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Bathroom Resources

A Bathroom Remodel Financing Checklist for Homeowners

Remodeling your bathroom can bring increased homeowner satisfaction on many levels. Older bathrooms with outdated fixtures and worn builder-grade cabinetry may still be functional, but they are hardly aesthetically pleasing over time. Homeowners may choose to remodel their bathrooms to increase storage space, replace dated linoleum flooring and laminate countertops with modern tile or granite, or install new low-flow water fixtures.

Whatever the reason, remodeling your bathroom is a good way to usher in some much-needed change in one of the most-used rooms in your house. It’s important for homeowners to understand bathroom remodel costs so they can create a comprehensive bathroom remodel budget and financial game plan to pay for the renovation work.

A full bathroom remodel is a big – and expensive – project. Modernize created this bathroom remodel financing checklist to help homeowners avoid any surprise expenses, budget confidently, and choose a financing option that works best for their circumstances.

Table of Contents

Understanding Bathroom Remodel Costs

In order to fully gauge remodel costs, it helps to know how much work is involved – and what that work will cost. Bathroom remodel costs are significantly less for a minor bathroom renovation, such as a DIY project, than a sweeping renovation. A modest bathroom refresh can cost around $5,000, while a total bathroom renovation can run upwards of $35,000, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) reports.


Before deciding on a bathroom remodel financing option and speaking with contractors, it’s best to formulate a pre-emptive bathroom renovation budget. The main aspects of a bathroom remodel to consider – and their costs – typically include:

Bathtub and Shower Replacements

If you are renovating a bathroom, chances are you will want to re-do your bathtub and/or shower areas. For instance, you may want to replace your bathtub/shower combo with a frameless shower enclosure with a new rain showerhead. And don’t forget about adding new tiles!

Expect a shower renovation to cost between $1,400 for a small shower space to $15,000 for a large bathroom. Adding a new bathtub can cost between $250 for a standard alcove tub to $8,000 more for a luxury massaging jacuzzi tub.


Most homeowners replace their bathroom fixtures during a renovation. Fixtures include new toilets, sinks, and faucets. Expect to budget between $200 and $2,000 for new fixtures, depending on your remodeling needs. Opt for energy-efficient bathroom fixtures in order to save on energy and utility costs over time. 


No bathroom remodel is complete without shiny new floor tiles. Ceramic or porcelain tile are excellent options for bathrooms due to their incredible durability and resistance to water. Less expensive options include vinyl tile and linoleum.

New bathroom flooring should run between $200 and $1,300, depending on the flooring material’s cost per square foot. 

Cabinets and vanities

New cabinetry is often one of the most expensive features of a bathroom renovation. At the same time, it’s a must if you really want to modernize the space. New cabinets also can help improve functionality and organization with increased storage and counter space. Bathroom cabinetry and vanities typically range in price between $300 and $4,000, depending on the material quality and cost per square foot. Some homeowners may choose to repurpose a piece of furniture as a vanity to cut costs.


New lighting can have a huge impact on rejuvenating your bathroom. From retro to vintage, modern to traditional, lighting creates a unique atmosphere in any space. Luckily, adding new lighting fixtures can be a very affordable aspect during a bathroom remodel, typically costing between $100 and $500.


Adding a touch of color can drastically change the space. Paint is one of the least expensive aspects of a bathroom remodel, yet it can add the greatest visual impact. Budget just $200 to $550 for that fresh coat of paint, or DIY to cut costs even further.

Other costs

A few additional factors that could significantly bump up your bathroom renovation costs include new plumbing, electrical and sheetrock if they are needed. Lastly, custom work, such as a marble flooring or a full tile shower with a glass door also will add thousands of dollars to your remodel project. Replacing or adding windows is another worthwhile consideration as you calculate your preliminary budget.

Financing Your Bathroom Remodel

Now that you have a better understanding of the key features that can be renovated in your bathroom, it’s time to compile a budget and determine the best way to pay for the upcoming work.

Here are some common options homeowners use to financing bathroom remodel projects:

1. Home equity loan or line of credit

Home equity loans allow you to borrow against the equity in your home. With this bathroom remodel financing option, you will have a monthly installment loan much like your mortgage. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), meanwhile, provides you with a line of credit upon which you can draw down as needed.

2. Cash-out refinance

Today’s low interest rates have enticed millions of creditworthy homeowners to refinance their mortgages and cash out some equity along the way.

3. Credit cards

This option is advisable only for low-scale bathroom remodels. High interest-rate credit cards can add substantial costs to your initial investment if you are unable to pay down the balance quickly.

4. Insurance

If you need to remodel your bathroom due to a leaky tub, faucet or toilet, you may be able to file an insurance claim for part of the work. Be sure to review your insurance policy in detail to determine if this is a financing option for you.

Meeting With Your Bathroom Remodeler

Now that you’ve checked off the majority of boxes on your bathroom remodel financing checklist, it’s time to meet with bathroom remodel contractors. As you connect with professionals, plan to discuss the particulars of your project and inquire about specific costs. After interviewing these professionals, you’ll review quotes before signing a contract.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when meeting with contractors:

  • Estimates and quotes. Initial project estimates and quotes are just that – the price of the job is firm only when you have officially inked a contract.
  • Review quotes. You have a rough idea how much work is involved. Review contractor quotes to ensure each aspect and cost associated with getting the job done is clearly defined. Contractors also should provide firm start and end dates. Details to look for include time and materials, permitting, and waste disposal. If you don’t get a comprehensive quote with thorough pricing estimates, request a new one or choose a contractor that provides a satisfactory explanation of what it will cost to complete your bathroom renovation project.
  • Negotiate. Contractor prices – especially for time – are not set in stone. Typically, they are a best guess, based on years of field experience, of approximately how long it will take to complete a job. Contractors also usually pad materials prices to boost profit margins. Discussing and negotiating key aspects of pricing before signing a contract can lead to a lower bid.
  • Review multiple quotes. Not only should you get bids from at least three to four contractors, you should let them know you are soliciting bids from competitors. It may help keep pricing down, since contractors know if they bid too high they might not get the job. However, rapport and trust are crucial aspects of working hand-in-hand with a bathroom remodeler. The most experienced contractors often have higher bids because you are paying for their expertise and comfort knowing your job will be done correctly.
  • Be meticulous with paperwork. File everything in a handy and secure folder for quick reference. You’ll be surprised at how many times you go back to it – especially if there’s a warranty issue or insurance claim years down the road.

Final Thoughts on Financing a Bathroom Renovation

A well-thought-out bathroom renovation provides functionality, comfort and style. If budget is a primary concern, you’ll have to carefully consider what aspects of a bathroom remodel are truly necessary. You also can do the job in stages. For instance, install new fixtures one year, followed by a new vanity, flooring and so on until your bathroom is showroom ready.

Use this handy bathroom remodel financing checklist to ensure you start the job with a comprehensive understanding of costs, financing options, and expectations from potential contractors. Modernize can help you find trusted bathroom remodel contractors in your area that can get the job done to your complete satisfaction.

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