How To Avoid Your Bathroom Renovation Costs From Blowing Out

The cost of a bathroom renovation can vary enormously. The scope of your project, your selections and any upgrades are just a few factors that can substantially impact on the overall cost of your bathroom renovation. Let’s discuss a few tips on how to keep costs down:

Do It Properly

The term ‘false economy’ applies here- if you have to do it twice, it’s not cheap. Often people think they are saving money by re-using utilities such as the bath, by using “friends” as tradesmen, or by project managing the job themselves. There are no winners in this scenario. Using friends as tradesmen can backfire massively if they incur an error and you feel uncomfortable asking them to rectify it. Not to mention waiting endlessly for them to squeeze you in on a Saturday! As for re-using items such as the bath with a few minor chips in it, yes it will save you the cost of a bath but when you’ve already spent $20,000 on a new bathroom, what’s another thousand? Especially when you are soaking in the old tub in the brand spanking new bathroom!

As for project managing the job yourself, unless you’re a builder, or have successfully renovated properties previously, don’t risk it! Crucial stages such as waterproofing, tiling etc cannot afford to be missed or done incorrectly. Utilizing the services of a builder also ensures the work will be under warranty for seven years- worth every penny if something happens down the track!

If you are going to go the trouble and expense of renovating your bathroom, always do it properly and engage a qualified builder.


Also known as a cosmetic renovation, a retrofit will always be more economical than a full bathroom refit.

As soon as you make changes to the existing layout, your overall costs will increase. In particular, leaving the plumbing where it is will be a huge money saver. Maintaining the placement of your existing toilet, shower and vanity waste locations allows you to achieve a more cost-effective renovation. Within this you can increase the storage, introduce a walk-in shower and a stylish wall faced toilet to achieve a great visual impact at a lower cost.

Consider Tiling Carefully

Although a beautiful tile will lift your bathroom enormously, if you’re renovating with budget in mind, choosing the wrong tiles will blow your budget instantly. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Extra small tiles add cost. Yes, your marble mosaic tiles will elevate your bathroom or shower wall, but they can be extremely pricey at over $200/m. They also cost more in labour cost to lay, as your tiler will spend much more time per metre laying them. Another cost factor with small-scale tiles is that they need to be laid on a perfectly flat and even surface- any imperfection in the surface will be amplified with small tiles. In a renovation, your tiler and builder will want the walls to be checked for level and straightened which could add more cost to you.
  • Extra large tiles add cost. Although using large tiles will make your bathroom appear larger, choosing an extra large dimension such as 450mm x 900mm or 600mm x 900mm or even larger, their heavy and awkward scale will mean it is a two person job for your tiler, which will incur cost. Sticking to a standard 450mm x 450mm or 600mm x 600mm tile should keep costs down.
  • Another way to quickly add cost to your bathroom is by choosing floor-to-ceiling tiles. This choice requires the ceiling cornice being removed and square set. To save on costs, some people will opt to tile just the floors and wet areas like behind the bath and shower. Yes, this will save you money but the floor to ceiling tiles make your bathroom look bigger.
  • Tile finish will add cost. When you are selecting tiles you will have the choice of selecting between a matt, lapatto or gloss finish. The matt is usually cheaper than the lapatto (semi-gloss) so choose this option when your aim is to keep your budget from blowing out. A matt tile is also generally easier to clean, ideal for a bathroom.

Don’t Overdo it

Less is more when renovating a bathroom. In such a small space, too many items will compete for attention and you will lose your impact. Not only will you save money by refraining from saying yes to every upgrade or accessory, you will create a better outcome for your project.

Instead, find a focal point or main feature in your bathroom you wish to draw attention to (for example, a feature shower tile, or a freestanding bath) and keep everything else to a minimum. Allow one or two accessories like a timber stool, some luxurious towels or an indoor plant to allow your chosen feature to shine. Top tip: choose a great mirror that doubles as a beautiful feature while serving a practical purpose.

Source by Sophie Hendry