The answer is that it depends on the specifics of the remodeling project. Small projects, such as changing the door on your bathroom may not require permits. However, anything that qualifies as “real estate improvement” or a change in the structure of the home does require permits. The best bet is to call your local government with your project plans to find out for certain. If you’re calling Flooring Masters to completely remodel your bathroom from the ground up, we will definitely need to get the proper permits first. If you are a DIY homeowner who is replacing a light fixture in the bathroom, call your municipal or county government. And don’t refer to their website for guidance on what requires permits. They are rarely up to date. Electrical work is dangerous, and even the smallest project needs a permit and inspection. Keep reading to learn more about permits for a bathroom remodel. 

Before You Call to Get Permits For a Bathroom Remodel

The first step to any remodeling project is careful planning, vetting, and due diligence. Many bathroom remodels start with replacing one thing, then we realize that we don’t like the old sink next to the brand new toilet, and the project grows and grows. Sit down with a piece of paper, and list what you want to change. Then list what you want to replace it with. Cross reference the costs of these upgrades with your budget. If it falls under budget, it’s time to call a bathroom remodeling contractor that you trust, or vet several of them until you find the right company for you. If the project doesn’t come in under budget, how can you cut costs? Lower cost materials, skip replacing the bathtub, et cetera. With a detailed plan, you’ll know exactly what permits are needed after the first call. 

Marble Tile Flooring

Permit Inspections

Many permits will require rounds of inspections to ensure that the work being done is up to code. However, the final inspection is critical. They will make certain that all other inspectors inspect the project, review the work, and ensure that everything complies with the building permits. These inspections matter to your insurance company so that they are informed of the changes. Inspections are also important for appraisers when it’s time to sell. Permits and inspections show that your home was improved within the guidance of local laws. Without proper inspections and permits, all manner of problems arise when it’s time to sell the home. Always call your local government after you have a plan for your bathroom remodel, but before work starts. 

Plumbing Permits for a Bathroom Remodel

In most cases, it is ok to make small cosmetic plumbing changes without a permit. Such as a new sink fixture, or new toilet. But if the hot or cold water lines or valves are altered, a permit will probably be required. The same is true for the trap. I know, I know. Homeowners clean out their sink traps all the time. But these laws and permits are designed to keep people from doing shoddy, dangerous work. However, it’s best to make sure before you make any changes at all. If you try to sell your home after making unpermitted improvements or repairs, it could result in lower value, or a lot of red tape holding up the sale. You may even have to have a licensed contractor perform the work again to get it up to code before you can sell the house.

Hardwood Floor Bathroom with Marble Tile and Modern Bathtub

Electrical Permits for a Bathroom Remodel

Electrical is always going to require a permit. We can change the bulbs and flip the switches, but that’s it. If you’ve ever lived in a home where a homeowner performed shoddy electrical work without permits, you’ll understand. The cost of fixing bad electrical, and getting it up to code is very high. Unpermitted electrical work is dangerous. It can result in electric shock and fire during the remodel, but it can also cause fires and electrical problems down the road.

Layout Changes

Layout changes often require an engineer or architect to file for special permits that take a while to acquire. The Department of buildings has to make certain that the plan for the project meets all of their requirements before they can issue a permit. So if you don’t want this red tape in your life, keep the layout as it is. Don’t move any walls, or move any plumbing to relocate the sink, toilet, or tub. 

If you do want to make these changes, keep in mind that these plumbing lines run through the floor, ceiling, and/or walls. This will be a gigantic remodeling project that takes time, and major changes to plumbing will increase the cost substantially.

Homeowners Associations and Condos

If you are part of a homeowners association or live in a condo, all of the changes you plan to make will require submitting paperwork for approval. They will review your plans in detail and will require proper insurance coverage, as well as a licensed contractor. 

Sleek Tiled Bathroom

Choosing a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Licensed, reputable contractors like us usually acquire all of the proper permits for each project from local government. Having an ongoing relationship, and knowledge of local building codes and laws helps this process run much smoother. If you don’t already have a relationship with a contractor, after you have your project planned, call a few companies for estimates. Explore your options. Make certain that everyone is licensed and insured. Many homeowners hire contractors based on internet research, or the recommendation of a trusted friend or relative. If you’re looking for a reputable contractor in New Albany, Indiana, please give us a call to discuss the details of your project.

The Consequences of Failing to Obtain a Permit

  • The city or county may issue fines or other penalties.
  • Demolishing and rebuilding work that is not up to code.
  • Remodeling work that is not up to code is dangerous.
  • Unpermitted work will not be included in an appraisal.
  • Selling a home with unpermitted improvements is more difficult.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance may not cover unpermitted work. If those dangerous improvements cause damage to the home, the insurance company will not cover it

If you’re looking to remodel your bathroom in New Albany, Indiana, please don’t hesitate to call us here at Flooring Masters & Professional Remodelers. We provide our customers with lifetime relationships, and take great care in our work. We also provide the best options for perfect floors and other renovations. Call to schedule a free estimate today!

About The Author

John Raisor is a well traveled carpentry and food writer.


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