The cost of a bathroom renovations 2021

Bathroom renovations are a two-in-one choice that will benefit your lifestyle and boost your home’s overall value. The great thing with bathrooms is that there is little limit to how you choose to renovate or how much to do. You can design a new luxury spa bathroom or just update the space with new fixtures and paint. Before you start renovating it’s important to have a solid game plan in mind. While there are a lot of potentials, it is just as easy to get carried away and spend far more than necessary.


With this guide, you’ll learn all you need about bathroom renovations, how much does a bathroom renovation cost, and some tips and ideas for your own.


Renovation vs remodel 

With bathroom renovations, it’s also important to know if you plan to renovate the space or remodel it. While these two words are used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two.

Renovation 

When renovating a bathroom, the goal is not to change the physical layout of the room. Instead, it’s more about improving or updating what is already there. This can be as minimal as new fixtures and lighting or as involved as installing a new walk-in shower. It can focus on installing new tile flooring to replace an old, outdated floor. Bathroom renovation costs can also be less and don’t always need a permit for the work. Depending on the type of work as well, the renovations can be completely DIYed or left to a professional.

Remodel 

Bathroom remodels typically involve changing the room’s layout and design, making it more costly and involved. This can range from expanding the bathroom or altering the layout of the plumbing or cabinets. Remodels generally will need the help of a professional contractor to handle more complicated work. Plumbing or electrical changes in a remodel will always need a permit before any work can begin. Remodeling can do much more to improve the overall design and appeal of a home, especially in a poorly designed bathroom. While it may cost more, the long-term benefits and payback will be much higher.

Bathroom renovation cost Canada

Renovations for bathrooms will vary depending on the work involved, professional design services and labour, and the quality of materials. For some estimates of what you can typically expect, the following costs are averages for bathroom renovations:

Average cost: $15,000

Low-end cost: $5,000

High-end cost: $25,000+

Things such as the bathroom size, quality of materials, and the type of fixtures and finishes chosen will vary among renovations. Changing the floor plan as well, such as expanding the bathroom, will add much more to the final cost. New drywall, framing, plumbing, and electrical wiring will all need to be factored into expansion plans and budgets. For the best estimate of your renovation, hire a contractor, and have them help.

Expanding cost: $1,000 – $15,000

Fixture cost 

Fixtures can range drastically in price depending on their quality. While this can be an area to cut costs, some fixtures are worth investing a little more. Anything that is used daily, like a toilet or shower, should be of higher quality to avoid premature breaks and costly repairs. Some standard prices to expect for fixtures include:

Toilets and sinks: $200 – $1,800

Showers: $300 -$3,000

Vanity: $300 – $4,800

Countertops: $200 – $2,000

Per square foot 

Another way to get a better estimate to answer, “how much does a bathroom renovation cost?” is to start with the square footage. From there, you can decide what type of bathroom renovation to do or how much work is necessary depending on the cost.

Shower remodel 

Showers can be seen as a remodel of their own and are popularly done. The traditional shower and bathtub combination is removed in place of a single, large walk-in shower. Glass enclosure showers are a current popular trend that adds a sense of spaciousness and luxury in any bathroom. A separate soaker tub may be included for the master bathroom, but it’s a personal choice for most homeowners.

Cost: $1,000 – $15,000

Walk-in shower remodel: $5,000 – $15,000

Master bathroom and ageing-in-place 

Master bathroom remodels focus more on the addition of luxury features, high-end materials, and large spaces. Many designs include a soaker tub, walk-in shower, double or single vanity, and custom cabinets and fixtures.

Master bathroom cost: $10,000 – $25,000

Aging-in-place renovations will vary depending on the specific needs of the homeowners. Still, some universal changes include expanding the shower and adding handrails or a bench inside. Cabinets with slide drawers are easier to open and close, and raising toilet seats makes them safer and easy to use. Nonslip floors as well are another addition for added safety. If wheelchair access is a factor, then widen the doorway and create more open floor space.

Ageing-in-place cost: $1,500 – $9,000

Permits 

Bathroom permits are largely dependent on the type and scale of work involved, so not all renovations need one. Simple cosmetic updates, including new fixtures and paint colours, won’t need a permit. Building a brand-new bathroom may need a building permit, while plumbing and electrical work will definitely need one. The bathroom renovation cost in Canada and requirements for a permit will also vary by city. Before you start, check your local city requirements. If you have a general contractor, they’ll be able to handle the work and permit research for you.

Permit cost:  $350 – $1,800

Money-saving fixtures 

While bathroom renovations can become an expensive project, there are some ways to cut costs without cutting quality. For example, water-saving fixtures can cut down on energy and water use and so save more long-term.

Low-flow showerheads: These cut water consumption to less than 2 gallons per minute (GPM), compared to standard showerheads that use 2.5 GPM and more.

Low-flow toilets/dual flush: Like showerheads, low-flow toilets cut back how water is used per flush. Standard toilets use 1.6 gallons of water, while a low flow design cuts it to 1.28 gallons per flush. Dual toilets further customize how much water is used by flushing less for liquid waste or more for solid waste.

Aerators: These can be easily installed onto sink faucets to cut the amount of water flow without cutting the pressure.

Refinishing cabinets: Unless your kitchen cabinets are beyond repair, consider refinishing them instead of replacing them. Refinishing is also an easy DIY project that saves costs and still gives the cabinets a whole new look. New cabinets cost between $2,000 – $15,000, while refinishing ranges between $1,500 – $4,000.


Bathroom ROI 

Second to kitchens, bathrooms are one of the best rooms to renovate for a high ROI. If you plan to sell, then an updated bathroom will attract and appeal to potential buyers. Even minor cosmetic upgrades will see a great return, making every type of renovation worthwhile.


Midrange bath remodel: 64% recoup

Upscale bath remodel: 56% recoup

Universal design bath remodel: 62% recoup

Bathroom addition (midrange): 54% recoup

DIY vs hiring a professional 

There are just as many areas in a bathroom that can be DIYed as there are areas best left to a professional. DIYing comes down to a matter of time, skill, and quality. While a full bathroom DIY renovation may save money to start, there isn’t a long-term guarantee. Not all buyers will appreciate a DIY job, and any issues or added fees are the homeowner’s responsibility.

With a professional, even if you spend more initially, the long-term savings will be better. They’ll guarantee that the quality of work is at its best and that the project doesn’t drag on. You may even get better prices on materials through a contractor who has the right connections. The value added to your home will also be higher, and there won’t be any risk of costly repairs or mistakes. That said, some parts of a bathroom renovation can still be DIYed. Combining the help of a professional with your own skill will save money without losing quality.

DIY work 

Tackle easier jobs yourself, like painting or buying fixtures beforehand, to cut costs. High-end fixtures are a quick way to increase costs, but even a low-cost fixture will still look just as attractive. Another trick, if you have the time, it to tackle any demolition yourself. Things, like ripping out old tile or, if you’re careful not to damage the pipes, removing old tubs can be DIYed. That alone can save $1,000 in professional labour. Resurfacing where you can as well, such as countertops and cabinets, will save much more than buying brand new. In the end, the bathroom renovation cost won’t be as high, but the result will be just as appealing.