Want to see the back of those ugly old wall tiles, that scratched bathtub? How about that mouldy grouting that refuses to come clean? Along with the kitchen, revamping a bathroom – especially if you want to rip out the entire thing and start again – is one of the most expensive projects you can undertake.
It can also be difficult to budget for, with the price varying wildly depending on fittings, the tradespeople you employ and whether your new bathroom is highly customised or more of an off-the-rack number.
We asked some experts for the lowdown on three levels of bathroom renovations: budget, mid-range and luxury.
The budget bathroom renovation Cost: $5000 (partial renovation) to $27,000
If you’re really watching your pennies – say it’s a cheap-ish investment property – you can still give your bathroom a rev-up, says James Mason, the builder behind website Renovation Junkies.
“A very basic facelift would be between $5000 and $10,000 … including painting or resurfacing over the tiles, painting over the old bath that looks a bit chipped and scratched,” Mason says.
Small changes such as replacing an old shower curtain or vanity can also make a big impression.
“For a rental property, say a standard little fibro shack with a very dated 1960s and 1970s bathroom, [a mini-makeover] is a good way to get a little bit of extra rental income,” he says.
Hunting for bargain tiles at wholesale discount stores or auction houses will help your budget. Though Mason warns another budget tactic – DIY – can backfire and wind up costing more if you don’t prepare properly.
Richard Armstrong, director of The Makeover Group, says a full budget renovation will set you back between $20,000 and $27,000.
“In that sort of situation, you’d be buying off-the-shelf cabinetry,” Armstrong says. Tiles, kept to a minimum to reduce labour costs, might be in the $12 per square-metre range from somewhere like Bunnings, and a standard shower base could be about $130.
The mid-range bathroom Cost: $25,000-$35,000
In this category, bathroom fixtures start to get a little fancier.
“You would generally have a double shower, possibly a double vanity and you would also have possibly a walk-in shower [without the old-fashioned base],” Armstrong says.
He says these types of showers are more accessible, particularly for an ageing population, and are in hot demand.
“The other thing that we’re really getting a lot of now, mostly for mid-range or upper-end bathrooms is a lot of clients want under-tile heating,” he says.
While you can afford to be a bit more luxurious in the mid-range – for example you can now move your plumbing to where you want it – you’ll still need to keep a firm eye on costs.
Mason suggests keeping it real when it comes to the price of plumbing fittings such as tapware, basins and bathtubs.
“You could spend close to $3000 on a stone bath. But you could pick up the same thing in plastic that looks just as good for $900.”
The luxury bathroom Cost: $35,000+
At this level, those $2000 taps you’ve been eyeing are suddenly a realistic option, Mason says.
Armstrong notes that while spending, say, $60,000 on a bathroom may sound excessive, it makes complete sense if the house is worth $2 million. In fact, a cheaper style of bathroom might do the house a disservice.
“It’s just not going to work; it’s not going to be a happy sort of outcome,” he says.
So at the top-end of the bathroom renovation scale, what can you expect?
“A lot of these premium bathrooms, you start talking about wall-to-wall windows where you can get a gorgeous view while you’re bathing,” Armstrong says.
Custom-made cabinetry, natural stone bench tops and high quality – even handmade – tiles are other likely inclusions.
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