Bathroom Remodel: Cost, Expectations and Timeline

When planning your budget for a renovation, accommodating for issues that may occur and determining a timeline to complete the project both factor into your final bathroom remodel cost. Expenses you didn't foresee can bring your bathroom renovation to a standstill, so it is important to always leave room in your total. Even if you do it yourself, you never know what you'll run into when dealing with plumbing, electricity and similar utilities.


This Old House contractor Tom Silva suggests a good way to budget for unexpected costs during any remodel project is to add 15 percent to your total. Add up all the materials, estimates from plumbers and electricians and any miscellaneous supplies. This will be your base bathroom remodel cost to which you'll build in 15 percent in case things run over. That way, if any unexpected complications arise, you'll be able to finish the project in a timely manner.

Above all, however, save money by planning ahead. With months to wait for that perfect vanity to go on sale, you could save hundreds. You can also cut back and still have quality work by hiring professionals only for the tasks you can't take care of yourself. If you're great at painting and installing a faucet, do so on your own and invest in a professional plumber to install your new toilet.

And don't forget to comparison shop before deciding on a contractor, too: Pursue more than one estimate for the work and make sure anyone you hire has insurance.


How long your bathroom renovation takes depends on a number of factors. If you're a weekend renovator, it could take a month. If you hire professionals for everything, it could still take weeks to line up schedules for tiling, plumbing, painting and any other work you need to have completed.

Check with anyone you're hiring to hollow out your schedule for each phase of the work. When you have tiling and plumbing to do, for example, you'll need to coordinate these tasks around those you're doing yourself.


For the most part, your 15-percent overestimation will save you from structural mishaps and flaws that were invisible until the project began. Common issues that crop up during bathroom renovations include:

Rotted Subfloor

An unseen leak, even a tiny one, can cause the subfloor under a toilet, sink or tub to deteriorate. Replacing and reinforcing this subfloor will add to your timeline and cost. It is, however, something you need to do if there is rot present.

Moving Pipes or Plumbing

Remodelings that involve moving plumbing will add up in cost very quickly. See if there are other options before moving any water or drainage lines.


If you find mold during the process, you'll need to remove it, but properly. If it has affected old features that are coming out anyway, then no harm, no foul. If it's in drywall or subflooring, though, you'll need to talk to a specialist about your options.


Bad wiring will need to be replaced, and older homes require that wiring be tested during a renovation project. It may add to your bathroom remodel cost, but it will make your home safer and passable through inspection if you ever put it on the market.

Don't count out personal error, either. Although you can certainly save money doing things yourself, stick to things you're comfortable with. If you've never done tile before, this might not be the time to learn. Repairing mistakes can break the budget, too.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.