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By Josh Garskof
February 23, 2017
JodiJacobson—Getty Images

A full-scale bathroom remodel—even a midrange one—recoups only about 55% to 65% of its cost at resale, so it pays to keep your spending in check. Limit your budget to 5% of your home’s value for a powder room or guest bath and 10% for a master bathroom, says Omaha appraiser John Bredemeyer, a spokesman for the Appraisal Institute.

Nationally, a midrange remodel averages about $18,000, while an upscale job comes in at around $57,000. Use these tips to stay sane and keep your renovation from blowing your budget.

To Save the Most, Don’t Move the Pipes

Keep costs down by installing a new sink, tub, or toilet in the same location as the old one. In a second-floor bathroom, that could save $200 to $500 on each fixture, says design-build contractor Mark Mackmiller of Eden Prairie, Minn., because you won’t have to pay to run new supply lines and drainpipes.

One caveat: On a first floor, the savings aren’t as big, provided you have a crawl space or basement access.

Know Which Splurges Are Worth It …

There are three features that add luxury and efficiency to a master bath, Mackmiller says. Dual sinks allow you and your spouse to get ready for work or play at the same time. (Figure an added $500 to $2,500, depending on whether you need to steal space from adjacent closets or rooms by moving walls.)

A separate walk-in shower and soaking tub are more comfortable than a tub-shower combo ($2,000 to $8,000, again depending on available space). And a toilet room creates privacy while allowing the overall bathroom to be a truly shared space ($1,000 to $5,000).

… And Which Aren’t

You’ll likely fall in love with all sorts of natural-stone tile options for floors and shower walls. But you can save $500 to $1,500 on the average job by going with a stone-look porcelain tile instead. You’ll get nearly the same variety of color and texture but with less cost, easy upkeep, and no sealing required.

You’ll Never Regret a Heated Floor

Anyone who has ever set a bare foot on cold tile will appreciate a radiant floor, which is heated by an electric element installed under the finished tile. Set it on a programmable thermostat, and you’ll have warm tootsies when you wake up.

Radiant heat adds about $500 to $1,000 to the bill, but it will make you feel warm all over.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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