2020 Home Renovation Costs Per Square Foot on Long Island

by Carol Wang

A cost breakdown on materials, labor, and permits for your Long Island home remodel

Long Island renovation costs(Above) Renovation project by Sweeten general contractor Vita

Renovating on Long Island? From the South Shore to the North Fork, we have the numbers you’ll need to plan your renovation’s budget. Sweeten breaks down the costs on four major remodeling cost categories: kitchen, bathroom, basement, and permits.

Although “Long Island” is technically a region that is home to four New York counties, including Kings County (better known as Brooklyn!) and Queens, this cost guide focuses on the portion of the island that is colloquially known as Long Island, which is primarily Nassau and Suffolk counties. This guide does not include the Hamptons, which is a world of its own with renovation prices to match.

Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs that include labor and materials compiled from Sweeten renovations and Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report.

  • Full-home renovation: Starting at $100 per square foot (psf) with stock materials; high-end properties start at $250+ psf
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: $20,000—$30,000 (under 100 square feet)
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: Starting at $30,000 (for 200 square feet)
  • High-end kitchen remodel: Starting at $75,000+ (for 200 square feet)
  • Low-end bath remodel: $15,000—$20,000 (35 to 40 square feet)
  • Mid-range bath remodel: $21,000—$40,000
  • High-end bath remodel: $40,000+
  • Basement remodel: Starting at $25,000

Keep in mind while it is great to have an idea of your end cost, a contractor will want a detailed conversation and inspection of your home before delivering a more specific estimate.

What does a Long Island home remodel cost per square foot?

Long Island’s proximity to New York City and the Hamptons means that the same regional averages apply. However, real estate prices in Long Island are lower than their neighbors on both sides, and this affects renovation costs.

Most full-home Sweeten renovations in villages including Great Neck, New Hyde Park, and Bellport generally start at $100 psf. Sweeten contractor Aaron estimates that cosmetic facelifts for dry rooms can be $30$70 psf for his projects, while wet rooms (rooms that are connected to a water supply, i.e., bathrooms or kitchens) typically start at $375 per square feet.

In Sweeten’s experience, bathrooms in Long Island are typically larger than 5’x8′ and can measure 8″x7′ or 9″x7′. High-end (full custom, luxury materials) wet room renovations can cost well over $700 per square foot. This cost range includes everything from architectural design and drawings to fixtures, demolition, expediting, construction—the whole project.

Fewer hurdles in Long Island

Since most residential renovations in Long Island are for single-family, fully detached houses, the logistics of renovation are more straightforward. Contractors won’t need to worry about where to park a car or have limits on the permitted construction hours. (Even if there are city ordinances that limit noise, those are much longer than the working hours typically permitted by an NYC co-op.)

Furthermore, apartment buildings, whether condo or co-op, typically require contractors to ensure cleanliness in the hallways. When workers must spend the beginning and end of the workday prepping and cleaning the halls, this can take up precious time! These factors, which don’t impact most Long Island houses, can result in more affordable prices for those renovators.

Sweeten contractor Aaron tells us that, since construction was permitted to restart after the shutdown, clients are itching to get back to their renovations. The most common renovations he’s seeing are additions, dormers, kitchens, baths, pool pavers, and decks.

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Costs for a Long Island kitchen renovation

  • Low-end kitchen: Sweeten kitchen remodels can cost between $20,000—$30,000 for under 100 square feet with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. This typically means making use of engineered flooring, off-the-shelf cabinets, and an economical tile or butcher block for countertops. It also includes swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient models.
  • Mid-range kitchen: Sweeten has seen costs starting at $30,000. Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report shows that a mid-range, major kitchen renovation of a 200-square-foot space will run about $69,910 based on averages for the Middle Atlantic region (as opposed to $84,484 for New York City). This range covers updating 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, an island, new countertops, a double-tub stainless steel sink, energy-efficient range, vented hood, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. This comes to about $350 psf.

According to Sweeten contractor Vita, “Kitchens on Long Island typically need a full gut in order to upgrade electrical, plumbing, insulation, and correcting for settling of the foundation.”

  • High-end kitchen: Expect the budget to start at $75,000. The same Cost vs. Value report puts a luxury kitchen renovation around $137,700 for the region. This will get you top-of-the-line custom cabinets with interior accessories, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, built-in refrigerator, commercial-grade cooktop and hood, wall oven, built-in microwave, with designer faucets and a water filtration system. This budget also includes custom lighting, including under-cabinet lights, and wood flooring throughout. Broken down to price per square foot, this comes in at $689 psf.

Long Island renovation costs

Costs for a Long Island bathroom renovation

  • Low-end bathroom: Sweeten bathrooms can start at $15,000 to $20,000 for a 5’ x 8’ space with budget-friendly finishes. Sweeten contractor Vita said, “Bathroom remodels often need the same treatment as kitchens, and require a full overhaul of plumbing, electrical supplies, insulation, exhaust ductwork as well as floor and wall straightening. Our base price for a typically-sized, 35-square-foot bathroom renovation starts at $22,158, with material and subcontractor allowances.”
  • Mid-range bathroom: A mid-range bathroom remodel for a 35-square-foot area will cost anywhere from $21,000 to $40,000. The Cost vs. Value report provides an average of $22,158 for the Middle Atlantic region. This includes a recessed medicine cabinet, a standard toilet, a solid-surface vanity counter, and a porcelain tub.
  • High-end bathroom: Sweeten contractors report high-end renovations range starts at $40,000 and goes up at luxury price points. The same report puts a high-end renovation at $69,188 for the region. This is based on the expansion of a 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet, within the existing home’s footprint. A high-end renovation at this price point includes radiant floors, all new ductwork, custom cabinetry, separate shower, and freestanding tub, as well as custom lighting.

Costs for a Long Island basement renovation

Based on Sweeten’s numbers, the average basement conversion in Long Island comes in at $117 psf. At the low end, we’ve seen projects start at $25,000 and include a bathroom, shower, and laminate flooring. On the high end, a project costing $75,000 would include a 5’ x 8’ bathroom, shower, a bar area, insulation, and laminate flooring in 20’ x 30’ space.

This is in line with what is reported by Sweeten contractors. For example, Sweeten contractor Vita shares that Long Island basements generally run about $35,000 on the low end, $60,000 for a mid-range renovation, and more than $60,000 for a high-end project.

Keep in mind that the existing condition of the space will impact the budget. Sometimes the floor needs to be dug deeper so the ceiling appears higher, and the walls could require underpinning. Sometimes electricity and plumbing need to be installed, especially if there is no existing bathroom and that’s a crucial part of your plans. Installation and waterproofing can also be a significant cost if needed.

Costs for permits

In Long Island, permits are often handled by each town and will likely be tied to the budget you submit. Towns throughout the island all levy different fees. In Suffolk County, for renovations up to $50,000, the permit fee is $250, and $500 for renovations up to $100,000. For projects above $250,000, contractor Aaron estimates the cost is 15%  per $1,000 for the permit. Plumbing and electrical permits both start at $50. For the full list, you can consult this fee schedule.

Hopefully, these facts and figures give you a jumping-off point to begin pulling together a budget. Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” so you can plan and get started off on the right foot.

Renovating your home on Long Island? Sweeten can help!

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Post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with multiple vetted general contractors to provide estimates for your renovation. Sweeten also checks in with you until project completion. Just remember, meet with your general contractor to develop an accurate budget to be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted!

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