Tips for Creating a Precise Bathroom Remodel Budget

August 01, 2017
Chicago, Illinois
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Creating the perfect bathroom remodeling budget isn’t so much about ballpark estimates as it is about sticking to attainable, adaptable renovation goals that can be reexamined as your finances require. Product pricing, labor fees, and project timelines can greatly impact your remodel’s final bill, so it’s important to have a defined vision of the space you want to create; otherwise, you risk haplessly investing in services only to discover that you never wanted them in the first place.

To help with your project budgeting, we recently teamed up with a crew of expert Chicago bath renovators that has completed successful remodels for hundreds of homeowners. Together, we’ve assembled a list of tips to assist you during this challenging, but ultimately rewarding phase in the bathroom remodeling process:


Determine What You Envision for Your Bathroom

Fully understanding your bathroom’s functional strengths and weaknesses will help you determine how complex your remodeling needs are. Are you looking to update your bathtub’s style, or do you want to make your space more accessible by installing a brand-new walk-in tub? Do you have rusted, leaking pipes that need repair, or are you simply looking for new wall surrounds so your fixture looks as new as your plumbing? Your answers could swing your ledger to the tune of thousands, so it’s incredibly important to solidify your project expectations at the outset.

Build an e-Budget

An on-paper budget will give you a general snapshot of your project’s major expenses, but keeping track of unanticipated charges can quickly become confusing without an intuitive financial planning app, or at the very least, a simple digital organization tool like Excel. Some pivotal aspects of your bathroom remodel may hinge on in-the-moment decision making, so it’s useful to have an accessible online version of your budget that can be altered in real time as you discuss your remodel’s shifting scope with your project manager.

Give Yourself Some Fiscal Flexibility

Nailing down your remodeling expenses to the exact penny can seem rewarding in the moment, but you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re not accounting for the unexpected. Last-second product orders, scheduling changes, and resulting project delays can create unanticipated expenses, so make sure to set aside roughly 5-10% of your budget to covered unexpected costs.

Review All Financing Options

Bath remodeling can be costly, so most renovators offer at least one financing package. Some of the most reputable contractors go a step further by partnering with multiple financiers. If you’re considering applying for project financing, make sure to closely read each offer’s qualifying information to get a sense for what services are covered, to what degree, and under what conditions. If you’re considering energy-efficient or handicap-accessible products, you can also research tax credits for investing in these technologies.

Account for Labor Costs

It seems counterintuitive to overlook labor, but remember, at this point you’re likely still in the process of gathering project estimates and checking out the occasional showroom. At this stage, products are the primary concern, not the technicians that install them. If you have a few bathroom renovations under your belt already, you’re probably already considering labor expenses, but first-timers should make sure to have a direct, comprehensive conversation with their designer and project manager about labor fees.


As you plan your bathroom remodel, it’s important to step back and remind yourself why you’re taking on this new project: to create a more relaxing and inviting space for you and those you live with. Reestablishing the relaxation part is key because budgeting for a bathroom renovation is anything but relaxing if you don’t make the necessary preparations.

Luckily, the key to this seemingly daunting task really comes down to understanding what your priority renovations are and affording yourself some wiggle room should your project get hit with unexpected complications. If you keep these objectives in mind, you’ll never find yourself at a loss if asked to make an on-the-fly decision that could greatly affect the size or timeline of your remodeling investment.

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