Our granddaughter is coming to live with us. We'd like to take the seldom-used fourth upstairs bedroom and divide it into a no-frills bathroom (store-bought shower, sink, toilet) and a walk-in closet for her. The bathroom would be right over a downstairs bathroom. Are we talking $15,000? $25,000? More?
Meredith S. ~ Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Meridith, Your bedroom remodel into a bathroom and walk-in closet sounds very doable and that is how a low of old houses had their first bathrooms added to the home. I'm not sure if you live right in the city of Lexington, Kentucky or out in the beautiful countryside, but if you do live in the country don't forget to check with your county health department to make sure your septic system can handle another bathroom.
I would say that you could easily do the bedroom expansion for $15,000 and probably well under that if you stick with your intention of using standard type fixtures. Much of a bathroom's costs are tied up in upgraded flooring, ceramic tile, and the assorted plumbing fixtures needed in the bathroom. Standard type fixtures such as can be purchased at any home improvement store are usually very attractive and functional and can be well below the costs of the various designer series that are offered.
Using vinyl flooring and a tub/shower combination with a fiberglass surround should keep your costs down and I would also choose a standard type vanity cabinet with a cultured marble top. The bathroom directly underneath is going to help, but there is still going to be some wall repair involved. Hopefully the bathroom below doesn't have ceramic tile or wallpaper on the walls as you will probably be replacing some of it. The bedroom you are changing should already have at least one HVAC supply line to it, but you may have to adjust its location a little. You should also have electric there, but a GFI circuit is going to need to be added. A ventilation fan should also be installed.
Make sure when you're laying out the new bathroom section of the bedroom remodel you allow yourself enough room in front of all the fixtures. Bathrooms can take more space then you think and I recall a bathroom remodel done by a homeowner where you had to raise your knees up to sit on the toilet or sit at an awkward angle.
I think if you keep costs under control you should be able to do this bedroom remodel for around $6,000-$8,000, but that is without looking at it and not counting any potential unforeseen obstacles on-site. I assume you plan on having a general contractor in charge of the project as permits will need to be pulled and there will be a number of different contractors involved. You should get at least 3 bids from reputable contractors and I would ask each of them when they are on-site if they have any thoughts on how costs might be cut. Sometimes how a bathroom is positioned can lower the plumbing costs.