Everything you need to know about small bathroom renovations in Vancouver

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What we’ll cover in this article:
 

  • What is a considered a “small bathroom”?
  • What are the steps required in renovating a small bathroom and how long will they take?
  • Nine small bathroom ideas to help you get the most out of our space
  • Bathroom Renovation Inspiration Resources
  • Cost of a Small Bathroom Renovations in Vancouver 


What is considered a “small bathroom”?
 

For starters, let’s clarify what we mean by small bathroom. Some people may refer to a powder room as a small bathroom, however, for the sake of this guide we are going to define a “small bathroom” as one that is under 100 square feet in size and contains the following three components: 

  • Sink
  • Toilet
  • Shower or tub 

Typically, powder rooms are smaller than a “small bathroom” and will not contain a shower or tub. You may see powder rooms lifted as half baths on realtor listings. 


What are the steps required in renovating a small bathroom and how long will they take?
 

While every bathroom remodel will be unique, they all typically follow a standard process. The following points will glance over the steps involved in your renovation project from start to finish – don’t worry, we’ll get into more detail later. 

  • Determine your budget – whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, bathroom renovations can get costly. Your budget will have a heavy influence on the overall outcome of the project. Your budgetary needs will also vary depending on if you plan to completely gut and remodel your bathroom or if you plan to replace/enhance certain components like the vanity, tile, or paint.
  • Planning – The most important and difficult step in any renovation. You need to understand your space, determine your preferences, nail down your objectives, scroll through Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration until your eyes glaze over, research suppliers, and determine whether you’re going to approach this process yourself or hire a contractor (don’t worry, we can recommend somebody :P)
  • Get inspired – As mentioned above, Instagram and Pinterest are excellent resources to get inspired for your small bathroom renovation. Also make sure to look out for creative ways to make the most out of your space) (link to section on getting inspired – list a few examples and also list a handful of Instagram accounts and hashtags)
  • Hire a contractor and a designer – Once you’ve completed the steps above, you may have a decent idea of what you are hoping to achieve with your bathroom remodel. Or you may be confused as ever. Regardless, the next natural step would be to sit down with a contractor for a free consultation as well as a designer. In your meeting(s) the professionals will help you gather your thoughts, get a better understanding of your likes/dislikes, and provide their expertise on getting the bathroom renovation you are hoping for. Contractors will also know about the ever-changing building codes and safety requirements required for your renovation. Hiring a professional will give you confidence in know that your renovation is being done safely, properly, and according to the required code.
  • Decide on a date – if you’ve got flexibility on your date, try aiming to have your renovation done in the winter for the following reasons:
    • Cost savings – many suppliers and manufacturers discount their prices in the winter due to the nature of the slower business season. You may also be able to get great deals on supplies around black Friday or boxing day.
    • More scheduling opportunities – If you decide to hire a general contractor, the winter months tend to be less booked. Meaning you’re more likely to be able to book your bathroom renovation at a time that works best for you.
  • Get strata approval (if you live in a condo) – Not all renovations require strata approval, however, it’s always best to check in with your strata before starting any project. The last thing you want to do is hire someone for a project or start a project only to be stopped midway through.
  • Get your supplies (list of places to get tile, cabinets, sinks etc in Vancouver) – Here are a list of some local suppliers for your small bathroom renovation needs:

Siema Kitchen and Bath

Location: Kitsilano
Supplies: Vanities, Faucets, Sinks, Showers/Tubs, and more 

Fontile Kitchen and Bath

Location: Strathcona
Supplies: Tiles, Vanities, Faucets, Sinks, Showers/Tubs, and more 

World Mosaic Tile

Location: Granville
Supplies: Ceramic, glass, and stone tile 

Discount Kitchen and Bath Cabinets

Location: Burnaby
Supplies: Vanities, countertops, sinks, faucets

Just Add Water
Location: North Vancouver
Supplies: Plumbing fixtures (Bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets)

 

  • Demolition – It’s highly recommended that you avoid doing demolition yourself as you may accidentally destroy critical plumbing or electrical components. That being said, if you do decide to demolish your bathroom – you’ll want to make sure to dispose of your materials at your local transfer station or landfill. Here’s a list of locations in Vancouver:
    1. North Vancouver
    2. Vancouver
    3. Coquitlam
    4. Surrey
  • Now you’re all set for your small bathroom renovation. Once you’ve gotten a sense of what you’re looking for, it shouldn’t take any more than three to five weeks to complete the job if you hire a contractor. Each project is unique and will vary but 3-5 weeks should cover the range of most jobs. 

Nine Small bathroom design ideas to make the most out of your space

 

  • Consider light colour schemes. When working with small spaces we recommend straying away from darker finishes and colors. By selecting lighter coloured tiles or applying a fresh coat of white paint to your walls you will feel as if things are more “open” and less condensed.
  • Create a mirror wall. Large mirrors will give off the illusion that the space is bigger than it is. They also serve a functional purpose. If you share a small bathroom with your spouse or partner, having a large mirror that covers the entire wall behind your cabinet can allow both of you to use it in the morning’s when you are getting ready for work.
  • Sliding glass doors on tub. Shower curtains can make a bathroom feel smaller by closing it off. Glass sliding panels are thin and keep your space looking nice and open. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry as much about the mold and mildew build-up that shower curtains are notorious for.
  • Shelves + Vertical Space. Vertical space is your friend. Corner shelves and floating shelves can be very helpful for stacking towels, keeping extra rolls of toilet paper, and storing other common bathroom items.
  • Install a corner sink/vanity. If you’re really tight for space, you may have no other choice but to install a corner sink and vanity. This is an excellent way to maximize the space you’ve got – even if your bathroom isn’t tiny.
  • Install a floating vanity. Beyond the modernizing affect this has on a dated bathroom, floating vanities make your small bathroom appear bigger by showing more visual space beneath the fixture.
  • Open shelving. Warning: This tip is not ideal for messy folks. For the rest of you, open shelves can be ideal for small bathroom spaces because you don’t have to worry about cabinet doors swinging open and blocking up space. Open shelf vanities and cabinets can look very nice, too.
  • You’ll likely want to keep pocket doors limited do ensuite bathrooms as you do lose some of the soundproofing you’d have with a regular door.
  • Use the same tile on your floors and walls. Doing so will create an optical illusion of spaciousness and give it a spa-like feel. BONUS: Add an accent wall with another style of tile or a different paint colour to make your small bathroom even roomier!
  • Ditch the tub. If you’ve only got one bathroom in the house, then you may want to skip over this option as you may reduce the resale value of your house by isolating new families or people who are expecting children. If you’ve got a master bathroom and a guest bathroom, consider freeing up some additional space by installing a free-standing shower in place of the tub. 

Small Bathroom Renovation Inspiration 

Below we’ll list some Vancouver-based interior designers and others that can help get you inspired for your small bathroom renovation. While you are looking to get inspired for your small bathroom, don’t limit your inspiration to only focus on that. You can seek inspiration from bigger bathrooms and even kitchens, bedrooms, or living rooms. 

Some local talent: 

Other interior designers to check out on Instagram: 

  • Hanne Gathe
    • Instagram
  • Benjamin Vandiver
    • Instagram
  • Amber Lewis
  • Orlando Soria
    • Instagram
  • The Spruce Makes
    • Instagram 

Hashtags to follow on Instagram: 

How much does a small bathroom renovation in Vancouver cost? 

Simply put, there’s no simple answer to this. Your small bathroom renovation could cost you as little as $3,000 or as much as $20,000 (or even more depending on the type of materials, finishes and fixtures, etc..?) Below you’ll find a general breakdown of the average costs you can expect to incur when remodeling your small bathroom in Vancouver. It is important to note that these are very general estimates to give you an idea of the cost of remodeling your small bathroom. But before you do so, start by asking yourself the following question: 

“Will I be using the existing layout of the bathroom?” 

If you answered no the question, carry on to the list. If you answered yes, please know to expect a significant increase in the cost of your bathroom renovation, as restructuring a bathroom can be a very tricky and laborious task. (may want to create a similar list to this) 

  • Demolition – it’s not as fun as it looks and you’re better off leaving it to the professionals. Why? Many homes built before 1990 may have used various building materials that contain asbestos or lead; these materials are extremely hazardous to your health as well as heavily enforced and regulated on by Worksafe BC to be handled and disposed of properly. Aside from this you run the risk of damaging pipes, electrical, as well as current structural components of your home when conducting demolition – thus creating more work and an increase in costs. If you live in a building with strata they may have certain regulations and requirements stating that only experienced professionals holding insurance are able to conduct any type of demolition that may require water shutoffs, or potential compromise of any plumbing, electrical, and structural components to neighboring units.
    • Average contractor cost to demolish a small bathroom
      • Tub/Shower Removal + Base Components + Glass Enclosures
      • Toilet
      • Vanity + Mirrors
      • Light Fixtures
      • Tile
      • Small fixtures
      • Debris/construction clean-up
      • Total Average Cost: $1000-$1500 
  • Plumbing and electrical – If you own a detached home in Vancouver (lucky you), you can do this work yourself, However, you will not be able to get a permit and required inspections. Most, if not all, condos in Vancouver will require you to hire a licensed professional and we recommend doing this as well. If you’re already have a contractor involved to renovate your bathroom, it’s likely that they’ve included the cost of plumbing and electrical in their quote. By code it is required to have a red sealed journeyman plumber and electrician when conducting any alterations to existing plumbing and electrical as well as any applications for plumbing and electrical permits. (list of plumbers and electricians)
    • Average contractor cost for plumbing and electrical on small bathroom renovation:
      • Total Average Cost: $1,200 – $2,000
  • Vanity & Countertop – The vanity is an important piece in your bathroom and is considered one of the main focal points of your bathroom – it will influence the overall look/feel of your space. The price range on vanities is vast. Your local Ikea likely has vanities for as low as a few hundred dollars, or you could opt to get a custom-made vanity for a few thousand. You can go cheap, luxury, or anywhere in between – but remember, this will be the one of the focal points of your bathroom so it is wise to allocate a fair amount of your budget towards you’re your vanity and countertop. Some vanities will come with countertops, others will not. Arborite, wood, quartz, and granite are common countertop options and can range on average anywhere between $30 to $250 per square foot including installation.
    • Average cost for bathroom vanity – IKEA; $200-$500 | Custom; $1000-$3000 approx. – will vary on specs and finishes
    • Average cost of installing a vanity – Average cost of installing a vanity is approx. $200- $400 per cabinet if using a prefabricated vanity. Custom manufactured vanities will typically include installation in their price.
    • Average cost of quartz countertop (most common material) – This will vary on quality and thickness of countertop; 2cm or 3cm is standard. Quartz material costs will vary per slab that is selected and can range from $60 per squarefoot to $300 per squarefoot. Installation costs will vary based off the complexity of the .

 

  • Tile – there are many different types of tile to choose from. You’ll want to start by deciding the material of the tile – will you be choosing porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone? Porcelain has a lower water absorption rate, is harder and more durable than ceramic tile. It will also cost you slightly more in both the cost of the tile and labour as it is more difficult to cut. It’s recommended to use porcelain tile for high moisture areas like the bath or shower, however any option is possible if the proper sealant is used for your stone and grout. Other factors that influence cost are the size of each individual tile, the complexity of the pattern, and the shape of the tile.
    • Average cost per squarefoot for tile – $5-$15 per squarefoot 
  • Tub or Shower – if you’re replacing your existing tub with another tub (of the same dimensions), your contractor will already have this included in your plumbing costs; as we had discussed above. A standard tub at a local shop like Rona or Home Depot will run you about $300-700 – this is an average and will vary based on brand and selection.
    • Average cost for a tub/shower – $300-$700.00
    • Average cost for a tub/shower installed – if all material is to be supplied pure install will be approximately $400.00

 

  • Toilet – Like anything, you can opt to go super cheap and get a toilet for as little as a few hundred dollars or you can opt to choose a wall-mounted toilet with a concealed tank that will cost you well over a thousand dollars. It’s going to boil down to what fits best with your space and what you are willing to spend. The average toilet will cost around $300. create an article called choosing the right toilet for your bathroom renovation
    • Average cost of a toilet – approximately $200-300
    • Average cost of a toilet installed – Bare minimum charge for our plumber to come out regardless of how small the job is $160

 

  • Glass Enclosures – Whether you have a tub or a shower we always recommend considering a glass enclosure for your space. There are plenty of options, many of which will be dependent on your given dimensions or the tub or shower as well as your current bathroom layout. There are some options as cheap as a few hundred dollars that can be found at your local home improvement or bath specialty stores .
    • Average cost of general store glass enclosure: Approximately $900+ installed
    • Average cost of custom 6mm tempered slider: Approximately $1,000-$1,500 installed
    • Average cost of 10-12mm tempered frameless serenity slider: Approximately $2,500-$3,000 installed