How much does it cost to renovate a house?

How much does it cost to renovate a house?

It’s easy to get carried away when imagining house renovations. Maybe you’re dreaming of a fancy bathroom with a giant, claw-foot tub and rustic, brass taps. Or maybe you’re thinking of something much bigger — a full house renovation where you can work out your stress by tearing down that gaudy, 80s wallpaper and hammering up some drywall. But before you get your heart set on any renovation project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so there aren’t any nasty surprises later down the line.

So, how much does it cost to renovate a house? And, are kitchens typically more expensive to renovate than bathrooms? If you’re keen to get all the info before you sink money you don’t have into a big project, keep reading…  

How much to renovate a house?

Now the easy part of this question is that how much to completely renovate a house is going to depend almost entirely on several factors…

  • What state the house is currently in — ie. is the plumbing, wiring, insulation, walls, and flooring in good working order?
  • How big a house are we talking about? Obviously, 3 floors are going to cost more than 2, plus, if you include rooms like attics and basements (which typically need more work) that can ramp up the cost.
  • Will you need planning permission to carry out this renovation? You might need to pay a planning permission fee, for example, if you’re intending on adding another storey or an extension to your property.
  • Does your renovation include the garden? If you’re re-landscaping then you might need to hire a professional to help out.
  • Finally, how much of the renovating do you expect to do yourself? If you’re up for painting jobs, laying tiles, or levelling your garden, for example — then you’re likely to save a bit of money that way.

So, as you might gather, the tough part of answering how much it costs to renovate a house is that there isn’t any single answer. The best way forward is to…

  • Make an initial plan taking into consideration everything you’d like to do and the costs associated with that.
  • Hire a surveyor to check for any potential problems that might crop up mid-renovation (rotted floorboards, for example, might scupper your plans or add to costs).
  • Contact your home insurance provider for advice and/or investigate renovation insurance.
  • For projects that involve removing walls or reconfiguring spaces, you’ll want to hire an architect to design and guide you through the process.

After you’ve completed these steps, you should have a much better sense of how much this renovation project is going to cost you.

Quick note: Looking for ways to cut costs without compromising on quality? Check out our tips for ‘Renovating a house on a budget’.

How much to renovate a bathroom?

Okay, so let’s say you’re thinking a bit smaller — how much does it cost to renovate a bathroom? Well, this one’s a bit easier to estimate, with bathroom renovations ranging between £3,500 for simple jobs and £15,000 for luxury, high-end design. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to consider…

  • Professional help for plumbing, installation of lights, painting, and decor — this typically costs between £30 - £50 per hour and won’t include any materials needed to get the job done. Depending on how long the job takes, this will likely amount to somewhere between £3,000 - £5,000.
  • Bathroom lights — £25 for a simple fixture, but this would obviously increase significantly if you’re partial to chandeliers or hand-blown glass installations.
  • Floor and tiling — again, depending on how expensive your tastes, this is usually somewhere between £20 - £60 per m².
  • Simple bathroom fixtures — toilet (£100 - £200), shower and screen (£60 - £650), bathtub (£100 - £400), sink (£50 - £200), taps (£40 - £100), towel rail (£50 - £200).

As for the question of how long does it take to renovate a bathroom? It really depends on what current state the room’s in, the proposed design and materials that need ordering, and the availability of your handyman. As a rough estimate, we’d say 2 weeks is a good average.

How much to renovate a kitchen?

One of the most popular renovation hotspots in the UK is the kitchen! It seems everyone’s after that luxe, open-plan, family kitchen that looks like something plucked straight from a home living magazine. But how much does it cost to renovate a kitchen? Generally speaking, the UK average is around £8,000 — though, again, this can increase significantly if you splash out on the best of everything. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need to factor into your budget:

  • £4,000 - £6,000 for professional installation, materials, painting, and decor.
  • £3,000 - £5,500 for good quality kitchen units.
  • £2,000 - £5,000 for kitchen worktops (ranging from laminates up to expensive marble or granite worktops).
  • £20 - £50 per m² for flooring (this can increase even further for natural stone flooring like slate tiles).
  • £1000+ for any rewiring, though this isn’t always needed.

Quick note: It’s also worth mentioning that the total cost will increase if you need to hire an architect — but this can beis worth doing if you’ve got the funds and want a really high-functioning, professional-looking result.

Can I borrow more on my mortgage to renovate?

So if you’ve read this article and now you’re revved up and ready to go, you might be wondering, can you get a higher mortgage to cover renovations? Well, provisionally, yes! The key thing is that you’ll need enough equity (paid off ownership) in your home for your lender to feel comfortable giving over more cash — ie. your mortgage would need to be less than 90% of your property’s total value. If you’re interested in refreshing your mortgage know-how, check out our ‘First time buyer mortgage guide’.

A few final tips…

Still on the fence? We don’t blame you — it’s a good idea to mull these things over properly before you set the wheels in motion.

For tips on renovations that really make a difference, read: ‘What adds value to a house’.

Maybe your place just needs a spruce up? Check out: ‘How to decorate a flat on a budget’.

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.