Ways to renovate your bathroom without spending too much money
As someone who recently renovated a bathroom, I have to confess; it’s not easy and it ain’t cheap.
You set a budget, source your parts and contractors and kick off the renovation project. Within a week, you are already 5% over budget. It just seems to happen for some reason. Bathrooms are expensive and likely because regardless of size, a lot of individual pieces of work are required.
Builders, tilers, water proofers, painters, plumbers, electricians and more. Bathrooms touch on just about every trade, making them one of the more expensive areas of the house to renovate.
So after spending a good $8,000 over what I had budgeted, I decided to ask the legions of Savings Guide readers their tips on renovating a bathroom cheaply. Did we get any good renovation tips? Yes. In fact, I wish I had of posed the question prior to starting the bathroom renovation.
Here are some ideas on how to renovate your bathroom cheaply.
Amanda says you can shave nearly $12,000 from your bathroom renovation
“We did our bathroom last year and quotes ranged from $10,000 to $15,000. We opted instead to do most of it ourselves to cut down the costs of renovating. We repainted an orange bath for $500 instead of buying a new one. We installed a new toilet under a then Government scheme for $300 (no longer available).
We also pulled out the vanity and put in one we picked up from a ‘renovation yard’ for $250. It was a 1930’s cast iron vanity and looks stunning. We then purchased a new shower that was $800 including installation.
Next we bought a set of drawers for $300. We ripped off the hideous wallpaper and painted them with leftover paint from other projects in the house. This made the existing beige tiles look pretty good.
We also installed new rails and towel rails which look great. A great way to save money on renovating and spruce up the look a little.
The floor tiles are still pretty horrible but the rest looks so good we never notice them.
We were lucky that everything was structurally sound and there were no leaks.
Oh and we also put in some new light fittings from an antique shop – cheap and excellent quality and its finished for under $3000.
My tips for renovating the bathroom? Use Gumtree, demolition yards and antique shops. Good luck.”
Rochelle says the key is making your old bathroom fittings look like new
“Look into tile paint for repainting old baths and basins white. It is not very hard to use and the results are great. It means you can buy a heavy and heat retaining bathtub in purple, green or pink and in a few days it will be white and ready to use. You might even get a claw foot one if you are lucky.
I sanded mine by hand and followed the instructions on the paint to the letter and haven’t been disappointed. Old bathtubs are on eBay for forty dollars. Scrub the outside with a wire brush and paint it with suitable enamel in any colour you like, mine is grey.
Another thing to save money is learn to tile yourself. It’s really easy and once you start you will never pay anyone to do it for you again.
Also, spend up on taps and shower bases. Leaks are very bad news for saving money as you know.
In essence, unless a tradesperson needs to sign off on it, you can do it, so get in and give it a go.”
Mark says you can cut down on the costs of hiring tradespeople for bathroom renovations
“There are some things that you will just have to wear the cost of with a tradesperson (for instance pipe work, drainage, toilet setup along with other internal piping) and for me, that included floor tiling as well (levels are very hard to do and important for drainage).
I also believe all internal piping needs to be signed off and approved by a ‘certifier’ under current legislation.
Your type of toilet and fixtures will depend on your style/comfort needs, but what is fashionable today will be out of date in 10 years’ time. If you cannot afford your luxury today maybe in 10 years’ time you can. Stick to a long term goal for your house and don’t spend money on things you will quickly outgrow or be disappointed with.
Tiling your walls is easy; just ensure that the wall that the tiles will sit on is straight and level. Make sure it is waterproofed properly (give it two coats of waterproofing solution) and the rest is like playing with Lego. Start at the bottom, gluing each tile to the wall and constantly check you are level as you go.
Buy the appropriate sealant/grout and fill in gaps between the tiles. Excess can be wiped or cut off with a Stanley-knife. You will need to hire a tile cutter for those odd shapes (going round the fixtures – cut the tile in half then chisel out a circle – the tap and shower fixtures have bases which will hide your chiseling). This however is quite difficult so best to engage a tradesperson if you quickly get overwhelmed.
Shower glass doors are pre made to the size you order and all you are doing is screwing it to the wall and floor. Just be careful of cracking tiles. This will cut down on your tradesman costs if you are prepared to put in some labour yourself.”
Alison says that you can cut corners when it comes to tiling
“When it comes to bathroom renovations; we had truly horrible existing tiles in the bathroom so we painted them (with a special tile paint) and made them white instead of spending money to replace them.
It made an amazing difference to the bathroom at a fraction of the cost of buying new tiles and hiring a tiler.
This is not always possible, I know, but worth considering for those looking to do a quick bathroom makeover or temporary fix.”
Bea says that Bunnings can offer you a very cheap bathroom renovation package
“Bunnings is by far the cheapest way to go. If you plan it right, you can do a whole bathroom (painted, tiled, bath, shower, vanity plus replastering) for about $1500 (I know, because I did it!).
Look for clearance items and check out gumtree.com.au for anything people are looking to get rid of. Chances are there is nothing wrong with the item, people just want a change from what they have.”
Do you have any ideas on how to renovate a bathroom cheaply?
We want more tips! Tell us how you renovated (or intend to renovate) your bathroom on the cheap.