As with any home improvement project, you need to be savvy when it comes to costs to prevent you spending more money than you need to. And it can be difficult, sometimes surprises along the way or making unnecessary changes can cause your costs to sky rocket.
When it comes to bathroom renovations, where there is a lot going on ‘under the surface’, it pays to know what to consider before you start and how these considerations can keep your costs under control throughout the project.
1. Work With What You’ve Got
It can be tempting to change the layout of an existing bathroom when renovating. However, changing the location of the toilet – and more specifically, the soil pipe – can be an expensive, labour-intensive job. As such, unless taking on a remodel or extension project, it can pay to leave the toilet where it is and plan around it.
Using graph paper, mark down its location and the positions of any windows and the door as a starting point for your new layout. From here, you can try out different layouts and assess where to position other key items of sanitaryware.
2. Choose Cost-Effective Heating
A towel radiator is a cost-effective solution to creating a comfortable temperature in your bathroom. Dual-fuel towel radiators are a good option for bathrooms as they can be used when the central heating is turned off and some newer models are fully programmable for lower running costs.
While electric underfloor heating mats are cheaper to buy and install, it’s worth weighing up the long-term running costs (wet underfloor heating is often cheaper to run). Installing wet underfloor heating (UFH) can be a little bit trickier because of the depth required for the pipes and screed, but low-profile systems can be a solution here.
(MORE: How much will your bathroom renovation cost?)
3. Check Your Subfloor is Sound
Ensuring the existing subfloor (the floor structure which lies beneath your floor covering) is sound is a key task when renovating a bathroom.
In an older house, the subfloor may need some work; a self-levelling compound may be required to provide a flat, level surface over an existing concrete floor, for instance, while timber floors might need bracing to support the weight of new sanitaryware.
Installing an uncoupling membrane will also help prevent bathroom floor tiles from cracking in homes with timber subfloors.
4. Don’t Forget About ‘Hidden’ Costs
In addition to new bathroom fittings and the cost of any new plumbing and electrical work, there are some less than obvious potential tasks associated with a bathroom renovation project.
For instance, studwork may need to be built (to house a new bath or wall-hung sanitaryware) and the existing walls may require skimming or replastering once old tiles have been removed. It pays to consider these jobs from the outset to ensure you stay on budget.
5. Good Bathroom Lighting and Storage are Essential
A bathroom is a functional space but should also be a place that allows relaxation and sanctuary. As such, it’s worth planning a lighting scheme that offers a solution for both early mornings (downlights are great for general background lighting) as well as relaxing in the bath on a Friday night.
Adequate storage is also a must and a worthwhile investment from the outset. Built-in alcoves and shelves are a good idea, as are freestanding units, which can also create a sense of space without losing sight of bathroom practicalities.
Main image: The Dawn freestanding bath and basin from Waters Baths of Ashbourne