Bathroom renovations are more than cosmetic make-overs that include a new counter and a coat of paint. It is common for folks to ask if I can just replace the tile and fixtures too. Since make-overs are not my specialty, I can only comment that if you are looking to sell your home soon- that is probably the way to go. If you need a renovation though- be warned that trying to go halfway will likely result in finding yourself in no-man’s land and you’ll have to fight your way through anyway.
I use the term no man’s land a lot when someone asked to replace tile and fixtures because if you start peeling the bath onion, it will usually involve uncovering all sorts of issues that need to be addressed anyway- and you end up spending more money. The challenge is that when you remove tile, you remove the substrate, when you remove the substrate, you expose old insulation-wires-framing and discover issues that are supposed to be upgraded due to code regulations. If you try to install only new wallboard below the old wallboard (where the tile was removed) that will cause a cold joint where you can count on a crack appearing in the near future aided by the warmer board below with new insulation meeting the less malleable board above that still gets the new England winter blowing in from outside. That is why I believe in either finding a make-over specialist for a new top and paint, or doing it properly the first time.
Baths are expensive for 2 primary reasons. First, you are using more expensive and durable finishes in most of the space. Second, the project is “small” and requires all the same players, working without economies, and being managed and dust protected as it does if you are building a whole house. I developed a spreadsheet that won’t identify exactly what you will spend, but it will help you understand the matrix of cost variations as they relate to age of home, quality of finishes and size of project. Many of the small family bath remodels in Wellesley/Newton from the 40’s require full gut renovations and mechanical upgrades and these baths average $35,000 while the same bath built in the 1980’s will average in the mid to high $20’s.
I hope the chart helps! If you are planning any type of renovation from a small bath to a large addition, call us to set up a site visit and we can help you get started with some great information on your project.