Everything you need to know about finding a Bathroom Builder
Bathroom renovations are a great way to bring a tired and outdated bathroom back to life. As one of the most valuable rooms in the house, a well designed and built bathroom will serve the needs of you and your household for years to come. For bathroom design ideas see our bathroom photos.
©Milne Builders and Plumbers
Designing Bathroom Renovations
When it comes to updating or designing a new bathroom, here are some things you will need to keep in mind:
- Consider if you will use the bathroom as a place for relaxing or to “get clean”. If you are going to incorporate a laundry into your bathroom, you may need to install extra plumbing and electricals. Calling in a design professional at this early stage may help you to decide what will work best for you and your household, and ensure that nothing is forgotten.
- Bath resurfacing rather than replacing a bath can save you a lot of money. If you want to install a spa, ensure that the floor can bear the load and that there is sufficient room for the electrical components.
- If your tiles are in good condition but look a little dated, consider having your tiles resurfaced or painted. Speaking to a tiling professional will help you to make a decision in this regard as they can advise you on the integrity of your tiles. Similarly, speaking to a professional before choosing new tiles is beneficial as they will have an idea of what will work well in your bathroom.
- Try to leave existing plumbing and electrical services in place, as these can be very costly to move. If you want to move the shower or bath, for example, consider whether the cost to move the plumbing will be offset by a gain in convenience. If you do need to install new systems, make sure you consult a good plumber or electrician.
- Water efficiency is another important consideration. Looking at water efficient fittings such as water saving taps and showerheads, dual flush toilets and grey water systems (great for the garden!) will mean that you are helping save precious water and saving money on your water bill. New water-efficient products on the market are vastly improved so using water efficient showerheads does not have to mean a lack of pressure.
- Heating is another thing to take into account when designing the bathroom and there are several options available, depending on the climate and your needs. There are heated towel rails to warm towels for when you leave the bath or shower, heating lights that will heat the entire bathroom, to heated floors which will completely eliminate the dreaded feeling of stepping onto cold tile.
- Bathrooms also need sufficient storage. Shelving, cabinetry, recessed wall spaces and towel racks are all good ways to store essentials such as towels and toiletries.
- If you want a classic bathroom that will not date, try to stick to a colour palette of neutrals and whites in the main areas – the tiling, bath, shower and walls. You can always update the look seasonally through the use of accent pieces, and well-chosen accents will definitely reflect your personality.
- Many bathrooms are on the smaller side, especially in established homes, so speaking with the appropriate professionals will help you maximise the space. Some clever tricks for making the space appear larger include using larger tiles, mirrors, clever colours, vertical lines and tiling from the floor to the ceiling.
Bathroom Ventilation and Waterproofing
- Bathroom ventilation and waterproofing is vital to prevent mould buildup and water leakage. The best ways to ensure adequate ventilation is through the installation of exhaust fans and windows that cross-ventilate. However, ensure that your exhaust fan vents the moist air to the outside of the home in order to prevent moist air from causing problems in the roof space. For more information see the article Easy Breezy Bathroom Ventilation.
- Waterproofing is an important component of your new bathroom. It is vital to ensure that water from the wet areas (the shower, bath and vanity/ies) does not penetrate through the walls or floor and cause damage to the structural integrity of the home or other damage. Waterproofing is done before any tiling or installation of fittings but after the walls and floors have been thoroughly prepared.
- Ensure that the paint that you choose for the bathroom is able to handle the moisture levels. Semi-gloss or gloss paints are a good choice.
Types of Bathrooms
When you are considering bathroom renovations, there are many styles available to suit any household. Some common types are:
- The Retreat – the retreat is a relaxing oasis, almost like having your very own day spa at home. Gentle lighting, a spa, deep bath or luxurious shower, and a calming atmosphere makes the bathroom the perfect place to unwind after a long day.
- Minimalist – the minimalist bathroom is sleek and uncluttered while still incorporating elements of luxury. Features include clean, modern lines and clever storage.
- High Tech – the bathroom of gadget lovers. The bath, spa or shower is the latest on the market and the bathroom features under floor heating, heated towel racks and other gizmos designed to make the bathing experience better. There’s even a plasma TV near the bath!
- Utilitarian – this bathroom is designed to be used. While still looking attractive, the focus is to have everything easily accessible and to be easily cleaned.
- Colonial – the deep old-fashioned bathtub and the classic tones of cream. This bathroom is older-style without sacrificing any of the modern amenities.
Bathroom Renovation Materials
There are many different materials that you can use to achieve a beautiful bathroom. Some materials that are particularly suited to the bathroom include:
- Glass – a modern choice that is versatile and looks good. Glass can be used as a shower screen, as a partition or as a way of letting more natural light into the bathroom. Whether clear or opaque, the glass chosen should be reinforced for safety.
- Chrome – chrome is mainly used for fittings and can be used for taps, showerheads, towel rails and more.
- Tiles – perhaps the most versatile bathroom material. Tiles can be used on floors, walls and within the shower and bath recess. A wide range of styles means that tiles suit any décor and design.
- Pebbles – a relatively new innovation, pebbles can be used to create an earthy feel in the bathroom. They are mostly used on floors and as feature panels on walls.
- Marble – perfect for creating a classic look that will never go out of style. Marble is expensive, however, so use according to your budget.
- Laminates – most commonly used in bathroom benchtops and cabinetry. Laminates are hard wearing and come in a range of colours and patterns.
- Wood – wood flooring is starting to become fashionable in bathrooms but it is important that the wood is adequately treated and waterproof. The number of wood varieties means you can achieve looks ranging anywhere from colonial to ultra-modern.
- Stone – stone such as granite can be used in the bathroom, particularly as a countertop or as flooring. It is very durable and will last for a long time.
How Much Does Bathroom Renovation Cost?
The cost of your project will depend on a number of factors, including its size and scope. You will also need to factor in all the various trades who will be required. Following is a brief list of the professionals that may be involved in a bathroom project and what role they may play:
- Architects or interior designers – these can help to draw up blueprints/plans for the new bathroom and can also help you to decide what style, fittings and finishes would be best for you.
- Plumbers – you’ll need a plumber to install or move pipes, taps, bath, showers, spas etc. Plumbers can also ensure that waterproofing is performed correctly and install drainage.
- Electricians – will be required to install lighting, heating and ventilation and to perform other tasks such as installing power points. An electrician will also need to help install a spa.
- Carpenters – necessary if you are moving any doors or windows or making any structural changes to the bathroom. If you plan to install any wooden elements such as flooring, a carpenter is the person to do it. Carpenters can also install cabinetry.
- Cabinet makers – will make vanities and cabinets to fit the exact specifications of your bathroom, while keeping true to the style that you have chosen.
- Tilers – can install new tiles or mirrors, and resurface or remove existing tiles.
- Painters – needed to paint any areas that are not covered by tiles or other elements. Will paint the bathroom with a moisture and wear-resistant paint.
All of the above will have a standard hourly rate which they charge. Before choosing any professionals to help you with your bathroom project, ensure that they are qualified, licensed and insured. This will protect both you and the professional. It is important that you feel comfortable with the people that will be completing the project so meet with them beforehand and obtain as many quotes as you can. Also ask to see previous examples of work if available or to see references.
You can read about the licensing requirements of bathroom builders on Licensedtrades.com.au.