Do You Need Permits to Remodel a Bathroom?

Excited about that dream glam bathroom remodel?

As a homeowner, you may have already visualized how your new bathroom would look and feel. You’ve estimated the cost, you’ve decided on the fixtures, but the question that follows your idea is- do you need permits to remodel a bathroom?

Permit requisites vary from state to state.

Permits are not required for all remodeling projects. Still, you will most likely need to apply for some type of permit, with the bathroom’s remodel being a combination of electrical, plumbing, and structural projects.

Changes the need a permit

The general rule is that if the renovation is structural, plumbing, mechanical, or electrically focused, a permit will be required.

Structural Changes That Require Permits:

Any change that will result in affecting the footprint of the bathroom is a structural change. Any such project requires a building permit. Below are a few examples:

  • Removing and/or adding new dividing walls
  • Removal of a load-bearing wall
  • Adding windows to the bathroom
  • Changing the roofline to install skylights
  • Moving an existing shower wall
  • A demolition that requires a dumpster on the public street

Plumbing Changes That Require Permits:

When you are making any changes to the pipes within the walls, you will require permits. It may also be a mandate by certain local governments to hire a licensed plumber for a project that requires a permit.

For instance,

  • Installation or replacement of a shower unit
  • All sewage projects
  • Adding or moving a sink that needs new plumbing lines
  • Placing tiles that require plumbing and waterproofing
  • Installing a bathtub with waterproofing and plumbing requirements

Mechanical Projects that need permits:

Projects with heating, cooling, and ventilation system requirements will need you to apply for a permit. Similarly, work on gas lines or required changes to a system that vents through a chimney will attract permits. Some of the examples are:

  • Bathroom fan installation that requires a vent
  • Installation of different types of gas or fireplace or wood stove in the bathroom
  • Installation of a new water heater
  • Installation of HVAC such as a new furnace or air conditioner

Electrical changes require permits:

If your remodeling plan requires working with the electrical wiring within the bathroom walls, you will have to connect with the local legislation for a permit. For instance, adding new outlets, adding or replacing new wiring. Most locales will recommend hiring an electrician instead of doing it yourself.

Changes that may require a permit

Some changes may or may not require you to apply for a permit. The requirement in such cases is dependent on conditions.

  • Removal of a non-load-bearing wall may also require a permit. The requirement depends on multiple factors and ensures the safeguarding of the residents of the property.
  • If the project’s cost is estimated over $5000, you may require applying for the permit, irrespective of the type of the project.

Changes that do not require a permit

Below are some of the projects which will not require permits.

  • Simple swaps such as replacing a sink, changing existing flooring, replacing a toilet, or changing a light fixture.
  • Painting the bathroom
  • Adding a ceiling fan to the current fixtures.
  • Replacing a sink, toilet, bathtub, or shower without changing plumbing
  • Extension or changing of bathroom countertops

It is advised to check with the concerned local authorities on the requirement of a permit to remodel your bathroom.

Procedure to apply for a permit

The responsibility of getting a permit is upon the homeowner. Every city has a governing body in charge of structural, zoning, and building codes and regulations. Some projects may also require the involvement of more than one department. For instance, expanding bathrooms beyond the home’s current footprint will require the zoning department’s involvement.

If you hire a contractor, he will guide you through the entire procedure and ideally secure required permits as well. In case a homeowner is handling the remodeling on their own, below is the procedure to follow:

  1. Visit the relevant county or city government website to understand the nature of the permit required. You can also contact the office with the detailed remodeling plan directly in case of doubt.
  2. Fill in the permit application with all information possible and pay the fees as applicable. Plans and drawings may be required for your remodeling plan to be approved.
  3. The fees will be based on the purpose of the permit and the city of legislation. Some city authorities may charge one percent of the total project budget for permits.
  4. A permit will be issued within a few days, depending on the complexity of the project.
  5. Depending on the residential county and how complex the project is, an inspector may visit the site to check progress.

What if you do not apply for a permit?

Deal with the permits now. Enjoy that legal house.

It is necessary to have all permits in place prior to starting the renovation. Failing to do so may attract fines and stall the work midway.

If renovations do not have valid permits, it causes future issues such as insurance companies’ not supporting any future claims and marking them invalid. Legal issues may also crop up in case of future sale of the house. Following the legal procedure not only ensures safety but also saves the homeowners from any future issues.

At Design Everest, our qualified and experienced Residential team member will help you identify space that is underutilized and offer services that cater to your remodeling needs. Our experience spans home remodeling, home additions, retaining walls, deck and patios, ADUs, home renovations and much more. Contact us today for a consultation and a free quote.

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