2019 Home Renovation Costs Per Square Foot on Long Island

by Carol Wang

A cost breakdown on materials, labor, and permits for your home remodel

(Above) Renovation project by Sweeten general contractor Vita

Renovating on Long Island? We have the numbers you’ll need to plan a realistic budget for your home renovation, whether you’re on the South Shore or the North Fork. Matching the vision in your mind with what you might need to spend to get what you want is the key.

Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, has done some of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to understanding renovation costs for Long Island. This guide focuses on four major remodeling cost categories: kitchen, bathroom, basement, and permits.

Although “Long Island” is technically a geography that is home to four New York counties, including Kings County (better known as Brooklyn!) and Queens, this cost guide focuses on the portion of the island that is colloquially known as Long Island, which is primarily Nassau and Suffolk counties. This guide does not include the Hamptons, which is a world of its own with renovation prices to match (those can be found here). For renovation costs in New York City, including Brooklyn and Queens, check out this guide.

Now that the geography is clear, here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs that include labor and materials compiled from Sweeten renovations and Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report.

  • Full-home renovation: Starting at $100 per square foot (psf) with stock materials; high-end properties start at $200+ psf
  • Minor, mid-range kitchen remodel: $25,000 (under 100 square feet)
  • Major, mid-range kitchen remodel: $40,000—$75,000 (for 200 square feet)
  • High-end kitchen remodel: $75,000+ (for 200 square feet)
  • Minor, mid-range bath remodel: $15,000—$20,000 (35 to 40 square feet)
  • Major, mid-range bath remodel: $21,000—$40,000
  • High-end bath remodel: $40,000—$100,000
  • Basement remodel: $40,000—$75,000

Keep in mind while it is great to have an idea of your end cost, a contractor will want a detailed conversation and inspection of your home before delivering a more specific estimate.

What a home remodel costs per square foot

Long Island’s proximity to New York City and the Hamptons means that the same regional averages apply. However, real estate prices in Long Island are lower than their neighbors on both sides, and this affects renovation costs.

Most Sweeten projects in villages including Great Neck, New Hyde Park, and Bellport generally start at $100 psf for a full-home renovation. Sweeten contractor Aaron estimates that for his projects, wet rooms (rooms that are connected to a water supply, i.e., bathrooms or kitchens) typically start at $250 per square feet. In Sweeten’s experience, bathrooms in Long Island are typically larger than 5×8 and can measure 8″x7″ or 9″x7″. High-end (full custom, luxury materials) wet room renovations can cost well over $700 per square foot. This cost range includes everything from architectural design and drawings to fixtures, demolition, expediting, construction—the whole project.

Since most residential renovations in Long Island are for single-family, fully detached houses, the logistics of renovation are more straightforward. Contractors do not need to worry about where to park their truck or have limits on the hours permitted for construction. (Even if there are city ordinances that limit noise, those are much longer than the working hours typically permitted by an NYC co-op.)

Furthermore, apartment buildings, whether condo or co-op, typically require contractors to ensure cleanliness in the hallways. This can eat up valuable time, when workers must spend the beginning and end of the workday prepping and/or cleaning the halls. These considerations, which don’t come into play in most Long Island houses, can translate into a more affordable price for renovators.

One thing to note in 2019: The cost of some raw materials has gone up—lumber, aluminum, and stainless steel—due to rising tariffs and the trade war with China. Additionally, freight costs have risen due to new carrier regulations.

Costs for a kitchen renovation

  • Minor, mid-range kitchen: Sweeten kitchen remodels can start at $25,000 for under 100 square feet with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. This typically means making use of engineered flooring, off-the-shelf cabinets, and an economical tile or butcher block for countertops. It also includes swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient models.
  • Major, mid-range kitchen: Sweeten has seen costs as low as $40,000 and as high as $75,000 for a mid-range kitchen renovation. Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report shows that a mid-range, major kitchen renovation of a 200-square-foot space will run about $67,338 based on averages for the Middle Atlantic region (as opposed to $81,584 for New York City). This range is for updating 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, an island, new countertops, a double-tub stainless steel sink, energy-efficient range, vented hood, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. This comes to about $337 psf.

According to Sweeten contractor Vita, “Kitchens on Long Island typically need a full gut in order to upgrade electrical, plumbing, insulation, and correcting for settling of the foundation. Our base pricing for a 150-square-foot kitchen with finished material and subcontractor allowances is $64,300.”

  • High-end kitchen: The same Cost vs. Value report puts a luxury kitchen renovation around $133,740 for the region, which will get you top-of-the-line custom cabinets with interior accessories, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, built-in refrigerator, commercial-grade cooktop and hood, wall oven, built-in microwave, with designer faucets and a water filtration system. This budget also includes custom lighting, including under-cabinet lights, and wood flooring throughout. Broken down to price per square foot, this comes in at $669 psf. Sweeten has seen high-end kitchens starting from $75,000.

Costs for a bathroom renovation

  • Minor, mid-range bathroom: Sweeten bathrooms can start at $15,000 to $20,000 for a 5’ x 8’ space with budget-friendly finishes. Sweeten contractor Vita said, “Bathroom remodels often need the same treatment as kitchens, and require a full overhaul of plumbing, electrical supplies, insulation, exhaust ductwork as well as floor and wall straightening. Our base price for a typically-sized, 35-square-foot bathroom renovation starts at $20,000, with material and subcontractor allowances.”
  • Major, mid-range bathroom: A mid-range bathroom remodel for a 35-square-foot area will cost anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000. The Cost vs. Value report provides an average of $21,091 for the Middle Atlantic region, and includes a recessed medicine cabinet, a standard toilet, solid-surface vanity counter, and a porcelain tub.
  • High-end bathroom: The same report puts a high-end renovation at $66,488 for the region, based on the expansion of a 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet, within the existing footprint of the house. A high-end renovation at this price point includes radiant floors, all new ductwork, custom cabinetry, separate shower, and freestanding tub, as well as custom lighting. Sweeten contractors report high-end renovations range from $40,000 to $100,000 at luxury price points.

Costs for a basement renovation

Based on Sweeten’s numbers, the average basement conversion in Long Island comes in at $117 psf. At the low end, a project will average $40,000, and also include a bathroom, shower, and laminate flooring. On the high end, a project costing $75,000 would include a 5’ x 8’ bathroom, shower, a bar area, insulation, and laminate flooring in 20’ x 30’ space.

This is in line with what is reported by Sweeten contractors. For example, Sweeten contractor Vita shares that Long Island basements generally run about $35,000 on the low end, $60,000 for a mid-range renovation, and more than $60,000 for a high-end project.

Keep in mind that the existing condition of the space will impact the budget. Sometimes the floor needs to be dug deeper so the ceiling appears higher, and the walls could require underpinning. Sometimes electricity and plumbing need to be installed, especially if there is no existing bathroom and that’s a crucial part of your plans. Installation and waterproofing can also be a significant cost if needed.

Costs for permits

In Long Island, permits are often handled by each town and will likely be tied to the budget you submit. In Suffolk County, for renovations up to $50,000, the permit fee is $250, and $500 for renovations up to $100,000. For projects above $250,000, contractor Aaron estimates the cost is 0.5% for the permit. Plumbing and electrical permits both start at $50. For the full list, you can consult this fee schedule.

Hopefully, 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,” so you can plan and get started off on the right foot.

Renovating your home on Long Island? Sweeten can help!

Post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with multiple vetted general contractors to provide estimates for your renovation. Sweeten also checks in with you until project completion. Just remember, sit down with your general contractor to develop an accurate budget and you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.

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