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How Much Does A Bathroom Renovation Cost?

Without a doubt, bathrooms are the most underrated room in the house when it comes to price. You’d be mistaken for thinking a smaller room, relative to the likes of a kitchen, would be more budget friendly. However, when it comes to renovating your bathroom, scale of economy can quickly become redundant.

All Trades On Deck

Often when we think about renovating a bathroom, trades that spring to mind might include a plumber or a tiler. Whilst these are both important contributors to this space, a full bathroom renovation entails a lot of moving parts with several different trades required to convert the space from old to new.

The construction of the home will dictate exactly which trades are required, for example, dependent on the home being made of bricks or timber, the scope may require either a bricklayer or a carpenter. However, every bathroom renovation is certainly going to need a demo team, a Plumber, Electrician, Plasterer/Renderer, Tiler, perhaps a Concreter, Glazing Installer and Painter at a minimum. On top of this, there will be rubbish bins, temporary ensuite hire (if a second bathroom isn’t available in the home) and any project management fees of the builder licensed to complete the project. You can understand where the cost of renovating a bathroom can quickly add up considering how many people need to be involved for a quality result.

Of course, there are renovations that are not complete overhauls, perhaps making over the existing layout or painting surfaces to breathe new life into the bathroom. These types of renovations could be a DIY project and/or require minimum trade help to complete. The size of the project will depend on the age of the home, any damage that may need to be repaired, the desired layout or the intent behind the renovation.

In today’s market, with the building industry experiencing cost increases in both labour and supply, a bathroom renovation could range from a $10k facelift to an average cost of $35k for completely gutting the room and starting from scratch. I’ve also completed bathroom renovations that were nearly $100k by the time my clients chose some very high-end fixtures, coupled with difficult structural limitations to an upper-level bathroom.

It would be fair to say that selection items; sanitary ware, tapware, tiles and accessories make up a quarter of the renovation cost, if that. My average project allows between $6000 – $8000 for client selected products per bathroom.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Whether your bathroom is a small two square metre area or closer to the size of a bedroom, renovating this type of zone requires a wide range of trades to complete the work. Of course, if a bathroom is larger and tiled to ceiling as opposed to a smaller room with half height wall tiling, then obviously tiling costs will increase for the additional scope. And while a design choice such as this would be a great area to consider if trying to keep costs at bay, on its own it is not a huge contributor to the overall cost. The tiler is going to have to be onsite for X number of days regardless of tile height, a few extra rows isn’t going to make a significant difference. You can apply this logic to all trades.

What does make a difference to cost is any structural limitations. Upper-level bathrooms require more manual handling of tools and materials across levels. Consideration also needs to be given to the subfloor / substrate with extra work required to achieve adequate falls in the bathroom with modern day layouts. Old plumbing can be another area that catches homeowners by surprise, not realizing that galvanised pipework must be replaced in an old bathroom to meet compliancy, causing a need for the concrete floor to be completely removed.

Water damage and other old wear and tear can lend itself to secondary work outside of the bathroom area that may only become exposed during construction. The older the home, the increased chance of something awry occurring. It is recommended that you factor in a contingency of approximately 10% of your overall budget for renovation work, regardless of the size of your project. And if you don’t need it by handover… wonderful! You can afford some luxurious new fluffy towels and can start saving toward your next project!

Making Informed Decisions

I am of the opinion there are unique solutions for every situation and that each client’s project needs to be assessed on its own merit. It is highly recommended that clients simultaneously engage a Designer and a Builder as the first step to discover what can and can’t be achieved in the space. When you have all three parties involved, all options can be brought to the table and non-feasible ideas can be eliminated on the spot with the differing experience of both professionals involved.

Communication is key! By taking the time to have this three-way meeting, designs won’t be proposed that are going to break the bank and the bathroom is going to be constructed with a thorough understanding of the brief and design intention. And most importantly, the budget is going to be respected as much as possible from the very beginning. I like to ensure that the builders I align with share my value of honesty and transparency when offering advice around project costs, clearly explaining contributions to the price. If the client is transparent with their budget requirements too, we can maximise every dollar spent and together achieve a fantastic outcome.

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