If you’re looking for a fast and effective way to increase the value of your property, then doing a renovation on your bathroom is one of the two areas of your house (the kitchen is the other) that will give you the best bang for your buck.
I’ve been a Builder for nearly 40 years, starting as a kid on triple fronted brick veneers in Tasmania, so it’s safe to say I’ve got a lot of experience and seen tons of mistakes. I’ve very often had to fix disasters created by people who didn’t know what they were doing.
Even if it’s only a small bathroom renovation you are doing, it can seem a bit overwhelming with such a lot of elements to consider, working out the best order to do things and who you need to call on at each stage. There is a lot of thought to go into it.
Where do I begin?
Even before you start buying up all the glossy mags for inspiration, the very first thing you need to do is work out how much your budget will allow you to spend, so you keep yourself in check.
The general rule for a bathroom reno is around 2% of the property’s total value. Sticking to this will mean you won’t make the big mistake of overcapitalising.
Always allow extra for unexpected costs. Some things to consider are structural changes, changing the scope of works, and rubbish removal.
The latest 2019/20 HIA Kitchen and Bathroom report found that the average value of bathrooms installed as part of a renovation was $19,085 and interestingly varied between states and age groups.
That amount may be out of your reach, but with smart choices, you can still manage to create the wow factor, even with a low budget makeover.
Some ideas for spending up to $5000
- Re-paint the walls in a light and modern neutral colour
- Replace the handles on the vanity and paint it if you can
- Get new lighting
- Change the mirror
- Replace the tapware
- Update the shower screen and showerhead
- Get the tiles cleaned and re-grouted
- Have the bath re-surfaced
- Replace the toilet seat and toilet roll holder
Add these ideas for spending up to $10,000
- Replace your vanity, mirror, and taps
- Get a new shower and bath
- Create a feature with some tiles or install one with a panel wall
- Add new lighting
- Change or add a window or a skylight
STEP 1: Determine your style
Determining your style preference (which can be anything from something contemporary or classic, retro, day spa, or even a luxurious hotel-inspired look), will give you a clear picture in your mind of the right fittings and fixtures to look out for.
Think about what will work in with the house’s style – you probably wouldn’t put a super modern looking bathroom in a home that’s an older style, unless you’re planning to renovate the whole lot at some stage.
And you’ll need to keep in mind your reasons for renovating. Is it going to be your dream bathroom? Is it for tenants? Or perhaps you are getting ready for the market? Each of these scenarios will mean a difference in your choice of budget, quality, and style, producing quite a different result.
STEP 2: Measure and plan your space
Before installing anything new, you’ll need to carefully measure the whole room, including windows, doors, and walls.
Then you can use one of the great online tools available to help you plan out your room like:
STEP 3: Your shopping list
Your ‘must-haves’ include towel rails, toilet roll holders, taps, showerheads, spouts, and drain covers after your prime cost items.
It’s also good to consider the small accessories like toilet brushes, toothbrush holders, and soap holders at the design stage so you can allow for their practical storage.
Remember to include your mirrors, light fittings, and other electricals too. Beautiful lighting that is both ambient and effective will have a significant impact on the completed project. The fixtures for your bathroom are the defining features that complement the style.
STEP 4: Build your team
This is really important. Creating your personal team of professionals in any venture or project helps set you up for a successful outcome.
Ask your friends, family, colleagues, and even other tradies you’ve dealt with before, for recommendations. Word of mouth is still the best way to get someone who will do an excellent job for you.
If you have to choose them, make sure that you check first online to make sure they’re licensed and check for any reviews.
Unless you can do any of the jobs yourself, you’ll most likely need all the following tradies:
- Plumber: Plumbing systems are complicated and need someone with expert knowledge. You’ll need a plumber to move or add plumbing and put in toilets, baths, and showers.
- Builder: If you want the most stress-free experience, then getting a builder who understands your vision and is a good communicator is necessary.
- Sparkie (electrician): You’ll need them if you are installing any new lighting, heating, exhaust fans, heated towel rails, powerpoints, and switches. They need to be licensed to meet the building regulations.
- Waterproofer: If your tiler isn’t licensed to install waterproofing. They’ll make sure that the bathroom meets all regulations before the tiling commences.
- Tiler: They will be needed for wall and floor tiling, and if they are doing the waterproofing, they need to be licensed.
- Painter: to do the walls, ceilings, and doors
- Carpenter: for cabinets or shelves.
If your builder isn’t project managing for you, you will need to be well organised, have your trade team primed, and communicate with each one of them clearly, all the way through.
YOUR RENO TIMELINE CHECKLIST:
- First, get your plumber and electrician to isolate or disconnect (if you aren’t living there) the water, electricity, and gas.
- Your builder or handyman will strip-out any fixtures and fittings, tiles and materials to be removed. This can take up to two or three days if you are doing a full renovation. They may even remove the walls and the ceiling.
- Your builder or carpenter will check the floor’s integrity at this stage to make sure there is no damage and that it has a good foundation, especially if you are planning to instal heavy P.C items like a cast iron bathtub.
- Your plumber will come and ‘rough-in’ the pipes and drainage which can take less than a day if you’re not moving your bath, shower or vanity.
- The electrician will ‘rough-in’ the wiring and may be able to work in at the same time as your plumber.
- If you’re replacing the walls, your builder or carpenter now instal them using water-resistant Villaboard.
- Next, the tiler comes in to prepare the floor and walls, which could take a couple of days.
- Waterproofing will be done to all the wet areas – walls and floors. You may have to wait up to five days to allow the waterproofing membrane to cure. This is not a D.I.Y job – if it’s not done correctly you might end up having to pull everything out and start again. Your waterproofer will provide you with a waterproofing certificate before you commence tiling. In an apartment, your body corporate may want to inspect the certificate and site at this stage of construction.
- Tiling and grouting next. This part can take up to a week.
- The toilet, bath, vanity, sink, and any cabinets can now be installed.
- Then, your plumber will do the fit off and install the toilet, bath, shower, taps, and vanity. This can take from one to three days.
- Your sparkie will do your fit-out of lights, power points, and switches. This may be up to three days.
- The soap dish, towel rails, toilet roll holder, mirror, door, and window architraves can now be installed by your carpenter.
- Now, all that’s left is a final clean and inspection so you can stand back and enjoy.
WANT MORE INSPIRATION? Check out our bathroom design gallery below.