Tips and Advice

13 expert tips you need to know before your bathroom renovation

We’ve asked these experts for their top tips on bathroom renovations. Here are some useful insights to know before you embark on your own renovation

Jeremy Wynn-Harris
Managing director of

  • Keep costs down by eliminating tiles. Keep the walls simple with paint and opt for vinyl or laminate flooring.
  • A heat-pump hot water cylinder collects energy from the air at three times the efficiency of a standard electric hot water cylinder. As electricity for hot water is one of the biggest household costs, a heat-pump hot water system is a smart way to go (though not suitable for very cold climates).

Daniel Palmer, Builder
Palmer Construction, Palmerston North.

  • Planning your bathroom layout is everything. It’s a good idea to get your builder in early to discuss the options. Simple things like a cavity slider door can make a big difference.
  • Installing an acrylic shower? Don’t skimp on cost. In most cases, the cheap ones are cheap for a reason.

Andre Massey, Bathroom Renovator
20/20 Glass Plus, Tauranga.

  •  Plan ahead. A good bathroom renovator will usually be booked out
    at least 2-3 months in advance.
  • A fully tiled bathroom is expensive; you could do your own tiling, but a bad tiling job is very visible in a bathroom.
  • Don’t skimp on hiring waterproofing professionals – whole bathrooms and adjoining rooms may need stripping back as a result of improper work.

Adam Pearce, Bathroom Renovator
Better Bathrooms, Auckland.

  • Double-check all measurements of your bathroom furnishings, as well as where they are going to fit. For example, you’ll need to check that your vanity drawer or door doesn’t hit the towel rail, or the shower door doesn’t hit the toilet.
  • If purchasing tiles yourself, allow for up to 30 percent extra for the tiler’s offcuts.

Chris Hall, Plumber
Uneda Plumber, Christchurch.

  • Plumbing merchants have a good selection of taps and fixtures but can be quite pricey. Your plumber should be able to get you a discount and advise what products are good – there are a lot of cheap imitations out there.
  • Another option is to decide what you like, then visit somewhere like Bunnings. They’re often cheaper on items like toilets and vanities because of their size and buying power.
  • No mains pressure? Then it’s time to upgrade. Mains pressure taps and valves are generally cheaper so some of the cost will be recouped.
  • Remove all old pipework. It’s not worth saving a few dollars by covering old pipes with new gib, tiles and fixtures, only to rip it all out again when the old pipes burst!

Photography by: Jason Mann, Maree Homer, Françoise Baudet /

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