2020 Cost Guide for a Home Remodel in Houston

by Serena Solomon

Sweeten breaks down remodeling costs in Houston, including kitchen, bath, whole home, and outdoor spaces (plus patio and permit costs!)

Houston remodeling costs

Whether you’ve got a bungalow in Houston Heights, a Craftsman cottage in Montrose, or an apartment in downtown, it’s time to make your Houston home your own. Sweeten‘s guide to remodeling costs in Houston provides a jumping-off point to get you on your way. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

One of the first steps to a renovation is creating a budget. To get an accurate number that is specific to what you want and the home you’re working with, a Sweeten contractor will want to sit down and discuss the details. 

Here’s a quick overview of budgets for popular renovation projects:

  • Gut renovation: starting at $80 – $100 per square foot (psf)
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: starting at $10,000 – $15,000
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: starting at $25,000 – $30,000
  • High-end kitchen remodel: starting at $40,000
  • Low-end bathroom remodel: starting at $8,000 – $15,000
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: starting at $15,000 – $25,000
  • High-end bathroom remodel and expansion: starting at $30,000
  • Deck composite: $18,000 or $56 psf
  • Wood deck: $13,000 or $40 psf
How much a Houston remodel costs per square foot

Remodeling costs for a total gut renovation in Houston starts at $80 – $100 per square foot (psf) for a project that uses affordable finishes according to Houston-based Sweeten contractor Santiago. This means materials such as laminate flooring and countertops, value-brand appliances, and basic tiles from big box stores like Home Depot. 

However, “the ideal gut renovation cost is about $125 psf in order to have nice finishes but can go much higher depending on what the client is looking for,“ he said, adding that he has seen gut renovations come in at $250 psf.

Although a gut renovation is a big project, consider doing it all at once to get the best bang for your buck. It’s also going to get you your dream home much quicker than renovating room by room. The bigger your project, the less per square foot it will cost. 

Sweeten contractor Nathan, based in Houston, advises homeowners to look at the area around them and what renovations are costing. “Don’t put more money into your home than what is comparable to the area,” said Nathan. In other words, don’t go to the effort and cost of a high-end renovation in an area that doesn’t call for a high-end renovation. However, “if it is going to be your retirement home, then do whatever you want with it,” Nathan added.  

How much a Houston kitchen remodel costs per square foot
  • For a low-cost kitchen that comes with new prefab cabinets, new appliances and new flooring, expect to pay between $10,000 and $15,000. Homeowners that recently had Santiago work on a kitchen remodel kept the budget low by having the original cabinets repaired and painted, a low-cost granite was used for the countertop, porcelain for the backsplash and the homeowner kept the original flooring.
  • A mid-range kitchen remodel in Houston has costs starting at $25,000 – $30,000. What does a mid-range kitchen look like at this starting cost? The key is keeping your layout the same. This means replacing your oven and dishwasher without moving their location so plumbing and gas lines can stay as is.

You can get a stainless steel sink with single-lever faucet, laminate countertops, a built-in microwave, value-brand appliances, custom lighting, and semi-custom cabinets. An island could also be added. Moving plumbing, gas, and electrical, reconfiguring the layout, or choosing custom features will increase the budget.

  • For an upscale kitchen, labor costs and a refresh with select high-end materials such as marble or quartz countertops, imported backsplash tile, and high-quality fixtures start at $40,000. The costs increase from there with custom features, new cabinets and appliances, and reconfiguring the layout.

Sweeten contractor Santiago is currently working on an $80,000 kitchen remodel. For that price, the homeowner is getting custom cabinets, a quartzite countertop (quartzite is the natural version of quartz, which is manmade), light fixtures worth $300 a pop, and high-end appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf. “One issue that pushed up the cost is that the plans were changed several times,” said Santiago, which lost buying power and time, which costs money.

chart of remodeling costs in Houston

How much a Houston bathroom remodel costs per square foot
  • At the low-end, expect a rip-and-replace bathroom with no behind-the-wall surprises to start at $8,000 – $15,000. The layout will remain the same where plumbing doesn’t move. This budget won’t include any issues like leaks or mold discovered once the project begins. Materials will include a prefabricated vanity, ceramic tile, and fixtures from big-box stores.

“The key to maintaining a low budget is to shop around and apply filters when searching through websites,” said Santiago. “That way you prevent wanting an item that is not under your budget.”

  • In the Houston area, a mid-range bathroom can start at $15,000 – $25,000. The average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodel is about $19,000 or $542 psf, according to Remodeling‘s Cost Vs Value report. Like kitchens, the key to a budget in this range is sticking to the same layout. This avoids costly and time-consuming plumbing work.

This budget is for a 35-square-foot bathroom with a new porcelain-on-steel bathtub, ceramic tiles, and a recessed medicine cabinet with built-in lighting. A renovation of this level can add almost $12,000 to a home’s value, recouping close to 60 percent of the project’s cost.

  • For a high-end bathroom remodel and expansion, the cost can start at $30,000. This budget includes a three-piece bathroom (tub/shower combo, toilet, and sink) for a typical 5’ x 7’ space. The cost increases with features including a double vanity, creating a separate shower from the tub, specialty tile, a custom vanity, or a toilet with additional functions.
Costs for adding outdoor space

Houston is a great city for year-round outside entertaining. Crisp winter nights can be spent by the fire pit. Humid summer afternoons can be paired with a cold drink on the patio. An outdoor area is a project to really let your creative juices flow. There are endless options to make your outdoor area your own with extensive outdoor kitchens, gas fireplaces, fans and misting systems for cooling, custom lighting, and landscaping. 

“A high-end patio that we worked on recently involved building an outdoor grill station with a roof,” said Santiago, of the $25,000 project. “The only thing that pushed up the cost was trying to find the specific brick that the client wanted.” 

Nathan recently completed an outdoor patio and kitchen with a budget of $50,000. It had a gas range, a fridge plus another one just for wine, ambient lighting, security cameras, a pergola and an area for the client’s dogs that was covered in artificial turf.

You can also stick with something simple that has a restrained budget. A basic wooden deck will likely cost $40 psf or $13,000 for something in the 320 square foot range. A deck made from composite, a mix of wood product and plastic, will cost around $18,000 for the same size or $56 psf. This material tends to last longer with less maintenance. 

Other remodeling costs in Houston: Permits

The cost of building permits varies from place to place. There are nine counties that make up the city of Houston. Each one has its own building permit system and fees. 

For example, in Harris County, most residential renovations attract a $130 fee. The minimum fee in Montgomery County is $15 plus $.30 per square foot of your renovating project. Depending on your remodel, there could also be a plan review fee (half the initial permit fee), a plumbing permit ($100), and a mechanical permit fee ($100). 

Santiago calculates an average permit fee when doing a quote for a client. He takes the square footage of the project and multiplies it by $1 and then adds additional fixed permit costs such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC.

Enjoy making your Houston home your own. Understand the costs and find the right renovation team to bring your vision to life. Post your project on Sweeten and you’ll be one step closer to your home sweet home. 

Six steps on how to start your renovation and finding the right general contractor for your scope.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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