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Budgeting a Bathroom Renovation

finished_bathSo now that we’re approaching the middle of Upstate New York’s wonderful winter season, you’re probably ready for a change in scenery, since you’ve been “stuck” inside for weeks. A lot of homeowners opt for indoor renovation projects in the winter, and we see an increase in the amount of quote requests for bathroom projects. So for this month, let’s talk bathrooms!

Crunch the Numbers

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value report, a mid-range bathroom remodel might run you somewhere in the neighborhood of 15.8 thousand dollars. Before you lose your mind over that figure, consider that your investment will vary greatly depending on how you define “mid-range,” the size of your space, and numerous other factors. In the end, the amount you spend may actually be much less. A good place to start is with an honest evaluation of your finances. Come up with a number that you are feasibly able to spend on the project. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has a budgeting worksheet to make this step a breeze.

Let’s next consider how long you plan on staying in your home. This can give you a better idea of how valuable this project should be to you. If you plan on staying for less than five years, consider your project an improvement on investment, and consider how you can best improve the value of your home and improve its ability to sell. If you’re planning on staying more than five years, it’s acceptable to consider the comfort of you and your family over the ability of your home to sell.

Substitutions and Omissions

When you budget for a bathroom project, it’s important to remember to include labor costs. As a general rule, a third of your budget will be put towards labor.

Should you find that your budget needs a trim, start with the extras (a towel warmer, steam shower, etc.). From there, consider some other investment options, such as having an old tub re-glazed versus buying a brand new one. If you’re planning on changing the layout of the room, the plumbing is a big cost than might be able to be omitted by keeping the layout the same.

Leave Yourself Leeway

When you open up the walls and floors of any home, surprises tend to pop up. Plan for these little surprises by leaving some cushion in your budget to accomodate. Last minute changes are also a source for budget-busting costs, so try to finalize your plans before project start, and keep mid-project revisions to a minimum if at all possible.

On top of your labor costs, set aside 10 percent to cover the cushion. If you don’t use it, you’ll have ample funds to buy the little luxuries (towel warmers, fluffy towels, a nice massaging shower head, etc.).

Keeping On Budget

Once you’ve finalized your project, keep a spreadsheet to track actual expenses against what’s been budgeted. When you can visualize the impact on your project’s bottom line, you’re less likely to go over.



John Hoagland, owner and founder of Trinity Home Renovations in Rochester, NY, has 20+ years experience working with clients on various home renovation, remodeling roofing and siding projects. His Webster, NY based company has seen tremendous growth in recent years. He's well respected by his colleagues and customers alike for his down-to-earth, friendly approach as well as his never ending dedication to customer service and satisfaction.
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