While bathroom renovation costs can vary pretty significantly, depending on a number of factors, there are still ways to get a clear idea of how much your particular project is likely to end up costing you.
The great news is that there is no reason why costs need to get out of control. There are plenty of ways to achieve your dream bathroom renovation ideas without spending a fortune and if you are trying to achieve a new bathroom on a budget you are in exactly the right place.
Everyone's bathroom renovation ideas are different, but this handy guide should help you understand the kinds of costs you are likely to face for each stage of your renovation, from the prices to expect to pay for each item of sanitaryware to the installation costs you may be faced with.
Bathroom renovation cost variables
When it comes to bathroom design it is worth bearing in mind that the cost of your bathroom renovation will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The size of your bathroom
- The amount of renovation work needed
- The quality of finish you want
- The spec of materials you choose
- How much DIY you are willing to take on
- The plumbing system you already have in place
- Whether or not you will require a new boiler
What is the average cost of a new bathroom?
Even with these variables to bear in mind, it is still possible to give an estimate of the new bathrooms costs you can expect.
A basic new bathroom suite could start from as little as around £250. But this is just the start. You also need to factor in installation, tiling, heating, lighting and bathroom furniture.
"If you’re planning a complete bathroom renovation, to include removal/disposal and replacement of the suite, radiator, floor and wall tiles, plus new lighting, extractor fan and decorating, you can expect to pay on average around £7,000," advises senior quantity surveyor and estimator Tim Phillips.
Bathroom specialists Victoria Plum say: "We consider the average cost of fitting a new bathroom to be around £7,200. With a standard bathroom suite, containing a toilet, basin and suite, costing as little £249, plus taps, showers, tiles, flooring and heating, you’re looking at an overall budget of around £9,800 for a typical bathroom."
That said, if you are happy to tackle certain jobs on a DIY basis, this could come in much lower. Equally, larger spaces, those that need more renovation work and those that are using luxury products will see prices range from £7,000 - £15,000+.
How much does it cost to install a bathroom?
A mistake made by many homeowners is to leave out the cost of fitting a bathroom when working out their overall costs. When calculating your bathroom renovation costs it is important to factor in fitting.
"When renovating a bathroom, for removing and installing a typical suite to the same layout, you can expect to pay approx. £1,250 to £1,500," says Tim Phillips.
As a starting point, a plumber should be able to carry out a simply like-for-like bathroom retrofit in two or three days, as well as removing the old one — this would cost around £1,000.
"In total, installation costs theoretically should sit at around £1,900," explains James Roberts, director at Sanctuary Bathrooms. "However, you need to be aware of how your location within the UK plus the demand for fitters in your area can affect this. Londoners, where consumer prices are 20% higher on average than anywhere else in the country, can expect the price of labour to be on the higher end of our estimates."
How much does it cost to tile a bathroom?
Prices to tile a bathroom depend both on the types of tiles you choose as well as the size of the space you are tiling — and if you feel your DIY skills are up to the task of fitting your own bathroom tiling ideas, you will obviously make some signifiant savings. "A tiler is likely to charge you about £50 per m²," says James Roberts.
"There is some disparity when it comes to the price of tiles, with slate tiles being between £40 and £50 per m² compared to glass tiles which tend to cost £110 to £160 per m²," says James.
It is hard to pinpoint how long it takes to tile a bathroom, but the average is somewhere between one and five days. This will depend on how much of the room you are having tiled and the size of the room, as well as the tiles you have chosen.
How much does a new bath cost?
If your bathroom design ideas include a bath, it's worth remembering that bath tubs tend not to be included with suites (usually this only includes the WC and basin) so a bath is likely to be something you will need to buy separately.
The cost of a bath will depend on the material it is made from and whether it is a standard size or a more unusual size.
The very cheapest baths are usually made from thin acrylic and come ready to be built in to a frame, which can then be tiled or finished with a purpose-made bath panel which you will have to buy separately.
Cheap acrylic baths cost from around £80, but can be flimsy and easily crack, so do give them a thorough check before buying.
Not all acrylics baths are cheap though and those made from thicker, fibreglass-reinforced acrylic are of a much better quality. Acrylic also keeps the water warm for longer than steel.
Steel baths are perfect for those on a budget who want durability without the hefty price tag. They tend to be more hardwearing than very low-cost acrylic baths and often cost little, if any, more — starting from around £120.
Once you start looking at cast iron, timber, composite and stone, the prices rocket. However, if you want to make a statement in the bathroom this is the way to go. Prices for these baths start from around £600, but can reach prices of up to £3,000.
- Low end: from £80
- Average cost: from around £300 to £700
- Top end: Anywhere between £800 and £3,000
How much does a new shower cost?
If you want to know how to choose a shower, then first look to electric showers. These are the cheapest option and are ideal for those looking to carry out a quick, low cost bathroom update.
Electric showers have a connection to just the mains cold water supply and heat water on demand. This means that they struggle to reach the level of power provided by power showers and those using stored hot water, although choosing one with a higher kilowatt rating will help.
On the plus side, they are economic to run, installation is straightforward and they start at around £50.
Bath/shower mixers are another good option for those looking to keep their bathroom renovation costs low, with prices from £50.
- Low end: £50
- Average cost: £60 – £500
- Top end: £500 – £2,000+
- A manual shower mixer (from £60) has the hose and spray coming out from a wall unit, with a temperature control to adjust the temperature.
- Thermostatic mixers are similar to manual mixers but have a built-in thermostat that automatically adjusts the water temperature (but not the pressure) if a tap elsewhere in the house is being used. They start at £125.
- Power showers start at £150 and are connected to an integral pump to boost flow rate. However, they are not compatible with combi boilers as they need a supply from both a cold water cistern and a hot water cylinder.
These are just the basic shower types. Digital showers, shower towers, columns and cabins all offer a luxury showering experience, with a multitude of sprays and jets — at a cost of course, from £250 upwards.
Shower enclosure prices
If you are in the process of shopping for shower enclosures you will have already realised that shower enclosure prices very much depend on configuration and materials.
Basic shower enclosures featuring one glass side panel and a door, or a quadrant enclosure with double doors, can cost as little as £100.
Don’t forget, however, that you still need to factor in the cost of a shower tray, which will cost from £60 at the lowest end.
A complete ‘wet room‘ style enclosure, complete with walk-in tray and frameless shower screen will cost from £550. A frameless fixed enclosure, with no door, will start at around £200.
Wet room kits can also be purchased. These come complete with everything you need to form a platform, drainage and waterproofing equipment (but excluding tiles) — they cost around £500-£600.
- Low end: from £100
- Average cost: £120 – £300
- Top end: £550+
How much does a basin cost?
From as little as £50 you can pick up a ceramic pedestal basins.These are also convenient in that all pipework can easily be concealed behind the pedestal.
If you are after a more contemporary basin for your bathroom remodel ideas, consider a semi-pedestal or wall-hung basin. These basis cost from around £60. Remember that a wall hung basin will require a stud wall to be constructed from which to hang it and conceal the pipework.
Basins designed to sit in or on top of a vanity unit (including freestanding basins and semi-recessed models as shown above) allow for useful storage beneath. These basins cost from £90, but remember to factor in the cost of the unit they sit on or in, too.
While most basins are ceramic, glass, metal and stone are all options but cost more. The most common basin size is 550mm x 400mm.
- Low end: from £50
- Average cost: £60 – £150
- Top end: £300+
There are several different types of toilet and each comes with a price tag all of its own.
Floor-mounted, low-level WCs cost from £50. Traditional-style high-level toilets are another option, as are more modern-looking wall-mounted WCs — here the cistern and pipework is typically concealed within a frame in a studwall.
- Low end: From £50
- Average cost: £200 – £400
- Top end: £500
Bathroom tap prices
Just as with so many bathroom fittings, the cost of bathroom taps varies massively. If it is bathrooms on a budget that you want, then the very cheapest type of bathroom taps are pillar taps (taps with a separate tap for hot and for cold). They cost from £30 per pair.
Mixer taps that have separate controls for hot and cold flow tend to be next up the scale, from around £45, with monobloc mixers (where flow and temperature are both controlled from one lever) usually at the top, from £50 up to the low £100s.
Your choice of sanitaryware will affect which taps you can have. Counter-top, bowl-style basins, for example, will require wall-mounted taps or those set into a vanity unit, while freestanding baths will need wall- or floor-mounted taps.
These can be more costly than simple mixer taps located on the bath or basin, both to buy and fit.
Beware of these hidden bathroom renovation costs
In addition to the obvious bathroom renovation costs, such as a new basin and toilet, don't forget to figure in extras such as:
- An extractor fan
- Bathroom flooring
- Underfloor heating
- Towel warmers
- Removing an old bathroom suite
- Tile adhesive and grout
- Floor reinforcement where nesessary
- Bathroom cabinets
No matter what your overall budget for your bathroom renovation, it is always a good idea of where to save and those areas where is it worth spending a little bit more.
For a bathroom that will last for many years to come and be a pleasure to use, you want to invest in quality fittings and fixtures. Many basic ceramic basins and toilets will offer good value for money, but beware scrimping too much when it comes to the bath and shower trays — very cheap acrylic versions will be flimsy and can bend and crack.
If you are aiming to keep a lid on costs, a plain, standard size ceramic tile will be your best bet too — if you want to add a little pizazz simply add in smaller areas of designer tiles or consider a bathroom wallpaper.
When it comes to installation, while simpler tasks such as tiling and decorating can save you a significant amount of your budget, do think twice about undertaking any fiddly plumbing work that could end up costing you more to put right than it would have done to call in the professionals.
Tim Phillips is an experienced senior quantity surveyor and estimator and has worked in the construction industry for over 35 years. He has worked on many varied projects in this time, for corporates, public bodies and private residential clients, managing multi-million budgets.
For the past 13 years, Tim has worked on a freelance basis, whilst managing his rental property portfolio. He has extensive experience of undertaking his own full-scale house renovations. He is also a speaker and expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows.
James Roberts is Director at Sanctuary Bathrooms.
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Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.