By Bernadette Janson, Director The School of Renovating

db2d01b5d7aa650a5ea2082d6d79eccaI was asked to advise on a renovation when owners received quotes that were way out of their comfort zone $16, 000 to $26, 000 just for the renovation pc items were extra) I keep my bathroom costs between 1 – 1.5%. I was able to coach them on the process to achieve their dream bathroom at a total cost of $8500.

When the costs have the potential to blow out, a lot of home renovators start looking at what they can do themselves to save money, but contrary to what the television renovating shows might have you think, this is a huge mistake.

Unless you are a tradesman yourself it is counterproductive as the work takes longer to do and the quality will never be as good as a skilled tradesman can produce. These days the real estate market is extremely discerning and will sniff out a DIY job in a flash. In short it can devalue your property.

This is a situation where working smarter, not harder will make the difference and here are some tips to getting your high-end bathroom renovation AND saving money without picking up a trowel.

Manage the project yourself but engage the trades to do the work.

Get at least three quotes for each trade although you may want to use day labour for demolition. Using local trades to eliminate the traveling factor in their quote.

They are also keen to protect their reputations ensuring you get a quality job.

Keep changes to the layout to a minimum; this will help contain the plumbing costs and may eliminate the need for council approval (check with your local council).

Design your bathroom around standard sized fixtures and fittings to eliminate the need for expensive custom-made items. This applies particularly to vanities, mirrors and doors.

Don’t crowd the room. In the example I quoted we removed the toilet as there was a separate toilet directly next to the bathroom. This not only reduced costs but also created more space.

We also changed the old bath for a modern freestanding bath which was more expensive but ended up cost-neutral as the installation costs were lower because there’s no support structure required.

A walk-in shower is another luxury inclusion that is kind to pocket, if the budget is really tight you can even opt for an off-the-shelf frameless shower screen.

Tiling full height to the ceiling is luxurious and often doesn’t add a lot to the cost because a tiler will tend to charge for full days and you may as well get value for money than have him ticking off at lunchtime!!

Try to avoid feature tiles, as they will date, instead opt for large 600 X 300 mm gloss wall tiles and elegant fixtures and fittings.

Be a savvy shopper; look further afield than the traditional plumbing supply outlets. Check out the renovation auctions, eBay and the host of bathroom ware suppliers popping up that offer good quality at a great price.

These days, most tap ware (including Australian brands) is made in China and you can source quality designer tap ware for a fraction of the cost. You can even fluke an occasional bargain at the hardware store

If you buy your tiles in a job lot, allow for additional wastage. I would allow 20% if the tiles were no longer available instead of the usual 10%.

My last tip is one that I discovered the hard way. Pay for your materials by credit card so that you have a level of buyer protection. It is a good idea to check on your cards benefits before you embark on the shopping .

Order as much as you can from one supplier and always have it delivered. This will relieve you of the responsibility of getting it home in one piece and if there are any issues with the order it is the supplier who has to do the running around and not you.

For more information on renovating your bathroom download the free ebook“How To Get Your Perfect Bathroom At The Price You Want To Pay” HERE.

In this short video, Bernadette gives a few extra tips on how to add value with bathrooms;



bernadette-black-headBernadette Janson is a lover of renovating and the director of The School of Renovating. She manages a website offering tips, inspiration and training on renovating.

Bernadette’ passion began as a hobby twenty years ago while raising her four children when she discovered her flair for turning very ordinary houses into stunning family homes that are beautiful both aesthetically and functionally

Bernadette uses renovating is as a powerful and flexibility way to fast tracking her retirement savings and keeping risk to a minimum. She is an advocate for educating other renovators on how to use their passion to fund a comfortable and prosperous life and retirement.

You can follow Bernadette on:

Twitter: @renovatingsc