How to Renovate Your Bathroom While Sticking to a Budget

How to Renovate Your Bathroom While Sticking to a Budget

Bathroom renovations in Ipswich come in all different styles and sizes, from a small modern retro ensuite to a luxurious family bathroom with a classic freestanding bathtub. Regardless of the size or style, there is one thing that almost all bathroom renovations have in common – a homeowner’s desire to stick to the budget. But as any fans of The Block will appreciate, renovating a bathroom on a budget is often easier said than done! So, if you’re planning bathroom renovations in Ipswich, how can you ensure the project is completed not just on time but also on a budget? 

Preparing a Realistic Bathroom Renovation Budget

Before you can start renovating a bathroom on a budget, you first need to establish what that budget will be. Planning a realistic renovation budget will help you in how to renovate a bathroom on a budget, factor in all potential costs from the very beginning and avoid any unwanted issues down the track. Start by determining what you want your bathroom reno to include. Is this going to be a complete overhaul (demolishing everything and starting from scratch), or are you looking for more of a bathroom refresh (with new cabinetry, fixtures and finishes to replace the existing)? 

The average bathroom or ensuite renovation cost will vary significantly depending on the scope of works, fixtures and any planned structural changes. According to a recent HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms survey, just over 233,000 Australian households chose to renovate a bathroom in the 2018/2019 financial year, and the average cost was just under $20,000. To ensure your anticipated bathroom or ensuite renovation cost is realistic, to ensuite bathroom ideas on a budget, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert. With over 25 years of experience completing bathroom renovations in Ipswich, the team at McColl Cabinetmakers can answer all of your bathroom reno questions and help ensure you’ve included everything you need to in your budget.  

How to Allocate Your Bathroom Renovation Budget

Once you’ve established an overall budget for your project, the next step is to allocate how much you’ll spend on each facet of the bathroom renovation. For an average bathroom reno, expect to spend about 10% of the total budget on plumbing costs, 5% on electrical, 25% on fixtures, 25% on tiling and waterproofing costs and around 35% on labour and miscellaneous. However, if you decide to completely change the layout of the bathroom, you can expect to spend more on plumbing and electrical (as specialised trades will need to run new pipes and wires). 

One of the most important things to remember when allocating your renovation budget is to allow a buffer of at least 10%. Why is this necessary? Because it’s not uncommon for unanticipated costs to pop up once demolition works begin. For example, it might not be until after the current floor tiles get removed that you become aware of an existing water leak that has caused damage to the timber subfloor. Or your builder may discover that your bathroom contains asbestos sheeting which must be handled in compliance with Australian safety standards. Having a 10% buffer in your budget will ensure that these kinds of discoveries can be dealt with without blowing your budget. 

How to Stick to Your Budget When Planning Your Bathroom Renovation

If you’re renovating your bathroom on a budget, there are some important elements to consider in the initial planning stages. These include:

1. Choosing your key features:

Most bathroom renovations (regardless of size or budget) will include some stand-out focal points. These are the elements that instantly draw the eye and that make you say “wow!” when you walk in and see it for the first (or second, or third…) time. It could be the freestanding bathtub, the oversized walk-in shower with the rainfall showerhead or the double vanity with twin basins. Rather than trying to cram in as many special features as possible, consider which elements you want to highlight and that you’ll get the most use out of. For example, if you hate taking baths, then there’s probably not much point in allocating a substantial portion of your budget for a luxurious bathtub. This money could be better spent on creating your dream shower or upgrading to custom cabinetry. 

2. Deciding on the bathroom layout:

One of the things that can significantly affect your bathroom renovation budget is your choice of layout. If you want to make structural changes (removing walls, adding walls, raising or lowering the floor level, etc.), you’ll need to allocate additional funds for construction tasks like demolition, framing and plastering. You’ll also need to decide if you’re going to keep major plumbing fixtures in the same position as the existing, or if you’re going to move them to a new location. Any changes to the layout of plumbing fixtures will require additional plumbing works, such as the running of pipes to new locations. If this is going to result in a much better end result, then it could be well worth allocating additional funds for this purpose. However, if you’re happy with the existing layout, then leaving fixtures where they are will allow you to allocate additional funds to a different portion of the budget (perhaps upgrading your choice of tiles or cabinetry). 

3. Planning carefully to avoid mid-project changes:

One thing that is guaranteed to increase your bathroom or ensuite renovation cost is mid-project changes to the design or scope of works. For example, three weeks into a project a homeowner may suddenly decide they want to include a heated towel rail. However, this means that the electrician will have to return and run new wiring to the proposed towel rail location…and the tilers have already waterproofed and tiled the wall in question. This sort of change, while seemingly minor, will actually cause significant disruptions to the work schedule and result in a lot of added costs. This is why it’s so important to plan carefully before the project gets underway. Think about where you want light switches, power points, exhaust fans, and other appliances to be situated, so that the electrician can complete all the necessary work before the next stage of the project begins.  

How to Stick to Your Budget When Choosing Fixtures and Finishes

Just like with a kitchen renovation, your choice of fixtures and finishes can have a significant bearing on your final bathroom renovation project cost. However, this doesn’t mean you’re restricted to budget materials if you want to adhere to your set budget. When deciding on your bathroom renovation fixtures and finishes, consider the following points: 

1. Splurge on the right fixtures:

When deciding how to allocate your bathroom renovation budget, consider which fixtures are going to deliver the most value for money. For example, spending a little extra on a water-efficient luxury showerhead will result in a bathroom that not only looks fantastic, but that will deliver improved energy efficiency in the years to come. Likewise, opting for high-quality custom cabinetry will enable you to make the best possible use of the space while also improving your storage options and looking amazing. That’s why it makes more sense to splurge on these kinds of fixtures, as opposed to spending half your finishes budget on something like a mirror or a towel rail. 

2. Consider your choice of materials:

You may love the look of a marble-topped vanity, but that doesn’t mean marble is your only available option. Thanks to advances in modern manufacturing techniques, there is now a range of engineered stone benchtops that deliver a beautiful and hard-wearing marble-look finish, without the marble price tag. Similarly, many Brisbane homeowners love the look of natural timber in a bathroom. But timber can be costly and isn’t always well-suited to the damp conditions in a bathroom. By switching to a high-quality timber-look product (such as the Polytec Woodmatt Laminates range), you’re gaining a cost-effective product that is also hygienic, low maintenance and stain/scratch-resistant.

3. Choose the right tiles

When it comes to choosing your bathroom tiles you have a wide range of options available. This makes it possible to achieve just about any style while still staying within your pre-determined budget. When considering your choice of bathroom tile, there are two main things to keep in mind: 

(a) Tile price

Most bathroom tiles will have a price per square metre, but this can range from $30 up to $200+. The final price will often be determined by your choice of material, with standard ceramic tiles typically costing less than high-end travertine. 

(b) Cost to lay

The amount of time and effort involved in laying tiles will also impact the final cost. For example, large format tiles may be faster to lay, but will they also result in more wastage? Will a herringbone pattern take longer to apply than a subway-style pattern? And will small mosaic tiles require substantially more grout? Asking your builder these kinds of questions before your tile purchase will help you to stay within your planned tiling budget. 

Use an Experienced Bathroom Renovation Company

Many first-time renovators may feel that the easiest way to stay within budget is to personally handle as much of the project themselves as possible…however, this often isn’t the case. By involving an experienced bathroom renovation company from the very beginning, you’re minimising potential issues (many of them costly) that could crop up throughout the project. An experienced bathroom renovation design team will make sure no key details have been overlooked in the planning stages, and they’ll be able to walk you through all the various design options that are available to you. They’ll also help you plan a realistic budget for the project and then provide you with an itemised quote for completing the work. And with a professional project manager on board, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that someone else is coordinating the myriads of trades and suppliers involved in the project. This will also help to ensure you avoid costly setbacks caused by clashing timetables or material supply delays. 

With over 25 years of experience renovating bathrooms in Ipswich and Brisbane, McColl Cabinetmakers are the ideal choice for your bathroom renovation project. With our transparent and comprehensive design and quoting process, you can be assured that you’re getting exactly what you expected, for an upfront agreed-upon price. In addition to being fully licensed and insured, we also offer a workmanship warranty for all of our bathroom renovation projects. To find out more, book a private consultation with one of our experienced designers or contact us on Ph: (07) 3288 0711.