Are Permits Required For Bathroom Remodel?

The safe and straightforward answer is yes; permits are frequently required when remodeling a bathroom.

A permit from the Department of Buildings is necessary when improving your home’s plumbing, electrical, or structural components.

Minor cosmetic enhancements, such as painting rooms, mending plaster, or refinishing flooring, however, do not need a permit.

As you might have guessed, this hinges on several factors like location and scope.

The set of permits required in Washington might not be the same in California.

We’re sure you’ve asked questions like “What permits do you need to remodel a bathroom?” or “What kinds of remodeling projects require permits, and what are those that don’t?”

In this article, we will demystify bathroom remodeling permits for you so you can finally take on this home improvement project with less apprehension.

How to Get a Permit for Bathroom Remodeling

A permit is a piece of paper from your local government that authorizes you or your contractor to proceed with your renovation job.

They may appear unnecessarily bureaucratic, but they are intended to protect homes and homeowners.

Permits are required for projects to guarantee that they adhere to local laws related to land use, zoning, and building.

That implies you or future inhabitants will be safeguarded against any harm brought by changes to the house’s structure.

One issue most homeowners face is this: there aren’t any federal or state-level permit requirements for homeowners to adhere to.

As mentioned, building rules and municipal land-use restrictions, as well as permit procedures, will be particular to your county and city.

If you hire a reliable remodeling company like IDB Enterprise to complete your bathroom makeover, we’ll certainly handle the permit procurement process for you.

If you’re going the DIY route, here’s what to expect when it comes to obtaining a permit:

  • Visit the official website for your city to check if your project will require a permit. These documents are usually found at agencies that deal with “permitting, licenses, and inspections.” When in doubt, contact the office immediately and describe your remodel. Depending on the scope of the job, you may require more than one permit.
  • Fill in as much info as necessary on the permit. Some counties now enable permit applicants to undertake the process entirely online.
  • Submit the completed permit together with the filing fee. Fees will vary depending on your location and the scope of the project. If your proposal is straightforward, the administration may approve it right away. You’ll have to wait days or weeks for approval if it’s more complicated.
  • Once you’ve been authorized, you’ll receive one of those distinctive bright orange permits to display in your window while the work is being done.
  • It will depend on where you live and the intricacy of the makeover, but a city inspector may pay you a visit to check the status of the project before it is finished.
  • You may throw the orange permit and enjoy your new bathroom once the renovation is finished and green-lighted by an inspector.

Bathroom Projects That Will Require Permits

When undertaking the following aspects of bathroom remodeling, it’s safe to assume you will need to secure a permit.

Adding or moving a sink

You’ll need a permit to add additional plumbing lines to your bathroom to accommodate a new sink or move an existing one to a different location in the bathroom.

Additions and alterations to the building structure

Any project that significantly alters the bathroom’s original blueprint will almost certainly need a permit.

It might be as simple as erecting a new separating wall or repositioning an existing shower wall.

Sewage or plumbing projects

If you need to open or pierce the walls in a bathroom makeover, you’ll almost certainly require a permit.

A permit is required for any job that involves moving or extending plumbing.

Projects that place a dumpster on a public roadway

If you’re demolishing and are going to use a dumpster, you’ll need to get a permit if it’s on the street rather than in your driveway.

Changing out a water heater

You’ll need to apply for a permit if your makeover includes a new water heater.

Adding skylights or windows

A new window or skylight will alter the bathroom’s construction and require a permit.

Adding a new electrical outlet

This electrical work may require a permit in certain cities.

Replacing a bathtub

Like laying tiling, this necessitates a permit due to a new bathtub’s waterproofing

and structural requirements.

Bathroom Renovations That Seldom Need a Permit

Always check with your local regulations and ordinances, although most of these bathroom upgrades don’t require a permit:

Switching existing fixtures or finishes

You can go ahead and start if your project is only a simple switch.

Replacing a toilet or sink without moving them or replacing a light fixture are all examples of this.


A fresh coat of paint doesn’t include any electrical, plumbing, or structural work, and it doesn’t require a permit.

Projects involving countertops

You may usually replace or expand your current countertops without obtaining a permit.

Other cosmetic alterations

For example, cabinets, carpets, faucets, and wallpaper replacements can be done right away without restriction.

Bathroom Renovations That May or May Not Need a Permit

While specific projects are guaranteed to require a permit, others fall into the murky, ungoverned area.

Your safe call is to always ask your local permitting office before commencing any project.

An even safer move is to hire a contractor who’s well versed in the permits required in the area.

An example of these grey area permits has something to do with the cost of the whole improvement project.

For some states, regardless of the category that the renovation falls under, if it costs over a specific amount, like $5000, you will need to procure a permit.

Permits for a Bathroom Remodeling Project – Conclusion

When remodeling your bathroom or other areas of your home, you need to be aware of all the certain permits that may be necessary.

Even if you’re planning on doing a simple remodel, you may not be out of the woods.

The rule of thumb is that if the project causes some structural, electrical, or plumbing changes to the property, you will need to secure a permit.

We hate to sound like a nagging parent here, but It’s always best to contact the city that your remodel will take place before starting any work.

To alleviate any anxiety about this subject matter, be sure to hire a contractor instead of going DIY.