If you’re thinking about tackling a bathroom renovation, here’s a breakdown of the costs and some expert planning tips…

According to Heather Darby, from Bathroom By Design, the first thing you should consider is wether you’re doing a complete transformation or just giving the space a ‘facelift’?

What does a bathroom renovation cost?

To get a better understanding of costs, Darby recommends making a list of items you will need, such as tiles with approximate square meterage, bath, toilet, vanity, bathroom accessories and tapware.

Then visit showrooms and price each item on your list and you’ll get a rough indication of a starting figure.

Based on a “basic” family bathroom, including a bath, toilet and vanity and bathroom accessories, you would need a budget of approximately R14 000 excl. VAT. For a “mid-range” family bathroom, budgets would need to be closer to the R25 000 mark, but bear in mind that this price can vary depending on the bath you choose and the bathroom accessories.

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How much will bathroom accessories cost?

When it comes to bathroom accessories, choose classic accessories that are guaranteed and won’t need replacing.

Darby suggests putting aside about 10-15% of the sanitaryware budget for bathroom accessories. According to Bathroom Butler, you would need a minimum of R2 500 for the basic accessories, like a toilet paper holder, soap rack, towel rail and towel ring.

Plan ahead

If you’re considering a heated towel rail, price ranges from R3 300 up to R10 600, depending on the towel capacity and the style.

If you are not ready to spend this money yet, but you still would like to have the option of adding a heated towel rail later, make sure to make a provision of an electrical conduit. This needs to be installed by a certified electrician in the wall before tiling.

Designers, builders and plumbers

You will then need to get a building or turnkey operator cost from a builder in terms of scope of work and labour to add to your overall budget figure. You could also hire a professional design service, such as Bathroom by Design, or hire an architect to help you with your bathroom renovation.

Regardless of how big or small the renovation may be, various tradesmen are required to complete your new bathroom, so make provision for a builder, plumber, electrician, tiler and plasterer. Each tradesman will be responsible for a certain part of the renovation.

According to Rory Watts from WS Projects, most certified plumbers will charge between R2 500 – R3 500 per plumbing point.

“In a full en-suite bathroom as an example, one would have a bath, double vanity, toilet and shower, which amounts to five points. A suggested plumbing budget of R13 750 will need to be put aside to cover each specified point,” says Watts.

Rory also suggests asking these questions before installing a bathroom:

  • Do you want to install energy efficient products in your bathroom?
  • What sort of piping will you be dealing with during the build: galvanised, copper or plastic?
  • Will you be making use of a built-in cistern or a free standing one?
  • What sort of shower floor levels and slopes need to be considered?
  • Will all your basin, toilet and sink accessories come standard with angle valves?
  • Do you have the correct connections from the retailers for water inlet and waste outlet?
  • Is the geyser and valve in working order – do you need to update or upgrade?
  • Do you have guarantees on all your sanitaryware and bathroom accessories including the warranty from the plumber?
  • Make sure your plumber uses copper pipes and not polycarp (plastic).

Demolishing costs

The next step in the bathroom renovation process is for the physical labour to demolish and strip the bathroom and relay or repurpose the brickwork, the screeding required, and plasterwork. Watts suggests making the following budget considerations for this process:

To summarise a bathroom renovation process, Watts suggests using the following checklist:

  • Seal off all water supply to taps before demolition
  • Demolish/remove all items that need to be removed
  • All plumbing piping and under tile components of mixers to be fitted
  • Plaster walls/brickwork if plinth is required
  • Tiling of floor and walls
  • Painting of undercoat and first coat
  • Fitting of bath, vanities, basins, pedestals, over-tile components (taps) and electrical fittings
  • Painting of final coat and silicone around the units for sealing

To conclude, Darby says, “Enjoy every moment of the renovation. It should take one month from stripping out the old to completing the new but be aware of your budget and stick to it. A rough guide would be to budget 60% for the tiles, sanitaryware and finishes and 40% for labour.”