The Costs of Remodeling These Days: A Post-recession Update!


Now that the recession is well behind us, you’ve probably noticed how much building there is going on everywhere you look. This intense building economy has caused noticeable cost escalation in the construction industry overall. Its been frustrating for all of us in the trade – architects and builders – to keep tabs on what seems to be a bit of a moving target, but here’s our current analysis of rough costs in the home improvement world.

Costs of building a new home can run from $200/sq ft. for a bare bones, not-much-in-the-way-of-finishes simple structure; to $250 for something a little more interesting; to $300 for a house with nice finishes (think stone counters, built-ins, nice tile)…the likes of which you see in our portfolio. And of course you can spend more as desires and budget allow!

For remodeling, we prefer not to use square foot costs, as these numbers are subject to the kinds of spaces as well as the overall square footage. Obviously kitchens and bathrooms cost the most per square foot, due to their plumbing, electrical and fixture requirements, compared to a living room or bedroom. Costs per square foot can be lower if averaging over a greater area of work. So we prefer to do our rough pricing by space. Here’s a range:

Kitchens: $70- 90k for a small to mid-sized to-the-studs remodel, including new sheetrock and lighting.
Baths: $25 – 50k depending on the size and how many fixtures.
Living areas/bedrooms/non-plumbed spaces: if new windows and trim, perhaps refinishing floors, and some new lighting: this cost might be between $20 – 40k/room.
Finishing an unfinished basement: figure about $150 – 200/sf. This would include insulating walls, a bathroom, windows.
Additions: for the shell, (i.e. not including the room inside it!) plan on about $200/sf.

These are very rough numbers to plan your budget with. Other costs must be considered:

-Tax on construction (9.6%)
-Design fees (we bill hourly for architectural services) and permit fees.
-Large appliances (owners receive the best pricing when they buy a package of appliances from a dealer)
-Elements of construction that might impact the house: siding patching and painting, hardscaping/landscaping etc.

Hopefully this will give you an idea of the costs involved. It’s expensive, but every single one of our clients has told us that when all was said and done, their remodel was totally worth the cost and effort, and has enriched their lives.  It’s a thrill to hear, and why we love what we do!