Last updated on February 9, 2023

Before you start in on a DIY bathroom remodel or have a contractor do it for you, you might need to get a permit. But how do you know whether or not a permit will be required for the job? Unfortunately, the process isn’t so simple.

By the end of this blog post, we’ll answer your questions so that you can be confident the next time you start on a bathroom project.

What’s the Purpose Behind Getting Permits?

While many contractors will think of permits as just a money grab from the city or county you live in, permits actually do have a pretty important role in construction projects. When a permit is done right, it’s going to provide you with a security blanket against faulty work or the chance that something could go wrong with a project.

In order for a project to be fully complete, the inspector for the permit will need to check on the job at various checkpoints. As a homeowner, this can help you be confident in knowing that the job was done correctly, and for a contractor, it helps them stay on track and double-check their work for any mistakes.

permits inspector checks out remodeling job

Knowing When to Get a Permit

While a lot of good can come from getting a permit for your next construction project, they also cost money and can slow a project down if you don’t obtain one early on. Waiting for inspectors and papers to come from the county can be frustrating and time-consuming, to say the least. That’s why it’s important to know when you need a permit.

There are two categories of projects that you should know about. The first is what we know today as a remodel. Remodels change the function of a space and could mean moving walls. The second is a facelift or renovation. This is when you’re not changing anything dramatically, just adding fresh paint or making minor improvements.

Need a Permit: Changing the Function of a Space or Moving Walls

When a contractor or do-it-yourselfer decides to do any sort of work on a bathroom that changes the function of the room, they will most likely need a permit. This is especially true if walls are being moved and plumbing lines are affected by new construction.

A good rule of thumb is anything that would affect the location of different elements within the bathroom, including plumbing and electrical, should have a permit.

To learn more about when a permit is needed for various remodeling projects, check out this post by The Spruce.

No Permit Needed: Giving Your Home a Makeover or Facelift

If you’re just freshening up your bathroom with a new coat of paint, replacing the cabinet hardware, or doing something similar that doesn’t change the function of the room, you likely do not need a permit.

Local building codes might be more specific on what you’ll need, but you can often get away with new flooring and fixtures as long as they aren’t changing locations.

couple choosing their mosaic tiles for small renovation that need no permits

Projects That Can Be Completed Without a Permit

A lot of homeowners prefer to avoid permits because of the time it takes to get one and then wait around for inspections. Thankfully, quite a few projects can be completed easily without permits. Here’s what you can do easily without a permit.

  • Painting, wallpaper, and new drywall
  • New flooring or tile throughout
  • A new vanity (may vary by city)
  • New fixtures, light switches, and outlets (as long as the location isn’t changing)
  • Towel hangers, shower curtains, and other amenities

Other projects and jobs that go more in-depth on your bathroom will likely require a permit. But, talk to a contractor like the Homeworx team to learn what they recommend for homeowners.

laying tile in bathroom without permits

Do You Need a Permit to Remodel a Bathroom?

You’re going to need a permit for your remodel when making upgrades and changes to the in many cases.. Major upgrades, a new toilet, tub, or shower will require inspections and permits to ensure that everything is done right and the job is properly taken care of.

At Homeworx, we’ll always get a permit when it’s needed because we appreciate the safety net of having a professional inspector ensure all of our work is done properly.

Types of Permits

There are, in fact, three main types of permits within bathroom remodel. These include:

  • Structural changes permit
  • Electrical, mechanical, and plumbing service permits
  • Permit for the addition of fixtures

Your job will need to meet different criteria in order for specific permits to be needed. But, most jobs are going to require more than one type of permit.
permits necessary for a bathroom remodel

How to Get a Permit

When you decide on the details of your project and you have the plans for the project, you’ll be ready to apply for a permit. The best way to secure a permit for your project is to find out if you’ll need to go through your county or the city for the permit. Depending on where you live, this can vary to some degree.

Next, you’ll submit a proposal to the building commission and request the permit for your project. When the permit is secured, you’ll be ready to get started. Note that most permits will expire after just one year. Be sure to finish the project and complete the final inspection before the permit expires. Otherwise, you’ll need to reapply for a new permit.

The Best Way to Handle a Bathroom Remodel

If you’re interested in a bathroom remodel, our Homeworx team would love to help you create the bathroom of your dreams. We offer a variety of bathroom remodel options so that you can be confident in the different choices you make. Not only will you feel good about your choices, but you will also have the peace of mind knowing a team of experienced professionals are working diligently to get the job done right!

Reach out today to learn more about our process and to receive a free estimate.