With inflation hitting generational highs, labour shortages and a booming housing market, it is time to discuss where prices are today for various renovations. I do not have a crystal ball and do not know exactly where the economy or the construction industry is headed, however, I do have knowledge of where we are currently. The question is routinely asked of the renovator during an initial visit with clients and most contractors would prefer not to answer without setting down and doing calculations. I will attempt to answer this question for bathrooms, kitchens and basements and additions.
Please remember an “estimate” is just that, it is based on observations, contractor knowledge and experience, product allowance and scope of work. This is why estimates often vary between contractors and it is always a good practice to get two or three estimates from trusted and professional renovators for your project. It is important to use check references, confirm insurance and use your instincts; if a price is too good to be true, it usually is and if a contractor can start at short notice, during this busy time, this could be a red flag.
I will always ask a client for their budget value as this allows me to make suggestions on how to stay within their means. Having a budget is important, but sometimes a client’s budget is simply unrealistic and the scope of work may need to be altered or more money must be sourced to achieve their desired renovation outcome.
So, let’s talk about project budgets for the most common home renovations.
A bathroom renovation can vary from the basic demolition and installation of new fixtures, acrylic tub surrounds, and vinyl flooring with a budget from $15,000 to $18,000 to more complex bathroom renovations with the demolition to the studs, tile tub surrounds and floors will cost approximately $20,000 to $24,000. Maybe you are looking for a larger more detailed ensuite with a custom shower, vessel tubs and heated floors that will cost approximately $26,000 to $34,000 plus.
A bathroom renovation is possibly the most expensive room per square foot (sq.ft.) in your home. Bathrooms are the most popular renovation because they add immediate beauty and function to your home, plus the moist environment and daily use by multiple people cause bathrooms to simply wear out over time.
The kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the home” and for good reason. It is where we gather to cook, eat, do homework, and always host a good “kitchen party” or two with friends and family. Very much like the bathroom, the size and scope of a kitchen renovation can vary greatly depending on what you are looking for. A basic kitchen renovation would include removing and installing new cabinets along with new vinyl flooring and laminate countertops. Your basic out-and-in type of kitchen renovation will cost approximately $25,000 to $35,000.
However, a more extensive kitchen renovation could encompass, removing walls (structural or non-structural), installations of new tile or hardwood floors, solid surface countertops, built-in appliances, under-cabinet lighting, and larger more elaborate cabinets can double or triple the basic kitchen renovation requiring a budget from $50,000 to $100,000 plus.
The kitchen renovation is often the greatest renovation investment a homeowner can make since the room is so critical to the daily function of the home.
For those wishing to add value to their home, finishing an unfinished or renovating a dated basement to create additional living space such as bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry, work-out areas, family theater or maybe a separate living space for an In-law suite for the parents or young adults looking to live at home.
If zoning allows, a rental income apartment can be the best investment in building functionality and home equity. As you can see from the list of options, the cost of a basement renovation can vary depending on your desires. In my experience, starting from scratch, an entire basement renovation (600-1000 sq.ft.) with a 3-piece bathroom will cost approximately $75,000 to $100,000 and then some. When considering a basement renovation, it is important to recognize you are adding functional and valuable living space to your home and this adds value to the existing space.
It is a challenge to provide a price estimate or even a range for a home addition as there are so many variables; foundation type, number of stories, and interior usage (kitchen, bath, etc.). Let’s assume a 4-8ft foundation wall, concrete basement floor (unfinished), and a single-story addition completely finished. For this type of space and project, I will typically use a “ball park” value of $300-400 per sq.ft. of living space, however a smaller sq.ft. can actually cost more per sq.ft. then a larger renovation. I always recommend clients spend the time and invest money on a set of professionally prepared plans to allow clarity to the renovator, therefore a more accurate estimate.
The above estimates are based on my personal experience. Remember, good planning, product research/selection, establishing a reasonable budget, and selecting a reputable and knowledgeable renovator will go a long way to achieving a successful renovation.
by Dan Monk