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Bathroom Renovation Nightmares: DIY Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Home renovations in Australia are on the rise fast. TV shows like The Block, House Rules and Rehab Addict have been the driving force behind everyday homeowners craving their own property makeover. And getting the confidence and inspiration to tackle it DIY style. It’s one of the most exciting and creative processes to go through.But committing to a home renovation of any kind is a big project to take on. Bathrooms may be smaller spaces in the home – but they can add just as much value and wow factor to a home.

A successful bathroom reno has the potential to completely transform a property. Timeless, functional and trendy designs that incorporate a sense of your own style make a big impact in bathroom renovations. But unless you’re a homeowner who’s been through the process numerous times or a professional who does it every day, a bathroom reno can be easily derailed before it barely begins. Don’t be another bathroom renovation nightmare statistic! Here are the DIY pitfalls to watch out for:  

Blowing Out Your Budget

Blowing your budget and project timeline are the two biggest culprits for a bathroom renovation. Before you start tearing out tiles, determine how much money you’re willing to invest. Over budgeting is always better and will allow some breathing room for any unexpected costs, which will almost always occur. The size of your budget, the quality of materials and your choice of fittings all impact budget.

To avoid overspending, know what splurges are worth investing in and which ones aren’t. If you want to create a bathroom that oozes luxury on a budget, opt for dual sinks and a separate walk-in shower and soaking tub. Features like stone tiles may look appealing, but the costs and upkeep associated with them aren’t usually worth the investment. Instead, choose stone-look porcelain tiles which can save you an average of $500-$1500. Knowing what to compromise on and where is key to sticking to your budget.

Doing Your Own Plumbing

Plumbing nightmares can be all too real when it comes to renovations. Plumbing isn’t the place to start thinking you’re the jack of all trades (unless you actually are) because attempting to take it on yourself without experience can cost you thousands to repair potential damages. Like electrical work, some things are best left to the professionals. Installing new plumbing or pipe relining are two common expenses you’ll need to invest in for a bathroom renovation. And this work should only be completed by licensed tradespeople.

Previous plumbing installations can be associated with costly problems in a bathroom renovation. Early warning signs of these could be knocking sounds when the shower is running, indicating that previous pipes haven’t been secured properly. Taps that deliver inconsistent water pressure or leak when turned off can be a warning sign too.

Skimping on Waterproofing

A bathroom that isn’t properly waterproofed is going to be a recipe for disaster. Water failure is one of the top building problems in Australia, and some states don’t even require a waterproofing licence to take out the work. To eliminate any costly defects and protect your investment, always engage with a licensed waterproofer. Tackling the job yourself or getting someone to do it that isn’t qualified can end up costing you a fortune down the track. Not to mention, undo all the hard work you’ve put in for the bathroom renovation.

Overlooking Good Heating and Ventilation

A good bathroom should be a functional place of relaxation. You want the space to be enjoyable to be in. Investing in adequate heating and making sure there are enough open windows for sunshine is important for creating a feel-good space. Good ventilation will prevent mould problems too. And being the number one issue bathrooms face, you want to take the right precautionary measures early on in the project.

Watching black specks of mould creep over your newly painted ceilings and walls is a bathroom nightmare. Even bathrooms that have plenty of open windows will need an exhaust fan to extract the steam and boost air quality. The best way is to integrate an exhaust fan into the ceiling strip. This way, it runs the full length of the bathroom for maximum effect and keeps the clean lines of the interior, as opposed to a surface-mounted fan.

Using the Wrong Materials

Using the wrong materials in a bathroom renovation doesn’t just affect the design and functionality of the space, but also maintenance down the track. Wet areas like the bathroom need to utilise materials that can withstand the heat and water. This applies to everything! Bathroom fixtures, surface areas, tiles and paint all need to be chosen with this in mind. Softwood, non-waterproof MDF and fabric can swell, rot or discolour from the heat and water built up in bathrooms.

If you are planning to use materials like hardwood, stone or travertine marble make sure it’s sealed. Ceramic tiles are popular in bathroom designs because providing their 100% waterproofed and applied properly, moisture isn’t a problem with them. For flooring options in the space, check out the pros and cons of the top materials here.

Underestimating the value of a Good Bathroom

The value of a well-designed bathroom is often underestimated. Don’t be afraid to splurge on a few high-end materials and finishes to create a luxurious appeal on a budget. It’s possible! Adding one or more pricier additions to a small portion of the bathroom can still be done within budget. Choosing low-quality materials, fittings and finishes may feel healthier for your wallet initially, but they won’t stand the test of time. Some bathroom necessities can be skimped on to save money, like the walls, but don’t skimp on good-quality taps, baths, toilets, basins and flooring.

The bathroom is an extension of living spaces in a home so ultimately, you want to encourage people to spend time in it. Features like natural light (through skylights or windows), water efficiency, integrated sound systems and fittings that complement the bathroom design make a big difference. Whether you’re renovating to add value, create a more functional space, or you want your own slice of paradise at home, a good bathroom is priceless. 

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