Is a bathroom renovation on your to-do list but you're feeling stuck either because you have no clue where to get started or you just don't want to mess it up? We caught up with Ben Strachan of Bespoke Bathrooms to learn what you need to know before you start your bathroom renovation so you don't end up in number twos...
What's involved in a bathroom renovation?
Bathrooms are one of the most popular parts of the house to renovate. An updated bathroom can make a huge impact on the look and feel of your home as well as the resale value, but bathroom renovations also come with inherent challenges and costs. Working with a dedicated bathroom renovator like Bespoke Bathrooms means you're dealing with a one-stop shop and their expertise can be invaluable in helping you design, build and manage your project.
Bespoke Bathrooms like to start with a clean slate where possible, so the typical bathroom renovation involves stripping everything back to the framework. This is an opportunity to inspect for any damage and make repairs. It also gives you an idea of why bathroom renovations are so involved and why they can be so costly. But given how destructive water damage can be to your home, it makes sense to invest time and money in this preparation work and ensure your new bathroom will last for years to come.
Once everything is stripped bare, it's time to bring in the trades to do their specialised work. A series of trades will come in and do their parts, from waterproofing, plumbing, electrical, tiling, joinery and painting. This needs to be managed carefully to ensure the project runs to schedule and to ensure the trades are staged so they can get their job done without interfering with or being held up by another trade. A bathroom renovation company like Bespoke Bathrooms manage this whole process and, within 4-6 weeks you'll be stepping into your new, stunning bathroom.
Cost of a bathroom renovation
Putting a price on a bathroom renovation is like estimating the length of a piece of string. The final cost of your bathroom renovation will depend on how extensive your changes are, the price point of any finishes, fixtures and fittings you select and the physical size of your bathroom. A typical bathroom renovation costs around $25,000-30,000, explains Ben but, like petrol, used cars and even your takeaway coffee, these costs have risen over the past year or so. Ben says the price increases have been due to supply chain issues and shortages which, thanks to the laws of supply and demand have affected the end price of a range of materials, but can lead to other issues like time blowouts while waiting for orders to arrive.
To help mitigate this, Ben asks clients to order everything before the project starts, so he (and his clients) don't encounter any unexpected price rises or delays along the way. This helps to manage the cost of your bathroom renovation. If you're willing to put in a bit of elbow grease, you might be able to save some money, Ben explains. If you're able and willing to do any demolition required (don't go knocking down any walls or structural members!) or if you're happy to pick up a paintbrush after his team are done, you can make some savings. It's important to leave things like waterproofing, plumbing and electrical to the experts, though.
Bathroom renovation design
A bathroom renovator like Bespoke Bathrooms can help with your bathroom design and work with suppliers to find the right finishes, fixtures and fittings to suit you. Ben has one important tip for perfecting your bathroom design: add as much storage as possible. He has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to storage, often recommending shaving cabinets as an unobtrusive way to squeeze additional storage out of a tight space. Incorporating niches for storing things like shampoo and soap bottles or even towels is another effective way to build in storage.
One trend to steer away from? Choosing a contrasting or feature tile for the back of the niche which Ben says has had its day. For a cleaner, more streamlined look, opt for a single tile for the walls and niches instead. Ben also suggests going with a larger vanity rather than trying to squeeze a bath in. The amount you'll use a bath compared with how much you will miss the additional storage makes it a clear choice, in Ben's opinion. And don't stress about the resale value: a spacious feeling bathroom with plenty of storage is a better option than a statement bath that only gets used once a month!
Trends in bathroom renovations
Ben notices what's known as The Block effect on bathroom design. After a new series of The Block, the ideas and design flourishes seen in the show don't take long to pop up in bathroom designs around the country. At the moment, we're seeing a lot of brushed brass tapware and, in contrast to the ultra-minimal styles of the past decade, we're seeing patterned floors, bringing a bit more elegance and charm to your daily ablutions. And terrazzo is huge, Ben adds. One trend Ben recommends avoiding is black tapware. Unlike brass or chrome tapware, the black coating can wear off over time leaving your taps, in particular, looking worn and shabby, Ben explains.
Why renovate your bathroom
While renovating your bathroom might be just an opportunity to update the look of your home, Ben says the majority of bathroom renos are because the existing bathroom is falling apart. Failing waterproofing is the culprit in many cases which highlights the importance of using professionals in your bathroom renovation. The bathroom is a big investment, bigger than any other room in the home (except perhaps the kitchen), so it makes sense to do things properly so you don't need to start all over again in 5 or ten years' time.
What questions should you ask before starting a bathroom renovation?
When shopping around for a bathroom renovator, it's important to understand exactly what they're able to deliver. Ben says you should ask whether they can do it all? In Bespoke Bathrooms' case, they're a one-stop shop and registered builder. It's important to understand whether your tradesperson will manage the whole build or whether they're only going to be doing the waterproofing and tiling, for example, and it's up to you to organise the plumber, electrician and joiner and manage the whole process.
And the most important question you should ask anyone working on your home is, 'are you licensed and insured?' Too many people are taking on jobs without the appropriate licences and insurance which leaves you vulnerable to sub-standard and even dangerous work which can cost a lot to rectify. So be sure to only work with licensed and insured tradespeople.
The bathroom: while it's one of the smallest rooms in your home, it's also one of the most expensive to renovate and the most problematic if you stuff it up! Whether you decide to get an all-in-one service like Bespoke Bathrooms or manage the reno yourself, be sure to get the job done properly by experienced and registered tradespeople so you can enjoy your new bathroom for years to come, hassle-free.