Do I need a general contractor for a bathroom remodel?
For a small bathroom remodel, you may not need a general contractor. For example, if you simply need some plumbing or electrical work done in your bathroom, hiring a plumber or electrician should be sufficient.
However, if you’re tackling a large-scale remodel, a general contractor can coordinate a team of designers, painters and other specialty contractors to get the job done. Typically, the rule of thumb is that you should hire a general contractor if your project is large enough to require a building permit.
Reach out the best bathroom remodelers near you to start planning your project, assemble a team and get cost estimates.
What should I ask a bathroom remodeler before hiring?
It’s important to ensure that you and the contractor are on the same page before any work begins, so don’t be afraid to ask potential bathroom remodelers plenty of questions.
Start by reading the contractor’s reviews online. Ask to see examples of their past work — specifically, work that is similar to yours. If you need the bathroom remodel done by a certain date, ask the contractor if they will be able to complete the work by your deadline. And you should always ask how they handle payments.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask:
- What materials do you recommend for my budget and overall vision?
- How much are the materials and labor? What will my final cost be?
- Do you have the proper license and insurance?
- Can I see photos of past bathroom remodels you’ve worked on?
- How long will it take to complete the remodel?
- How do you handle payments?
Are bathroom remodels worth it?
Remodeling your bathroom can lead to high personal satisfaction, as perhaps even a return on your investment when it comes time to sell your home. When you replace old and worn out surfaces with high-quality materials, it is almost guaranteed to improve the look and functionality of that space. A bathroom renovation can also improve your home’s curb appeal to future buyers and boost its overall value.
To determine if this project is worth the cost, start by getting free estimates from the best bathroom remodelers near you. And if you plan on selling your home, consult with your real estate expert to identify which remodeling projects you should prioritize.
How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?
Nationally, the average cost of bathroom remodeling varies greatly. 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.
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.
Where should I start when remodeling a bathroom?
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.
How do I plan a bathroom remodeling project?
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.
How much does a shower remodel cost?
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.
Are there ways to be safe if I hire a general contractor when social distancing?
If you decide to hire a general contractor, avoid any physical contact, don’t shake hands, keep 6 feet of distance between you and the pro and sanitize all involved surfaces. Also, use digital platforms to communicate and make payments.
What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?
To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.
Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.
Can I use digital payments to pay for general contractor services?
Currently, many general contractors are using common digital payment services like PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle, Google Pay and more. And more will likely adopt these and similar platforms as coronavirus continues to force companies to take on digital capabilities.
Contact general contractors beforehand to discuss whether they accept digital payments, and take all necessary measures to meet social distancing recommendations. You can also compare general contractors side-by-side online to see which ones accept digital payments.