When starting a home remodel or new construction project, you will probably hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to take a set of building plans and construct them as outlined. The general contractor may help perform the day-to-day building, or they may just hire workers and oversee all the work activities. In either case, the job of the general contractor is to see that your project gets built.
When you have a building project, ask for bids from various contractors. The bids tell you how much each will charge and what their scope of work will be. Once you have selected a bid, you sign a contract with that general contractor outlining the specifics of the project and the milestones during the project when they will receive payment installments. Once the contract is official, the general contractor will bring in their crew to begin construction. The contractor will manage the workers and subcontractors (anyone who doesn’t work directly for their company but that they need to outsource, like a marble installation pro), order all the materials, obtain work permits, and confirm that all the workers and subcontractors are completing their projects as planned. They typically handle all the payments to the workers and subcontractors, and send you invoice. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor. If you are organized and competent to oversee construction projects, and are able to make sure everything is being built properly and meeting code, it’s possible you can be your own general contractor.
With proper planning and a good general contractor, your bathroom remodeling project doesn’t have to take forever. The construction phase of the project will always vary based on your scope of work, the square footage and the condition of your bathroom under the surface layer. Inevitably an 80-square-foot master bathroom with major changes will take longer than a 25-square-foot guest bath undergoing a minor renovation. For a smaller bathroom, a facelift — the industry term for sprucing up the surface layer (such as paint, vanity, tiles or light fixtures) but keeping the existing footprint of the space — may take five to eight working days, as long as there are no surprises like mold waiting when the old vanity comes out. A more complex bathroom remodel that revamps the shower area (customizing the plumbing, installing tile and changing the shower door), updates the flooring and cabinetry, and adds new paint and new lighting could take anywhere from one week to three weeks. A full bathroom remodel that guts the room, changing the footprint and moving the electrical wiring and plumbing lines, could take four to eight weeks or more. To keep your bathroom remodel on schedule, have your materials ordered and waiting, and don’t make any change orders once construction begins. Planning is key to keeping a bathroom remodel on schedule.
For more on how long a bathroom remodel should take check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
Bathroom remodeling doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before starting a bathroom remodel it’s crucial to know what you want and have a clear understanding of your maximum budget. If you’d love all marble fixtures but have $3,000 total, you will have to compromise. Being realistic about materials and money before you even contact a contractor will have you on the road to success. Here are some simple steps to follow in the planning stages of bathroom remodeling:
- List your remodeling priorities in order of importance (e.g., 1. New shower head, 2. Replace flooring, 3. Install recessed lighting, etc.).
- Calculate what you can realistically afford to spend on your bathroom remodel. Identify an “all in” price — meaning the absolute maximum you’re willing to pay, as well as what you’d prefer to spend.
- Gather ideas from Pinterest about colors and finishes.
- Research the costs of the materials and finishes you want and begin making choices about what is and isn’t possible to fit into your budget (once labor is included). If you’d like to stay under $10,000 total, but really love a $2,000 tub, plan to downgrade in other areas.
- Request quotes from at least three reputable general contractors, share your vision and ideal materials, and work together from there.
If you’re stumped on how to plan a bathroom remodeling project, it pays to hire a designer. This is especially important if you’re changing your bathroom layout in any way. Designers create contractor-friendly drawings indicating exactly where each tile and fixture will be installed, down to the light switches. This investment might cost you $300-$500 but save you significant frustration and miscommunication, while ensuring you get precisely what you want.
If you’re going to do your own design, planning a bathroom remodeling project means being organized and planning ahead. Create a general outline of what you want and the budget you have. Identify the specific fixtures, tiles, paint and vanity you prefer. Get all this organized before requesting quotes from two to three reputable general contractors. Once you find the right pro, get a written contract outlining scope of work, materials that will be used, timeframe and payment schedule. Communicate clearly about when to order your materials so they are ready and waiting by the time the contractor gets the permits. Your job from here is to communicate clearly, pay the contractor as the work progresses, and enjoy your remodel when it’s done.
For more on where to start when remodeling a bathroom check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
A commercial contractor provides similar services as a residential general contractor but specializes in working with large-scale projects for businesses, schools, nonprofits, governments and development firms. When researching commercial general contractors, review their portfolio of work and confirm they have ample experience working in the area you need. For example, if you are building a small strip mall, ask if the contractors have experience successfully incorporating all the needed elements such as a parking lot, meeting ADA requirements, accessing the proper permits, and completing work on time.
Once you’ve identified several qualified candidates, request bids for your project and then compare the scope of work with your needs and budget. Your commercial general contractor should oversee design, permitting, construction, materials purchase, and adherence to building code and zoning regulations, as well as sticking to an agreed-upon budget and schedule. It’s important to establish clear communication with your future commercial general contractor, as this will mean a smoother process for everyone. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.
If you’re doing a home remodel, building a new home or embarking on a commercial building project, you’ll hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to oversee and execute construction projects. Each construction project is unique; even two duplicate homes built on lots next door to each other could have different construction costs due to factors like different excavation costs when building the foundation. Since each project is unique, many general contractors make bids on potential construction projects. These bids can then break down to a per square foot cost that encompasses the labor of all the workers needed for the job, materials, the scope of work, and any equipment needed. Materials and finishes make a major difference in your cost per square foot. For example, choosing standard kitchen tiles at $3 per square foot will result in a lower total project cost than imported marble tiles that cost $63 per square foot. Where you live will also affect how much general contractors charge, as labor and the cost to do business can cost less in many regions than in high-cost areas like New York or San Francisco. Here are some examples of average costs general contractors typically charge in various regions:
- Home addition in San Francisco: $250-$270 per square foot.
- New home construction in Knoxville, Tennessee: $100-$200 per square foot.
- Kitchen remodel in Tennessee: $40-$80 per square foot, depending on finishes.
- Bathroom remodel in Vancouver, Washington: $110-$170 per square foot.
Be sure to check out our smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor.
No bathroom remodeling project is as satisfying as making over a clunky old shower by installing new shower heads, tearing out plastic and tiling the walls, and increasing your water pressure. The cost for a shower remodel really depends on your overall bathroom remodeling project. Nationally, the average cost of a total bathroom remodeling project is $14,000, including the cost of the shower remodel. For a standard bathroom renovation — including taking out the shower and shower pan and installing new shower pan and shower, new shower door, new vanity, new mirror, new bathroom fan, and all new fixtures — the average price might range from $6,500 to $10,000 for labor.
If you don’t need foundational work (like a new shower pan) but want a tile makeover in your shower, the average national cost for tiling a shower is $3,875. The average cost for bathroom tile is $25 per square foot for installation; at that rate, a standard tub and shower combo tile job with walls that are roughly 6 feet to 8 feet high may have tile installation costs that average $2,000. If all your bathroom really needs is a new shower door, door installation averages $250-$510.
For more on how to remodel a bathroom and what it costs for a shower remodel check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
The professional best equipped to handle bathroom remodeling is a general contractor. A general contractor is typically licensed by the state or region in which they work to carry out home remodeling projects. To receive licensing, they must generally demonstrate their knowledge of construction and building and safety codes. General contractors act as the organizer for the entire bathroom remodeling project, ensuring that each element (new tile, shower pan replacement, lighting installation, etc.) is completed at the appropriate time by the proper contractor. Before hiring a general contractor, it’s wise to do your research. In addition to getting several competitive bids, here are questions to ask:
- May I see before-and-after photos of some of your recent bathroom remodels?
- Will I need permits for this project? Do you apply for those?
- May I see proof of insurance and licenses?
- Can we have a written contract outlining scope of work, budget and timeline?
- Will you be here each day overseeing the work?
For more on who remodels bathrooms and how long it takes check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
Nationally, the average cost of bathroom remodeling is $14,000. Bathroom remodels can vary widely, from standard makeovers to luxurious master bathroom revamps. The factors that affect your bathroom remodeling cost are the finishes you choose (marble tiles can cost 20 times as much as standard subway tiles), the square footage of the project, regional labor rates in your area and the scope of work. Changing the layout or size of the bathroom will also raise costs. Moving electrical wiring and plumbing lines will also dramatically increase costs, as you’ll need to hire plumbers and electricians to handle the work. What’s happening behind your walls and under your floor will also affect bathroom remodeling cost: Rot, damage or mold can lead to additional work and charges. Overall, bathroom remodeling may offer great return on investment and also improve your daily life. Here are some examples of average bathroom remodeling costs:
- 6-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $3,500, including labor and materials.
- Standard renovation: $6,500-$10,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased. Labor may include taking out the shower and shower pan, installing new shower pan and shower, and installing new door, new vanity, new mirror, new bathroom fan, and all new fixtures.
- Price variation depends on the quality of the finishes.
- 10-foot by 6-foot bathroom remodel: $7,200, including labor and materials.
- Mid-range renovation: $12,000-$15,000. Price includes labor and materials the customer has purchased.
- Upscale renovation: $35,000 and up. Price includes labor and materials. Items might include digital displays for fixtures, multiple shower heads and custom showers.
For more on how to remodel a bathroom, what it costs to remodel a bathroom, what bathroom brands to consider and more check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.
Bathroom remodeling is made up of three general phases. The first phase is the planning and permitting phase, in which you determine exactly what you want, what materials and finishes will be used, and what the end product will look like. If you’re competent with design you can handle the planning yourself, or you may hire an interior designer to guide you. During this phase you’ll also hire a general contractor who can help execute your remodel vision, coordinating and overseeing all the subcontractors required to do the bathroom remodeling (plumbers, flooring pros, etc.). When your plan is finalized, your contractor should obtain permits for the work you want done. During this time you’ll work together to order all the materials so they’ll be ready and waiting when it’s time to start construction.
The second phase is construction. Bathroom remodeling typically starts with demolition, removing the old floors, shower and vanity to make way for the new. Delays in delivery of materials, or changing your mind and ordering different materials halfway into the project, will mean that construction has to pause until the new materials arrive. Each subcontractor is dependent on the next to do their work, and the general contractor should keep things moving along at the proper timeline, ensuring that the right materials are available and dealing promptly with any unexpected repairs, such as damage discovered behind the walls or under the floor. The general contractor will also coordinate inspections from the necessary officials if you’ve moved load-bearing walls or done electrical or plumbing work. After construction is complete, the final phase of bathroom remodeling is addressing your punch list. These are all the items that need to be corrected before final payment is handed over to the contractor.
For more on how to remodel a bathroom check out The Complete Thumbtack Bathroom Remodel Guide.