How to estimate home renovation cost


It’s not easy estimating the cost of anything these days and that includes home renovations. You can come up with a budget that includes materials and labour, but there are sometimes unseen factors which could add to the price. Of course, the extent of the work involved will affect the cost as will the size of the room and how much time it will take to complete if you’re hiring a contractor. We’ll take a look at some common renovating projects and how much they may cost.

Knocking down walls for additional living space

In general, it will cost up to $500 to knock down an existing inside wall. However, you may need the assistance of a structural engineer for load-bearing walls since it helps to support the house. This will add to the cost and walls with electrical wiring, HVAC ducts and plumbing in them are also more expensive to remove. The same can be said for walls with lead paint. Typically adding living space can cost between $5,000 and $100,000 depending on the extent of work and materials being used.

Finishing the basement

Turning your dark, damp basement into a bright new living area can be a big job in some cases as it may include plumbing, electrical work, flooring, lighting, installing walls and furnishing the area. On average, a basement renovation costs about $30,000, but some homeowners spend more than $60,000 depending on the specifics. The main factors here are the size of the room and materials. The price will rise if a plumber is needed when adding a bathroom downstairs.

Cost of hiring help

Depending on where you live plumbers may charge up to $70 an hour or they may quote you a price for the entire job. An electrician may be a little cheaper as they generally charge up to $65 per hour and a structural engineer will cost a total of approximately $500.

Cost of permits

Nobody wants to run afoul of the law, so be to include the cost of building permits when estimating the cost of your home renovations. Most localities will want to make sure everything is done according to their building codes and you may also have to pay for an inspection. The national average for building permits is approximately $1,500.

If you work with a good contractor then can help secure the permits you need and keep everything legal.  Our bathroom remodeling contractor helped us secure exactly what we needed.

Specific renovation costs

Most renovation costs are budgeted for the kitchen, bathrooms, roof, basement, HVAC, and appliances as these are typically the areas which will cost the most. The exact costs depend on the difficulty and quality of the renovation project.


The average homeowner spends $20,500 on remodelling the kitchen, but it may cost as little as $10,000 and as much as $70,000 depending on what it consists of. When breaking down the costs, it’s estimated that most homeowners spend 7 percent on flooring, 10 percent on countertops, 14 percent on appliances, 17 percent on installation costs and 29 percent on cabinets and their hardware. The quality of materials used will have the greatest impact though.


Stock cabinets are generally the least expensive as they run between $80 and $400. Semi-custom cabinets are next at about $150 to $1,000 apiece with custom cabinets running between $500 and $1,500. Refinished cabinets typically cost a total of $1,400 to $3,500.

Kitchen countertops will cost between $1,200 and $2,000 for laminate options with solid surface being $1500 to $3,000. Concrete countertops are usually between $2,600 and $5,300 while stone surfaces are from $4,000 to $7,000.

When it comes to the kitchen floor you can expect to pay about $1,000 for vinyl flooring, $3,500 for ceramic tile, $2,500 for laminate and approximately $4,000 for wood.

Popular kitchen renovations

A small kitchen renovation generally costs between $10,000 and $20,000 and it consists of environmentally-friendly windows, appliances, lighting, and faucets. Other small jobs include adding storage space, extending the countertop or removing a wall to combine dining and kitchen areas.

A medium-sized kitchen renovation generally costs between $15,000 and $30,000 and could include a tile backsplash, new sink and faucet, painting the ceiling and walls, and refinishing existing cabinets or install stock models. You may be able to complete some of this work yourself and hire a contractor for the tougher tasks. Countertop choices at this price usually include tile, vinyl or laminate. If you’d like to pay between $15,000 and $30,000 you could install metal, wood, stone or granite counters and custom cabinets.

If you plan on spending more than $30,000 for a high-end renovation, you can install granite counters, custom cabinets, energy-rated appliances, hardwood flooring, a new faucet and sink and new lighting.


Most bathroom renovations cost from $10,000 to $25,000 and will depend on the quality of fixtures, counters, and cabinets. For instance, cabinets could cost just a few hundred dollars up to $10,000 or more. A basic bathroom renovation consists of stock cabinets, tile or laminate counters and basic tubs, toilet, shower head, lighting, and sink etc. Mid-range and high-end renovations will naturally cost more, but you’ll also have more options. In general a tub can cost anywhere between $400 and $8,000, cabinets from $1,200 to $13,000, counters between $900 and $6,500, flooring: from $800 to $7,000, a sink between $200 and $6,500, lighting between $120 and $4,000, a shower from $450 to $10,000 and about $130 to $800 for a toilet.

When planning on a high-end bathroom upgrade you’ll be able to install custom cabinetry with exotic wood finishes as well as quartz, stone or granite countertops. Also, multiple shower heads and jetted bathtubs are popular.


You’ll have a lot of options when choosing appliances since you can purchase costlier Energy Star models or stick to the basics. The high-end models will save you money on energy costs in the long run and they typically come with good warranties. The colours are plentiful with stainless steel being the trend today. Energy Star appliances typically cost between $800 and $3,500 depending on what it is, but you may pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for custom built-in models.


Energy-efficiency brands will be more costly to buy, but will save on electricity bills. You want to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. You should expect to pay up to $5,000 for HVAC items such as a furnace or air conditioning unit. You may also need to pay about $2,500 to have ducts and vents installed. You could install solar heating and this averages about $20,000, but may be worth it in the long run.


If your roof needs replacing or repairing you can usually choose between copper, tile, asphalt and slate for the material with copper lasting the longest. The average cost of a new roof is about $7,000, but it will depend on the size of the home. Asphalt shingles are generally the least expensive, but you could pay up to $50,000 for metal.

When asking contractors for estimates regarding renovations, be sure to request a price on every single option that’s available to you as well as a list of the pros and cons. With this information, you’ll be able to come up with a detailed plan and budget. In addition, be sure to get a quote for your project from a few different contractors.