By Bernadette Jansen, The School of Renovating


Our expectations of the humble bathroom have become quite inflated. It’s no longer just a place to get clean, we want more, a refuge where we can close the door on the daily humdrum to luxuriate and recharge.

What we don’t want is to spend a truckload of time, money and inconvenience on our dream bathroom and find out a few months down the track that it’s not living up to its promises.
Here are the top 10 bathroom renovating mistakes and how to avoid them.

#1 Overspending

This is very easy to do in a wet area. What starts out as a minor makeover can very quickly morph into money pit material? To avoid overcapitalizing keep the total cost of the renovation below 1.5% of the value of the property.

Here are some tips For minimising costs :

• Design for standard fixtures and fittings to avoid the expense of custom making.

• Purchase all your tiles; tap ware, sanitary ware, cabinets and accessories before you start. Watch sales and auctions for good buys.

• Take photos of the existing fixtures and fittings in situ so that you can advertise on eBay or Gum tree to sell or give away and at the very least reduce the rubbish removal fees.

• If you are able to maintain the configuration of the bathroom, you can usually save on plumbing and the time and expense of council approval process.

#2 DIY waterproofing

One of the most common issues in a bathroom is a leaking shower and it is an expensive item to fix. Best to do it right the first time by engaging a Certified-waterproofing tradesman and ensure that you are provided with a waterproofing certificate and warranty. If you sell your home following the bathroom renovation you will be required to produce the waterproofing certificate.

Waterproofing tip: once the waterproofing is complete, keep an eye on the follow up trades, particularly the tiler. A small nick in the waterproof membrane with the tillers trowel or a broken tile will compromise its integrity and may result in a leak.

#3 Poor Ventilation

The definition of horror is finding tiny black specks of mould marching up your newly painted walls and ceilings. This is generally caused by poor ventilation. Even if you have good open able windows, you will still need an exhaust fan or IXL-tastic to extract the steam.
Tip Paint the walls with oil based or mould-resistant bathroom to lessen the risk of mould taking hold.

#4 Trying To Squeeze Too Much In:

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Avoid overcrowding the bathroom. If you have a separate toilet close by, don’t install one in the bathroom.. Maximise space as much as possible to make the room less cluttered and more comfortable. If the room is too small for a bath and a shower, the shower over the bath is preferable to cramping the room. Wall hung cabinetry and an in-wall toilet cistern will help preserve floor space.

Tip Sometimes simply changing the side the door swings from can improve the use of the space.

# 5 Poor Task Lighting

Many of bathroom activities require good lighting. Shaving, waxing applying makeup and hair styling are difficult to do well in general ambient light. Including some well-designed task lighting is a must.
In short, install a large mirror over the basin or vanity along with some lighting that directs back onto the face. There are many sleek lighting options available rather than the dated Hollywood style makeup lights.

#6 Removing The Bath

Taking the bath out of a home will affect the resale. It doesn’t matter which bathroom it is located in, just as long as there is one.
If there is already a bath in the home, a second will not add value.

#7 Poor drainage

Every wet area floor requires “fall”. The floor must gently slope towards the floor waste to allow water to drain away efficiently. Large format floor tiles make this difficult particularly in a small bathroom.
The tiler sets the level of fall by laying a sand and cement screed (topping) that grades toward the waste. The tiles are then laid overtop. If the area is small and the tiles are large, they will be difficult to manipulate over the slope and require a lot cuts. The maximum workable floor tile size is 300 X 300mm. If you have your heart really set on large format tiles then consider a linear floor waste.

Linea waste

A quick tip on linear floor wastes; If your design requires a linear floor waste that spans the room (2 metres) +)consider installing two at half the size. This will make cleaning much easier and will reduce the cost significantly.

#8 Using Fixtures And Features That Date

We have all seen it: the chocolate sanitary ware and the gaudy border tiles. Your choice may be very on-trend when it is installed but within a short timeframe (within 2 years) will begin to look dated. By keeping your, fixtures, fittings and finishes very elegant and classical, you will ensure that your bathroom has broad appeal that lasts for a very long time.

#9 Inappropriate Materials

All surfaces in the bathroom should be impervious to moisture otherwise it will swell, rot or discolor with time. This excludes soft wood, non-waterproof mdf, & particleboard, and fabric. Porous stone such as travertine marble and hardwood should be sealed.

#10 Not Enough Storage

Just like every other room in the house, storage is essential. You need room for cosmetics, medicines, products, hairdryers, straightener’s, shavers, dry towel and wet towels, and the list goes on. With smart storage there is an appropriate place for everything.

• Vanity drawers are easier to access than doors.
• Over bench mirrored shaving cabinets are great for keeping items away from little fingers.
• Include some wall recessed in the shower and by the bath for shampoos, soaps and the odd candle.
• Heated towel rails are a must for family bathrooms, they have the capacity to store lots of towels plus they will always be dry and fluffy.

Mirrored Cabinets

Storage Tip; Mirrored shaving cabinets are available off the shelf in various sizes. You can achieve a very tailored look by having plasterboard recess built over the basins to install two or three in a line, Add some led strip lighting under the cabinet for some added style and Voila: you have ample storing AND style at minimal cost.

Download our bonus eBook:
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Bernadette headshot newAbout the author

Bernadette Janson is the Founder and Director of The School Of Renovating.

Bernadette teaches women to harness their natural creativity and resources to become highly paid professional renovators, to make the time, money and freedom for the things that really matter to them and to live a life they love.

For more information, visit