The costs to remodel in Atlanta in 2020, including kitchen, bath, and whole-home (plus outdoor budgets and permit tips!)
(Above) Remodel by Sweeten general contractor Kimberly in Atlanta. Photo: Tomas Espinoza.
There’s no denying Atlanta is a booming city. Between 2010 and 2018, Atlanta was the fourth-fastest growing city in the nation, adding a little less than 700,000 people and now sits at close to six million inhabitants.
In other words, it’s a great time to put down roots in Atlanta—from restoring a bungalow in Decatur, adding to a classic Georgian-style home in Druid Hill, or remodeling a loft apartment in the Old Fourth Ward. Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their project, offers this guide detailing costs to remodel in Atlanta as a starting point.
When embarking on a renovation, ‘How much will it cost?’ will likely be your first question. It’s notable in Atlanta that once a renovation budget reaches a couple $100,000s, building a new house instead becomes a major consideration. In this situation, you’ll need to factor in costs to tear down the existing structure and remove debris.
Read on for a breakdown of typical starting costs for remodeling across Atlanta, Georgia, focusing on five categories: full home, kitchen, bathroom, outdoor spaces, and permits.
- Gut renovation: Starting at around $70—$100 psf (per square foot)
- Low-end kitchen remodel: Starting at $20,000—$30,000
- Mid-range kitchen remodel: Starting at $35,000
- High-end kitchen remodel: Starting at $65,000
- Low-end bathroom remodel: Starting at $12,500—$15,000
- Mid-range bathroom remodel: Starting at $20,000
- High-end bathroom remodel and reconfiguration: Starting at $35,000+
- Deck composite: $20,000 or $61 psf
- Wood deck: $14,000 or $44 psf
How much an Atlanta home remodel costs per square foot
A total gut renovation in Atlanta that brings your home down to the studs and dresses it back up again with low-range finishes will likely start at around $70 to $100 psf, according to Atlanta-based Sweeten general contractor Dexter.
He recently worked on a renovation that redid everything except for the basement. “We renovated about 85 percent of this house,” said Dexter. It was a 1950s house that involved redoing the siding, repairing, and polishing the original wood floors, remodeling two bathrooms with a custom shower in one and new tub in the other while adding gold-look faucets and an oversized kitchen island with a farmhouse sink. Subsequently, by using high-end finishes and custom elements, that renovation came in $120,000 for the end budget.
Sweeten general contractor Kimberly is currently working on a 3,200 square foot farmhouse renovation. The budget is at $150,000, which includes renovating three bathrooms and expanding the fourth for a larger master suite and a kitchen remodel that includes custom kitchen cabinets and quartz countertops. “We will be making some smart choices to make it look brand spanking new without breaking the budget,” said Kimberly, adding that the owners were rolling their sleeves up to do some work themselves to reduce the budget.
Meanwhile, Kimberly is about to start demolition on the project which will reveal if any rewiring is needed to bring the old building up to code. One issue common in Atlanta’s older homes is subpar work that might have been completed previously by an unlicensed contractor. “The budget could go as high as $225,000,” she said, bringing the farmhouse reno to about $75 psf.
In addition, another factor that can have a big impact on a budget for an extensive renovation is the age of the house and whether it had lead paint or asbestos, according to Dexter. Anything built before 1978 could have lead paint in it. Anything built between the ‘30s and the end of the ‘80s could have asbestos. That’s why Dexter gets homes built in those time periods tested. Subsequently, if it comes back positive, the removal of lead or asbestos could add a few thousand dollars to your budget while pushing your timeline back.
How much an Atlanta kitchen remodel costs per square foot
The typical quote detailing costs to remodel a minor kitchen in Atlanta ranges between $20,000 to $30,000 for a 200-square-foot space which includes labor and rough materials such as drywall. This number doesn’t budge all that much because it is mostly calculated on installation rather than materials. In a lower-end kitchen remodel, it’s a good idea to keep lighting where it is while refreshing the fixtures, according to Sweeten expert Kimberly. For a mid to high-end budget, you should be able to change the location of lights.
Additional material costs include elements such as replacing cabinet fronts, a basic granite countertop, basic lighting, energy-efficient appliances, faucets, and resilient flooring. For example, you could go for a good value kitchen appliance package with a dishwasher, fridge, microwave, and oven for $3,500 from Home Depot. A similar package from high-end brands could set you back $20,000.
Here’s a look at some mid- to high-range kitchen costs:
- Mid-range kitchen: Expect the average mid-range kitchen renovation to come in around $175 psf or $35,000 for the Atlanta area. A 200-square-feet space would reveal laminate countertops, a 15-square-foot island, semi-custom wood cabinets, and a double stainless steel sink with a standard single-lever faucet. It also contained a built-in microwave, dishwasher, and custom lighting. Keeping your layout the same will be the biggest factor in keeping your budget down.
- High-end kitchen renovations came in at around $325 psf or $65,000. A 200-square-foot kitchen would include custom cabinets, built-in sliding shelves, stone countertops, and imported tile backsplashes. The appliances were also kicked up a few notches to include a commercial-grade cooktop and vent hood as well as upscale faucets and a water filtration system.
(Above) Remodels by Atlanta-based Sweeten contractor Dennis
How much an Atlanta bathroom remodel costs per square foot
For a typical bathroom quote, expect the cost to come in between $12,500 to $15,000. The budget focuses on installation and does not include some key materials. This gives renovators the freedom to shop for what they want while having greater autonomy over their project’s budget. This cost range does include a vanity with a basic granite top, toilet, and tub or shower. Homeowners can shop for finishes such as faucets, tiles, and mirrors. For a project with a lower budget, Dexter advised renovators to stick to tiles in the $2 psf range and faucets made from chrome or brushed nickel.
Here’s a look at mid- to high-end bathroom budgets:
- In the Atlanta area, the average cost of a mid-range kitchen remodel comes in about $20,000 or $571 psf. This range applies to a 35-square-feet space and installing a new porcelain-on-steel bathtub, ceramic tiles, and a recessed medicine cabinet with built-in lighting. A renovation of this level can add about $13,000 to a home’s value, which recoups close to 65 percent of the project’s cost, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs Value report. Not a bad investment.
A popular remodel is taking out the tubs to put in showers. However, avoiding this and working with the layout that you have can easily shave off $4,000 in a bathroom budget.
- The average bathroom remodel cost in the upscale category starts at around $35,000. For this budget, you could expand your bathroom from 35 square feet to around 100 square feet and can play around with elements like a freestanding soaker tub and a shower with recessed shelves, a frameless glass enclosure, and body spray fixtures. You’re also likely to afford a double-sink and double-mirror vanity with custom draws and wall cabinets. In Kimberly’s experience, a high-end bathroom remodel typically involves using marble or quartz, replacing a rod and shower curtain with glass and adding elements like double shower heads.
Costs for adding outdoor space in Atlanta
If you don’t mind a bit of humidity, an outdoor area can be used year-round (although, a fan and mosquito netting is a smart addition for summer). Add or renovate your deck or patio and it will be like adding another room to your home.
- The average price for a 320-square-foot deck made from composite is $20,000 or $61 psf, according to the Cost Vs Value report for 2020. Composite is a mix of wood and plastic, making it more durable to weather and termites than just wood. A project using this material will add about 60 percent of the cost back into your home’s value. If you do use wood, it will reduce your budget by more than 25 percent to $14,000 or $44 psf. A deck made with wood will add 70 percent of the project cost to your home’s value.
Consequently, the majority of Dexter’s clients go with a wood deck rather than composite. A recent client had him rebuild a deck and cover it with flyscreen. It was about 300 square feet and the job was done for a total of $20,000 or about $65 psf.
Adding stone to a concrete slab for a patio will start at about $12 psf, according to Kimberly. If you want to add lighting and ceiling fans, then add another $5,000 to your budget for fixtures and wiring. An outdoor kitchen could range from $5,000 to $20,000. “In Atlanta, people plan spaces for entertaining purposes,” said Kimberly.
Building permit fees are often calculated by the square footage of your project, or by the overall budget cost. To see how your area’s permits are calculated, check with your local building department. Your general contractor will likely put an estimated amount in your initial budget before a final amount is calculated. “There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to the cost of permits,” said Sweeten contractor Dexter. “Some areas I can pull a permit for $50, but the same job in another county could cost $200.”
It isn’t just the cost of the actual permit that needs to go into the budget. Additionally, you also need to pay your contractors for the time it takes them to pull the permit. In some counties in Atlanta you can file electronically. Other counties, a contractor or architect will need to show up in person with paper plans, said Kimberly. A typical fee to have someone file your permits can range between $300 and $1,000.
The cost of building permits for the city of Atlanta, the area including and immediately surrounding the downtown area, is $7 per $1,000 for construction. Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits also have their own fees, which start between $75 and $175 per project. Your general contractor will be familiar with the costs and will also be filing your building permits on your behalf.
Permits vary greatly in different areas of Atlanta. Neighborhoods like John’s Creek and Alpharetta typically have more fees to consider. Permit fees are less expensive in Sugar Hill in Gwinnett County and Forsyth County.
To confirm a budget, a general contractor will want to see the site for a more accurate assessment of costs. Having your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list paired with a realistic budget will have you on your way to your dream home.
Remodeling your home in Atlanta? Sweeten can help!
Now that you know the costs to remodel in Atlanta, post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with vetted local general contractors to provide estimates for your remodel, plus we’ll support you throughout your project duration. Meet with your contractor to develop an accurate budget, and you’re on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.
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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.