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How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

Last Updated Mar 23, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider


Bathroom renovations are second only to kitchen renovations in home improvements. How much does a bathroom renovation cost? It depends on many factors. A simple bathroom makeover can be inexpensive, but a full bathroom renovation can be expensive. Think about these things when you're planning a bathroom renovation.

  1. A makeover or full bathroom renovation?
  2. Trades needed for a full bathroom renovation The plumber may come first An electrician will come next Waterproofing
  3. Other trades you may need
  4. How much does a bathroom renovation cost?
  5. Budgeting for your bathroom renovation
  6. Why more lighting is a good idea

A makeover or full bathroom renovation?

A makeover is when you keep most of your bathroom fixtures, but just give it a makeover with new tiles, a new shower screen and perhaps having your bathtub and basin resurfaced. If you're happy with the existing bathroom, but want to spruce it up a bit, a makeover can be inexpensive.

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A full bathroom renovation is another matter. Several trades will be involved and the first thing that will be done is to have the bathroom stripped of everything. Then the tradies will start coming in.

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You will have an input in the renovation. Do you want:

  • A freestanding bath (great for small bathrooms and even for larger bathrooms)?
  • A normal toilet or a toilet with the cistern in the wall?
  • A vessel sink or standard sink around the vanity?
  • A custom made vanity?
  • Better lighting?
  • A different style of tiles?
  • A frameless shower screen?
  • A window or skylight?

These are some things you might want, but be sure to budget for them. Freestanding baths can be inexpensive or expensive depending on the materials you choose. Read How to choose the right bath for your space to learn more about freestanding versus built-in bathtubs. A custom made vanity will cost more than a standard vanity and better lighting will mean the electrician will have to install more wiring and the new lighting may cost more.

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Tiles can be inexpensive or expensive depending on the style you choose. Do you want rustic or modern tiling? Either one can be inexpensive or expensive depending on the tiles you want. For tips on choosing shower screens, read our shower screen tips and find shower screen suppliers in your area.

You don't have to make all the decisions yourself. Most bathroom renovation services have bathroom designers on hand to help you with your decisions. If they don't, they can share their expertise with you or you can hire an independent bathroom designer.

Trades needed for a full bathroom renovation

A number of tradies are needed for a full bathroom renovation. The essential trades will be:

  • A plumber
  • An electrician
  • A tiler
  • A waterproofer

Usually, the bathroom renovations specialist will have all the trades you need and you won't have to choose a plumber, electrician or tiler.

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The plumber may come first

A plumber will have to rough in new plumbing pipes. If you're moving anything, the cost will be higher because they will need to move and install new pipes. If you're on a budget and have a small bathroom, it may be cheaper to install a freestanding bath and/or a wall mounted toilet to make the room look larger.

The plumber will come back later to install the bath, basin, shower head and other fixtures. Plumbers can charge between $80 and $250 to install bath and basin taps and about the same to install a new shower head. A toilet will cost between $160 and $550 to install and it will depend on the type of toilet.

An electrician will come next

An electrician will also have to rough in new wiring, so they will come after the plumber or may come at the same time if they don't interfere with the plumbers work. They will install the wiring first and come back later to install power points, switches and lighting.

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Waterproofing

Waterproofing may be next on the list. When they strip the bathroom, the old waterproofing will probably need to be replaced. After the waterproofing, the tradies will return and the bathroom renovation will start taking shape.

The tiler and painter will come later, after the installation is complete, but the plumber may have to come back to install the shower head and taps and the electrician will need to install power points, switches and lighting.

Other trades you may need

You may need other tradies to come in. If you want a window or skylight to be installed, they will be separate trades and you will need to find them yourself. You may also want to have a cabinet maker build a vanity for you or you may need a carpenter to do some work in the bathroom. Remember to tell your bathroom renovation company about the extra trades you need and they can help you schedule them for the right time in the renovation process.

How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

Factor in everything in the bathroom renovation costs. This will include:

  • Windows or skylights
  • Tiling
  • Moving plumbing fixtures
  • The costs of the bathtub, shower enclosure, sink, vanity and smaller items such as taps and towel racks
  • Any lighting fixtures and the cost of wiring the bathroom
  • Painting
  • Storage

A bathroom designer can help you with the budget and will mention other things you need that you may not have thought about. They will know how much everything costs and can suggest inexpensive but stylish options for the bathroom renovation. On average, bathroom renovations cost $1600 per square metre. If you have a medium sized bathroom, the cost can be around $14,000 for a basic renovation or up to $24,000 for a premium bathroom. The difference is $10,000, but it will depend on the inclusions. What makes up the difference? These are some basic prices:

  • Tiles can range from $15m2 to $45m2
  • A bath tap set can range from $100 to $500
  • A toilet can cost $120 or $1200
  • A shower enclosure can cost $500 to $1200
  • A vanity can cost between $200 and $1500
  • Basin taps can cost between $80 and $400

Of course, you can lash out and have a premium bathroom renovation, but a standard renovation will only set you back around $16,500, which is only $2500 more than a basic bathroom renovation. How much do you want to spend on the inclusions? How much do you want to spend on trades? If you don't move the bathtub, vanity or shower enclosure, plumbing costs will be much lower and you may not need to move them.

Budgeting for your bathroom renovation

Budgeting for a bathroom renovation can be a give and take situation if you don't have a huge budget to work with. The good news is that even a less expensive bathroom renovation can look great. You don't have to get the most expensive inclusions in order to have a beautiful bathroom. Many vanities you find can be perfect for your bathroom and can save the money it costs to have a vanity built by a cabinet maker. Or you may want a custom vanity, but can save on other costs.

The cost of a bathroom renovation also depends on the size of the bathroom and the inclusions you want. Skylights can be expensive, but installing a window can cost less. A window can be as good as a skylight, but remember to install windows that give you privacy in the bathroom. Frosted glass can give you the privacy you need or if you want clear glass, install a small fenced in garden outside the window.

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The fence and plants don't have to be expensive, but they will make the bathroom feel larger and be a beautiful addition to the bathroom. You will need a gate to be able to water the plants, but the gate can be locked to prevent anyone from getting inside the enclosure.

Why more lighting is a good idea

Lighting may be another matter. Many older bathrooms just have one overhead light. Today's bathrooms have more lighting and it can be a stylish and practical solution. It can be practical because an overhead light will not be enough for you to see clearly in the mirror because your face will be shaded. Strategically placed lighting will allow you to see clearly in the bathroom.

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It may be a good idea to spend more on lighting, but less on other items. You don't need to spend $1500 on a vanity when a $500 vanity may look just right in your bathroom and do you need the most expensive tap sets and tiles available? Do you need a toilet with a cistern in the wall? Have a look at your options and choose stylish tap sets, tiles, a shower screen, toilet and bathtub that are not at the high end of the scale.

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And don't forget to get three quotes from bathroom renovators. Some charge more than others and some give better service than others. Don't choose the lowest price because you may regret it later. Find a bathroom renovation company that is licensed and has a good reputation in your area. A good bathroom renovation company will be able to give you references and you should contact them to find out how pleased they were with their work.

*Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.

You might also like: How to create a bathroom garden

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