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Lancaster Bathroom Remodel: How Much Will It Cost in 2021?

By: Alison McLennan | July 14, 2021

Topics: Bathroom Remodeling

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, one of your first questions will probably be, “How much should I budget for this project?” 

One would hope this question could be answered with some basic research. Unfortunately, as with kitchen remodeling costs, getting a quick, accurate estimate for your bathroom budget can be tricky. 

Three different sources will likely give you three very different answers, without explaining where the numbers are coming from. This post explains which variables most affect your bathroom remodeling budget, so you know what to expect—and what questions to ask—when you’re ready to get started on your project.

Why Is It Hard to Determine an "Average" Bathroom Remodeling Budget?

Many elements of bathroom remodels vary dramatically in cost, making averages less than accurate. However, if you can identify which elements contribute to the greatest cost differences, you’ll have a better idea of whether your bathroom budget will fall on the high or low end of the spectrum.

Below are five of the most significant contributors to the cost of your bathroom remodel.

1. Alterations to Mechanical Elements

Some bathroom remodels are replacement-only projects, meaning the plumbing locations for the toilet, sink(s), tub, and shower will remain in place, with new fixtures replacing the old ones. Other remodels involve rearranging the bathroom layout, expanding into another room, or adding new fixtures such as a freestanding tub. The extent to which plumbing locations and other “behind-the-Drywall” mechanical elements are altered has a big impact on overall cost. 

2. Age of Home

Since building practices and standards have changed over the years, older homes can present a number of challenges when remodeling. These homes, even when solidly built, are often out of plumb, level, and square. Their framing specifications and substructure were built differently than they are today. Staircases, hallways, and openings tend to be narrower. 

All of these factors affect the installation of modern building materials. Due to substructure movement, a new tile floor may require a reinforced subfloor. Due to narrow joist spacing, a freestanding tub drain assembly may require modification to accommodate its width. These alterations require additional labor and materials, which affect the project budget. 

3. Type of Materials & Finishes

When purchasing a computer, you don’t make your selection based on price alone. You know that the specs, quality, and durability of the budget laptop isn’t going to be the same as the top-of-the-line model. In short, you get what you pay for.

The same is true with building materials. Budget products are less durable and come with fewer features than midrange products. Upscale materials add seemingly endless options for luxury and customization.

It’s also important to consider what goes behind the walls. The products used for mechanical elements are often given little attention. Ensuring proper function and durability by using quality products might cost extra up front, but saves costly repairs down the road. 

4. Hidden or Omitted Costs

Home improvement shows like Fixer Upper often share remodeling prices in a tidy list. This leads many homeowners to assume they could complete a similar remodel for the same price.

Unfortunately, these fun shows can create unrealistic expectations about remodeling budgets and timelines. The numbers they share often omit or reduce expenses that the average homeowner will incur, such as permits, project management, and labor. Online remodeling budget guides, often geared toward DIYers, sometimes leave these expenses out as well. 

5. Location, Location, Location

Just as cost of living differs across the country, the cost to remodel your home is affected by where you live. A bathroom remodel in Seattle is going to cost more than an identical remodel in rural Virginia. Local labor rates, licensing requirements, overhead costs, and material prices impact every remodeling company’s cost of doing business, and therefore their pricing structure.  

Regardless of where you live in the country, your project budget may also be affected by your home’s available parking and storage space. Are work vehicles able to park near an entrance, where tools and materials can be loaded and unloaded efficiently? Or do you live on a city street, where parking permits will be required to give vehicles access to your home? Contractors will take location details such as these into account when pricing your project.

Where Can I Find Reliable Information about Budgeting for a Bathroom Remodel?

Hanley-Wood—a highly respected research group specializing in the housing industry—creates an annual Cost vs. Value report, which is published every year in Remodeling Magazine. This report provides national averages for common remodeling projects, along with localized regional averages. 

While these averages should be considered in light of the elements listed above, they are a good place to start when budgeting for your bathroom remodel.

According to Hanley-Wood's 2021 Cost vs. Value report, the average cost of a bathroom remodel in the U.S. is $24,424 for Midrange bathrooms and $75,692 for Upscale bathrooms. In Lancaster, PA, Midrange bathroom remodels average $23,910, and Upscale remodels average $73,670.

What Else Should I Know about Budgeting for a “Midrange” Bathroom Remodel?

You may have noticed that the difference between “Midrange” and “Upscale” in Hanley-Woods’ report is significant.

Since we began remodeling Lancaster homes in 2003, we have built many Midrange bathrooms. For all the reasons listed earlier in this post, it can be deceptive to put too much emphasis on a single number.

The term “Midrange”—perhaps more than any other category—encompasses a broad range of products and features. To provide a little extra guidance on this topic, we have created our own Bathroom Remodeling Cost Guide.

In this guide, we've provided Hanley-Wood's Cost vs. Value averages, but also broken down the Midrange category into three subcategories: Midrange Economy, Midrange Designer, and Midrange Premium. The guide includes average pricing and common features associated with each subcategory.

Download the Bathroom Cost Guide

I hope this post has been helpful as you prepare for your bathroom remodel. If you would like to discuss your bathroom budget or remodeling options in more depth, please consider scheduling a free, virtual consultation with one of our project consultants. 

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Written by Alison McLennan

Alison is co-owner of McLennan Contracting, where she also serves as Marketing Coordinator. She and her husband, Tim, have three children, whom they homeschool. When she isn't working, teaching, or planning the family's latest RV trip, Alison can be found introverting with a book in one hand and coffee in the other, or writing on her personal blog, alisonmclennan.com.

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