Bathroom Renovation 101
Renovating a bathroom can be daunting. It’s not an easy job and we recommend that you employ a licensed builder or bathroom renovation specialist to carry out the work, leaving you to focus on enjoying the experience of choosing tiles and fittings. But whether you’re using professional help or tackling the project yourself, you need to know what‘s involved so that you can manage the project and end up with the bathroom of your dreams. Each of the following issues could be a whole blog post in their own right but for now, this is our overall checklist to use when planning any bathroom renovation.
Have a clear idea of how much you want (or can afford) to spend. Take a moment to be realistic and practical up front and then you can let your imagination run free, knowing what your financial limits are. Having a clear budget in mind will help you make decisions about what to include in your bathroom project. Remember to allow for labour if you’re bringing an expert in to help. And don’t forget to allow for all the little extras. After all, once you’ve got your new bathtub, sink, toilet, shower and so on, you’re probably going to want new towels, mirrors, bath mat, a towel rack, soap dish, etc. and these smaller items can soon add up.
The general rule is that once you have added up the cost of the fittings and accessories, plus the labour, add another 20% on top to account for changes and unforeseen costs.
Remember that this is not a one-day job! A small bathroom will probably take almost as long to do as a large one – after all, there are still the same fittings to remove and replace. On a very practical note, if you only have a single bathroom in the house, you’ll need a contingency plan: where will you access a toilet and shower while your bathroom is under de/re-construction?
Going back to the budget, remember that however long you think it will take, add on some extra time to your estimate.
The variety of shapes, colours, styles and themes available is huge. When it comes to your bathroom design, start with the basics: what overall feel do you want for your bathroom – relaxing, functional, modern, elegant, etc? Once you have a basic mood that you’re aiming for, you can start to consider the different fittings on offer, the different tiles and taps, etc. Here’s a list of the main elements in any bathroom renovation:
- Feature tiles – for your floor and wall
- Bathtub – fitted, recessed, freestanding, stone…
- Blinds (or other window covering)
- Shower – enclosed, cubicle, over-bath, ‘rain room’…
- Vanity unit
- Basin – recessed, bench-mounted, pedestal, part of a vanity unit…
- Shave cabinet
- Shower head
- Shower door(s)
- Door and drawer handles
- Towel rail/heater
- Bath mat
Take a moment to consider resale values too – you may be planning to stay in your home for a while but when you come to sell the property, the bathroom is a major influence on a buyer’s decision.
Lighting & Electrics
How you light your bathroom has a huge impact on the mood but should also be partly driven by practicality and safety (low light for a relaxing soak in the tub; bright light for shaving!) So, consider a combination of atmospheric and functional that also takes full advantage of whatever natural light you have to work with.
A note of caution: even if you’ve decided to make this a DIY project, unless you’re a qualified sparkie, this is definitely an area for a professional!
Walls and floor
When it comes to practical benefits, tiles are the absolute perfect material for any bathroom: water resistant, hard-wearing, and very hygienic. However, the incredible range of tiles available also gives you almost endless aesthetic options, enabling you to please yourself for the style and design elements too.
After all, the walls and floor are much more than just the backdrop for your bath, shower, sink and so on, they are your bathroom. As such, the tiles you choose determine the overall mood and theme of space. The trick is to choose the best type, size and colour to suit your particular room.
Ceramic tiles are economic, durable and easy to install. If this is the main family bathroom, you might want to consider porcelain tiles which are even more scratch and chip resistant and will stand up to heavy use. Then you have the more luxurious choices: natural stone for a home spa feel, or even glass tiles or mosaic for stylish highlights.
Choosing the right size of tile can be a balancing act and it’s often helpful to get some expert advice. Small tiles look good in a small room, but on the other hand, too many grout lines can appear unattractive. Large tiles can be awkward if there are too many cuts to make when fitting them around your furnishings… but they can look extremely bold and impressive.
Finally, as for colour and texture, your imagination is pretty much the limit – be bold and mix it up a little, combining different shades for a dramatic impact. Just remember not to use anything too glossy or polished for the floor – bathroom floors get wet and you don’t want anyone slipping up!
Hot water means steam, and unless you have good ventilation in your new bathroom, steam means damp and mould. Even with a window, you’ll want to consider an extractor fan for ventilation. Think about the options in terms of noise levels, automatic functioning, and timers.
Finally, good planning is essential, but no plan is perfect, especially in a bathroom. Until the old bathroom is taken out, you never know for sure what you’re dealing with. Depending on the age of your home, and how well the previous or original bathroom was fitted, you may find varying degrees of water damage, damp or mould waiting for you when you strip everything back (remember the allowance for “contingencies” in your budget and time estimate?). Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem. It’s a pain but if you deal with it now, your new bathroom will give you flawless performance and beautiful surroundings for years to come.
For more detail and advice on all of these issues and more, talk to us at Coolum Tile & Stone Studio; with years of experience and a great selection of products, we can have the right materials for your bathroom design ideas.