Costs for Home Remodeling in Chicago
Our guide to Chicago remodeling costs, including kitchen, bath, and whole-home (plus outdoor budgets and permit tips!)
UPDATED: Read our most up-to-date Chicago Kitchen Remodeling Costs and Bathroom Remodeling Costs
(Photo above) Remodel by Sweeten general contractor Christina. Photo: Chicago Home Photos
Figuring out the cost of renovating a house can be nerve-wracking for first-time Chicago renovators. You’ve finally moved on from daydreaming to starting a remodel of your home. Start by gathering some basic details: know what you can actually afford, and plan to add a small reserve on top of that. The materials you want to use also factor in, as well as how much work will be done. Plus, everything that isn’t visible—the infrastructure—will impact your costs. This can be a lot to keep track of, especially if this is your first time renovating.
Fortunately, we have done some of the legwork in this guide to Chicago remodeling costs. This guide focuses on some of the major remodeling categories: whole house remodels, kitchen, bath, additions—as well as permits. You can use these details to create an accurate budget for a Chicago-area renovation.
Baseline home renovation costs in Chicago
Here’s a breakdown of typical starting home renovation costs (including labor and materials) gathered from Sweeten contractors:
- Full-home renovation: From $105 per square foot (psf)
- Budget bath remodel: $16,500 (standard full size)
- Mid-grade bath remodel: $26,000 (standard full size)
- High-end bath remodel: $37,500 (standard full size)
- Budget kitchen remodel: $23,500 (medium-sized)
- Mid-grade kitchen remodel: $35,500 (medium-sized)
- High-end kitchen remodel: $72,000 (medium-sized)
- Basement remodel: $40,000—$75,000
Keep in mind that every professional contractor will want to have a detailed conversation with you. They will also inspect your home before developing an estimate specific to your needs and wants.
Pro tip: Do not wait. The pandemic has caused a backlog in the supply of materials in many sectors. For homeowners interested in renovating, it’s smart to schedule and sign with a contractor to lock in your material prices. You’ll also want to book a start date on the contractor’s schedule. If you do wait, prices will only continue to go up and your material order starts at the back of a long queue.
Chicago remodeling costs per square foot
Gut renovation vs. non-gut renovation
Gutting a home pretty much means starting from scratch. You’ll take everything down to the studs or framework, and/or you’ll knock down walls. Because it’s more intricate, the average cost to gut and remodel a house starts at the higher end of the $100 to $200 psf range. By contrast, a remodel of the space within existing walls will be at the lower end. For example, remodeling a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom condo may range from $50,000 to $70,000, while a gut reno likely will exceed $100,000. This work usually involves running new plumbing pipes and wiring, moving doorways, and possibly installing new flooring.
Full home gut renovation costs
Costs for a full home gut renovation start at $105 per square foot. Take note: this scope of work is extensive! Expect demo, framing, insulation and drywall, wiring, plumbing, heating/cooling systems, millwork, paint, flooring, tile, light fixtures, electronics, and all finishes. (This excludes appliances, which can significantly increase costs, depending on how high-end they are.) According to Chicago-based Sweeten contractor Ryan, “A whole-house renovation—say, 3,000 square feet—would cost $200,000, at the low end, and start at $400,000 at the high end. It all depends on the materials chosen.”
Wet room renovation costs
Wet rooms—connected to a water supply, such as bathrooms or kitchens—typically start at $250 psf. In the city, bathrooms in condos or co-ops can be as small as 30 square feet. However, in freestanding homes, they are typically larger than 5’ x 8’. High-end renovations that are fully custom with luxury materials can cost upwards of $700 per square foot. Architectural design and drawings, demolition, construction, materials, fixtures, lighting, and finishes are included in the fee.
Build in a buffer to your budget
Contractors may build in overage fees to their estimates. This allows for the unexpected—which definitely can happen—to be covered. Overages are usually 10-15% of the project cost. (We recommend that the renovator reserve at least 10-15% above the bid as well). Don’t let the numbers shock you, though: the beauty of hiring a general contractor is that it’s one-stop shopping. Working with a contractor covers pretty much all the trades required for the job. This spares you the work of hiring individual tradesmen to complete the various aspects of your project.
Chicago-based Sweeten contractor Brad recommends being realistic about how much you can spend. “You can’t buy a $100,000 ring on a $5,000 budget. Nail down your contractor first; they know pricing. And add 15 percent for unexpected conditions.”
Average cost of a kitchen remodel in Chicago
Budget kitchen renovation costs
To begin the process of remodeling a kitchen, the typical starting point is $23,500 based on a 100-square-foot space. This translates to stock cabinets from a big-box store with space to fit a refrigerator, a four-burner range, a dishwasher, and a microwave. Materials could include laminate flooring, tile under $10 / square foot, and fixtures by Delta and American Standard.
Mid-grade kitchen renovation costs
We have found that revamping a kitchen measuring 100 square feet at this finish level can start at $35,500. Opting for mid-grade materials is a smart way to strike a balance between cost efficiency and quality. Some reputable options to consider include Diamond or Kemper cabinets, Caesarstone countertops, Daltile floors, and tiles from TileBar and Ann Sacks. For fixtures, brands like Brizo, Hansgrohe, and Kohler offer reliable choices.
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High-end kitchen costs
Based on what we have seen, expect starting costs to be $37,500 for a 100-square-foot room at this finish level. Expect quality and craftsmanship with top-flight custom cabinets, stone or porcelain flooring, stone or quartz countertops, and tile from brands like Cle Tile and Artistic Tile.
Sweeten contractor Ryan has seen kitchens cost $50,000 for a gut remodel, and at the high end, closer to $100,000. “Those figures,” he says, “can vary greatly, as some cabinetry alone might cost $80,000.”
Average bathroom remodel costs in Chicago
Budget bathroom remodel costs
To prepare for a bathroom remodel, you’ll need to settle on a realistic budget. A starting point can be $16,500 for a standard full bathroom with budget-friendly finishes from big box stores like Home Depot, Menards, and Lowe’s. Other materials for this budget include stock vanities, various tiles under $5/square foot, and fixtures by Delta, Moen, and Pfister. As this is a wet space, plumbing, electrical insulation, and exhausts, as well as correcting misaligned walls and floors will be part of the job.
Mid-grade bathroom remodel costs
A standard full bathroom typically includes a sink, toilet, and bathtub or shower. The fixture count for a full bath is 3–4. Starting costs to overhaul a bathroom is around $26,000. This includes a recessed medicine cabinet, standard toilet, fixtures by Kohler and Hansgrohe, vanity counter from Signature Hardware, and a porcelain tub.
High-end bathroom remodel costs
The typical cost at this finish level starts at $37,500 for a standard-size bathroom. Features at this level include custom work, separate shower, freestanding tub, and custom lighting. High-end materials can include vanities by Robern and Duravit, fixtures by Brizo, and tile by Artistic Tile and Ann Sacks.
Costs for a primary bedroom suite addition
Mid-grade primary suite addition costs
Estimated costs are around $452 psf or $177,273 for a 24′ x 16′ space, including double vanity, freestanding tub, separate shower, walk-in closet, dressing area. Whether it’s a ground-level addition, a basement remodel, or a second-floor addition, accessing rough-ins for plumbing will vary and affect pricing.
High-end primary suite addition costs
For a 32′ x 20′ primary suite with a separate sitting area and large primary bath over a crawl space, costs are around $553 psf or $359,232. This kind of project includes custom shelving, built-in storage, as well as a walk-in closet and dressing area with windows.
Basement renovation costs in Chicago
A starting budget for a basement is around $100 psf. At the low end, average renovation costs are around $40,000, which includes a bathroom with a shower. Flooring options can vary significantly, including laminate, vinyl, engineered wood, porcelain tile, or stained concrete. At the high end, a project for $75,000 may include a 5′ x 8′-foot bathroom with a shower, a wet bar, and flooring in an overall space measuring 20′ x 30′.
Costs for a basement renovation can be affected by multiple factors. Consider the existing condition of the space, if plumbing pipes need to be installed or moved, if new water service is required and if bracing needs to be done to eliminate structural supports in the middle of a space. Also take into consideration ceiling height, since Chicago basements are typically 8 feet or less, and as low as 6’7″. If you want to raise the ceiling, that requires digging out and underpinning the foundation. In addition, it’s necessary to assure the space is waterproof. A perimeter drain tile system is installed (repaired or extended). Connecting it to a sump pump also is important to consider, and this cost can start at around $2,500.
Chicago remodeling costs for permits
The permit process for renovating varies from Chicago to its suburbs, with each of the village’s or town’s governing bodies determining requirements and fees. In Chicago, permits are obtained through the Building Department. The issue in common is safety and compliance with building codes.
In Winnetka, remodeling permits cost $30 per $1,000 of construction; new construction is $1.30 per square foot of new gross area. There also are permit fees for plumbing, electrical service ($9,800 for 200 amp service; $21,000 for 400 amp service), furnace, and AC as well as roofing and pools. In Hinsdale, the permit fee for remodeling is calculated on two percent of the value of construction. In addition, expect to pay permit fees for demolition ($3,000).
In Chicago, applications for building permits must include architectural drawings and names of all licensed contractors—plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors (usually supplied by the general contractor). There is no one size fits all. But expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 minimally for a whole house remodel, major kitchen, and/or bath. The larger the project, the more the fee, ranging to as high as $10,000.
There’s also an Easy Permit Program for small projects that do not require architectural drawings (usually available the same day). There are nominal costs (a few hundred dollars for plumbing and electrical permits), which usually are pulled by those contractors.
Find expert Chicago general contractors near you
Post your project and we’ll match you with multiple vetted general contractors to provide estimates for your renovation, then help you evaluate the estimates. We also check in with you until the project is completed. When you brainstorm with your general contractor to develop an accurate budget, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the dream space you’ve always craved.
Updated on May 4, 2023
Have a good handle on HOA (Homeowners Association) fees before you purchase your condo, co-op, or detached house.
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If you’re doing a gut renovation in Chicago, budget from $100—$200 per square foot (costs will be lower for a non-gut). For any renovation, wet rooms—spaces with plumbing, like kitchens and bathrooms—will cost more than dry rooms. Materials and finish level will heavily impact costs. Budget-conscious Chicago homeowners should consider big-box stores for savings, while those with bigger budgets may opt for fully custom features or foreign-sourced items.
Chicago homeowners will likely spend $22,000—$31,000+ for a budget-level kitchen remodel. A mid-range Chicago kitchen remodel will start near $30,000 for 100 square feet of space; while larger kitchens (200 square feet) will cost between $60,000—$80,000. For a luxury kitchen remodel in Chicago, costs can increase to $80,000—$160,000 for a fully-custom, gut-renovated space with premium finishes.
For a 5’ x 7’ Chicago bathroom with budget-level finishes, costs will start between $15,000—$20,000. For a mid-grade bathroom remodel, costs will start between $21,000—$28,000+. A smaller (35 square foot) high-end bathroom remodel could cost about $30,000, but larger bathrooms (approximately 200 square feet) can easily cost $80,000+.