An exclusive study finds remodeling the bath very lucrative for

PM readers.

In today's world, people are looking for respite from the frantic, stressful pace of their lives. And instead of seeking relief at spas and retreats, more and more homeowners are creating that space inside their own homes, especially in the post-9/11 period.

"Today, we are seeing consumers spend more money to produce the ultimate spa experience right in their own bathrooms," said Douglas Sutton Sr., chairman of the Remodelors Council of the National Association of Home Builders. "The bathroom is an excellent place to invest money on a remodel, because your return can be as high as 90 percent."

And spa-like showering systems are definitely some of the upscale items our readers are installing. The "Bathroom Installation and Remodeling Study 2004" was sent to 2,000 Plumbing & Mechanical subscribers this past July (with a 25 percent response rate). Respondents said that nearly 83 percent of their bathroom remodel projects are residential rather than commercial or institutional. And, when asked which tub and shower products/systems they recommended, purchased or installed as part of these bathroom remodels, 71 percent said multihead showerhead systems, 50.3 percent said customized shower surrounds/walls, and 34.1 percent said steam or aroma-producing systems.

Other products recommended, bought or installed for upscale bathroom projects include decorative plumbingware such as soap dispensers, towel bars, grab bars, etc. (80.7 percent); floor covering such as tile, marble, laminates (39.4 percent); and lighting, electrical and communications (29.1 percent).

About 86 percent of the respondents said they influence the brand selection of at least one product in a bath remodeling job all or most of the time. The top three reasons for making a recommendation to a homeowner are:

    1. Quality of the product;
    2. Installed the product before and prefer it; and
    3. Easy availability of the product.
What types of bathroom products do they make recommendations for? The No. 1 product is toilets, followed closely by faucets and anti-scald valves/mixing valves. Rounding out the Top 10 are copper or PEX piping, tubs, radiant floor heating, whirlpools, sinks, instantaneous water heaters and shower enclosures.

The Market

Bathroom remodeling is about a $10 billion industry, and is fairly recession-proof. Almost 41 percent of our respondents said their bathroom installation/remodeling jobs increased in 2004, while about 45 percent said they remained the same.

Of those projects, 50 percent were in the range of $5,001 to $15,000. Nearly 17 percent were in the $15,001 to $25,000 range, and 27 percent were under $5,000. Only 2.4 percent of the projects were over $50,000.

Half of the respondents believe that projects will increase next year, and 42 percent said 2005 will see the same amount of bath remodels.

When looking ahead five years, 64 percent said bath remodeling projects will increase, and 25 percent said the number of projects will be the same. Nearly 60 percent say that their average bathroom job revenue will increase 6 percent to 20 percent in the same amount of time.

About 42 percent report annual sales of bath remodel products and services from $50,000 to $149,999; 20 percent have sales of $250,000 or more; and 23.6 percent have under $50,000 of bath product sales.

Regarding profitability, 30.3 percent of respondents said their bathroom installation/remodeling jobs were more profitable than other plumbing/heating aspects of their business; 59.1 percent said profitability was about the same.

A complete copy of the survey can be purchased for $195. For more information, contact Cory Maxwell at 248-244-6415,