How Much Does a Bathroom Renovation Really Cost?

For many people, the bathroom is one of the first rooms in their house that they want to renovate, but how much does a bathroom renovation cost?

A tired old bathroom can be depressing to use on a daily basis, so to renovate and turn it into an oasis is an absolute priority. While you see lots of blog posts that talk in vague terms about bathroom renovation costs, as our own renovation is currently ongoing, I thought it might be helpful give an actual breakdown of the costs for a real life bathroom.

Factors In Our Own Bathroom Renovation Cost

Obviously there are a large number of variables that can mean a bathroom renovation cost varies dramatically. Let me start by saying these costs are for the renovation of a relatively small bathroom. Our family bathroom is approximately 6ft by 7ft (1.8m by 2.15m). Ours is also a total renovation, so we have stripped everything back to the bare wood frame walls and replaced all the fixtures and fittings with the exception of the shower. Due to the limited space in the bathroom we aren’t making any major changes to the bathroom layout. We aren’t going for a top of the range renovation, but it’s not bargain bucket either. A major factor in our renovation cost is that we are doing all the work ourselves. Therefore there are no labour costs associated with out bathroom renovation, however I will discuss this in more detail later on.

Cost to Remove the Old Bathroom

We removed the old bath, toilet and sink ourselves and took them to our local tip. Our tip currently charges approximately £3 per item for sanitary ware, so we were charged £12 for the sink and sink pedestal, and toilet bowl and cistern. As the bath was plastic we were able to put that into one of the waste containers for free. We then started on removing the old wall tiles and plasterboard. It turned out the previous house owners had tiled over tiles – so we had a lot of waste from this stage! Whilst we could have bagged all of this waste up and taken it to the tip, they currently charge £6 per rubble bag for plasterboard and £3 per bag for tiles. In the end we decided it would be easier to get a local licensed waste company to come and remove it. This cost £120. All of the other bathroom items we were able to put in the tip for free.

Replacement Plasterboard, Plastering and Painting

We replaced the plasterboard we had removed with moisture resistant plasterboard suitable for bathrooms. This cost approximately £100. We then plastered the walls and ceiling where we were not going to tile. The plaster cost another £20 approximately. I then painted the walls and ceiling with bathroom paint (£25 roughly).

Cost of New Bathroom Fixtures

As part of our bathroom renovation we have decided to replace all of the fixtures and fittings. Although we debated refurbishing and re-using the bath, in the end we decided just to replace it as was a p-shaped shower bath and finding a new bath panel (the old one was broken) was proving problematic and expensive. It also took up a lot of space in a bathroom that is already tight on space. We also wanted to replace the traditional sink and pedestal for a vanity unit to give us some storage space in the bathroom. Finally, we have decided to go for a wall-hung toilet as these are very compact in the limited bathroom space that we have, as well as being very practical for cleaning purposes. Once I identified the bathroom fixtures I wanted, I shopped around to find the best price for them all. Here is the full list:

  • Bath (including feet and bath waste) £180
  • Bath panel £75
  • Bath shower screen £100
  • Bath tap £100
  • Sink vanity unit £275
  • Sink waste & bottle trap £20
  • Sink tap £54
  • Wall hung toilet (includes toilet frame, toilet seat & flush buttons) £300

TOTAL COST: £1,104

Cost of Bathroom Tiles

As this is our main family bathroom renovation, I want to make sure that it is classic and timeless. I have chosen some fairly plain grey marble effect porcelain tiles to cover the wall beside the bath and behind the sink /toilet area. This is approximately 8 square metres of tiles. I managed to buy the tiles when they were on special offer, so this worked out at around £21 per square metre. The total cost of the wall tiles plus the tile glue was : £180.

For the floor tiles, we have chosen wood effect porcelain tiles, we need about 4 square metres of those, at around £30 per square metre. We also plan to lay these on tile boards, which will cost £50. Add another £50 for tile glue, grout and other bits and bobs needed for this job.

Finishing touches

As it was broken we have had to replace out bathroom extractor fan (£40). We also plan to re-use the towel-rail radiator that was already in the bathroom (a replacement one would have been about £180). A new bathroom light cost £80 and we still need to buy a mirror and other bits and bobs to finish the room off (say £100). It is also worth adding that we are re-using the old shower as it is good quality and in good working order. This would have cost us about £600 to replace with the same model.

Total Bathroom Renovation Cost – Materials

So to add everything up, the total costs for all the materials so far is:

  • Waste removal – £ 130
  • Plasterboard / plastering / paint – £145
  • New bathroom fixtures – £1104
  • Tiles – £400
  • Other items – £ 220

Total cost of materials: £1,999

In addition, if we had needed to buy a new towel radiator and shower unit (pumped shower) this would have cost us another £780 approximately. So it’s easy to see that even for a fairly bog-standard bathroom renovation, the price of the materials alone can be getting on for £3k.

Bathroom Renovation Labour Costs

The average bathroom renovation cost in the UK according to the Victoria Plum website is £6500. So you can see that labour costs are likely to be a significant part of your bathroom renovation expenditure. Whilst we have chosen to do all of the work on our bathroom DIY, it is possible to partly reduce labour costs by doing at least some of the work yourself. For example the demo part of the job requires no special skills, and there are many amazing bathroom renovation ‘how-to’ videos on You Tube that show tiling, plumbing etc., if you are willing to give it a go. One of the down sides of doing the work yourself is that it can take a lot longer. If it is the only bathroom in the house you are renovating, this might be a key consideration!