4 Tips To Save You Time And Hassle On Your Bathroom Renovation

Nadia Hursky on January 11, 2019

We have recently been renovating our investment flat in Bronte and we have been lucky enough to experience the renovation process from our clients perspective. Whilst we have an amazing team of designers and have sourced talented tradesmen,  renovations almost certainly will never adhere to a strict time-line and will come in a little above your budget, so be prepared for this! Here are four tips to fool-proof your bathroom renovation experience.

1. Choose your builder wisely

A bathroom renovation will take approx. 4 weeks, so the builder you select will be in and out of your home for extended periods. You will want to both like and trust your builder. Ensure that in your initial meeting with your builder that he can express himself clearly and that there are no miscommunications in the work that he will promise to do. When he provides a formal quotation, ensure all work is itemised and listed. If something is missing, the best time to bring this up is before the work commences.

Your builder is likely well connected and has a team of tradesmen that he will use to coordinate your bathroom install. Insist on the best plumbers and tilers your builder has on his books. This will be crucial to the quality of the end product. A professional and expert tiler will take your bathroom to the next level. It is a skill that shouldn't be undermined, so demand his best tiler for your job.

Plumbing in older buildings can be challenging. If you are in an apartment, you will need to access the ceiling of the flat below. In most cases neighbours won't agree to this, so plan wisely  as it's likely the plumbing can't be rearranged in a flat. Once the bathroom has been stripped, it will need to be prepared by the plumber, electrician and waterproofer before the tiling & fittings can happen. Electrical outlets can no longer be exposed in wet areas, so you will need to conceal the powerpoints in the bathroom vanity or shaving cabinet. Lighting and ducting preparation will need to take place too. The plumber should advise you of the toilet requirements needed specific to the outlet and waste for your toilet.

tiling a bathroom wall

Ensure you get an accurate and professional tiler and plumber for your bathroom!

2. Take time choosing your fittings & fixtures, but have them ready to go.

Your builder will likely be working on more than one project at a time, so his tradesmen will be organised according to his schedule. It is crucial to choose your tiles and fittings with upmost care, as this is an expensive part of your renovation. Many people think this is a great area to cut costs on, but we completely disagree. Whatever goes on the walls will likely stay on the walls for twenty or more years so choose wisely. Porcelain tiles are durable and don't need any maintenance unlike natural stone. They vary in quality, design and detail but there are thousands to choose from. . Your tile choice is what will define your bathroom renovation, from calm, to classic, modern or rustic, the ambience lies within the tiles. Consulting a designer will help narrow the choice and bring your vision to life

Once you have selected your tiles and tap wear, ensure you organise delivery early on as you do not want to delay the project. Your builder will need the shower mixers in order to place them in the walls prior to waterproofing. This means you will need to organise this well in advance. Keep in mind that some tap finishes and styles have a longer lead time, so you will need to consider this into your project timeline and goals. Additionally, having your items ready to go means that your builder can schedule in the associated trades without any delay and in advance. If your items aren't ready, it could cause unnecessary delays whilst you await the appropriate trades to become available.

Tapwear, tiles and fittings should be a timeless and high quality decision in your bathroom renovation. The below Blue Tea bathroom featuring Jatana tiles, and Meir tapwear.

bathroom vanity with marble

bathroom shower feature tiles

3. Be patient when it comes to waterproofing

It is tempting to want to hurry along the renovation, but certain aspects simply just need time. Concrete needs time to cure, waterproofing needs time to dry. In our renovation this literally took weeks as we had to co-ordinate with multiple builders (some contracted to work on the entire building improvement). Your waterproofing should also be certified, so ensure your builder will have a contractor who provides you with a certificate.

Below is our bathroom showing the waterproof stage, also note those awkward drain positions!

bathroom waterproofing foundations

4. Work to express the details of the space. Bathrooms will mostly always feel too small.

Bathrooms are typically awkward spaces. They are small and they have to fit functional necessities in all corners. A typical bathroom will consist of a shower (or bath or combination), a toilet, and a vanity. In addition towel rails, shaving cabinet/ mirror and additional fittings need to be allocated. The door will also usually swing inwards, taking up valuable space. This means that you need to plan everything to the millimetre! You will also likely be limited by the location of the plumbing if you are in an apartment. If you have a designer, they should take particular note of all the plumbing details including drains. Bathroom drainage needs to adhere to the building codes of Australia so your builder should be aware of these. In our ensuite design the plumbing was particularly challenging as one of the drains was already in an awkward position in the bathroom and sat between the new shower and the floor space. We solved this dilemma by having a custom made drain to extend the length of the shower. What could have been an eyesore was transformed into a design feature. Your designer should take all these small details into account will be able to transform them into part of a coherent and stunning design.

bathroom pre- renovationbathroom renovation tiling

bathroom progress shot of renovation

Above photos showing the development of the awkward drain position. Work with your designer to make the best of challenging spaces and layouts.

When embarking on your bathroom renovation, remember that clever planning will save you time and money. You won't be able to control everything, but the more details that you have planned and considered, the smoother the experience will be. If you would like design assistance and trade recommendations with your bathroom renovation please drop us a line.



  1. Nicolette says:

    I’m considering redoing my bathroom this summer and was looking for some advice on how to go about the process. Thanks for the help! I really like the advice about taking time to choose your fitting and fixtures. This will make the process much smoother for me.

    1. Nadia Hursky says:

      Hi Nicolette. Thanks so much for your kind feedback. I hope you have a great outcome and experience with your new bathroom renovation.

  2. Jessica Darcey says:

    Thanks for the advice Nadia. Totally agree about choosing builders. One of my friend was renovating and in the end we were the ones giving out ideas to the builder rather than him providing us. I’m gonna keep these in mind for future needs. Thanks again!

  3. Jessica Darcey says:

    True on the procurement. Sometimes, the builders are there but not the materials and that simply causes extra delay. It’s better to have them stacked up in advance.