A step-by-step guide to bathroom renovations

The bathroom may be small but it’s a complex room to renovate. Various skilled tradespeople must coordinate efficiently to get the job done, and mistakes and oversights can be costly. Here we highlight what you need to consider before you renovate.

Initial considerations

Determine the new room dimensions and positions of existing doors, windows, and skylights. These will affect your new floorplan, and the positioning, shape and size of fixtures and fittings. If adding, resiting or resizing doors/windows/skylights, allow for extra time, cost and tradespeople.

Decide if the bathroom will be part of a larger room or area (such as a master bedroom or poolside ‘wet area’) or a self-contained space?

Will you be restructuring the space? Altering the floor or ceiling; removing or adding internal walls; installing a sunken bath/spa/sauna or embedding fixtures into walls, floor or ceiling cavities will generally mean more people, time and costs.

If your bathroom is to incorporate laundry facilities it may require additional power and plumbing outlets.

Assess the materials used in the existing bathroom (eg. concrete, wood, tiles or plasterboard). All require different solutions.

Determine how much cavity space there is to work with in the walls, ceiling, and under-floor area. This may affect the type, configuration and positioning of pipes, wires and fittings.

Will you need to change existing plumbing or wiring to accommodate the new design?

Assess whether existing fixtures, fittings or finishes (eg. floor or wall tiles, toilet suite, screens, mirrors) can be incorporated into the new design. Resurfacing or refitting existing fixtures and fittings can help cut costs.

Determine how the ‘time out’ required for renovations will affect your day-to-day life and organise how to best plan around the ongoing work. For example, hire a portaloo or bathe at your local gym or neighbour’s house. This is particularly important if your home has only one bathroom.

Expert advice

Here are some of the professionals that can help with your renovation, depending on your requirements and budget:

  • Architect, builder or interior designer
  • Integrated bathroom renovation service, project manager, builder
  • Plumber, spa/sauna expert, waterproofing contractor
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Tiler/renderer/flooring specialist
  • Painter

Check that all the bathroom renovation professionals you engage are industry qualified, licensed and insured. Be clear on what you’re expecting each tradesperson to do before finalising contracts, handing over cash or beginning work. For more information about employing a professional read Choosing your builder.

Common Pitfalls

Plan ahead and consult professional bathroom designers/tradespeople where appropriate to avoid the following common bathroom renovation problems and pitfalls.

Organising tradespeople in incorrect order. This can result in skipped stages, revisits, extra work and costs.

Planning redesigns without considering crucial basics such as cavity space, concrete walls/floors/ceilings, existing plumbing and circuitry etc.

Buying fittings or fixtures without consulting the relevant trade professionals, resulting in unsuitable choices.

Can I do it myself?

All but the most basic bathroom renovations tend to be complex and tricky, with many components that require skilled professionals. They must be done in the correct order.

Easier jobs you may want to attempt yourself include choosing the color scheme and style, sourcing fixtures and fittings, removing and installing simple existing fittings such as hooks, towel rails and painting.

We hope you enjoyed our post, we will continue to provide more step-by-step guides in the coming weeks.

Effective Building and Construction is the leader in building and renovations around Sydney, get in touch or learn more about us.