the price significantly. Standard ceramic wall tiles can protect against moisture and range from $2 to $8 per square foot; shower tiles, ranging from $5 to $12 per square foot, include glass, marble, and ceramic tiles that can highlight your bathroom design.
- Sinks: Bathroom sinks come in many, many varieties. You may pay as little as $30 for a simple basin while a high-end sink can cost as much as $1,500. A vessel sink can cost as much as $300, a pedestal sink up to $470, and an undermount sink may have a price tag of up to $250. Vessel sinks sit above the counter/stand and come in glass, metal, or ceramic, while an undermount sink is installed beneath the counter surface. Pedestal units are suited for small bathrooms and half-baths/powder rooms.
- New shower: Showers aren’t cheap. Installing a new one can account for a third of the price of remodeling a bathroom. Here, it’s important to consider your needs. Maybe you just need a standup shower; a shower/tub combo may be more suited for households with children. Shower installation can add $1,500 to $5,000 to the bathroom remodel cost in Los Angeles. Additional factors include shower head style, tile, and glass shower doors.
- Countertops: Countertop installation can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, which is highly dependent on the material. Acrylic countertop starts at around $25 per square foot. Granite countertops range from $34 to $75 per square foot. On the high end, a quartz countertop can go as high as $115, and a limestone surface can be up to $200 per square foot.
- Cabinets: In Los Angeles, bathroom cabinets or vanities can cost from $300 to $4,000 to install. If you don’t need new cabinets, then you can consider other remodeling options. If possible, spend less by refacing cabinets by, for example, replacing handles, door exteriors, and drawer exteriors. Refinishing with a new stain or paint is cost-effective. You can also spend a few hundred dollars repairing cabinetry, which can vastly improve function and aesthetics.
When Do I Have to Redo My Plumbing?
Leaving your old plumbing in place can save a great deal of money, but this can cost you even more in the long run if there are leaks that lead to water damage and mold. Bathroom remodels often involve more than aesthetics. If you have slow-running drains, rusty water, low water pressure, water backups, noisy pipes, or musty odors, it may be time to consider a replacement for your old plumbing system.
How Can I Prevent the Cost from Going Much Higher Than the Estimate?
The best way to stay as close to the contractor’s estimate as possible is to have them itemize your contract. Every detail should be included, from each fixture and material used to labor charges, to pricing per square foot and the expected date of completion. Ask for the company to include a clause or statement that identifies a maximum price and promises not to exceed it.
What Is the Maximum Cost for Bathroom Remodeling in Los Angeles?
A high-end bathroom remodel can cost $50,000 or more. If you have the budget and the room, possibilities include installing a steam shower, rain shower, or jacuzzi. Some homeowners include a tub and stand-up shower in one bathroom. Luxury materials like glass, quartz, limestone, marble, and onyx, as well as many others, are available to those who can afford them.
If you can afford the cost of a mosaic glass or granite backsplash, you can relish in a luxurious bathroom, but the average homeowner can get by with basic fixtures and quality materials—and still have a functional bathroom that serves their needs for decades.
Bathroom Remodels – the Costs You Don’t See
I discussed above the various costs involved in a bathroom remodel and those include the obvious things like a bathtub, toilet, shower tile, etc. But lets take a minute to discuss the portions and costs of the bathroom remodel that you can’t see…the stuff that’s behind the walls, which is equally important to consider. When your contractor remodels your bathroom, they will be demolishing portions of the walls to access the electrical and plumbing systems. If you’re adding, removing or moving around electrical outlets, light fixtures and the exhaust fan, the contractor will be working on the electrical system inside the walls.
More significantly is the plumbing system which is comprised of the water supply lines, the waste lines and vent lines. If the plumbing is old, corroded or leaking it will obviously need to be repaired or replaced. Alternatively, if you’re moving around things in your bathroom, the plumbing lines will need to be rerouted, added or removed.
The other item that’s not visible is the waterproofing elements behind the floortile, wall tile and shower tile. Comprised of a concrete-like material called Hardy backer or similar, this element needs to be installed under tile to keep moisture from getting inside the walls and provide a solid surface for the installation of tile.
Bathroom Remodeling Materials
For the ‘finish’ materials in your bathroom remodel such as lighting, faucets, tile, flooring, vanity, tub, etc., you will be in charge of selecting those items. Your contractor is probably not a designer and cannot usually help you with those selections. So, you’ll want to start early in searching for materials to create the look you want. You can start online to get design inspiration; then visit various stores to find and purchase materials that suite your style. You can also certainly order items online.
Make sure to show each item to your contractor before purchasing or ordering to verify the item is the correct dimension, layout, and appropriate for the bathroom. If you find an item you like, but its not readily available (special order, etc), you should also pick a ‘backup plan’ material that you can readily purchase if your first choice is taking too long and causing project delays.
Its not uncommon for homeowners to select a material and then change their mind about it once they see it installed. Keep in mind, if this happens, it will certainly cause delays and extra costs for more labor.
Finally, if you order materials online, make sure to open the boxes immediately after they arrive and inspect the contents for any damage. This way, you can return the item right away if it is damaged or will not work for you.
How Can I Ensure a Positive Remodeling Experience?
You must “do your part” if you want to have a good experience with your bathroom renovation. This means that you should be accountable for a few things.
- First, you must pick, order, or purchase materials early in the process so that material delivery problems do not impede the progress of the contractor.
- If you have a lavish design plan, don’t expect it to be cheap to construct. Be practical about what your aspirations will cost.
- Renovation postponements might lead to additional storage fees, material substitutions, new labor hires, and hotel expenditures if you can’t stay in your residence. Look for possible renovation complications and take necessary precautions.
- If you don’t plan your design well, you may find out mid-renovation that it won’t operate effectively. You might discover there isn’t enough room or that there are obstructions you weren’t aware of before. Make sure your new bathroom will be as flawless in person as it appears in theory by carefully going over your design blueprints.
- In addition, you should have a weekly meeting with the contractor to walk through the project and discuss its progress. Finally, inspect the work daily. Immediately address any problems or concerns that arise, as they will be more difficult to handle later in the project. In conclusion, you should not be fully hands-off throughout the process.
How Do I Find the Best Contractor?
With any bathroom remodeling project, homeowners want to save as much as possible, but the quality of workmanship and service are equally important. With a long list of contractors to choose from, it is hard to know who is best suited for your particular project. That’s where we come in. At GreatBuildz, we use our industry expertise to help you find the ideal contractor for your job.
A full bathroom remodel requires a qualified General Contractor (B-license). Legally, only this sort of contractor is allowed to execute projects requiring many trades (ie. electrician, plumber, carpenter, etc). If you want to remodel your bathroom, you should speak with a qualified general contractor. Meeting with one or more contractors will offer you details of the job’s requirements and projected cost. Verify that any contractor you’re considering for this project has a valid (CSLB) general contractor’s license and proof of workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.
How to Select the Right Contractor Bid?
Its always advisable to meet with at least three contractors so you can get multiple estimates. The more clear you are with each one about your specific scope and material selections, the more likely your bids will all be reasonably consistent and easier for you tom compare. Once you confirm that the bids are consistent and include the same labor scope and material allowances, you want to see that the costs are within a reasonably small range. For a bathroom, they should all be within $5,000 or so.
If one of your bids seems out of whack; either significantly higher or lower than the others, that could be a bad sign. In this case, you may want to get another bid from a different contractor. If a bid is very high, you probably dont want to pay those outrageous prices. Alternatively, if the bid it too low, that is suspicious as well. That company may plan to use lower quality workers or materials, or they might plan to cut corners and charge you extra costs during the project to pad their profit margin.
Think about contractor cost as just one of a series of variables you should consider. Some people are purely looking for the lowest price, and that’s understandable, but it could also be a recipe for future headaches and disappointment.
Bathroom Remodel Permits & Inspections
Although a Los Angeles bathroom remodel is not a huge project, it is one that still requires a building permit from the city. Fortunately, for such a small project, they will likely not require a set of plans. Your contractor can probably even secure the permit online. And you should ask for confirmation from your contractor that they did secure a city permit. You will also be able to tell they did if you see an ‘inspection card’ posted at the job (in or near your bathroom).
Once your contractor finishes the demolition and rough construction (the work inside the walls), a city inspector will come to the project and inspect the work that was done to this point and either approve this stage or issue a set of corrections. The inspector may need to visit the project again to confirm other work was completed correctly such as the shower backerboard and other water-proofing. At the end of the project, once the inspector is satisfied at the completion, they will issue a final signature (also called a ‘final’). That is your signal that the job is fully done.
Contact GreatBuildz Today
Finding a bathroom remodeling contractor is one of the most stressful parts of the process. Nearly half of homeowners are dissatisfied with the contractor they choose. Greatbuildz is a free service that helps homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego find a great contractor.
We rigorously pre-screening general contractors and match the best pros to each client based on their specific project needs. To get started, submit your contact information online or call us at 818-317-3567 to speak with a member of our team who can answer all your questions.