Bathroom Basics

Bathroom Basics


Want to splash out on the dream bathroom you’ve always wanted but don’t know where to start? We’ve got everything you need to know about bathroom renovations covered.  

Is your bathroom too small and cramped for comfort? Perhaps your once-stylish space now looks outdated and is a nightmare to clean? Or maybe it’s time for a change? If you answered yes to any of the above, it sounds like it’s time to renovate or install a new bathroom in your home. So where do you go from here?

Before you jump straight into your bathroom renovation with gusto, it’s important to remember that while you may become a little flustered and stressed along the way, your bathroom makeover project is supposed to be an exciting time for you and your family. If you do your homework and take the time to find the perfect bathroom designer and builder for the job, your renovation will be a breeze and you’ll be enjoying a long, blissful bath in your indoor oasis before you know it.

Getting started
There’s so much to think about once you’ve made the decision to renovate your bathroom. From builders to budgets, fittings to finishes, the list is endless. Here, we take a look at a few bathroom renovation essentials to help you get started.

Old vs new
One of the first, and most important, things you should do once you’ve decided to renovate is think about what you want in your new bathroom and how you will use it. Does your bathroom need to be more family-friendly or is an extra splash of style all that’s required? Is it destined to be a high traffic area or does it needs only to be good for two? What bathroom products are on your wish list? These are all important considerations that will affect the design of your new bathroom.
Weighing up the pros and cons of your existing bathroom is also important as it will give your designer an idea of how your new bathroom can be laid out to better suit your needs, lifestyle and tastes.

Be inspired
Henri Van Roden from All Bathroom Gear has this advice for those at the start of their bathroom renovation experience: “Visit showrooms, purchase magazines such as Kitchens & Bathroom Quarterly and search the internet to get an idea of different styles and products that are available. This way when you choose a designer you can let them know exactly what you have in mind for your new bathroom.”

Money, money, money
From fittings and fixtures to labour and design costs, there are so many variables that will affect the final cost of your dream bathroom, including:

Your builder’s and/or designer’s fees.

- The size of your family and whether more space and storage are needed.

- The size and state of your existing bathroom (ie will extensive plumbing or electrical work need to be undertaken?).

- The type of tile you have chosen and how much tiling needs to be done (ie floor-to-ceiling tiling or a combination of tiles and paint?).

- The bathroom products you have chosen.

- Any extras that may arise when it comes to accessorising your bathroom.

Trust the experts
Working with bathroom professionals will take the worry out of your renovation experience. Here, we talk to the experts to find out why.
As John Spiteri from Brindabella Bathrooms explains:

- While bathrooms are one of the hardest rooms to renovate, qualified designers and builders have the skills and know-how to make sure the job is done right and on time.

- Qualified designers and builders will make sure the job is built in accordance with the relevant building standards and regulations (ie electrical, plumbing and waterproofing) and organise a building certificate if structural changes are needed.

- Qualified designers and builders will also co-ordinate all the tradespeople needed for the job.

Elizabeth Luke, from Luke Interiors, adds this:

- Revamping a bathroom is often a trap for inexperienced DIY renovators and mistakes, such as inadequate waterproofing, incorrect bath and shower screen installation and poor-quality tiling, can be very costly.

- When you renovate yourself, who is responsible? By working with the professionals, you are protected if any problems arise, as certified designers and qualified builders guarantee their work.

- Bathroom professionals will also guide you through the product selection process.

Top trends
Now that the business end of your bathroom renovation is out of the way, it’s time to have some fun and choose everything from tiles to taps. Here, we take a look at some of the latest trends in bathroom products and design that will add a splash of style to your new bathroom and make it oh-so-easy to use.

Bathroom design
Sleek, slimline and stylish, minimalist bathrooms are more popular now than ever before. Why? As John Perini from Perini Bathrooms explains, the minimalist look is a top trend as bathrooms in this style are visually stunning, feature clean lines and a crisp colour palette and cut out clutter.

Here are a few features that would look right at home in a minimalist-style bathroom:

- A streamlined and uncluttered design with plenty of room to move.

- Wall-mounted vanity units.

- Recessed wall cabinets providing added space and clever storage.

- Hobless showers with frameless shower screens.

- Floor-to-ceiling tiling.

- A wall-faced or mounted toilet with the cistern hidden in the wall.

- Sleek fixtures that have subtle style.

- Neutral tones with a splash of colour.

Terrific tiles
Want to know what’s hot in tile design? Read on, because we’ve got tips on the latest tile trends from the experts.

According to Anthony Scalise, the managing director of Hynes Tiles, tiles are the being used more and more to create visual harmony and enhance a room’s spaciousness. This is achieved by using floor tiles on walls and tiling directly into shower bases rather than using a poly base. “Mosaics are great for highlighting niches, bath hobs and around mirrors,” he adds.

“Textured surfaces with lightly embossed patterning are also on the increase, permitting the sense of touch to be introduced to the tile experience,” says Peter Maniscalco, the managing director of Artistic Stone.

While neutral tones and soothing blues and greens are as popular as ever, Tina Workman, an interior designer from Gasparre Tiles, says that metallics are starting to be seen in the bathroom. “Gold, silver and bronze highlights are becoming popular as people start to treat their bathrooms more like an extension of their living space,” she says. “These colours look great with the current trends of chandeliers and decorative mirrors that have found their way into bathing spaces.”

Dressed to impress
As the director of Sydney’s leading supplier of designer bathroom products and accessories, Ross Cass is certainly in the know about the latest trends in all things bathroom-related. Here are his top picks:

- Black makes a stylish, bold statement and is being used in sanitaryware and tapware.

- Embossed patterns are becoming popular on basins and tapware, creating a luxurious, elegant and opulent look.

- Wall-hung basins, vanities, toilets and bidets are gaining popularity because they give the illusion of more space.

- Touch pads to control on/off, water flow, temperature and water pause features are being incorporated into tapware and shower sets.

- Tapware incorporating lighting is also emerging (red lighting for hot water, blue for cold).

- Free-standing baths are here to stay, with more variety in shape and design now available.

- Lighting is just as important, with designers slowly starting to incorporate mood lighting elements within their products.

The benefits of renovating
– You can transform your bathroom to better suit your family’s lifestyle and needs.

- A new bathroom will increase the value of your home.

- With added space, storage and new products, you’ll find that using your bathroom has never been easier and that cleaning is a breeze.

- New bathrooms are built to new building standards and are more energy and water efficient.

- You’ll have a new stylish sanctuary where you can relax and unwind at the end of each day.

Expert advice: Finding a bathroom designer and builder

Contact the KBDI and HIA for reputable bathroom professionals. Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly and the Completehome website may be helpful, too.

Once you’ve found a designer and a builder, check their licences to ensure they are current and qualified to undertake a bathroom renovation. Also find out whether they’ve been working on bathroom projects for a reasonable amount of time.

Ask for current references and ask past clients about their experiences.

Check that the bathroom quote includes Warranty Insurance for bathrooms over the value of $12,000.

– Lynette Tebbenhoff, LJT Bathrooms.

Expert advice: Budget busters
“Keep it simple. Invest in good-quality basic materials such as cabinetry, tiles and taps while accessories such as towel rails could be cheaper models as these can be changed at a later date without major work when funds are available.”
– Henri Van Roden, All Bathroom Gear.

Expert advice: Tips for choosing tiles
Consider the size and shape of a tile. Large tiles can make your room appear bigger while rectangular tiles can make the space seem taller.

If an abundance of natural light fills the bathroom, you can afford to have a darker tile in the space. But remember: the darker the tile, the darker the room can appear.

Beware of darker tones on the floor, especially in the shower where a buildup of soap can be noticeable.

Slip resistance is a consideration in wet areas.

Natural stones that contain iron deposits can develop rust stains, especially in wet areas. Natural stones will also require sealing after laying as they are porous.

Some cheaper tiles can be subject to water staining, while an engobe is applied to most quality tiles to avoid this. To check whether a tile will absorb water, dip half the tile in a bucket of water for a minute or so and, if the water line is noticeable after taking it out, you should look for another tile.

Grout colour can be used as a design tool and feature as it can dramatically change the look and colour of the tile or room.

Be sure to choose a colour scheme for your bathroom that complements the rest of your home.

– Peter Maniscalco, Artistic Stone.

Tile types
Ceramic: Easy to clean and available in lots of sizes, colours and textures.
Natural stone: Gives a classic/timeless look but can be costly and there are maintenance issues.
Glass and metal: These tiles are great for features as they can add interest and character to your bathroom.
Porcelain: Porcelain tiles have great finishes and a more luxurious feel. They aren’t as expensive as people may think.
– Anthony Scalise, Hynes Tiles.

Expert advice: Pick of the bunch
As Damien Cool, the general manager of marketing at Argent Australia, explains, there are three main considerations when selecting bathroom products.

1. Quality: Are the products the best that can be afforded?
2. Design: Choose pieces that you are likely to be happy with in 10 or 20 years’ time. After all, bathrooms can be very expensive to update.
3. Usability: Products should be designed to serve a purpose or meet a specific need in the bathroom. For example, there’s no point installing a bath if it’s not likely to be used.

According to Ross Cass from Cass Brothers, there are some other important things to consider, including:

Whether the products suit the size and style of your bathroom.

Are they energy and water efficient?

Is there any urgency with product requirements (ie some products can take in excess of 14 weeks to arrive if they are being manufactured in Europe)?

Expert advice: The perfect finishing touches
Heated towel rails to make your towels toasty. Underfloor heating is a great investment, too.

Integrated accessory modules will keep your toilet brushes and rolls tucked away out of sight.

Luxurious bath towels and mats make bathtime a dream.

Free precious bench space with a wall-mounted makeup mirror with LED lighting.

Essential oils and an oil burner will make your day spa feel complete and enhance your relaxation.
– Ross Cass, Cass Brothers.

Expert advice: Underfloor heating
The benefits: You can enjoy a warm floor, it’s cost-effective to run and doesn’t require servicing, there’s no naked flame or drafts from vents and it’s allergy-free and child-safe.

Can underfloor heating be retro-fitted? Yes, it can when installed under carpet. However, under tile/timber surfaces, it must be installed during the construction/renovation of the room.

Top tip: Start early in the renovation process to avoid a mad rush at the last minute.
– Vince McClelland, Warmtech.