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Cost of Fitting a Bathroom: A Guide to Keeping Costs Down

cost of fitting a bathroom contemporary open plan bathroom with views
(Image credit: Clearwater)

The cost of fitting a bathroom is likely to be at the forefront of your mind if you are about to embark on a bathroom project in 2022.

Perhaps you are self building and are starting from scratch, or maybe you are updating an existing bathroom as part of a whole house modernisation. Whichever it is, before you get too carried away with your bathroom ideas, it really does pay to understand bathroom fitting costs if you are going to be able to budget properly.

Whilst a quick search online will give you an indication as to how much key items of sanitaryware will cost, without a clear idea of the cost of fitting a bathroom, you run the risk of not only spending more than you want, but also on missing out on being able to splash out on a few luxury items.

In this bathroom fitting cost guide we cover everything from how much you should pay to have a bathroom installed, to the hidden costs to be aware of. We also have some great money-saving tips.

Who Will Fit Your Bathroom?

Before you begin, consider who will install your bathroom. This will influence how much you might pay to have a bathroom fitted.

There are a range of tradespeople who will be able to take on the project. There are firms that specialise in bathroom fitting too, working with you on every element, including the bathroom design, or general builders who have the skills to remove and fit a bathroom, but may outsource other jobs, such as electrics.  

The most common routes are:

  • DIY bathroom fitting: Many people choose to take on elements of their bathroom installation on a DIY basis — this is a great way to keep a lid on costs and, according to The Home Owners Alliance, could save you up to 60%. Jobs such as tiling walls and floors and decorating are pretty straightforward. Many people also choose to fit their own sanitaryware, such as the bath, basin and even toilet, calling in a plumber to plumb them in once they are in place. Bathroom electrics are a job best left to the professionals. 
  • Plumber: Most plumbers will be familiar with the majority of bathroom installation jobs. If you are having a wet underfloor heating system they will also be able to help with this. If you are installing the bathroom as part of a wider renovation project, there will probably be a plumber on site anyway — or your builder will recommend one. 
  • Builder: Many builders are able to take on a whole range of building work, including bathroom fitting. Speak to your builder about what they can and cannot do (some may not be able to self-certify electrical work for example). Your builder will also usually have a good range of contacts they can call on and if they are on site anyway, this can be a cost-effective option. 
  • Bathroom design and install company: Depending on where you are buying your sanitaryware, your supplier may offer a fitting service. Sometimes these services will include everything from bathroom design, supply and installation. There are typically a good source of modern design ideas too. Although this is a time-saving and very convenient option, it is usually one of the more expensive routes. 
  • Specialist bathroom fitter: Alternatively, there are independent bathroom fitters out there, who are able to take on all the fitting, electrical and plumbing work, including tiling and decoration too — again, do get several quotes. 

built in bath with grey metro tiles

Jobs such as tiling walls and floors and fitting the bath can often be carried out on a DIY basis. The Milano Richmond White Traditional Single Ended Standard Bath With Light Grey Panel from Big Bathroom Shop would be a simple to sit option.  (Image credit: Big Bathroom Shop)

How Much Does it Cost to Fit a Bathroom?

A straightforward bathroom retrofit carried out by a plumber could cost as little as £1,000, while an entirely new space complete with new heating and tiling will cost far more. According to Victoria Plum, the average cost of installing a new bathroom in the UK is £6,500. 

There are so many factors affecting the cost of fitting a bathroom that it is almost impossible to give an exact figure. Your bathroom fitting costs will depend on where in the country your live, whether you are renovating a bathroom and replacing a suite like-for-like or starting from scratch, the size of the space, and whether or not you will need new pipework or a brand new boiler. 

When calculating your bathroom fitting costs, you will need to take the following factors into account:

  • Will new soil pipes be required? If you are moving the WC, for example.
  • Are you installing underfloor heating? A simple heated towel warmer will be a cheaper option.
  • Will the walls need replastering? Plastering walls will require the services of a professional plasterer and will add to final costs.
  • What type of bath are you having fitted? A sunken bath will require structural alterations, while a heavy freestanding model may require floor reinforcement.
  • Will new studwork walls be required for wall-hung sanitaryware?
  • What type of tiles are you using? Large format heavy stone tiles are best fitted by a professional and may require specialist backing board.
  • Is the existing pipework usable or does it need updating? Can it stay in place or will a remodel require that it is moved?
  • Will you need a new boiler as part of your new bathroom project? 

contemporary bathroom with grey built in bath

Large format tiles can be tricky to fit making it wise to call in a professional. The Durham Square Double Ended Bath shown here is from Bathroom Mountain (Image credit: Bathroom Mountain)

What is the Cheapest Route to Fitting a Bathroom?

Taking on as much of the work as possible on a DIY basis is most certainly the cheapest way to get a bathroom fitted — but don't take on more than you are capable of or costs could soon spiral as you scrabble to put mistakes right.

Bear in mind that if you are going down the DIY route, it is usually necessary to bring in an electrician when fitting a new bathroom — and this will be vital if you are adding a new circuit or installing a a power shower. Be sure to use a qualified electrician, who can self-certify their work.

Using a plumber or builder and shopping around for your own sanitaryware and fittings, doing small jobs on a DIY basis (such as the painting) is another cost-effective option and therefore a popular route. 

At the top end of the price scale lie the specialist bathroom fitters who offer a one-stop shop, supplying sanitaryware, designing the room and, finally, fitting it. 

There are plenty of other ways to save money when fitting a new bathroom. Here are our top money-saving tips:

  1. Shop around for sanitaryware and brassware deals
  2. Strip out the old bathroom suite before your chosen fitter starts on site
  3. Carry out as much work as you can on a DIY basis
  4. Opt for standard sized bathroom fittings
  5. If retrofitting, aim to keep large items of sanitaryware in the same place to avoid pipework or the soil pipe having to be moved around

wall hung bathroom furniture

Choosing standard sized sanitaryware is usually a good way to ensure you don't run into any expensive fitting issues. The Vogue Bathroom Suite from Mereway Kitchens & Bathrooms offers good scope for storage.  (Image credit: Mereway Kitchens Bathrooms)

Who Will Supply Your Bathroom Sanitaryware?

Where you decide to source your sanitaryware will play a big role in your final bathroom costs. 

The cheapest route tends to be to shop around as opposed to leaving it to your builder or heading straight for a bathroom specialist. Cheap bathroom suites from online bathroom suppliers and DIY warehouses can be picked up for under £250, although be aware that these usually don't include the bath.

Many people wanting to keep their bathroom costs down opt for fairly basic, white ceramic toilets and basins and splash out a little more on their bath tub, a walk-in shower or one of the other latest bathroom design trends out there. 

Choosing standard sanitaryware over more unusual items, such as stone freestanding baths or countertop basins, for example, usually results in quicker and therefore cheaper bathroom fitting costs. 

MORE: Check out our bathroom cost guide for a full breakdown of bathroom sanitaryware. 

blue bathroom vanity unit with lights either side of mirror

By opting for a basic bath and toilet and carrying out some of the work yourself, you could splash out elsewhere on stylish bathroom storage, beautiful lighting and a statement basin. The eye-catching tiles shown here are White Marble Subway Mosaic Tile Carrara Dots from Tile Club (Image credit: Tile Club)

What Additional Costs Should I Consider When Fitting a Bathroom?

It is useful, when budgeting for a new bathroom, to know exactly what to include. Costs to factor in include:

  • Stripping out the old bathroom and rubbish disposal
  • Sanitaryware
  • Brassware
  • Heating a bathroom — will you choose a radiator, underfloor heating or a towel warmer?
  • Bathroom lighting
  • Tiles and waterproof backing board
  • Shower enclosure and screen
  • Professional services which might be required in addition to the fitting (ie an electrician, tiler, plasterer)
  • Decoration

black framed shower enclosure

If you opt for a wet room or walk-in shower enclosure, remember to factor in the cost of having your walls properly waterproofed, along with the installation of a new drainage system. The Milano Barq recess wet room shower, complete with hinged return panel and fast-flow stainless steel drain, is from Big Bathroom Shop (Image credit: Big Bathroom Shop )

Aside from the all the more obvious costs listed above, don't forget to include some of the smaller, often forgotten bathroom fitting costs:

  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Extractor fan
  • Shaving points
  • Bathroom storage
  • Floor reinforcement

freestanding bath in open plan modern bathroom

Don't forget to budget for extras such as bathroom storage, floor reinforcement, underfloor heating and final decoration. The Milano Irwell Bath and Freestanding Shower Mixer shown here is from Big Bathroom Shop (Image credit: Big Bathroom Shop)

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate 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. She has renovated a terrace and is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of her Edwardian cottage. She is now looking for her next project.