2023 Bathroom Remodeling Costs in Chicago
Researching your bathroom remodeling costs in Chicago? The key factors are size, finish level, scope, and services needed
How much should you budget for your bathroom remodel? Here’s how to make a rough prediction of bathroom remodeling costs in Chicago. The main variables are:
- Size of your bathroom, typically determined by the number of bathroom fixtures and the room’s square footage.
- Finish level — from budget to luxury, of all the materials, fixtures and finishes for your renovation.
- Scope — Are you just replacing fixtures and finishes? Are you changing the floor plan, including moving walls and utilities? Are you adding a new bathroom, or moving your bathroom to a different part of the house?
- Services — Do you just need construction work? Do you need professional design or architecture services?
We’ll discuss these variables below, but for now let’s start with an example.
For a full renovation (without layout changes) of a standard full bathroom, with basic general contracting services, here’s what you can expect starting costs for your project to look like in Chicago:
- Budget full bathroom renovation costs: Starting at $16,500
- Mid-grade full bathroom renovation costs: Starting at $26,000
- High-end full bathroom renovation costs: Starting at $37,500
We want you to be completely prepared for the cost of your home remodeling project, so our pricing estimates are inclusive of all materials, labor, overhead, and a standard general contractor’s margin.
When you’re ready to get started on your bathroom or home remodel, work with Sweeten to renovate with the best contractors in Chicago.
Size: How dimensions affect your bathroom remodeling costs in Chicago
This may sound obvious, but the larger your bathroom, generally the more expensive your renovation project will be. However, it’s not a totally straightforward calculation, because what matters most isn’t the footprint, it’s the fixtures and finishes that will fill that space — more plumbing fixtures, in the form of sinks, showers, toilets, etc., means greater costs. Here’s how you can think about sizing up bathroom remodeling projects:
- Half bathrooms, or powder rooms, usually have just a sink and a toilet. The typical fixture count for a half bath is 1-2.
- Full bathrooms usually have a sink, toilet, and bathtub or shower. The typical fixture count for a full bath is 3-4.
- Primary bathrooms, also called master bathrooms, usually have a generous vanity area with two sinks, plus a toilet and bathtub or shower. The typical fixture count for a primary bath is 4-5.
- Deluxe primary bathrooms usually have two sinks and an extended vanity, an extra-large shower or a shower and separate bathtub, and a toilet, which may be enclosed separately. The typical fixture count for a deluxe primary bathroom is 5+.
For any size bathroom, a wide range of bathroom fixtures is available, from budget to ultra-luxury. Your style preference, budget, and the space’s size will determine the suite of fixtures needed, including a sink, vanity, faucet, toilet, shower head, bathtub, and accessories. The low end of fixtures for a small bathroom is $1,500, and fixtures can run upwards of $15,000.
Finish level: How bathroom design affects remodeling costs in Chicago
Finish level refers to the general quality and price level of fixtures, materials, and finishes. These include wall treatments, vanity materials and fabrication, flooring choices, and the brands and models of sinks, faucets, and fixtures you choose. The higher the finish level, the faster your costs will increase.
- Budget finish: Budget bathroom materials are generally off-the-shelf items from “big box” stores or IKEA. This includes stock vanities; various tiles under $5/square foot such as Pergo and Daltile; and fixtures by Delta, Moen, and Pfister.
- Mid-grade finish: Mid-grade materials balance cost efficiency with material quality. This includes vanities by Design House, Fresca, and Signature Hardware; tile by TileBar; and fixtures by American Standard, Hansgrohe, and Kohler.
- High-end finish: High-end materials take quality and craftsmanship above standard, and this category introduces custom work. This includes tiles by Clé Tile, Ann Sacks, and Artistic Tile; vanities by Duravit, Robern, and DXV; and fixtures by Kallista and Brizo.
- Luxury finish: Luxury means the sky’s the limit, where customization, craftsmanship and materials truly go above and beyond. Think brands like Lefroy Brooks, THG Paris, and Samuel Heath.
Scope: Rip-and-replace vs. gut bathroom renovation in Chicago
Project scope refers to the amount and type of work that needs to be done, and can have implications on which professionals you’ll need to hire. We divide scope into the following broad categories (when a contractor prepares an estimate for your renovation, it will be much more detailed, and will include costs of the exact fixtures and finishes):
Full renovation (also called “rip-and-replace”)
A full renovation means that you’re replacing all old fixtures and finishes with new ones, while leaving everything in place. So, effectively, the layout is the same before and after the renovation (hence, the nickname “rip-and-replace”). This is the more straightforward way to reimagine your space, and can often be done with just a licensed general contractor partner.
For a gut renovation, you’ll be dropping walls, rerouting plumbing lines and rewiring electrical — generally stripping the room to the studs and subfloor (or, even removing these!) in order to change up the layout of the space. This kind of transformational project will require professional design and architectural services, permitting, and licensed general contractors, which ensures the work is done safely and to code.
Services: Bathroom remodeling services, and how they affect costs in Chicago
The two main services to consider for your bathroom renovation are build service and design service. Depending on your needs, you have some options for what types of firms to hire.
Build service with a general contractor
Build service would include demolition and construction services, and would be carried out by your general contractor. Some general contractors are considered build-only firms, which means that they do not offer full professional design. Even within the build-only category, there are a range of different service offerings a contractor might provide — some will strictly work with finished plans from a professional designer, some will work with you to carry out the vision you conceive, and others are more willing to offer creative suggestions and advice on material and fixture choices, or even rough visualizations for spatial layout.
A combination of service level, experience, and things like firm size and overhead might all contribute to how competitive a contractor’s pricing is. We generally recommend to connect with a few different contractors to feel out what level of service best suits you.
Design service with an architect or interior designer
Design service can be broken down into creative design and technical design. For creative design service, which is almost always optional, you’ll work with an architect or interior designer to reimagine the space. This added layer of service will generally cost between 10-20% of your construction budget, depending on the level of service included in your design package (though, not all firms determine their fees based on cost of construction — some may charge a flat fee based on project scope and anticipated duration, for example). So, for a $40,000 bathroom renovation, you might expect to pay your architect or designer $4,000 to $8,000.
Technical design expertise is needed in the form of an architect (or sometimes structural engineer) for projects like gut renovations where permitting is required. Their main role is to ensure that the project is done safely and to code.
What is a full-service, design-build firm?
If you need both design and build services, you can choose to hire a professional designer or architect, and separately, a general contractor. But there’s another option that comes with some distinct benefits: you can hire a design-build firm — a general contractor with dedicated professional design under one roof. This means you work with the same firm from planning and design through construction. In addition to the continuity, which can often save time in the process, some clients appreciate that the working relationship means more seamless coordination, which can even help to keep your project on budget. Sweeten brings homeowners an exceptional renovation experience by personally matching trusted general contractors to your project, while offering expert guidance and support—at no cost to you.
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Frequently asked questions about bathroom remodeling costs in Chicago
The process of remodeling a bathroom brings up endless questions, so we’re answering some of your most common curiosities about the costs of bathroom renovations here. Have more questions? Leave them in the comments section below!
The final cost of a bathroom remodel will depend on the size of your bathroom, the quality of fixtures and finishes, and whether any plumbing fixtures will be moving or changing. For an average, full bath, a full, rip-and-replace bathroom remodel in Chicago will range from $16,500 to $69,000 and up, depending on finishes. This estimate includes all materials, labor, overhead, and a standard general contractor margin.
A major gut bathroom remodel would add an additional 15-25% to the total cost of materials and labor for the same square footage. Also keep in mind that a half bathroom with fewer fixtures will cost less, while a primary bathroom with more fixtures will cost more.
Demolition signifies the start of a renovation and is one of the quickest parts of the process to complete. Bathroom demolition costs are typically tied to the square footage of what is being removed. Usually, bathroom demolition costs start at $36 per square foot in Chicago, but can be more depending on what needs to be removed.
The cost of labor for a bathroom remodel goes towards the renovation crew, behind-the-scenes administrative employees, and subcontractors. Generally, the cost of labor is dependent on a project’s complexity, size, and location. In Chicago, the labor portion of a bathroom remodeling project usually adds up to around 25-35% of the total project cost, give or take.
Generally speaking, labor will make up a larger portion of total cost for a bathroom project with budget-grade materials, and a lower portion of the total for high-end materials. The addition of any highly specialized labor (beyond standard) will cost more.
Permit requirements vary between states and local municipalities, so be sure to check your local requirements in Chicago. Often, permits are needed for bathroom remodels if any plumbing, electrical, or mechanical elements will be moved, or if load-bearing walls are being moved or coming down. This can also include converting a tub to shower, or vice versa, due to plumbing implications.
If you need a permit for your bathroom remodel, the costs can be calculated as a flat rate for specific scopes of work or as a percentage of the cost of the project. In some areas remodeling permit costs might be as high as 10%, but it’s usually less.
The purchase of tile is only part of the budget to tile a bathroom. There is cost to prepare the space for tiling where items such as baseboards and the toilet are removed. Raw materials, such as subflooring and thin-set, are required for the job. Installation and labor costs factor into the final tiling budget. The total average cost to tile a bathroom in Chicago ranges from $25 to $78 per square foot.
The cost to replace a bathroom vanity includes preparation of the worksite, raw materials, and labor. Depending on the scope of work, the cost increases if plumbing and electrical systems are relocated or if they need to be brought up to code. The materials chosen based on price point will also factor into the budget. The total average cost to replace a bathroom vanity in Chicago ranges from $420 to $3,600, however, for high-end and custom work, the total cost of replacing a vanity can run even higher.
A walk-in shower can cost anywhere between $2,000-$15,000 in Chicago, and can run even higher for high-end and custom work, or major layout changes. This includes installation, plumbing, fixtures, and kits. Leaving the plumbing where it is will be less expensive than if water sources are moved (like when converting a tub to a shower).
The cost to remodel a shower will also vary depending on the price point of the tile chosen. Standard ceramic tile can start at just $1.50 per square foot while marble tile is closer to $50 per square foot. Add a standard overage amount of at least 10% of raw material. Running short of tile will cause delays and incur more costs
The bulk of your bathroom remodeling costs will be tied to the total number of fixtures, and the quality of the fixtures and materials you choose. A small full bathroom with 3-4 fixtures and a large full bathroom with 3-4 fixtures, might cost close to the same because the only difference will be in square footage of flooring and wall treatments. On the other hand, a half bathroom with only 2 fixtures, a sink and toilet, will cost considerably less than a full bath renovation with 3-4 fixtures.
In Chicago, the cost for a typical half bathroom remodel can range from $6,500-$25,000 and up; whereas the cost for a full, rip-and-replace remodel of a small full bathroom can range from $16,500-$69,000 and up, depending on finish level of the materials used. A major gut renovation for a bathroom of the same size would add an additional 15-25% to the total cost of materials and labor.
Your general contractor can give you an idea of possible issues that may arise during a bathroom remodel in Chicago, based on the age and type of home they’re working on. However, a contractor cannot price out every possible problem, as things can arise after walls are broken into. They may discover an issue with your plumbing or electrical, for example.
Major projects often involve permitting fees, and change orders after a contract has been signed can also add to the overall cost. To protect yourself from unseen costs, set aside a 10-15% contingency budget for a non-gut renovation. If you are planning a gut remodel, set aside 15-20% for issues that come up along the way. Having a monetary cushion will keep your remodeling project on track.
Are you ready to start your own bathroom remodeling project?
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Updated May 2, 2023