Home Improvement Articles

Renovation 101: Do You Need Permits to Remodel a Bathroom?
Monday, December 13, 2021

Around 30% of home renovation projects were for bathroom remodeling.

Bathroom renovation was one of the top home remodeling projects in 2020. This isn't a shocking statistic either. Bathrooms are where we go for a relaxing hot bath or shower after a long day. It's where we get ready in the mornings.

On average, the typical person spends between 23 to 29 minutes per day in the bathroom. So, it makes sense to want to improve this space and make it more comfortable.

Next, you have to ask: do you need permits to remodel a bathroom? The answer to this varies on the type of remodeling you plan to do. So, without further ado, let's take an in-depth look at when you need a permit to remodel a bathroom and how to obtain one.

Structural Changes

If you plan to make any structural changes to the bathroom, then you'll need a permit. A structural change is any change involving expanding the size of the space. This includes renovations like:

  • Knocking out walls
  • Add new walls
  • Adding a window to an exterior wall
  • Adding a skylight

Make sure you contact your local building department before you launch into your bathroom remodel. This will help you avoid running into any snags.

Electrical Changes

If you plan to make any changes to the wiring within the walls, then you'll need a permit. When you change the wiring, this means you must add new outlets or replace and add new wiring.

If you do plan to do this, be sure to hire a contractor. A professional will be able to complete the work in a safe manner and done right.

Plumbing Changes

To make any changes to pipes within the walls, you'll want to seek a permit. You must contend with plumbing if you plan to move a shower to a different area of the bathroom.

In addition, anything involving new drain lines will require a permit. For example, if you want to move the sink over by a few feet, this means you'll need additional piping to reach the new spot. That requires a permit.

Mechanical Projects

In some instances, mechanical projects that involve the heating, cooling, and ventilation system can require a permit. If the project needs work on the gas line, it needs a permit.

Sometimes, even something as simple as installing a bathroom fan that needs a vent can require a permit. On top of that, things like installing a gas, wood stove, or fireplace in the bathroom will require a permit.

Renovations That Don't Require a Permit

Simple bathroom projects won't need a permit. This includes renovations like:

  • Repairing or replacing the floor
  • Painting the walls or ceiling
  • Adding a backsplash to the walls
  • Adding a vanity, cabinet, or shelves
  • Replacing or repairing a light connection
  • Replacing a vent cover
  • Replacing a toilet or sink without changes to the plumbing
  • Changing out a sink, tub, or shower fixture
  • Swapping out a ceiling fixture

These are all simple renovation projects that don’t require any significant changes to the structure, or the electrical or plumbing system. As such, you don’t need to seek a permit.

Who to Contact for Building Permits

Building permits are vital to help ensure that a home remodel follows building, plumbing, and electrical codes. These codes are in place to protect people, to help make sure renovations are done in a safe manner and that the home doesn't become a hazard.

Every city has its own governing body that's in charge of building codes and regulations. Sometimes, your renovation might require a permit from more than one department.

Check with your local city offices for what permits you need. If you book the services of a contractor, the contractor should secure the permits on your behalf.

Do You Need Permits to Remodel a Bathroom

So, do you need permits to remodel a bathroom? It depends on the type of bathroom renovation you plan to do.

If you need help with your bathroom remodel, then Cope Construction & Renovation is here for you. CopeBUILT is Registered and Insured (PA88078) to meet your needs.

Get in touch with Cope Construction & Renovation for all your renovations and remodeling needs.