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A Complete Guide to a Bathroom Renovation

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A Complete Guide to a Bathroom Renovation

November 12, 2020

We all dream of having a spa-like bathroom to wash our worries away, so if you’re undertaking a bathroom renovation to transform your space, you’ll need to follow some crucial steps to help the project run as smoothly as possible.

Steps to Take in a Bathroom Renovation

An average bathroom in the UK is 2x2m, and this humble space gets a lot of use every single day so it’s important to design it to maximise its use and make it work for every person in your home.

Our handy step-by-step guide helps you through the different steps to a bathroom project, whether you’re redesigning or refreshing.

Step 1 — Gather Inspiration
Bathroom 1
Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Even though it can feel like a big project, having work done to your bathroom is exciting and an excuse to let your creativity run wild. Start the process by gathering inspiration for style and functionality in your space.

Instagram is awash with interior and renovation accounts showing you the entire bathroom process. Take some time to follow accounts or hashtags you like and discover useful tips and tricks; they’ll have insight that some wouldn’t think of as they currently work through their renovation ahead of you starting yours.

As well as this, create vision boards from the stunning imagery that is across Pinterest and other sites that offer inspiration for design, and look and feel of a bathroom.

Visit bathroom showrooms and get a feel for styles and textures across the bathroom suite, tiling, flooring and fittings and fixtures. Do you want a square sink or a rounded edge? There’s a lot to think about when designing a bathroom.

Once you’ve decided, it’s time to construct the space.

Step 2 — Design the Bathroom

If you’re doing a full bathroom refit, begin the design process measuring the space then drawing out your bathroom on paper. Next, add in the elements you want. Once you’ve drawn where you want the toilet, basin, and bath and/or shower to go, review it. Does the layout work? Does having a bath and a separate shower allow enough room to move around? Does the door open properly?

As part of your design drawing, include power outlets, radiators, windows, doors and storage, and also draw in where little things like the toilet roll holder will go as well as other functional add ons — it’s not the most exciting part, but you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Be honest with yourself about your design because the way you’ve laid it out may look nice but the bathroom is not the room of the house that should lead with style over substance; functionality has to take precedence.

During this stage, if certain elements aren’t working, consider if you really need them instead of shoehorning them in. It’s said that having a bath will improve the chances of selling your home, but if you’re stuck for space and no one in your home takes baths, why spend money on one? Instead, add a double walk-in shower that’s way more functional for you and your family. These are things you need to be considering as you design the space.

After you’ve worked out where the suite is going, move on to lighting. This is hugely important in the bathroom because lighting has many responsibilities, like being decorative or task-based.

Consider the placement of lights in the bathroom such as adding lights above the mirrors to create the illusion of a larger, brighter space or add dim switches for night time use, not forgetting the natural light coming from your window and how this can play a part in your overall design. Where you will be placing this lighting should come into your design drawing and discuss with your electrician on how plausible it will be. For more information on regulations on lights in the bathroom, please refer to the building regulations part of this guide.

Ventilation mustn’t be overlooked in a bathroom project either and takes good planning to get it right, especially if you’re doing a full bathroom refit. Poor ventilation can make you vulnerable to damp and mould so make sure that you add a vent or extractor fan to your bathroom design.

As an alternative to drawing your own design, there are many online design tools you can use, such as B&Qs bathroom design tool, and there is no obligation to buy the products from them either. You can also work with a bathroom design specialist to help alleviate some of the decision-making pressure.

Step 3 — Decide on a Budget

Next, consider your budget. Thoroughly research the cost of the items you need and want and then you should be able to begin building a general idea of how much a bathroom costs. This will be your baseline. Earmark some more budget for contingency work or added extras that you may decide you want as you go. It can be easy to get carried away when renovating so be careful not to blow your budget.

You’ll need to budget in costs for:

· The bathroom suite: toilet, basin, bath

· Additional materials

· Fixtures and Fittings

· Flooring and Tiling

· Lighting

· Labour costs

· A contingency pot

At this stage, you can evaluate whether you want to go for the freestanding bath over a classic-shape bath (P or L-shaped) and the more lavish fittings or whether you want to scale back to save costs. This is completely up to you and you should always settle on a cost that you feel comfortable with and you can afford. If you work with a bathroom designer, they can also advise on the cost of things; a trusted professional tradesman will be able to quote you upfront so you know how much the labour will cost too.

Step 4 — Plan Your Bathroom Project

Now you’ve decided on the general look and layout, it’s time to plan, plan and plan again. Crucial for any home project, detailed planning sometimes gets overlooked but here, with the devil in the detail, is what you’ll find the most helpful.

Engage your bathroom fitter, plumber, electrician, tiler and any other professional tradesperson on iknowa and work with them on timings so you can put together a timeline of events, from ripping out the old bathroom to having the new one completely finished.

Try to stick to the plan as much as possible but have an understanding that extenuating factors can crop up and impact the project. It’s advised to connect with the professionals early in the process as they can also offer expert advice on your design.

Organise how much of the original design is being changed, a timeline of when materials will be delivered and when specific tradesmen will be working, what needs to be done and a pencilled in final day of project work.

Step 5 — Begin the Work

If you’ve researched, planned and prepped accordingly, you should be ready for the work to commence. Clear out everything that’s in the bathroom and make a clear pathway through the house for workmen to use.

Now it’s time to hand over the reins to the professionals.

How Much Does It Cost to Redo Your Bathroom?

This depends on the size of your space, whether you’re installing a three-piece or four-piece suite, or a small downstairs bathroom, and of course, whether you’re moving the design of the room or just refitting on the layout that is already there.

An average bathroom suite (that’s the toilet, basin and bath) costs a few hundred pounds. For a mid-range suite, expect to pay upward of £1,000 and for luxury, a few thousand.

How Long Does It Take to Redo Your Bathroom?

As part of your planning stage, you should have ascertained a general timeline for the work to be completed. This would have meant speaking to the tradesmen who would be working on your project with a clear brief and they would then be able to return a quote and timings.

However, these timings will differ based on whether you’re gutting the bathroom and starting again or whether you’re just removing the existing suite and replacing with a newer model.

Project Timelines for Refreshing a New Bathroom

You don’t always have to have a complete overhaul to transform your bathroom space. Keeping the existing layout but adding a new suite and changing the tiles can be just as impactful — and still help you when valuing the property.

This type of bathroom project should take approximately a week but speak to your builder beforehand and agree on a timeline that works for you. For just a suite removal and refit, time will be reduced, but if you’re looking to get the tiles removed and a new floor as well, then this will add time. It’s all about working through and finding the balance between the amount of work you want done and the realistic time you want it completed in.

Project Timelines for Completely Refitting your Bathroom

If you are having a lot of work done, you can expect at least two weeks of work on your bathroom. Plus, the more work you have done, the more chances there are of uncovering problems. Prepare yourself for extra work because gutting rooms in a house almost always brings up hidden issues.

For example, the walls could be in a bad state when the tiles are removed and so you’d need to strip them back and do a dry line before adding tile backer boards (or something similar) and then re-tiling. Similar issues could arise when you rip up the flooring or expose the pipework so have contingency time built in.

Maximising Your Bathroom’s Functionality

Consider space savings solutions by adding in storage where you can. This can come from vanity units with drawers and shelves or hidden walls with built-in storage. Now is the time to make big changes to the space when you’ve got a team of people working there, but again, consider this at the design and planning stage, not just for you but for the bathroom fitters to be able to plan their time accordingly.

Built-in storage solutions include hidden walls behind the toilet, storage shelves built into the tiles in the shower. These are not the type of storage options to add on after the renovation is done and have to be thought of in advance.

When to Use a Professional for a Bathroom Renovation

We recommend engaging with a professional as early as possible in the renovation process. These highly skilled workmen can offer guidance on the do’s and don’ts of renovating and can work within your budget if this is agreed in advance.

Only use reputable tradesmen through our trusted site so you know you’re getting a highly skilled and reliable person in your home.

You will be able to hire any person for the job, from plumbers, electricians and bathroom installers for your project on iknowa. These experts specialise in their craft and work with each other as well as you, to get your desired outcome.

When to Use a Professional for a Bathroom Renovation

We recommend engaging with a professional as early as possible in the renovation process. These highly skilled workmen can offer guidance on the do’s and don’ts of renovating and can work within your budget if this is agreed in advance.

Only use reputable tradesmen through our trusted site so you know you’re getting a highly skilled and reliable person in your home.

You will be able to hire any person for the job, from plumbers, electricians and bathroom installers for your project on iknowa. These experts specialise in their craft and work with each other as well as you, to get your desired outcome.

Do I Need Planning Permission When Renovating a Bathroom?

If you’re doing a refresh and replacing the bathroom suite, then you will not be required to follow any building regulations. However, if you’re doing a bigger refit and will be undertaking drainage or electric work, then you may need to seek approval under building regulations.

If your bathroom project entails installing a bathroom into a room that was not a bathroom before, for example moving the family bathroom from downstairs to up, then you will also need to seek approval. This is to ensure that the new space has adequate ventilation, correct pipework, is structurally sound and following electric, gas and fire safety regulations.

Changes to the hot water system or rerouting the plumbing will not only hugely impact the timings of a bathroom renovation but this task is also a lot more expensive. Not only this, you will need to seek new building approvals. So if this is something you want to undertake in your bathroom project, get it covered in the beginning.

You’re not completely off the hook with fittings and fixtures either as new lights in your bathroom need to have the correct IP rating. When it comes to lights, the bathroom is broken down into zones: Zone 0, 1, 2 and outside zones.

Getting Started with Your Bathroom Renovation

Renovating your bathroom is a great way to add value to your home and transforming the space is a sure-fire way to add some life to your home. If you’re looking for trusted tradesmen to help you get started, check out our list of vetted bathroom installers, tilers and more that can help kick start your bathroom project. Or, if you’re still in the planning stage, have a look at our useful guides to home improvement projects to help you through.?

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