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5 bathroom reno blunders and how to avoid them

Though a bathroom makeover can add thousands to the value of your home, a renovation done poorly could leave you out of pocket. Follow this expert advice to ensure your bathroom scrubs up nicely.

From hiring “cowboy” plumbers to having your toilet positioned too close to the bathroom door, Creative Homes Building Designer Connor Busbridge says bathroom renovations are no mean feat to manage properly.

“When you’re designing a bathroom there is so much to consider but, also so many places where things can go wrong,” says Connor.

He has the following advice about the most common mistakes and how to avoid making them:

1. Hiring based on the lowest quote 

Though it can be tempting to hire the cheapest tradespeople to get the job done, Connor says cheap quotes are all for show, resulting in less quality work. 

He says signing up for cost-plus contracts can also come at a higher expense if any problems occur throughout the renovation.

“Fixed price contracts obviously take into consideration any extensive water damage that might happen and structural components that have to be assessed,” says Connor.

“Talking with builders that can quote on the whole project, in that sense, it gives you less guesswork.”

2. Plumbing issues

Having your bathroom’s facelift almost complete only to realise the plumbing is in the wrong position to suit your new bath can be a costly mistake to make.

When it comes to renovating, Connor advises against refits that mount new products over old plumbing and says installing new pipes or PVC points – though initially more expensive – is worthwhile.

“You want to make sure that you know the specifications of the items that you’re putting in before the job starts,” says Connor.

“[It is best] to do brand new everything.

“You also want to engage with professional plumbers that actually know the specifications so when you get to the end of a project it is successful and it is finished.”

3. Poor door swing clearances

TK Design Principal Tania Kloester says you should always account for door swing clearances in the planning stages of a renovation.

To ensure your door isn’t opening directly onto a toilet or bath edge, Tania says keen renovators should adjust the door to suit the space, and working drawings should reveal any layout problems early on.

“In different spaces, you can rehang the door if there is not enough clearance or consider a sliding door in small spaces if there isn’t enough space behind the door,” says Tania.

“Anything that stops you from stepping over yourself to get into the bathroom is a good move.”

4. Inadequate tiling or waterproofing 

As one of the wettest rooms of the home, it should come as no surprise that the bathroom requires a fair amount of waterproofing or tiling.

Tania warns that though you might want to forgo a full splashback behind your sink or shower, it could then become home to mould.

“Ideally, it’s nice to tile beyond the absolute necessity,” says Tania.

“Not only will this prevent mould from damaging your walls but if you run your tiles around all the walls where you can it just looks much nicer.”

5. Skimping on storage

While a minimalist bathroom might be on your mind, Tania says you should never overlook storage.

From forgetting storage niches in the shower entirely or not leaving enough room for towel rails – Tania says while these may not be the priciest of mistakes, they can still be problematic.

“If these things are overlooked it means you don’t really have any good storage,” says Tania.

“You might need to refit shelves – which can look a bit heavy and off-putting if they’re in a prominent position.”