Small Bathroom Labor this reasonable?

piscesgirlFebruary 21, 2012

So we just started the process of getting quotes for our two bathroom remodels. Master bath is 7 x 7 1/2, and Hall bath is about 8x9.

We have only received one quote so far, from a contractor that has done several houses in the neighborhood and was told was very reasonable. We requested quotes for labor only (and basic materials such as drywall, spackling, tape, etc) since we are still in the process of picking out materials. Quotes do not include tile, grout, fixtures, vanity, toilets, tubs, glass shower surround, or ceiling fan.

We asked that the contractor quote on demo down to the studs, install new drywall on ceiling and walls, tile shower in master bath (install tub and tile surround in hall bath), tile floors, install lights and fixtures, and install of ceiling fan in bathrooms to roof (we currently have no ceiling fans in bathrooms).

Quotes did not include the install of the glass frameless shower, tile on walls or ceiling (which we are not opting for), dumpster rental, or painting.

We were quoted $7500 for hall bath and $8500 for the master bath. We live just outside Philadelphia. Is this the ballpark of what we should be expecting just in labor costs? Or is it high? low? I was expecting much less since our rooms are so tiny and I was told the contractor was very reasonble. What should we budget for the materials (particularly the glass frameless shower)? Just trying to get a sense of total costs.


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That sounds really low. Labor on our medium sized hall bath in NY metro area was almost $20k; our friends in the area just redid a very small hall bath, and their labor was around 14k. Materials can be as cheap or expensive as you make them, depending on whether you want top of the line or Home Depot level.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 1:59PM
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I'm also in the midst of gathering estimates for my 7x8 bath remodel; I'll be buying some, but not all of the materials. Within the past month, Remodeling Magazine has published a pretty extensive list of remodeling costs for a wide range of projects, broken down by region and approximate price points. I have found this helpful in judging the different quotes that I'm getting. There's lots of good info on this site as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Remodeling estimates

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Spot on! I live just outside Philadelphia too.
We hired a plumber for labor, plus he is bringing an electrician. I have bought all the items myself.
Wait...he suggested a tile company and they are doing the tile in the bath surround and floor.
Plumbers charge is $7400.
Oh, and I hired a custom cabinet guy who is installing the vanity. Plus a granite guy to install the top.

So maybe mine is actually higher for what he's doing?
I thought it was a good price as all my materials, including vanity and granite, are $5000.

That is not the tile or tiling. They have yet to get me a quote. But it's only a small floor and 3-sides around tub. I'm at $12,400 now and planned $15K, so I think we'll be fine.

I've had neighbors quoted from $25K to $40K!!! One neighbor was just over to ask about ours because he was quoted $16K for materials alone. On this forum it might seem like a lot, but where I live everyone thinks I'm doing great!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 6:43AM
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We're starting a similar remodel in May and have just been through the bid process. I found three people/companies on Angie's List with multiple positive reviews and had each give a quote on the following for our 1940's original 5' x 7' "master" bath:

Complete tear-out of old tile, drywall, vanity, medicine cabinet, old plumbing, old window, old sub floor.

Install insulation, drywall, tile backer board, new sub floor, new window, new exhaust fan, new hex tile floor, new subway tile shower surround, new GFCI outlet, new shower plumbing, new pedestal sink, reinstall current toilet, new recessed medicine cabinet, bead board wainscoting, new vanity light, re-install crown moulding, paint.

The winning bid for labor ONLY is $4,600. That was slightly higher than one bid and slightly lower than another bid.

We are providing all materials, including drywall and other building materials (subfloor, tape, grout, window, etc).

We are keeping the cast iron tub and newish toilet. I've been hunting down bargains on our Grohe sink faucet and shower fixtures, pedestal sink, new vanity light, medicine cabinet, etc. and all of our fixtures. Our total material cost is running a tad over $2100 - so we're hoping to keep the cost to $7,000 TOTAL for labor and materials.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:19AM
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It sounds pretty good to me! If I could get mine done for that, I would.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 2:20PM
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I was talking to a coworker who lives in Philadelphia and he was saying our quote is high. He said the going rate is $50/hr or $400/day. He thought each bath should only take 5 days each (total 10 days), which to me seems way too short on time...but what do I know. Anyway, he told me it should be $4k for both. Do any of his figures seem accurate?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 12:07AM
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My time estimate is 3 days to rip out and install tub, rough plumbing, prepare walls and floor for tiler.

(Then we wait for tiler?) Say he comes on day 4, he is expected to take several days at least. Floor can't be walked on for a day, then needs grout, etc.

Then vanity install. Then granite install. Granite has a turn around time of a week? Plumbing fixtures, lights, not sure if wainscoting goes up when?

I'm figuring 2-3 weeks over which the bath will be unusable and workmen will be coming and going. Maybe we'll be lucky and it will be done in 2 weeks. But there are sometimes delays between sets of workers.

I know people who get a kitchen in 2 weeks, and ones who take 6 months. It depends on what you are having done. Also where you live. As soon as anyone comes into my neighborhood their price goes up. Not bragging, we got a smaller house in a nice neighborhood that was run down and have been fixing it up slowly for years. But the contractors all seem to assume we have "money"! LOL!

We went with our plumber because we've known him for years and he's very reliable. I'm sure there are people who might be less, and I KNOW there are people who are MORE!

If you get a good recommendation, and can see their work, that's what counts.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:49AM
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We are completing our DIY bathroom project on our 5x8 bathroom. I was VERY fortunate to have our contractor friend do our bathroom labor free. He has told me it would have cost me at least $10,000-$15,000 on this renovation. I can only say what I've spent so far on on materials. We have gutted the bath to the studs. I had a budget of $3000 - I went over and spent $3200. I know this may sound crazy, but as you can see labor drives the cost so much higher, but it can be done. I went with basics, nothing extradionary I think my vanity and shower system cost the most at $350.00 each. Our only bath was completed in 4 days. We are now in the process of installing vanity and fixtures.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:19AM
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There is no way each bath should take 5 days on a full gut. Has your friend had a bathroom done recently?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:07AM
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I think this sounds pretty close exclusive of materials for Phila area and a full gut, because the materials and other labor could bring you into the $12K range, which seems to be in the middle somewhere. Mine was about 13K but I supplied the toilet, vanity and related fixtures and light fixtures, and only the tub alcove was back to the studs.

We designed a couple baths for someone in CC Phila that were full guts and came out at 7K, with her contractor However, each took a while. One in the burbs, similar.

Ours and another client of mine came out around $13K but these contractors are specialists in turning around condo baths very quickly, around a week with loss of toilet use for only about 36 hours.

The contractor I use for many things would have come out about $24K

So, you can see there is about a 3.5 to 4 fold variation, but quality and timeliness both play a part.

Size matters very little in a typical small to medium bath because all the same stuff has to go in--only if you use very high end materials does size make a difference.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:22AM
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biochem101 - Who are you using to do your custom vanity? Debating on whether we may go down that route since none of the standard vanity sizes fit.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 2:04AM
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I am using Custom Wood Crafters aka CWC in Warminster.

They don't have a web page. It's a small shop. A friend of mine recommended who had used them extensively. I was impressed with the cabinets in the front office. Solid wood drawers, etc.

Can't say how it will turn out as it's not done yet. But I'm pretty confident looking at their other work. Price was better than I could get in Doylestown!

Here is a link that might be useful: link to CWC ad

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 6:37AM
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For 2011 and so far in 2012, a bathroom remodel in the Philadelphia area averages 19K. Labor usually accounts for 1/2 to 2/3 of the budget, depending on products chosen. (As Pal said, there is a certain amount of labor no matter what, so the percent of labor to product goes up as the overall price goes down.)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 12:05PM
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