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Bathroom renovations: Quick Guide to Planning your Project

Are you trying to make up your mind whether to renovate your bathroom or not?

Homeowners have different reasons for wanting to renovate. In some cases, a renovation can be postponed. But when the bathroom’s condition is affecting the quality of your life or increasing your monthly utility bills, it can’t wait!

A bathroom renovation will greatly improve the quality of your life and the overall value of your home. You have the option to do as much as or as little as you want, depending on your needs and budget.

You can have a luxury bathroom with a spa design or simply change the floor and update fixtures.

The important thing to do is to identify your needs or goals and how much you can spend. In this way, you won’t get carried away and spend more than you can afford.

Our network consists of reputable and experienced bathroom contractors who can help you plan the design and estimate the cost of your project.

Whether you want to go all-out with a major remodel or a mid-range renovation, they can work with you to ensure your money is well-spent.

Renovating a bathroom is a complex project and an expensive one. With that said, you want professionals to do the work so that no time or money is wasted.

Compare free and no commitment quotes using the short online form on this page 
to connect with top bathroom contractors in your area.

Reasons to renovate your bathroom


Does the bathroom look old and need a new look? Do you want a more attractive bathroom to sell the house faster? Or perhaps, are you renovating to make the bathroom safe for an elderly parent?

Before you do anything, think about why you want to renovate the bathroom. This will help you to identify what changes you need to make and what design and budget you need.

There is no right or wrong answer because the important thing is what you need.

It is also important to consider future needs, especially if you plan to live in the home until your retirement.

Plan your project with the users in mind and include future plans or changes to reap the benefits of your home renovation for a long time to come.

Types of bathroom: Which are you renovating?


A house may have 2 or more bathrooms. When it comes to renovating, there are several types to consider, depending on your needs.

Powder room/Guest bathroom

Also called a ½ bath, this type of bathroom usually has just a toilet and sink. It is a space generally located on the ground floor near the dining or living room. It involves simpler work than a full bathroom, thus, is it also cost-effective.

Three-fixture bathrooms

Somewhat similar to powder rooms but with more fixtures, a 3-fixture bathroom has a toilet, sink, and shower in a small floor plan.

The three fixtures are against a wall across the door. The layout can be customized but the goal is to have a bathroom available for guests.

Full bathroom

A full bathroom is the standard bathroom with a shower and a bathtub, sink, and toilet.  A house usually has one full bathroom, sometimes more than one.

A full bathroom can have a tub and shower combination or just a shower.

Utility bathroom 

Utility bathrooms use a 2-in-1 layout that combines a bathroom with a laundry. They have a shower, sink, and toilet and extra space for appliances like a washing machine and dryer.

 This type of bathroom is very common in basement bathrooms.

Master bathroom

A master bathroom generally has more privacy, luxury, and space.  This type of bathroom is inside the master bedroom or attached. It can have a walk-in shower and bath tub and customized to the homeowner’s lifestyle or taste.

The difference of remodeling vs. renovating

Bathroom renovations are not all the same and they vary in complexity, design, materials, and cost.

While remodeling and renovating are terms often used interchangeably, they are not the same.

When you remodel, you want to alter the structure, function, or layout. You want to change the space and not just improve or update it.

On the other hand, when you renovate, you repair or restore the room to good condition and revive by upgrading fixtures, paint, etc.

In essence, remodeling is more expensive than renovating because you may be expanding the bathroom or changing the floor plan which will increase the cost of materials and labor.

Average Cost of bathroom renovations in Canada


When a homeowner plans to do a bathroom renovation, the most pressing question is the cost.

The cost of the renovation will depend on the scope of the project, the selected materials, the size of the bathroom, and the contractor selected to do the work. This is because contractors don’t have standard fees when it comes to labor. That is why it is important to compare multiple quotes to get the best price.

To give you an idea, below are typical costs you can expect for a bathroom renovation:

Low-end/small project: $5,000-$8,000 (Changing fixtures, painting, lighting)
Mid-range project: $10,000-$15,000 (Flooring upgrade, addition of shower or tub, vanity, etc.)
High-end project: $25,000- $30,000 (change in layout, major upgrades)

These prices are for small to medium-sized bathrooms. Bigger bathrooms will cost more.

The size of the bathroom and the finishes selected vary from one renovation to another. When you expand the bathroom, it will also increase the cost. Framing, plumbing, electrical wiring, and new drywall are typical costs when you expand the space.

Hire a reputable contractor from our network and compare different quotes to help you plan your project.

Breakdown of bathroom remodel expenses


As mentioned earlier, a bathroom remodel will cost more than a simple renovation. Take a look at the breakdown of common expenses to give you a better idea.


If you are removing a wall, it should be handled by professionals to avoid any risk of damage. A complete demolition and clean-up will typically cost about $3,500.

Electrical and Plumbing work

Both of these are licensed trades in Canada which is why they are on the expensive side. Most electricians and plumbers charge anywhere from $80 to $150 per hour.

If you are installing pot lights, expect to pay at least $250 each for the material and installation.

Tile work

Tiling is important to the bathroom’s quality and durability. The cost of tile work will also vary based on the style of your tiles and their quality.

The most popular tiling materials are vinyl tiles (average price of $3 to $5 per square foot), porcelain tiles (average price of $6 to $10 per square foot) and natural stone such as marble (average price is $15 per square foot or higher.)

The cost to install tiles can start at $5 to $20 per square foot depending on the complexity of the material’s design.

Floor replacement is a typical component of a bathroom renovation. For older bathrooms, replacing the sub-floor may be necessary due to water damage. If this is the case, a standard plywood costs around $2.20 per square foot. You may also incur additional costs for the removal of the old floor covering which costs about $1.50 to $2 per square foot.


On top of installation costs, the general labour required for painting or carpentry must also be taken into account.

For a medium-sized bathroom, you should set aside another $2,000 for labour. You should also check with the contractor whether this expense is included in the initial quote.

If you have a contractor to oversee the entire construction, the quote would generally include all sub-trades required.

Standard Prices of Bathroom Renovation Essentials


In case you are wondering what expenses to anticipate for a bathroom renovation, below are standard prices of bathroom essentials.


Fixtures vary in price based on the quality. Some of these fixtures are worth investing your money in. Showers and toilets are used daily so it is advisable to get the best quality you can afford for longer use and fewer repairs.

These fixtures include:

· Sink and toilet: $300 to $2,000

· Shower: $300 to $2,500

· Vanity: $400 to $5,000

· Countertop: $300 to $2,000

Your location also affects the cost of your renovation because bigger cities tend to have more expensive labor costs.  For example, a bathroom remodel will cost more in Toronto than in Montreal.

Reasons not to DIY your bathroom renovation


Homeowners would like to reduce the cost of a bathroom renovation by doing some of the work. This may seem like a good idea but be aware that it could also pose huge risks on your project and your budget.

In some cases, doing a DIY renovation feels very rewarding but it could go so very wrong. There are many aspects involved in a bathroom renovation – electrical, drywall, plumbing, and fixtures which could lead to very expensive mistakes.

Mistakes could end up costing you more in the end. Hiring a specialized bathroom contractor offers many advantages that will make your investment worthwhile.

DIY electrical work is dangerous

If you want to install new lighting or electrical work, always hire a professional. This is required in every municipality as only licensed tradesmen are allowed to do electrical upgrades.

Your home insurance policy may not cover any damage due to fire caused by faulty electrical wiring or installation due to negligence.

Finally, working with electrical wiring in the bathroom poses serious safety hazards. Experienced professionals know how to protect themselves from such hazards but novices can miss dangers and get electrocuted.

Plumbing work is complex

Plumbing installation can seem pretty easy but it is more complicated than you think. If you don’t install plumbing properly, your bathroom will have leaks that could cost damage to other parts of your home in the near future.

Save yourself the headache and expense by letting professional plumbers work from the get go.

Bathroom installations pose many challenges

The many components of a bathroom requires skilled work and experience.  If installing a fan, you will need to vent it from the ceiling and through a hole in the roof.  Incorrect installation could lead to leaks or a lack of ventilation in your bathroom.

Hiring professionals will allow you to benefit from their skills and experience from start to finish. You can ask for help regarding the design, materials, and cost-effectiveness of all your installations. Most importantly, you can save yourself a lot of stress and get flawless results from your project.

Are you ready to find a reliable contractor for your bathroom remodel?
Get started by using our short online form to receive FREE and NO OBLIGATION quotes today!

Save money by avoiding structural changes


Does the idea of a bigger bathroom excite you? Is it on your high-priority list for your bathroom renovation?

Making structural changes will significantly increase the budget you need for your renovation. If you want to save money, avoid structural changes.

For example, removing a load-bearing wall will require a structural engineer’s assistance and this will increase your costs.

You may want to think of alternatives to change the design with non-load-bearing walls instead. Further, changing the layout of your bathroom may also require additional plumbing. This will also increase your expenses.

Unless there are very strong reasons to do so, avoid changing the layout or structure of your bathroom to reduce your renovation expenses.

Green bathrooms and their benefits

Green bathrooms are becoming more popular because they improve water and energy efficiency which provide more savings in the long run.

Renovating by using sustainable materials is cost-effective and goes a long way to protecting our natural environment.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 75% of the water used in your home comes from the bathrooms.  Hence, you may be spending a ton on utility bills that literally goes down your drain.

Reputable contractors can assist you with the installation of low-flow and efficient faucets, energy-saving lighting fixtures, and recycled or natural materials.

Other elements of a bathroom renovation are not as exciting and don’t have any aesthetic value but they go a long way in reducing your energy bills.

Choosing Energy-Star windows, low-energy exhaust fans, and efficient lighting will save you money from your utility bills.

FAQS about bathroom renovations or remodels


A bathroom renovation costs a lot of money and will affect the quality of your life, and even the value of your home. Thus, it is natural for you to feel excited but anxious about it.

To help you plan your project, we have put together some frequently asked questions to guide you in planning your project.

Do I need a permit for a bathroom renovation in Canada?

Some home renovations require a building permit based on local zoning by-laws and regulations. The scope of your project will determine if you require a building permit and the type of permit. Your general or bathroom contractor will know and can help you obtain the right permits. You can also inquire with your municipality as each city would have different regulations.

What is the ROI of a bathroom remodel?

The standard ROI of a bathroom renovation is about 70%. You don’t even have to do a full renovation to take advantage of this. If you are renovating before a home sale, know that a bathroom is a major deal-maker or deal-breaker with homebuyers. By focusing on what elements to improve in your bathroom with the most rewards, you can maximize the impact of your renovation while reducing the cost.

Where should you start with a bathroom renovation?

If you have decided to do a bathroom renovation, you start planning by determining the needs of everyone using the bathroom and setting your budget.

What is the most expensive part of a bathroom renovation?

You may be surprised to know that it won’t be the tiles or the fixtures. Rather, moving the plumbing is the most expensive. If you change the layout and move your sink to another area, the cost of your bathroom remodel could easily be twice as much.

How much do I need for a complete bathroom renovation?

If you have an old bathroom and you want a complete renovation, you may spend anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000, depending on a few factors.

The size of your bathroom and your choice of materials (economy, mid-range, luxury) as well as the condition of your existing plumbing and other bathroom components (walls, floor) will also play a role in the cost.

The best way to plan your budget is to find a reputable bathroom contractor by comparing multiple free quotes using our short online form.

Is it practical to do a bathroom and kitchen renovation simultaneously?

The kitchen and bathroom are the most often used areas of the home. Renovating them simultaneously will improve your life and add value to your home. And while a simultaneous renovation can be a major headache for you, doing so can save you time and money in the end.

If you hire a general contractor who can work on both the bathroom and kitchen at the same time, he can create a schedule where the tiling, painting, cabinetry, lighting, and plumbing can be done all at once.

Finally, renovating both these areas at the same time will have a higher impact on the overall value of your home.

Is floor to ceiling tile required for a bathroom?

Floor to ceiling tiles are popular but they also increase the cost of a renovation drastically. If you have a tight budget, you can consider skipping floor to ceiling tiles. Speak to your contractor about cost-effective but practical alternatives.

How can you make a big impact with a bathroom renovation on a small budget?

If your renovation budget is tight, determine what you can give up and what you really need. Setting your priorities will help you make the biggest impact without spending more than you can afford.

When setting priorities, don’t just think of the aesthetic value. Rather, make sure the plumbing works well, lighting is adequate, ventilation is good, and the fixtures are all in good working order.

Replace fixtures, if needed, add storage such as open shelves, install a fan or replace windows, and change electrical outlets.

When these important elements are in place, you can allocate your budget for the aesthetics.

Which is more practical – a tub or shower?

If you think about it, you can probably count with your fingers the number of times you have used the tub. Larger showers, with his and hers showerheads, have become very popular.

Homeowners are now choosing more than the 3 x 3 feet that was standard for showers in the past to bigger 4 x 6 shower spaces for better bath experiences.

What are good tips for lighting in the bathroom?

In terms of lighting, the goal is to provide several layers of light into the room. Ceiling fixtures are for general lighting. You should add sconces and vertical lighting fixtures on both sides of the vanity.

Where can I skimp on a bathroom renovation to save money?

Cutting corners is not advisable when it comes to important elements of a bathroom renovation. Always make sure to get quality materials, especially for fixtures that you will use often such as showerheads, faucets, tiles, etc.

You can skimp by avoiding custom materials and forgetting about luxury features. Instead, choose basic finishes on the sink, faucet, and other fixtures. 

Get help with a bathroom remodel or renovation

Eliminate the stress of choosing a reputable contractor for a bathroom renovation.

Our network consists of hundreds of contractors verified 100% based on the qualifications, experience, quality of services, and pricing.

Be assured that our reliable partners possess the right licenses and credentials and insurance for your protection.

We have vetted them for you to ensure that you get satisfaction and peace of mind by knowing that you will be working only with the best professionals in your area.

Our reputable partner contractors serve all of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and the rest of Canada!

Just fill out the form below to receive FREE and NO OBLIGATION quotes for your bathroom remodel and other home improvement projects.


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