Your Ultimate Bathroom Makeover Checklist

The thought of bathroom makeover is a really exciting one especially because the focus is mainly on the envisaged beautiful and enjoyable end result. As such, its normally easy to fall down the visual discovery engine rabbit hole and get infatuated with bathroom styles and inspirations choosing the best faucets, basins, vanities, shower heads, shower cubicles, bathtubs and tiles, all while forgetting the importance of functionality and the long list of critical decisions points.

Bathrooms are often one of the most important and expensive areas of the house to remodel and as a result adding critical value to your home. A complete bathroom makeover normally involves a number of different specialist trades from plumbers, tilers, electricians, and plasterers, to painters, waterproofing specialists and more. Remodel costs can range from as much as ten thousand dollars for a basic small bathroom makeover to more than fifty thousand dollars for highly customised and specially designed remodels with very high-end fixtures and fittings.

So, before embarking on the renovation journey, it is imperative that you are absolutely sure as to what you are really getting yourself into. Have you thought about your desired functionality and how it affects your design? What about all the prerequisites, such as drafting, local council permits, demolition, waste management, waterproofing and all the specialist trades that you will need to involve, all of which directly affect your costs and budget. And have you thought about living in a home that has a room resembling a building site while you are having the bathroom remodelled?

While it is important to think about the envisaged beautiful and enjoyable end result, it is imperative to think about and consider the less exciting things, so your bathroom makeover turns out just the way you dreamed it. Because a bathroom makeover can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and costly, below is your Ultimate Bathroom Makeover Checklist to make sure that your remodel stays on track and runs smoothly.

Remodel Budget

Before embarking on the renovation journey, it is imperative that you thoroughly consider and detail all elements that contribute to your makeover budget. Below is an indicative checklist of elements that you should consider:

Design and drafting: Whether you are undertaking your remodel with a builder, or trying to manage the work yourself, a professional design is essential. It will assist you with knowing what you are going to get and avoid many potential errors with trades on site. It is important to note all the costs associated with design and drafting, including your own time.

Local council permits (if applicable): be sure to check with your local council or shire if a building permit is required for your bathroom makeover and note all the relevant cost to secure the permit and all the relevant paperwork. It is also important to note all the conditions that come with the building permit including environmental issues relating to noise pollution and waste management.

Demolition and Waste Management: Asbestos at times may be present, and if so, it is important to have this professionally tested and removed. Asbestos poisoning is a big deal and therefore, for your safety and that of your trades, ensure that the building is inspected for asbestos, among other things, before the demolition project starts. A home inspection can help minimise the shock of what you have to deal with after the remodel starts. A home inspector can help you determine if you will need to prioritise finding a remodel crew with the licensing required for hazardous removals. Many older homes have asbestos, which must be removed and disposed of only by certified professionals. Additionally, the inspection can help you decide on the remodel strategy. You need to consider the disposal options offered by the remodel crew before making your hiring decisions. If no asbestos is present, many demolition materials can be recycled or resold rather than sent to a landfill.

Plumbing works: Plumbing regulations provide the barest minimum conditions that require to be satisfied by a residential plumbing installation. In addition, it is imperative that you check the warranties that come with your selected plumbing fittings and fixtures (taps, cisterns, etc.) to ensure that safety gadgets such as pressure limiting valves are installed if required to ensure that you don’t void your warranties. Be sure to go for WaterMark Certified Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures.

Electrical works: It is important to always leave all electrical works to the licenced electricians to ensure that all your electrical installations are done professionally and that you receive the obligatory electrical install safety certifications at the end of the remodel.

Carpentry works: If moving walls, it is important to have a registered builder or engineer inspect and determine if any structural works are required. To avoid expensive abortive works (reworks), ensure that you check double check the dimensions on yours design drawings against the selected cabinetry, fittings and fixtures before any site customisations are done.

Plastering works: To avoid expensive abortive works (reworks), ensure that all the prerequisites including plumbing pipes, plumbing in wall fixtures, plumbing fixture supports and electrical conduits rough in are installed, and correct levels set out before plastering is done.

Waterproofing works: Essential to the longevity of a bathroom makeover and should always be carried out by a certified trade.

Tiling works: to minimise tiling costs, it is essential to optimise the layout on the design drawings taking into considerations the desired style, tile sizes, install economy, availability in the market and after sale service (future availability of the selected times in case you need to replace some due to breakages).

Painting works: Remember that cheap is expensive and ensure you research and buy good quality paint to ensure you end up with the desired high-quality results. Seeing the colour in your rooms is the best way visualise desired look and feel to avoid abortive works (reworks). Ensure you trial paint samples to confirm desired results before the painters proceed to paint the entire bathroom and any adjacent areas.

Bathroom fittings and fixtures: Check the warranties that come with your selected plumbing fittings and fixtures (taps, cisterns, etc.) to ensure that safety gadgets such as pressure limiting valves are installed if required to ensure that you don’t void your warranties. Be sure to go for WaterMark Certified Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures.

Shower screens: ensure you are happy with the quality of the selected shower screen you will be interacting with it on a daily basis. The quality of the shower screen also affects the maintenance effort.

Accessories: Such as mirrors, toilet roll holders and towel rails. Remember that cheap is expensive. The cheaper the accessories, most likely the poorer the quality and hence the probable increased number of replacements in the long term.

Unforeseen costs: Be sure to allow for a contingency sum to cater for any unforeseen costs such as breakages, abortive works and other renovation surprises and discoveries such as asbestos, load bearing structural walls that need to be moved, termites, etc.

Functional Specifications

Plans: as mentioned above, whether you are undertaking your remodel with a builder, or trying to manage the work yourself, a professional design is essential. It will assist you with knowing what you are going to get and avoid many potential errors with trades on site. Essentially, your bathroom plans normally detail the bathroom size complete with the standard sizes of the desired bathroom fixtures such as bathtub, shower cubicle, sinks, vanity, mirror, towel rails, etc. The detailed plans would include room specs and dimensions, annotated sketch, Structural obstacles (windows, doors, etc.), photos of space to be remodelled, etc. These detailed plans make it easy to select the desired fixtures and fittings and ensure that you avoid costly mistakes and abortive works.

Styles and inspirations: Often you will already have a vision in your mind of how you want your bathroom to look like and the dream fittings and fixtures within it. Be sure to check out visual discovery engines such as Pinterest.com.au and Houzz.com.au to discover preferred themes and styles.

Colours: Being armed with your chosen colours is extremely useful throughout your finishes, fittings, and fixtures selection process. Tile and paint samples are great to work with when layered with fittings and fixtures, and other finishes. It is imperative to consider existing colour palette in your home, desired paint samples, tile samples, and fittings and fixtures finishes including cabinetry and vanities.

Specialist Trades: it is imperative to keep contact details of the trade team you are working with on hand e.g. builder, plumber, interior designer, or architect. This can help with decision making or when you need to clarify details of the remodel. Some of the issues that you might find yourself needing to clarify include product specifications (e.g. toilet sets, types of traps, bathtub specifications, shower specifications, etc.) and existing services supply points (e.g. water points, drainage points, etc.).

Technical Specifications

Below are some of the most important technical specification considerations that are helpful to know and understand if you are looking to control the outcome of your bathroom renovation and associated remodel budget.

Level of remodel: are you looking for a compete remodel whereby the bathroom and possibly some of the adjacent spaces are stripped bare and newly rebuilt or a retrofit? Retrofitting means finding another product to replace existing product without having to dramatically modify the existing layout.

Layout: Whether you are undertaking your remodel with a builder, or trying to manage the work yourself, a professional design is essential. It will assist you with knowing what you are going to get and avoid many potential errors with trades on site. This also helps with Local Council Building Permits applications (if applicable), as the application must include a set of plans for the new bathroom remodel.

Set out: A set out is done before the rough in works are done. The plumber, electrician and cabinet maker allow for the thickness of plaster and tiles to make sure all the fittings and fixtures are in the correct position. This is a critical step and should be double and triple checked.

Rough in: this refers to the process whereby plumbing waste, water pipes, and electrical conduits are concealed in the walls and floor of a bathroom. It is imperative that the design and layout is clear and finalised before rough in is started to avoid abortive works.

Traps: A waste trap is used to prevent nasty smells entering the bathroom from the sewer. A trap works by creating a water block thereby preventing gases from passing. An S-Trap refers to a waste pipe that exits a toilet or sink through the floor from beneath the toilet or sink. A P-Trap refers to a waste that exits a toilet or sink through the wall behind the toilet or sink. The layout of the bathroom remodel and selected type of trap directly affects the remodel costs. It is also important to consider the type of bottle trap that you intend to use underneath your basins from an aesthetics point of view.

Type of toilets: consider the type of toilets available against your budget. For instance, a rimless toilet is a new optimally hygienic toilet design that circulates water from a single flushing point with a precise and splash-free flow, avoiding grime and bacteria build up with less holes, angles, and edges on the pan’s surface. As expected, these rimless toilets are considerably pricey compared to the standard toilets. Also, worth considering the costs and benefits of hidden cisterns. A hidden cistern refers to a toilet where the cistern is concealed within a wall. This type of toilet requires adequate space behind the toilet and an access for servicing via an access panel.

Type of basins: Above counter basins sit on top of vanity or floating bench tops and are often beautiful feature basins. Semi-Recessed basins sit half on and half off the front of vanities or floating bench tops. They are generally used in narrow bathrooms where space is a consideration.

Types of waste: Depending on your situation and how important sustainability is to you, it is worth considering the types of waste and intended use. Black water is dirty water from a toilet and requires purification. Grey water is water from a basin, shower, bath or washing machine, which is deemed fit for use in a garden after it has gone through some filters.

Bathroom fittings, fixtures, and accessories: it helps having an idea of the Bathroom fittings, fixtures, and accessories that will complement your style and inspiration. Often you will already have a vision in your mind of how you want your bathroom to look like and the dream fittings and fixtures within it. Be sure to check out visual discovery engines such as such as Pinterest.com.au and Houzz.com.au to discover preferred themes and styles.

Hot-water and cold-water Systems: Hot water comes into the bathroom from the hot water unit which is normally a storage or instantaneous unit. A diverter is used to switch the water supply between two different outlets such as a shower and bath or two different shower heads within one shower

Screed: A screed is used to level an uneven floor in preparation for tiling. Floors are usually not level and because walk-in showers are a design trend, and a screed is usually used to level the floor and ensure that water flows in the right direction towards the show floor drain. Screeds are usually 40-80mm thick and consist of a sand and cement mixture often with a layer of re-enforcement built in.

Tiling works: With the screed in place, it is imperative to ensure that your tile pays extra attention to the tiling works. It is important to agree on the tiling is done in accordance with the tiling layout in your approved bathroom plans. It is important to ensure that the tiling layout create modern ergonomic flat surfaces.

Fit off: Fit off refers to the installation of various fixtures e.g. shower heads, basins, toilets, to the in-wall plumbing system.

Makeover Works Approval Checklist

The following checklist represents the bare minimum checks that you should conduct as part of your remodel completion approval.

Tiling works

  • Check wall and floor tiling are in line with your approved bathroom layouts
  • Check cuts around waste
  • Check mitre cuts
  • Check grouting

Silicone works

  • Check all control joints are properly sealed

Plumbing works (vanities)

  • Ensure plumber has pressure tested
  • Check silicone to basin
  • Check taps and mixer work to ensure there are no leaks
  • Check for leaks to waste work

Plumbing works (toilets)

  • Check both flush buttons work
  • Check that toilet drains
  • Check for leaks to water inlet

Plumbing works (bathtub)

  • Ensure plumber has pressure tested
  • Check silicone to bathtub
  • Check taps and mixer work to ensure there are no leaks
  • Check for leaks to waste work

Plumbing works (shower)

  • Check taps and mixer work to ensure there are no leaks
  • Check shower rail is secure
  • Check shower drains
  • Check silicone shower channel

Plumbing works (faucets)

  • Check taps and mixer work to ensure there are no leaks

Electrical works

  • Check all sockets
  • Check all switches
  • Check heat lamps and extractors

Plastering works

  • Check all plaster to bathroom
  • Check cornice has been sanded
  • Check plaster to adjoining walls

Painting works

  • Check painting is satisfactory

Accessories

  • Check all secure

Final checks

  • Check skip gone
  • Check temporary toilet and shower have gone

Cleaning works

  • Check bathroom has been cleaned
  • Check all materials have been removed
  • Check outside is clean

Bathroom Makeover Schedule

The following is a sample Bathroom Makeover Schedule that you can customise to suite your needs.

  • Job starts
  • Meet with your designer or drafter
  • Design and drafting
  • Local council permits (if applicable)
  • Protect the rest of the house, position skip & set up cutting area
  • Receive & check all product required for the remodel
  • Ensure that you approve the protective works before demolition starts
  • Start demolition, waste management, and environmental management
  • Building works 1 – initial structural alterations starts
  • Plumbing rough in
  • Electrical rough in
  • Building works 2 – fix floors, noggins and get ready for plaster
  • Plaster walls and ceilings with water resistant board
  • Sand plaster & waterproof
  • Fit cabinetry
  • Tile set out meeting with your designer or drafter and tiler
  • Tile work including grouting and clean
  • Fit stone to vanity & check measure screen
  • Plumbing fit off
  • Electrical fit off
  • Building work 3 – accessories – towel rails, toilet roll holders, door stops, etc.
  • Silicone to control joints, bench, and sanitary ware
  • Fit shower screen, remove protection, site clean, remove skip
  • Supervisor final inspection of all works
  • Conduct makeover works approval inspection with supervisor and job sign off

Important Links

Disclaimer

Information provided in the text above is general in nature and does not consider your specific Bathroom Renovation Project needs and requirements. The information is not professional advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information in the text above as an alternative to professional advice. If you have specific questions relating to this subject, we strongly recommend that you seek independent professional Bathroom Renovation advice.