The 12 Most Common Bathroom Renovation Mistakes Revealed

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Bathroom renovation mistakes is one of the most common searches made online about renovating. Mistakes can cost money and add time to the project completion. Here are the 12 most common bathroom renovation mistakes you can steer clear from by simply being aware of where things can go wrong.

12 Most Common Bathroom Renovation Mistakes

most common bathroom renovation mistakes revealed

1. Lack of preparation

You need to have a clear vision of how the bathroom is going to look upon completion. This can be hard to visualize and explain to a bathroom professional.

Pinterest, Houzz and online blogs can offer inspiration for your bathroom. Create a mood board for the colours, style and materials you’d like to have in your bathroom. This information is crucial when getting quotes from your tradies.

Ensure the design is cohesive to the overall style of your home.

2. Unrealistic Budget

It’s common for renovators to under budget for their renovation. Always have a buffer of at least 10-20% for variations.

During demo, problems not seen at quote time can pop up causing a variation. This is where your budget buffer comes in to ease the cost.

modern bathroom renovation luxury
Photo by Reece Australia

3. Skimping on the waterproofing

Waterproofing defects are high in bathroom renovations because they are often not installed by a certified waterproofing professional. In most states of Australia, waterproofing must be done by a certified waterproofing tradesperson. They must give you a certificate and warranty after installation.

4. Opting for a cosmetic update when a full renovation is needed

A cosmetic renovation is ideal when the bathroom doesn’t have leaks and it has good bones. A fresh coat of paint and updating the tapware and accessories may be all that’s needed to extend the bathroom for a few years.

However, if there is visible water damage or leakage from the shower tray or if the vanity is warped and in need of repair, a full renovation may be needed to prevent further water damage to the house.

Opting to retile over the existing bathroom floor can be a big mistake if the waterproofing membrane has failed.

Organising an inspection and getting advice from a bathroom renovation expert can help you decide between a cosmetic renovation or full revamp.

grey and white bathroom renovation
Photo by Brilliant SA

5. Not upgrading plumbing and electrical

If you decide a full renovation is needed, don’t forget to upgrade the plumbing and electricals. There would have been regulation changes from when your bathroom was last built or renovated. Any full renovation will require licensed trades to update the plumbing and electricals to the current regulations.

It makes sense to replace these before sheeting the walls with new tiles to fix or prevent any water leaks which can happen on old pipework.

6. Fitting too much into a small space

The goal of a renovation is to upgrade the space so it can be more practical for use. But this shouldn’t mean fitting all the fixtures in the bathroom. Improper spacing can make the bathroom feel cramped.

Bathrooms need to have flow and room for movement. Too many obstacles can make it feel closed in. Undercover Architect is brilliant in helping renovators design their renovation to avoid mistakes. Standard spacing in bathrooms should be included too.

Keep in mind a design change can impact the budget – especially if the pipework needs to be reconfigured. The cost of concrete slab saw cutting and drainage to a ground floor bathroom can add expense to the budget. But it may be worth it if you’re getting the design you’re after.

7. Choosing the wrong fixtures and tapware

This mistake can be avoided if you work with a bathroom renovation professional.

Usually the fixtures and tapware will be selected in the planning stages of the bathroom reno and the specifications and measurements for installation will be given to the tradies for rough in. Choosing the wrong fixtures for the space can impact your bathroom completion.

tall basin mixer with white basin
Photo by Newman Building

Measure twice and consider practicality. If you’re going to have above counter basins installed, you’re going to need tall basin mixers or have the wall mixer and spout high enough to reach the bowl.

Also consider what will be practical in your bathroom? If it’s going to be the main bathroom, will a wall hung basin offer enough storage for all members of the family?

8. Choosing cheap tapware and fixtures

Quality will always serve you well in a bathroom. Choose the best quality finishes on tapware and fixtures you can afford. The cheapest bathroom items will show their wear within 6-12 months of use. Always look at the finish of tapware and avoid powder-coated if possible.

Also choose well known bathroom fixtures and taps from reputable plumbing hardware stores. The bathroom is a highly trafficked room for daily use. The finishes of the tapware and fixtures need to be able to handle everyday use.

9. Selecting too many features

Bathrooms should have at least 1 focal feature. It can vary from a coloured basin, to a double shower, a freestanding bath, coloured tapware or a feature tile. Too many focal points can make the bathroom look busy.

10. Poor Ventilation

Ventilation is important in a bathroom as it needs to remove condensation from the room. A buildup of moisture will promote mould and mildew growth which is a health hazard.

An exhaust fan is a must and a window can offer natural air flow.

11. Not enough light

Lighting can also be an afterthought in the bathroom, but it’s crucial to get right. Natural light is ideal with a window or skylight. Lights installed over the vanity need to be adequate for visibility at night when applying makeup or shaving.

skylight in bathroom for natural light
Photo by Glenvill Homes

12. Choosing a colour scheme which will date

A neutral colour scheme will stand the test of time when trends and colours come and go. If you absolutely love colour, don’t let anyone sway you. Just be mindful you could change your mind.

Darker bathrooms can feel cold and damp, so be selective with your colour choice and keep in mind how the light will reflect in the room.

What other tips would you add to this list? Have you made any bathroom renovation mistakes?