Moving a bathroom upstairs can free up space, improve the value of your home, and add convenience to your home. But, it is a big job and not one that most people should undertake lightly.
In fact, for most homeowners, moving a bathroom upstairs will take 2 or more weeks, depending on the total amount of work and finishing you’re doing upstairs.
In addition, the average cost of moving a bathroom upstairs is £3,500-£16,000 – or an average of £13,500. These costs can dramatically change based on tiling, fixtures, and utility choices – but the cost of labour can also vary quite a bit as well.
For example, if you don’t have to move the soil pipe you have a relatively straightforward job – and you’ll mostly have to relocate the toilet and reconnect things upstairs. However, tiling, sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers can all be quite expensive.
Why Move Your Bathroom Upstairs?
In most cases, it’s most convenient to have the master bathroom on the same floor as the sleeping areas. That normally means having it on the second floor of your home.
Moving a large bathroom upstairs can free up a lot of space downstairs – giving you room to expand your living area or kitchen. And, you can still keep a WC downstairs without losing a lot of your newly claimed space.
- Convenience – having a loo upstairs means not having to go down the stairs in the middle of the night
- Locating showers and baths upstairs frees up socialising and living space downstairs
- An upstairs master bathroom is estimated to add between 4 and 7% to the value of your home and to increase offers.
Eventually, if you’re considering a big renovation like moving the bathroom upstairs, it’s either for your own convenience or because you want to sell the property.
If it’s the latter, consult with your real estate agent to determine how much it will add to the value of the property and set your budget accordingly.
How Much Does Moving a Bathroom Upstairs Cost?*
The cost of moving a bathroom upstairs will vary significantly depending on where you want to move the bathroom and what kind of work has to be done. For example, if the job is straightforward, the costs will be as well. If it is not, the costs can add up quite quickly.
*Please note these costs are based on estimates at the time of writing in April 2023. Actual costs are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
Importantly, these costs heavily depend on the pipework. For example:
- Moving a bathroom one story up, extending the soil pipe through the floor, and using the same units and suite – £2,500+
- Same project but with simple units and suite – £3,500+
- Same project but with luxury units and suite – £10,500+
- Moving the soil pipe up and building a new cavity for it – involving demolishing a part of the wall and rebuilding around it – £10,000+
Essentially, you’ll have to consult with your plumber to see how much work is involved before you know what the project will cost.
Factors Influencing Bathroom Building
The largest factor in the cost of replacing a bathroom can be the cost of labour. However, if you choose high-end fixtures and units, they can cost much more than the labour itself. You’ll also have to consider other factors like amenities, tiling, etc.
In most cases, the primary labour for moving your bathroom upstairs will be the cost of the plumber doing the work. However, chances are, you’ll have a full contract team in and out of your home to:
- Move the soil pipe and put in the new plumbing (Plumber) – 8-40 hours
- Install the new fixtures and units (Plumber or General Contractor) – 2-8 hours
- Install the waterproof flooring and walls (General contractor) – 4-8 hours
- Tiling (general contractor) – 6-8 hours per surface (floor, each wall)
- Lighting and ventilation (electrician) – 1-4 hours
Of these, you can expect:
- General Contractor – £10-£40 per hour
- Plumber – £40-£60 per hour
- Electrician –£50-£60 per hour
The pipework is one of the most considerable cost factors in moving a bathroom upstairs. That’s because you’ll need an inspection to determine a) if it’s possible to move the soil pipe and b) how much it will cost.
Here, the soil pipe is a 110mm pipe that must be installed at a grade to ensure that it drains properly. You’ll also want to install it in such a way that you don’t hear the sound of waste water falling – which means using a gentle slope.
That can mean dismantling a large amount of your wall. In some cases, it can be achieved by simply running the soil pipe up against the interior or the outside wall – and then building a box or a false wall against it. Either way, it can take a lot of time to access and reroute the soil pipe.
However, re-routing the water lines is usually a much simpler job, because they’re often as small as 22mm, meaning they fit inside most of your walls.
There are significant regulations governing how your soil and pipes should be installed – but your plumber will be able to advise you on how best to meet those regulations.
New Fixtures and Units
The simplest bathroom units and fixtures can cost from about £100 each. This means the cost can be negligible compared to the cost of moving your bathroom.
In addition, you might choose to reuse the units from your bathroom downstairs. On the other hand, you can spend over £10,000 on a single shower unit. So, the costs are entirely up to you.
Tiling will typically cost you between £20 and £40 per square metre. If your upstairs bathroom is the standard size of 4.5 square metres, you can do each wall and floor for roughly £88- £160 – or close to £500 for the full job.
Flooring and Prep
Installing a bathroom means re-doing the walls with water-resistant or water-proof coating and sheeting – which should be in the walls and the floor.
You’ll also want to cut new lines for ventilation. And, you’ll likely want to prep the floor surface for tile by adding a layer of cement. All of this takes time and money – and while you can pay a general contractor for the work, it’s going to be at least 4-8 hours.
Do You Need Planning Permission?
You don’t normally need planning permission to install a bathroom, unless it’s part of an extension. Therefore, if you’re building an extension and moving the bathroom into it you’ll need planning permission. Otherwise, you’ll be able to start the project whenever your building crew has time.
You’ll always need planning permission if your property is listed or you don’t own it.
However, you will have to get a Part P certificate and a safety inspection. You’ll also have to notify building control.
If you hire a Registered Competent Person as your contractor, they can self inspect and can issue the safety certificate themselves. If not, you’ll have to hire a separate building control inspector. That will cost from £100-£250 or even up to £690.
In addition, if you hire a Registered Competent Person, they can handle notifying council for you, this normally means the £170-£690 cost of notifications is wrapped into the price.
However, if you choose to do the work yourself or have it performed by someone who isn’t part of the Registered Competent Person’s Scheme, you’ll have to handle notifications yourself. That will mean paying out of pocket.
In addition, if you have the electrical and plumbing work performed by different companies, you may have to notify them twice.
What’s Involved In The Building Project?
Moving a bathroom upstairs is a long project that will take 2+ weeks and potentially much longer. That’s because it’s a complicated project with a lot of steps:
- Consult with a plumber to determine if it’s possible to move your bathroom upstairs, where it can be, and what the options are. You can get quotes at this time.
- You’ll have a contractor build the room for the new bathroom and strip the floor back. This may involve demolishing existing walls or you may simply build inside an existing room or cap off a hallway.
- Your plumber will do the work to re-route the soil pipe by running piping through your home to the location of the new bathroom.
- The plumber will fit drains, water pipes, and ventilation pipes for your sink, toilet, bath/shower, etc.
- Have an electrician fit the wiring.
- Have the safety inspection completed.
- Install subflooring.
- Install wall panelling.
- Waterproof the Room – Use roll-on or waterproof sheeting to reduce potential damage to the other areas of your home.
- Cut ventilation – Cut a ventilation path to connect to the existing ventilation in the home. Fit any fans or exhausts.
- Tile the room.
- Install bathroom fixtures and units.
- Fit lights and switches.
- Connect the soil pipe to the main soil pipe. If you’re no longer using the downstairs toilet, cap the soil pipe off.
- Have a safety inspection.
- Start downsizing or removing the downstairs toilet.
- Remove tiling, break down walls, etc.
- Build new walls where you want them.
- Paint the new walls.
Essentially, this is a two-stage project where you first fit the bathroom upstairs, get it working, then remove the one downstairs. This ensures you can live in the home during the work.
However, many people prefer to stay elsewhere for the duration of a project like moving a soil pipe, because it will typically mean several days of someone using heavy equipment to drill through your walls.
Hiring A Builder Checklist
Hiring a builder for a large project like moving a bathroom should involve research, comparing your options, and getting someone who works well with you.
You’ll also want:
- A member of a trade union such as CIPHE
- Registered Competent Person
- Liability Insurance
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Workmanship Guarantees
- Good reviews online and good references
- Quotes that compare well to the competition
- Timelines that meet your needs
- One contractor handling as much of the work as possible. If you can have a single contractor do all of the work, you can save money and notifications
- A realistic outlook on the project and openness to discuss potential complications
If you’re ready to commit to moving your bathroom upstairs, you should prepare for several weeks of mess and a lot of expenses. However, after finishing the project, you’ll have more room, might add to the value of your home, and will most certainly have a more convenient bathroom. In most cases, costs average between £3,500-£16,000, depending on how much time it takes to move the soil pipe – with an average cost of about £13,500.
If you’re ready to get started, use the form above to request quotes from local plumbers. However, keep in mind you won’t be able to get a full quote until they’ve inspected your home and where you want to move the bathroom.