Home Renovation Quotes

Home Renovation Quotes

What you need to know when it comes to an accurate home renovation quote, this will save you thousands and a lot of heartaches. Simple little details that will make your improvements run a lot smoother, by knowing the answers to these questions.

What can you learn, when you receive a home renovation quote from contractors looking to do your job. Whenever your planning on having some renovations done, do you:

photograph of quote questions

  • Get a few quotes?
  • Compare quotes?
  • Ask about Insurance?
  • Ask about certification?
  • Look at references?


Do you get a few quotes?


  • When you have decided on getting some work done, does the first contractor through the door get the job?
  • When you understand the market, knowing what’s involve with your renovation and have a pretty good idea about renovation costs. Do you check out a few different contractors?


Do you compare quotes?


  • So if you’re getting more than one quote, do you do any comparison to see the pros and cons to what you want to do and the type of work they do?
  • Do you compare each quote against each other, to see the pros and cons between all the quotes you have for your renovation?


Do you ask about Insurance?


  • Do you ask about them having liability insurance?
  • How about work mans compensation?


Do you ask about certification?photographs of home renovation quote questions


  • If you need plumbing done, do you ask about certification?
  • What if an electrician is required?


Do you look at references?


  • Do you ask for or look at references?
  • What type of references do you ask for?


So now that we have these questions, why not call them our top ten quote issues. We all know there could be more questions asked. For the purpose of this article, we will look at two quotes that I had given one couple for doing a two bathroom renovations for their home.


They live in a two-story home where they wanted the main bathroom gutted and redone and the en-suite entirely gutted and redesigned.


First off I will list the labour and materials from my quote:


Remove tiles from main bathroom floor 32 sq ft at $2.00 sq ft = $64.00

Remove tub and surround = $200.00

Remove vanity = $35.00

Remove toilet = $25.00

Replace wall and ceiling, build niche etc = $350.00

Waterproof shower walls and ceiling = $150.00

Tile and grout wall for shower and ceiling etc = $1,200.00

Tile and grout floor 32 sq ft at $3.00 sq ft = $96.00

Install toilet = $50.00

Install vanity = $100.00

Glass doors for shower installed = $100.00

Shower plumbing redone = $200.00

Recycle demo material = $100.00


Materials supplied by home owner (shower tiles 95 sq ft, floor 35 sq ft unsanded & sanded grout)


Roll fiber tape, screws, sheet rock 45, primer and some shims = $50.00

3 bags full flex grey at $21.76 each = $65.28

1 hydraflex waterproofing = $58.47

3 4×8 1/2 green board for sheathing at $16.29 each = $48.87

3 schluter alum at $11.53 each = $34.59


Subtotal $2,927.21

Taxes $439.08

Total $3,366.29


Second quotehome renovation quotes


Remove tiles from en-suite floor 32 sq ft at $2.00 sq ft = $64.00

Remove shower and wall partition = $300.00

Remove vanity = $35.00

Remove toilet = $25.00

Replace wall and ceiling, build niche, bench etc = $500.00

Waterproof shower walls and ceiling = $100.00

Tile and grout en-suite walls and shower etc = $2,500.00

Tile and grout floor 32 sq ft at $3.00 sq ft = $96.00

Install toilet = $50.00

Install vanity = $100.00

Glass doors for shower installed = $100.00

Shower plumbing redone = $300.00

Recycle demo material = $100.00


Materials supplied by home owner (schluter shower kit, wall tiles 165 sq ft, floor 35 sq ft unsanded & sanded grout)


Roll fiber tape, screws, sheet rock 45, primer and some shims = $75.00

5 bags full flex grey at $21.76 each = $108.80

1 hydraflex waterproofing = $58.47

2 4×8 1/2 green board for sheathing at $16.29 each = $32.58

1 schluter alum = $11.53


Subtotal $4,556.38

Taxes $683.46

Total $5,239.84



Now on my real quotes I have:


  • My header section and information
  • Then the customer information
  • Preparations section
  • Description area
  • Notes and billing amounts


So two bathrooms quoted at $3,366.29 and $5,239.84 for a total of $8606.13 (These prices and 15% tax is for the area in which I live that will be different values for where you may live, but the concept and results should work out the same in your area.)


At the time, I gave my quotes 24 Sep 2014 I was to do the job after Christmas in the new year starting in Jan 2015. Now, where we are going to look into the questions above. This example will help give some people a better perspective of what can happen and what you should be doing if you are not already doing it.


I received a call from the customers in the first part of Jan 2015 asking me to look at the two bathrooms. I replied unless you want to make changes to the design I gave you for the en-suite, or you changed your mind on what you wish to do for the main bathroom, you only need to let me know when you want me to start. It was at this point they told me the two bathrooms had been renovated by somebody else before Christmas in November. So my reply was, why did you not let me know you were going with somebody else and now that someone else did the renovation, why are you calling me now?


They told me they had some problems, and they wanted me to take a look to see what I thought. So I agreed to pop over and take a look. When I arrived, I asked them some questions.


  1. Q) You had told me I was doing the job after Christmas in the new year, so why did you not let me know that you decided to go with another quote?
  2. A) This other contractor seemed so excited about doing the job, and he said he would do it for $4,500.00!


  1. Q) And how much did you pay him?
  2. A) Well, we paid him the $4,500.00 after he did the demolition.  He then said more money was needed because the job was a lot harder than he anticipated, so we paid out another $3,500.00. On the third time, he wanted more money so we held back $500.00 from the $1,500.00 requested.photograph of quote help


  1. Q) Where is his quotes for the bathrooms he gave you?
  2. A) He never gave us any.


  1. Q) Where are his invoices for the money he was getting you to pay out?
  2. A) We don’t have any.


At this point, I asked to see the two bathrooms. I noticed in the entrance a bulge in their ceiling and said you had or still have a leak from your en-suite plumbing. They replied we know something is wrong with the ceiling but if it was a leak we should see water stains or water dripping. I mentioned to them if you have a tiny leak from a cold solder joint, the water can slowly drip into the backside of your drywall where it will absorb and slowly break down the integrity of the drywall. That will cause the drywall to sag first before you finally get to see any water damage visually.


So in the main bathroom, there were issues with tile lippage not matching up and other mistakes that visually caught your eye off a job gone wrong. The biggest problem was where the wall tiles met the acrylic shower base. The shower base was designed to have one tile wall with three sides glass, not three sides tiled and one side glass. A custom flange kit had to be installed along the three walls to keep the shower from leaking if a proper tray was not going to be used. ( The flange will channel any water that gets past the tiles and caulking at the bottom of the shower, to run back to the shower base and down the drain. A $40.00 dollar fix when the tray first was installed.)


  1. Q) I take it that this shower is leaking between the wall and shower base?
  2. A) When we tried to use it, the water came through the ceiling and out through our new kitchen cabinets. We asked him to fix it while he was still working in the other bathroom and all he did was re-caulk the shower base.


Without the proper flange; the caulking could let loose in twelve, six or even two months and start flooding in through your kitchen cabinets again while you’re taking a shower.


The en-suite bathroom installation was laid out according to my design I had given them but again had problems with what he did to the plumbing.


  1. Q) Your vanity is in the middle of the floor because your contractor split?
  2. A) We asked him to fix all the problems before we would give him any more money, so he packed up his equipment and left.


He already has the money, so he’s finished with your renovation. Your vanity is not connected up because you need to smash out the tile that is pushing your drain pipe down towards the floor. The actual tile over the pipe was supposed to be cut out around your drain pipe, this way the drain line could come straight out of the wall to have the P-trap hooked up under your sink properly. None of the water lines for the vanity or toilet needed anything done to them. When he moved the water lines for the shower according to my design to the other wall, he did not do a proper pressure test to make sure there were no leaks from any of the connections before he closed your wall up.

They asked me:

So can you fix his deficiencies and re-caulk the other shower, we held back $500.00 from him, and you can fix everything up.


So my reply was:

The problem is I will not do a bandage fix, and I will not accept responsibility for his workmanship to go against my insurance. These showers will keep leaking unless you take them apart and redo them correctly.


So here is a couple of tips about getting quotes and referrals, the example here is bathrooms, but it can refer to all renovations.


  • When contractors do this for a living, they do not get all excited about doing smaller jobs. I found out later that this was his first renovation job.
  • Contractors that do this for a living know what they are up against in most cases. So unless you open up walls for a major surprise, a simple job does not double in price. These type of people will underbid so they can get the job and hit you up for more once there underway.
  • You never pay in full for them to start. It is written on my quote and invoices to pay once the job is complete. The most you would typically pay is about 50% not 100% at the beginning.
  • Make sure they have insurance, so you have something to fall back on.
  • Have a paper trail so you know what you’re paying.
  • Get referrals from their suppliers, not some stranger which could be there buddy telling you what you want to hear.
  • When one quote is really under priced compared to the rest, that usually means trouble.


When you have a quote broken down the way mine are, the homeowners very easily could have taken mine and divide everything in half to compare what the other contractor was charging for his work.




  • He was going to take the toilet out and dispose of it for $12.50
  • He was going to put together and mount the new toilet for $25.00
  • Take out the vanity for $17.50
  • Install the new vanity, mount the counter top, cut out the countertop and mount the sink, faucets new drain pipe for $50.00


Working for these prices where I live, your business would go bankrupt trying to cover all your overhead with the different insurances we carry as contractors, tools, vehicles, etc. if you’re legit.


This couple went through 4 weeks of hell that I don’t need to get into, I just hope that this article will help other people realize the importance of the more you know about getting renovations done, the better off you will be.


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  1. Thanks for walking me though the process of home renovation quotes. It was very helpful. I really like the questions to ask, I think many people get caught up in the bottom line and they forget about important things like insurance and such! Also some people just get one quote and move forward. Not a good idea. Finally comparing them with pros and cons is a great way to make sure you get the best value for your money.

    • Hi Marc and your right to compare the pros and cons to get the best value for your money. Whenever you get multiple quotes you need to compare them, otherwise why did you get them. The only time I would go with a single quote is when you’ve had the contractor before or is coming as a serious referral.

      When you personally know somebody you trust and they refer somebody thats great or if you see the workmanship you know what to expect. You can never assume that just because two different contractors do the same type of renovations the quality and pricing is the same. One other thing that most people can bank on is no contractor is going to give you the highest of stands and quality for half price or less to what the job is worth to the average stranger. There will be a catch one way or the other.

  2. This is a great looking website loaded with information. The fact that it’s loaded with information, some in the form of questions, would leave someone with the task of ascertaining can they actually DO the work themselves. I think most would have to say no, then hire a professional. With that said, I feel this website is complete for the most part. Good WordPress theme and illustration.

    • The biggest thing I decided to do here was bring to light how important it is to know what your getting into. There are many people claiming to be contractors for doing different types of jobs. You as a home owner looking to get work done, need to compare and check that the person saying they can do the job, really can.

      You always want to get your work done for a good price but not sacrificing quality and especially not to have it done wrong. Knowing is half the battle.

  3. My wife and I just finished re-modeling the new home we moved into about 8 months ago. When we first moved in, we looked for quotes from contractors to come in and do the work so it would get done a little quicker. After reading you’re post, I am glad my father-in-law and I did the re-modeling ourselves. When we initially started getting quotes back, they seemed very high and definitely too high for a newly married couple. We were going after a local construction business to do the work, which most did not have all the proper insurances like you stated in your post. Ultimately, it was the reason why we did the work ourselves, it took longer, but spent some quality time with my father-in-law and learned a lot along the way about keeping up a home. Very informative post regarding quotes, it can definitely be a hectic process.

    • Good to hear you got to get your house built and learning from your father in law will definitely benefit you in years to come. The more you know the easier it is to build or do any renovations and maintain your home. By having your father in law working with you in building your home you learn more key information than simply reading any books of any form by having the actual hands on which is great.

      Even if you did find a contractor with all the proper insurances they to could have taken longer because one thing I have found is when it comes to building an entire house most contractors tend to run into overtime some what.

      The biggest thing is you had a budget and you found a way to stay with in your budget by doing it yourself with your father in law.

  4. Thanks for all this great information. I never thought there would be so much to take into consideration when getting renovations done. I don’t own my own home yet, but plan to in the very near future.
    We are considering buying a cheap, run down house and making renovations and doing repairs ourselves over time… so this article really is useful to me!

    • I would also suggest if you are planning on doing all the renovations yourself to check out my Average Renovation Costs page it has a video library where you can learn what you need to know to save you thousands of dollars on your home renovations. Without the knowledge you’ll end up paying a lot more for your renovations than you think. Learn what the pros know and you can always get a hold of me if you need some advice.

  5. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a job and the contractor tells you he needs more money because he underbid. If you want the job finished, you have no choice. I love what you say about insurance. Most people don’t know this. No one wants a liability claim against their homeowners insurance. I can’t say enough good things about your site or I would be writing all day. Well done.

    • Sorry, it took me so long to get back to you, but I had other pressing things to take care of for the last week. My priority is to the customers I’m working with then this website.

      Having contractors and people working on your house with proper insurance is always something home owners receiving renovations should have. Also, there are many contractors that will low ball a job to land the job just to bill you much more in the end. Another good reason to have a few quotes to help weed these types of contractors out by knowing the real value of the work to be done.

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