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The Blue Leaf Bathroom Renovation Guide

The Blue Leaf Bathroom Renovation Guide

Thinking of renovating your bathroom but don't know where to start? We've written this guide to give you some insight and a brief break down of what to focus on to ensure your bathroom renovation is a seamless and easy operation.

We'll start off by saying that even though all the renovation shows make renovating a bathroom look easy it definitely is not, however being prepared and organised will undoubtedly help you keep the renovation wheels in motion.

First decision you need to make is whether or not you will be taking on the renovation as a DIY project or getting a qualified builder/renovator, the information we will be providing will help in both scenarios and will allow you to understand the renovation process and what steps and procedures need to be followed.

Stage 1 - Design/Style

The first stage is usually the hardest because this becomes the foundation and will dictate what is required for the renovation, the more time and focus that is applied here the easier the following stages become.

Things to consider:

  • What is the current theme of your home (modern, heritage, provincial), will you be following suit or going with a completely different style? Once you've decided on a style it's time to put the pieces of the puzzle together. If you need help in deciding on a style some great sites to visit are houzz and pinterest.

  • The first step will be to draw a rough plan of the bathroom whether it be with an A4 paper, ruler and pencil or getting professionally drawn plans using CAD software as long as you're able to display the shape, walls and dimensions of the bathroom.

  • Once you have the blank canvas of the bathroom drawn make lots of copies, trust me, lots of copies.

  • A crucial part of the design process is whether or not you want to change the layout of the bathroom if at all possible. This depends on which level the proposed bathroom is on ground floor or 1st floor? If the bathroom is on the ground floor then in most cases the house is either built on a concrete slab or brick piers. If your house is built on brick piers (which usually means you have access underneath the house) then changing the layout is fine however if it's built on a concrete slab changing the layout is usually not possible or becomes ridiculously expensive. 

  • Get one of the many copies of the layout pages and draw each of the bathroom items in position. Once this is drawn consider each item and once when you're satisfied draw three large ticks and a smiley face and put the page aside.

  • Get another copy of the bathroom layout pages and think about how you would like your tiles laid? Will you be going with brick pattern (staggered), herringbone, chevron (fish bone) or standard and think about the size of the tiles, the most common size for floor tiles used to be 30x30cm but this has now changed and many people go with 30x60cm, 60x60cm and in some cases 45x90cm or 60x120cm. An important fact to keep in mind is the smaller the tile the easier it is for the tiler to get the water to flow to the drain. Thankfully the introduction of long shower grates this allowed for large format tiles to be used and have the fall go to one side rather than a central location. 

  • Niche and feature wall: A niche is always a great option to add some style and practicality to a bathroom, whether it be placing one above the bath or in the shower area just be sure to consider the tiles going into the niche, a great option is a mosaic tile that fits in with the chosen style of the bathroom. If you would like one of the walls to be a feature wall consider which wall will stand out the most and consider your options with regard to the tile layout and shape.

Stage 2 - Selection

  • Once the design stage is complete you should now be aware of what you can and can’t do making the selection stage more enjoyable. Time and time again I see people pressured to make quite a permanent decision on the spot because they’ve entered the selection stage without any thought or preparation.

  • Based on the decisions made regarding style and layout of your bathroom it is now time to be precise, selecting exact tile colour/size, tapware colour, vanity style/colour, accessories etc.

Things to consider:

  • Vanity: Wall Hung or Freestanding sometimes this option is decided for you depending on the plumbing. Consider the basin type (above counter, semi-inset, undermount, semi-recessed or a ceramic top) browse our basin and vanity ranges to get a better understanding.

  • Basin Tap: Three piece, basin mixer or wall mixer. Browse our range of basin tapware.

  • Bath Tub: Freestanding, back to wall, corner or drop-in. Browse our range of bath tubs.

  • Shower: Twin shower, ceiling dropper, rail shower, hand shower, shower head. Will you be using a mixer, mixer with diverter or just simply hot and cold taps. Browse our range of showers and shower tapware.

  • Toilet: Back to wall, wall-hung, close coupled or in-wall cistern this option may need to be chosen depending on the position of the plumbing. If your wanting to have an in-wall cistern there may need to be some carpentry work done to allow for the cistern. Browse our range of toilets.

Once these items are locked in put a folder together containing your plans and all bathware and tile choices be sure to include all specification sheets for the chosen items and be sure to compare these with the plans to ensure everything fits.

Stage 3 - Construction

Whether or not you've chosen to tackle this renovation on your own or have chosen a builder this process is virtually the same. If you're doing the renovation on your own then you are the builder and need to carry out the tasks and organise all of the contractors just as the builder would. 

     We will list the construction stage in order:

    1. Demolition: Be sure to turn off water and electricity before starting any work. A qualified electrician and plumber will be required towards the end of this stage to disconnect and make safe all power and plumbing points so you will be able to turn the water and power back on once the demo is complete.

    2. Carpentry: A carpenter will be required for the following tasks:
      • Relocating windows or doors
      • Building partition walls or construction of niches
      • Reconfigure wall frame to allow for in-wall cistern for toilets,
      • Placing support timbers for the vanity, mirror, accessories.
      • Installation of new flooring.
    3. Plumbing & Electrical: This stage is called the rough-in, the plumber and electrician will run all the required pipes and wires to the points specified on the plans and according to the specifications for each item. Something to consider is putting a power point inside the shaving cabinet as this can be very useful.
    Important Note: Be sure to take photos of all the services and their locations, even marking their exact locations on a paper will be very useful at the fit-off stage to ensure you won't be hitting any pipes or wires when drilling.

    4. Lining the Walls: This will either be a plasterer or renderer depending on the wall construction. A plasterer will sheet the walls usually with fibre cement sheeting and the renderer will patch the walls making them nice and flat ready for waterproofing and tiling.

    5. Waterproofing: The most important part of the construction process. If you're on a budget and need to save money never look to the waterproofing to save a few dollars. If this is not done right then you could potentially be doing the entire renovation again before you've had enough time to enjoy it. Leave it to the professionals, do your research and make sure the contractor is accredited with all appropriate licensing. This should be done for all contractors but extra attention to the waterproofing.

    6. Tiling: Also a very important part of the construction stage as this will determine the end look of the bathroom, even the the most beautiful tile can will lose it's beauty if the execution in laying is not done right. The first part of the tiling stage is the screed (cement bed) and this will be placed to ensure the fall of the water goes straight into the floor wastes.
    Once the cement bed is dry the tiler can now start to lay the tiles. In some cases an additional layer of waterproofing can be be applied to the cement bed as an added safety measure. Now it is time to refer to your layout and go over this with the tiler and be specific in coming to an agreement as to the look and style which is to be achieved. Once the tiling is complete grout is the next task, usually grout is chosen to match the tile colour closely but that isn't set in stone it all depends on your style. For example grey grout with a white subway tile looks great and really makes the grout lines pop.
    Next task is to silicone seal all edges and corners, similar to grout silicone is usually matched as close as possible to the tile. 

    7. Plumbing & Electrical Fit Off: This is my favourite part of the renovation process because this is when the magic happens. The plumber and electrician will return to install all the bathroom items. Be sure to check that everything is ready to avoid any delays.

    8. Painting: Depending on the style of the renovation it's usually just the ceiling, door and door frame to be painted. In some cases if you've chosen to go with tiling only three quarters of the wall then the exposed wall will need to be painted also. Be sure the painter uses a mould resistant paint.

    9. Shower Screen: Frameless, semi-frameless and fully framed, these are the choices when it comes to shower screens. We recommend the first two options as a fully framed screen is only used when accessibility only allows for it, they are not the most practical shower screens on the market. This is the last item to be installed and will require 24 hours for the silicone to dry.

    After the 24 hours allowed  for the silicone to dry is over it's time for you to enjoy your newly renovated space. We hope this blog has been informative and we plan to add some pictures of each process to help you better understand the process.

    If there are any parts of this blog which you would like us to elaborate more upon or just have some questions please do not hesitate to come in to the showroom and speak to one of our experts or give us a call on 1800-88-BLUE or send an email to

    Thanks and happy renovating. 
    Blue Leaf Bathware & Tiles - Enjoy it your way!

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