Do You Need Permits To Remodel a Bathroom in Houston?

[BLOG] Published: 2021-03-30 - Updated: 2023-04-01

permits for bathroom remodel in Houston


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Do You Need Permits To Remodel a Bathroom in Houston?

Whether you need a permit or not to renovate your bath space depends on how much work you need to be done. The process of acquiring a permit can be hectic and add tons of time to the already draining bathroom remodeling process.  

Whether there should be a permit or not depends on your locality and the conditions under which the premise is. One tip to keep in mind is that inspection is sometimes required if you perform remodeling in any occupied space.

As much as we don’t like the nagging process of obtaining permits for a small renovation, it can cover your back when selling the house. You will enjoy a legal bathroom that will not raise questions when passing it to another owner.

The apparent activities of plumbing, electrical wiring, and structural change will invite some permits, so check them out with your city council before proceeding further.

Pro Tip: Building permits not only ensure that your remodeling project is "up to code,” but also minimizes risks such as fire, electrical shock, structural failure, and more.


How and Whom Should You Contact for a Bathroom Remodel Permit?

A residential permit can sound like a hassle, but not so fast. It is the permission you ought to have from your local government before remodeling your bathroom. It will ensure that your remodeling activities align with policies guarding land use, zoning, and even construction. It makes sure you get the right job done on your bathroom remodeling.

This is part of quality assurance as it protects you, the homeowner, from substandard work. One tip to keep at the back of your mind is that permits will vary from one county to another, and there is no general permit that cuts across the board.

Many people don’t want a permit because it takes some work to go around hassling for these permits. However, one thing to note is that if you employ a contractor for your bathroom remodeling, they will take care of the permitting process. Remember that it is still good to check with them if they have collected the city council permit.

remodeling -a-permit

If you have a bathroom remodeling coming up, you shall start by;

  • Cross-checking with your municipal council, most likely from their website, if the project requires a permit. The documents will be under permit, license, and inspections sections. It is even advisable to call the office and detail your renovation if you doubt whether it needs a permit. Permits more or so depending on how complex the project you are taking care of looks like.
  • Fill in the permit; this can be physical or online, and give in as much information as possible.
  • The completed form is then returned to the county council office, and you shall be required to part with a small fee. What you pay depends on the location and the nature of the remodeling you need to be taken care of. The approval of this can be on the spot if the remodeling is simple, but it can also take days to get a sign-off.
  • After getting approval, you will get a sticker to post on your bathroom window while the remodeling is happening.
  • A city inspector may sometimes come to check your bathroom remodeling before completion to give it a mark of quality.
  • After the completion and final approval of the remodeling by the city inspector, you can then throw away your remodeling license and have fun in your new bathroom.

A bathroom remodeling might look simpler, but it sure needs some professional help. Water and electricity are two things that are not friendly with each other, and it is best to get good waterproofing.

Bathroom Remodelling Projects That Require Building Permits 

The following bathroom changes will attract a permit: 

Remodeling Activity

Permit Requirement



Replacing bathtub


Adding windows


Plumbing and Sewage Repair


Installing a Bathroom Fan



  • Adding a sink: If you are adding a sink, you shall need to add new plumbing lines to accommodate it. It is not like adding a Jacuzzi, you don’t need a permit for the latter, but you need a permit for the former. The same applies to moving an existing sink; you shall need a permit.
  • Structural changes: Any remodeling that involves a radical shift in the bathroom layout will invite a permit. When you are making that dividing wall, it shall require a permit.
  • Plumbing and sewage renovations: Any work on the plumbing will involve structural change and require a permit. This involves penetrating the walls, and you will need a license to do that.
  • Replacing the water heater: It sounds like a simple remodeling activity, but you sure need a permit for this. It is a crucial part of the bathroom.
  • Adding windows: Adding new windows counts as a structural change and needs a permit.
  • Tiling: Considering that the tiling is under waterproofing and plumbing, it attracts a permit.
  • Replacing your bathtub: The structural needs of installing a new bathtub will require a permit.

Apart from the above-listed construction changes, other activities like removing a non-load-bearing wall will attract a permit or may not, in some cases, may not. If the demolition affects the structural stability will interfere with your home, you will have to procure a permit.

In other parts of the state, it is the cost of bathroom remodeling that determines if you need a permit. If the renovation is over $5000, you will be required to get a permit no matter the project's condition.

Pro Tip: If the remodeling is over $5000, you shall most likely require a permit in any state in America.

Permits To Remodel a Bathroom in Houston

Bathroom Remodelling Projects That Don't Require Permits 

It is okay to cross-check with the Houston council laws, but small renovation attempts like swapping present fixtures, painting, and adding countertops, shelves, or a vanity shall not attract a permit. You can go ahead and do that painting of your favorite color. It is more common sense, but you don’t need a permit to change a light fixture.

The number of inspections that shall be carried out on your bathroom remodeling depends on the extent of the innovation and permit nature. If you have a permit for plumbing, electrification, and physical restructuring, you will require city inspectors to prove the work at different levels.

If you are running a simple bathroom remodeling, the inspection can be simple as all you might be required to do is give images to the city council of the ongoing work. In some parts of the states, the sign-offs can even be done remotely.

It is good to know that you can even coordinate the inspection timeline with the Houston county officials to avoid interruptions during the remodeling process.

How Much Does It Cost to obtain a Bathroom Remodel Permit?

It is not costly to obtain a bathroom remodeling permit. As stated earlier, most of the cost in any remodeling activity depends on the project's complexity and even how many permits you shall need. The price ranges from $406 to $2,500.

Most bathroom remodeling permits will cost you under $1000. And whereas it can seem like big damage to your pocket, it is pretty hard to put a price on the safety of your showering space. What permits does is that they make sure the plumbers and contractors give you quality and value for your money. You want your bathroom remodeling to work for you and give you a good feeling in the long run. Above all, you can’t compromise safety when dealing with structures; it is safety first.

Pro Tip: Do not compromise safety during the remodeling process. Permits ensure standards are maintained. 


Why You Need a Bathroom Remodel Permit

Getting them feels like a hassle you don’t want to be a part of. We all have that feeling of just getting into the remodeling process without bothering with so much out there. Indeed, waiting for these permits to come through before you hit the ground can take a little time, but you are on the safe side with them as opposed to without them. It is like an immigrant who wants to bypass the border check; they might get through but have problems staying in the country later.

When making a home sale, producing these permits shows that you play by the book and are not willing to create shortcuts that can cost the new homeowners a great deal later on. In some cases, selling a home with unpermitted work will mean you sell it at a lower price.

If you try to get a bathroom remodeling permit after the work has been completed, it might mean you have to open your bathroom walls to show that the plumbing and electrical work was done right. This is way hectic than just obtaining the permit in the first place.

After looking for new bathroom remodeling ideas on the Smart Remodelling website and picking up new bathtubs, looking for permits can feel like a hassle. Having to deal with the bureaucracy that comes with obtaining permits can seem like a lot of unnecessary work, but permits give you a sense of security that nothing else can.

The permits ensure accountability in your bathroom remodeling and ensure that the project remains solid in the years to come. Whether you are using the bathroom now or passing it on to other buyers, later on, it shall give you a form of protection and insurance.

Pro Tip: Get the permit before kick-starting the remodeling process and not after. 

Bathroom Consultation and Scheduling 

When you choose Smart Remodelling, you’re choosing a knowledgeable home remodeling service that will manage all your remodeling permits, since this is our area of expertise. Call us today on 832-800-8889 for inquiries.


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