NYC Renovation Chronicles

Cost to renovate a NYC bathroom

By Penny Fallmann May  | August 12, 2010 - 6:57AM
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The Situation  

You can’t live another day with the hospital green tiles (circa 1970) or the faux marble vinyl tiles that match in your current bathroom. But unlike the hedge fund lawyer down the hall, you can’t spend $45,000 flushing away the aesthetic crimes visited upon your washroom in an earlier era.  

So what are your options?

Here’s the deal

Not only can you renovate your bathroom without totally gutting it, but there are some pretty attractive and relatively inexpensive products these days that can bring a high-impact look to a low-budget job.

Here are three price points ranging from $3,000 to $70,000 for renovating your NYC bathroom, along with the elements each might reasonably include:

1. Complete Gut: $20,000 - $70,000

  • Possible reconfiguration of bathroom layout.
  • Replacement of all plumbing fixtures as well as wall and floor tiles.
  • Possible replacement of all plumbing branch lines in wall and in floor, depending on the requirements of your building’s management/board. To do so you may have to submit drawings to the building’s architect and the NYC Department of Buildings for permits.

2. More Modest Renovation:  $15,000 - $30,000

  • Replace sink/sink faucet, toilet, replace tub with shower – all in existing locations
  • Redo all tile.
  • You may still have to submit drawings to the building architect. However, as the fixtures are in existing locations, your building may not require you to file with the Department of Buildings, saving you several thousand dollars.

3. Quick fix: $3,000 - $5,000 (yes, even in New York City)

  • Paint the walls and ceiling white (and the wall tile, if you can’t live with it)
  • Replace sink/sink faucet and toilet. 
  • Reglaze tub. 
  • Possibly clean the existing floor tile with muriatic acid or install a new floor on top of the existing one.

Now a few suggestions for stretching your tile and plumbing budget.

Consider going with an economical white wall tile (3x6 or 6x12). A small scale mosaic tile on the floor can be very attractive. You can also have a special pattern designed for your floor.

As far as toilets, sinks, tubs and faucets, many companies now copy the designs of the more expensive brands. Generally, copies from reputable companies will last as long as the more expensive brands.

Newport Brass and California Faucets, for instance,  copy some of the faucet and shower controls made by Dornbracht.

Duravit produces a more modern line of sinks and toilets. Toto has become a very popular option for toilets. And Kohler has some good looking, more traditional sinks and toilets.

Restoration Hardware has recently come out with a number of different designs for vanities--including a stone countertop and undermounted sink--at very reasonable prices. They also are a great source for affordable faucets, bath lighting, and accessories.

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