Renovating a bathroom is something that you’ll hopefully only do once or twice in your lifetime and when you do, you want to get it right. Which is why our NZCB Builders are here to help!
Bathrooms can be tricky beasts, even if it’s not your first renovation. There are many pitfalls, but also lots of things you can do to avoid being caught out – most of it comes down to planning, being patient and making sure you have everything in order before you start ripping out walls and buying tapware.
NZCB Member Dan Gallagher of Gallagher Trade Building in Timaru suggests you draw your new bathroom out on paper first “so you know where everything is going and that it all fits”.
NZCB Member Dave Whitehead of Lifebuilt Construction in Auckland says you should consider whether you’re going to change the layout.
“If making changes to the layout and, in particular, adding or subtracting fixtures you may require a council permit.”
NZCB Member Mike Craig, of MC Builders in Waikanae, agrees, adding that if you’re putting in a wet-floor, tiled shower system in, that also requires a consent permit.
“Plan ahead, think about what you would like and what you can afford. Tile bathrooms with wet floor entry showers are the most expensive. Plan your bathroom so it works well, as not having enough room can make your bathroom unpleasant, like doors swinging onto vanities or toilets that stop the door from opening 90 degrees,” he says.
“And remember, if you move your bathroom around too much on a concrete floor, waste pipes may need moved by digging up concrete floor. Get a plumber to check out pipes before he quotes, as all in-wall piping may need replacement because of past product failure. It’s also a great idea to work with a builder before you get too far into the design, as that will help you meet your budget.”
Dave notes it’s also important to know what you’re taking out of the room. “Do you have an asbestos backed vinyl to remove? This is normally a white backing on the underside of the flooring product and should be tested by an asbestos assessor.”
When it comes to bathrooms, you get what you pay for. “Cheap products are not always the best as their life is limited. So if you are expecting to stay a while think about better product recommended by professionals,” Mike says.
When you’re selecting fixtures, make sure you’ve considered all your needs. He recommends you allow for ventilation to be put in – “get it put on a timer as to make it hassle-free”.
“Make sure you choose a shower that is fit-for-purpose. Try it out as some angle showers are hard to bend over in, so make sure you feel comfortable. If you are tall, think about wall hung vanity and lifting it higher than the usual height. And if you’re stripping out the room, allow for up-grading batts if needed, and if you’re on low pressure system, think about upgrading your hot water cylinder to high pressure as part of your upgrade.”
Dan also recommends ordering all your fixtures and fittings early. “Make sure all the gear is ordered well in advance, so all the trades know what they are fitting, where it’s going and what size they are.”
And for good measure, our builders also recommend you ensure you choose non-slip flooring, that the shower glass is an approved safety glass (shown in the corner on the glass with a small stamp) and that you use paint suitable for wet spaces.
When it comes to getting the work done, make sure your work is completed by qualified plumbers and electricians.
Dave adds that you should ensure the under-tile membranes have been applied by a licensed building practitioner and that you receive a PS3 from them (to confirm that the building work is in accordance with the consent plans and building code).
“When replacing flooring, allow for H3 flooring ply and stainless steel fixings. And don’t forget to check the weight of your chosen tiles for their weight per m2 (kg per m2) and then use the Winstones or Hardies product guides to decide which products suit best,” he says.
And two final tips from our builders – keep heated towel rails or towel rails away from toilets as it can be a health hazard and if you’re installing silicone yourself, use an ice block stick to smooth it as the bacteria on your fingers can contaminate the product before it has cured.
If you need a builder for your next renovation, click here to find your nearest New Zealand Certified Builder.