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The Cost Of Home Improvements - Part 1

Part 2

While this website is here to assist homeowners in diy projects, many projects are beyond what a home handyman is willing to undertake. The following information provides guidelines on the cost of having a contractor undertake a major home renovation.

budgeting home renovation

Please remember that these are very basic guidelines for across the US and the only way to get an accurate cost is to talk to local contractors.

There are many factors which can dramatically change the square foot costs that are presented in this article. These include but are not limited to:

  • Renovations in major metropolitan areas are usually more expensive than residential suburbs.
  • The choice of materials can make a dramatic effect on the price. As an example, wall to wall carpeting laid over plywood can cost as little as $3 a square foot. An exotic hardwood, laid in a complex pattern can cost $50 a square foot.
  • If the current electrical service is taxed to its limits a simple addition may require the upgrade of the homes electrical service. The same situation can apply to heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Older homes may require foundations strengthened or even replaced.
  • The choice of high-end windows and doors versus a low to mid range quality can easily double the cost.
  • Foundation costs are much higher in areas that are subjected to deep ground frost in the winter, as the foundation must be below the frost line.
  • Secondarily, many homeowners are not averse to providing some sweat equity into the most complex of home renovations. As an example, a homeowner may be prepared to paint the walls of a new addition, rather than having a painting contractor perform the work.


Includes architects plans, building permits and inspections, foundation, walls, roof, tied into current structure, no structural work to current home, no basement, mid range windows, HVAC from current home, interior painted, exterior siding, does not include interior d├ęcor, limited demolition work to existing structure.

One Room: (not a kitchen or bathroom), Budget cost: $175 to $235 per square foot.

Multi-Room (single story): (not a kitchen or bathroom), Budget cost: $200 to $275 per square foot.

Multi-Room (single story): (one kitchen or bathroom), Budget cost: $300 to $400 per square foot.

Multi-Story (2 story): (one kitchen or bathroom, new HVAC system), Budget cost: $300 to $400 per square foot.


It is difficult to budget a bathroom renovation. Fixtures, the primary cost driver have extreme differences in cost. As an example a bathtub can cost as little as $125 and can easily exceed $5,000. Faucets for basins, tubs and showers start at $150 and can exceed $2,500. Flooring can range in price from inexpensive sheet vinyl at $2 a square foot to marble or granite at $25 a square foot.

The best way to budget for your bathroom renovation is to go shopping to a big box home improvement center. Choose your fixtures; bathtub, toilet, basin and faucets. Choose the flooring (multiply by the square foot area of the bathroom) and add the fixture and flooring number together. Then triple it.

As an example: Bathtub $1,000, toilet $400, basin $175, faucets $450. Flooring ($7.50 square foot - bathroom size 11 feet x 8 feet = 88 square feet =) $660. Total = $2,685. Budget for Bathroom renovation = $2,685 x 3 = $8,055.

This would include replacement of the fixtures and faucets, new vanity, flooring, wall tile, painting, new mirror and light fixtures. (Although there was no price included for the wall tile, vanity, mirror and light fixtures multiplying the items stated by 3 allows for their replacement at a like quality to the products chosen.)

If you wanted to add a stall shower, add it to the fixtures, the multiply times 3 factor should provide enough funds to cover the installation.