The Best Time to Remodel: Right Now

August 28, 2022

By Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch, MBA

If I could have looked into the future back in 2019, I would’ve remodeled all the bathrooms in my house and probably redone all my floors, too. It seems like just about every conversation I get into, someone’s talking about how fast prices are rising. You usually expect some year-over-year increase, but the past couple of years have seemed to accelerate the rate of increase like crazy. So it might sound crazy, too, when I say that now is the best time to remodel.

The fact is that even when the speed of price increases slows down to pre-pandemic rates, costs are not going to reverse course. Prices are going to continue going up, only more slowly. Imagine if you could remodel in 2019 for the prices you could get in 2014. That would have been a great deal! Now imagine you could remodel in 2027 for the price you can get in 2022.

I’ve been dealing with Brian Brumley since 1989. His company installs and finishes wood floors. I talked to him the other day and of course the conversation came around to how everything costs so much these days. What Brian told me about his industry is that things are the same in the wood flooring business as everywhere else.

The two biggest costs in his business are materials and labor. Labor is not going down for the simple reason that there are fewer skilled craftsmen available and they’re retiring every day. At the same time, material costs have gone up because of the cost of raw wood, but also the cost of labor and machinery to harvest it, building plants to finish the wood, and polyurethane to seal the wood. He said, “My materials are not going down. Sure, they’ve gone way up but they’re never going down again.” He doesn’t think it’s going to go up at this rate for much longer, but he said, “It’s gonna go up some again. I think the labor is the biggest issue because the best guys are retiring, and no one is taking their place.” The moral of the story is, if you want to get wood floors installed in your house, or your existing wood floors refinished, do it now. If you want to remodel your kitchen or your bathroom, which are pound-for-pound the most expensive rooms in the house to remodel, do it now.

My company did a shower remodel for a customer in Minden back in January, and at the time, she decided not to put in a shower door. She didn’t want the added expense and figured that she would try out a shower rod with a curtain and if she didn’t like it, she could just call us back out and have us put in a shower door. It turns out that she didn’t like the shower curtain. She didn’t like cleaning it, it let water out of her shower and onto the floor, and she thought a shower door would just look better. What she didn’t expect was that since January our shower door manufacturer had raised prices dramatically, so the price of a shower door in summer is much higher than it was in the winter. She told my guys when they came out to install it that she wished she had gotten the shower door at the same time as she bought the shower remodel instead of putting in the shower curtain, because not only did she end up paying more for the shower door, but she paid for the curtain rod and shower curtain too.

If you compare today’s prices to the past, it’s more expensive, but if you compare it to the future, it’s a lot less expensive. What will your project cost in five years’ time? Even if the rate of inflation falls, prices probably won’t ever go back down to what they were. When you compare today’s prices to what they’re projected to be in just a few years, your remodel is cheaper now that it ever will be. What most of my customers (and Brian’s, too) are finding today is that because prices are going up so fast and will continue to rise even after it slows, it doesn’t make sense to wait to remodel their bathrooms and pay more later for the same thing.

Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, is the president of Re-Bath in Shreveport. You can contact him at 318-216-4525 or by visiting