A cost breakdown on materials, labor, and permits for your home remodel
(Above) Home renovation in Westport, CT by Sweeten architect Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of Sweeten architect Elizabeth.
Creating a budget for a renovation is unique to every project; the many variables, from your own taste for materials and quality of work to whether you are changing the layout or are moving plumbing or gas lines in a kitchen or bathroom, all factor into the equation.
Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, has compiled a general guide to renovation costs in Fairfield County focusing on four categories—kitchen, bathroom, basement, and permits.
Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs compiled from Sweeten renovations and Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report.
- Full home renovation: $150—$350 per square foot (psf)
- Lower-end kitchen remodel: $25,000
- Mid-range kitchen remodel: $335 psf or $67,000
- High-end kitchen remodel: $630 psf or $133,000
- Lower-end bathroom remodel: $15,000 to $20,000
- Mid-range bathroom remodel: $600 psf or $21,000
- High-range bathroom remodel: $665 psf or $66,500
- Basement remodel: $117 psf or $75,000
Keep in mind that every professional contractor will want to have a detailed chat and inspection of your home before developing an estimate specific to your needs and wants.
What a home remodel cost per square foot
The general range for a gut renovation in Fairfield County, CT is $150 to $250 psf, according to Elizabeth, an architect in the Sweeten network. That price can easily sneak up to $300 to $350 a square foot, she advised, depending on how complex your renovation is (structural issues, layout changes, etc.) and how expensive your tastes are in terms of fixtures and finishes. Those figures also do not include fees for architects and engineers who might be necessary throughout the course of the project.
Residential renovation costs have increased on average 5.7% each year between 2013 and 2018. For most contractors, cost increases or decreases in all areas—labor, materials, etc—can fluctuate year to year and even throughout the year. Sweeten contractor Oziel, who works in Westchester as well as Fairfield, also pointed out that finishes—tiles, flooring, countertops, lighting, appliances, faucets, etc.—go up each year, as do overhead costs for workers compensation and general liability insurance.
Jerry, a Sweeten contractor in Fairfield County, said he tries to absorb the increases in insurance costs. He also said that while construction items go up every year, most of the increase goes to framing and electrical materials. Sweeten architect Elizabeth noted that a shrinking construction labor force in wealthy areas raises the price for skilled plumbers, electricians, and framers.
Costs for a kitchen renovation
- Lower-end kitchen: Sweeten kitchen remodels can start at $25,000 for under 100 square feet with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. Sweeten contractor Majid has done a low-end kitchen for $40,000 that was 150 square feet. This budget includes semi-custom cabinets and granite or quartz countertops with no changes to the layout.
- Mid-range kitchen: A typical mid-range kitchen renovation in Fairfield County is priced at $335 psf, or $67,000 according to the Cost vs. Value report. These figures are based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with laminate countertops, a standard sink, and faucet, with an energy-efficient range, built-in microwave, and ventilation system. It also includes a garbage disposal, custom lighting and resilient floorings such as vinyl, linoleum, or cork. New kitchens that Elizabeth’s architectural firm has worked on usually cost between $25,000 to $60,000, but it is easy to surpass that, she said.
- High-end kitchen: For a kitchen renovation, this could mean fully custom cabinets, sourcing the best materials from overseas, and dealing with the added expense of a layout change, said Alfonso, a Sweeten contractor. A recent kitchen renovation he worked on came to $125,000. The cabinets alone were $70,000, the countertop material was shipped in from Italy, and changing the layout of the kitchen also bumped up the cost and involved substantial plumbing and electrical work.
The example Alfonso used came in a little under the Cost vs Value report’s average price of a high-end kitchen of $133,000 or $630 psf. This includes more expensive materials such as stone countertops, an imported tile backsplash, a water filtration system, commercial-grade cooktop, and vent hood, plus a built-in microwave unit.
Costs for a bathroom renovation
- Lower-end bathroom: Sweeten bathroom remodels can start at $15,000 to $20,000 for a 5’ x 8’ space with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. Majid has worked on projects costing $15,000 for a minimum space measuring 5’ x 8’ that includes labor and rough materials. A budget of $15,000 to $20,000 is typical for a full bathroom renovation in the Fairfield area, according to Elizabeth.
- Mid-range bathroom: A mid-range bathroom in Fairfield County, Connecticut will cost on average $21,000, according to the Cost vs Value report which equates to $600 psf for a 35-square-foot bathroom. This includes a recessed medicine cabinet, a standard toilet, solid-surface vanity country, and a porcelain-on-steel tub.
- High-end bathroom: That same report put a high-end bathroom renovation and expansion at $66,500. The sample bathroom was expanded from 35 square feet to 100. It amounted to $665 psf.
One of the more expensive bathrooms Alfonso worked on came in at $88,000. This included a walk-in closet that led into the bathroom. The client wanted a custom-made European toilet, major structural changes, and marble shipped from Italy, which had a lead time of three months for delivery.
Costs for a basement renovation
Basement renovations by Sweeten contractors have ranged from $30,000 to $100,000. An average basement conversion across the county is $75,000, according to the Cost vs Value report. The project for this size budget includes a 20′ x 30′ room and a 5′ x 8′ bathroom with a shower and a bar area as well as insulation and laminate flooring, which comes to $117 psf.
The elements that tend to inflate the budget include adding a toilet or a shower and work needed to bring the room up to code. Some town regulations might require two forms of egress or natural light (so adding a door or a window) or a certain ceiling height, which means digging down and lowering the floor.
Costs for permits
Each town in Fairfield County has its own table of fees for building permits. Building permits, including those for plumbing and electrical, can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,500 per project. The variation is often tied to your budget. Here are some examples:
- In Stamford, your building permit will be $13.26 for each $1,000 in your budget. That permit will cover your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work.
- In Westport, the permit fee for demolition is $2 per 100 cubic feet of volume while the building fee is $10 for each $1,000 of the renovation budget.
- In Greenwich, a building permit will be $13.26 for each $1,000 in your budget. The electrical permit fee is $12 per $1,000 of the cost of the project; this fee is the same for a plumbing permit fees.
- Over in Norwalk, building fees are structured slightly different. A building permit costs $13 per $1,000 of estimated work, which includes some electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work. However, if there are major changes in these areas, then separate permits for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC might be required at a cost of $13.26 for every $1,000 budgeted in those areas. Check the building department in your local township for a better idea of permitting costs for your project.
Issues you may or may not encounter along the way such as structural problems that need fixing or bringing a staircase up to current code could also manipulate your end budget. Take into consideration wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms cost more to renovate than dry spaces (for example, dining rooms and bedrooms) due to materials and labor that may be more complex, Alfonso says.
Hopefully, all of these facts and figures give you a jumping-off point to begin pulling together a budget. Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”
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