Bathroom Demolition During Remodeling Projects
Renovating an outdated bathroom to a more contemporary design is one of the most popular home renovation projects to bring homeowners increased satisfaction and home value. However, before you can install all those brand new bathroom fixtures, you will have to remove all the old and outdated bathroom fixtures. This process is called demolition. During a remodel, bathroom demolition often involves removal of items such as the vanity, countertops, toilet, towel bars, flooring, lighting and anything else you want to replace.
You also might need to undertake bathroom demolition if you have an older space that has seen significant use (and likely some damage) over the years. For instance, a leaky toilet, or water continually sloshed from the shower stall or tub, can wreak havoc on your flooring and wood subfloor over time. Depending on how much and how long water has been seeping into the flooring in these instances, you might have to demolish the bathroom down to the bare wall studs and floor joists and start completely fresh – and mold is another issue altogether.
Budgeting for demolition as part of a full bathroom remodel is important. Bathrooms are full of important plumbing pipes and electrical wiring that must be kept intact or replaced and rerouted, and there could be structural issues with the space as well as noted above. Homeowners without extensive backgrounds in construction are safer to leave the demo process to professional contractors, who will include demolition and removal of debris in their quotes. On this page, we will explain the demolition process, the cost to demo a bathroom, and tips for keeping costs down.
The Bathroom Demolition Process
Bathroom demolition costs can be extensive, or minimal depending on how much of your bathroom you want to replace and upgrade. The size of the space comes into play when redoing the bathroom, as well.
Let’s say your home was built in the 1970s, and the bathroom has all original fixtures and linoleum flooring. Most likely, each aspect of the bathroom reached the end of its useful life long ago. You’ll be looking at completely gutting the space down to bare framing studs and starting over completely, so the cost to redo your bathroom will be higher.
In this instance, your bathroom remodel contractor will have to remove the old light fixtures, vanity, sink and countertop, medicine cabinet, toilet, tub or shower, baseboards, flooring, subfloor, and perhaps even the sheetrock on the walls if it shows signs of water damage.
Bathroom remodels in newer homes may not have to go as deep into the demolition process. The sheetrock and flooring are most likely OK to keep intact, for instance. In this case, the cost to demo the bathroom would be less.
What to Expect During Demolition
Before work begins, the bathroom demolition team will have to shut off water and power to the space. Plumbing can be shut off specifically in the bathroom. However, turning off lighting typically will darken nearby areas, such as hallways and an additional room, since lighting is wired on circuits rather than to each individual part of your residence.
The good news is that homeowners stay in their residences during bathroom demolition, so long as you don’t mind construction noise and a bit of dust. However, you won’t be able to use the bathroom once work begins.
If dust is a concern, you can have the demolition team hang visqueen plastic around the bathroom doorway and in hallways to help contain it. You’ll also want to relocate all essential toiletries to another bathroom in the house, since this space will be unusable until the remodel is complete. And of course you’ll want to remove any pictures, knick-knacks and decorations before the demolition process begins.
How Much Does it Cost to Demo a Bathroom?
Bathroom demolition costs will vary from region to region and especially from one job to another. No two bathroom remodel projects are exactly alike, and the same goes for the cost to demo a bathroom. One homeowner may just want to upgrade their vanity and countertops. Another may want to completely transform their master bathroom and install new custom bathroom cabinets as well.
Most homeowners need to demo at least some areas of their existing bathroom prior to starting a remodeling project
Highly recommendable to use a contractor
Cost varies by project scope and size
Allows you to remove damaged items and refresh the space
As a general rule, the more work involved to remove items and ready the space for new fixtures, the higher the cost to demo the bathroom. Contractors may also price their work differently based on a number of factors, such as time, difficulty, or square footage.
On average, you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for bathroom demolition. Demo costs are typically broken down by the fixture that needs to be removed. National average bathroom demolition costs per fixture are around $50 each, with another $30 to $120 in disposal fees. Below you can find a more detailed breakdown of bathroom demo costs.
- Walls (including drywall): $90-$210
- Floors: $60-$170
- Cabinets and vanities: $40-$130
- Showers: $70-$140
- Tubs: $70-$140
- Toilets: $60-$160
- Sinks: $30-$100
- Doors: $50
These figures are just rough estimates. Your contractor may charge more or less depending on size of the space, total time involved, and many other factors.
Some contractors might simply provide an hourly bid for demolition. Expect to pay between 5 and 15 hours in labor for demolition costs. Your contractor should be able to provide you with an hourly rate that is tied to the demolition work so you can properly budget for demolition costs.
Some of these items can be done by skilled homeowners. For example, it usually does not require a deep background in construction to remove an old door from its hinges. You may be able to work with your bathroom remodel contractor to do a few of these items on your own before the job starts to save some money.
Cost to Install New Bathroom Features
Of course, demolition is but one half of the construction puzzle. Installation of new fixtures and furnishings that allows you to completely redo the bathroom is the end-goal.
When you are budgeting for your bathroom renovation project, you can calculate general costs to install new features to get a clearer picture of how much the whole job will cost. Modernize has a bathroom remodel cost calculator so homeowners can easily estimate costs based on the features and fixtures they want added to their bathrooms.
Keep in mind that costs for new fixtures will vary greatly by quality. Tile flooring, for instance, is usually much more expensive to install than laminate flooring or linoleum. Installing tile in the shower also can be labor-intensive, and costs for tile can vary greatly depending on what style and type of tile you choose.
Lastly, costs can increase dramatically if you change the layout of cabinetry and bathroom sinks.
5 Ways to Cut Costs on Bathroom Demolition
There are a few ways homeowners on smaller bathroom renovation budgets can cut costs during the demolition process. Here are five steps homeowners can put into play to save money on the demolition and remodel:
- Keep existing layouts and configurations. Rerouting plumbing and electrical is a labor-intensive process that will quickly bump up your total job cost. Ask your contractor which configurations in your space are worth keeping unchanged.
- Reuse baseboards, doors and casings. In newer residences, these items likely can be repainted and repurposed rather than removed and totally replaced.
- Tile over existing flooring. In some instances, you might be able to install new flooring on top of existing flooring rather than paying to have it torn out.
- Keep your old tub. A new bathtub can be expensive. Is the old one reusable? Consider refinishing your tub to give it new life.
- Stick to the original plan. Any changes you make after you accept a bid will cost you more money. This is all the more reason to be proactive and plan ahead.
Bear in mind that the more you want removed from your bathroom, the more it’s going to cost.
You may be tempted to tackle some of these tasks yourself, but things can quickly go south and your bathroom remodel contractor will likely charge you to fix any mistakes you might make. Remember that your project’s return on investment may actually be higher by using a professional.
Finding a Bathroom Contractor
As noted earlier, bathrooms are complicated spaces full of electrical wiring and plumbing. It’s important to have a professional handle the demolition and remodel to ensure the work is done correctly.
Modernize can help homeowners connect with reliable bathroom remodel contractors in their area. We recommend getting a minimum of three to four quotes and comparing prices – and the details of each bid – before settling on a contractor that best fits your expectation and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Permitting requirements vary by jurisdictions. If you plan on making significant structural changes to your bathroom, including changing the layout and rerouting plumbing and electrical, you’ll likely need to obtain a building permit. If you are just adding a new vanity and lighting, then you won’t need one.
A small or half bathroom that is 18 to 32 square feet can cost between $3,000 to $10,000 to demo and remodel. However, it is important to get real quotes from contractors in your area or use a bathroom remodel cost calculator to get the most accurate pricing.
The cost to demo and remodel a large bathroom that is 20 to 146 square feet could cost between $7,000 and $20,000 depending on the amount of work that’s required. However, it is important to get real quotes from contractors in your area or use a bathroom remodel cost calculator to get the most accurate pricing.
The average remodel will take between three and four weeks. Add one to two weeks for larger bathrooms. The demolition process itself should take 1 to 2 days or even less.
Modernize does not suggest homeowners try to cut costs by handling the demolition themselves. It is a complicated, technical job and a lot can go wrong. Mistakes during demolition can lead to very costly fixes by professionals. It is best that you step back and let the professionals do their job.