4 Bathroom Demolition Mistakes to Avoid

January 25, 2016

The bathroom is the one room in the house where we can expect privacy and relaxation. There’s something almost mystical about taking a bath – the steam rising above the water and turning the room into your own cloud bank in which you can forget the stresses of the day. It’s no wonder the ancient Romans saw baths as spiritual places. The famous Roman baths at the lazily named English city of Bath are located around a thermal spring that produces 1.2 million litres of scorching hot water every day and has done so for thousands of years. Under the Romans it became a sacred site, the Temple of Aquae Sulis.

Whether you believe only the gods could create such a heavenly thing as a hot spring or not, some heavenly inspiration comes in handy when planning a new bathroom. But before you do your ‘Block’ and start wielding a sledgehammer at the walls, have a think about what it is you are hoping to achieve and whether some of the existing structure can stay. Another thing – have you thought about where all that debris is going to go? Have you thought about skip bin hire? Because the old bathroom’s not going to fit into your regular bin! Not thinking about waste disposal is one of the pitfalls to avoid when demolishing and renovating your bathroom. Here are four of them.

  1. Not accounting for waste

Skip bins are the professional way to remove demolition debris from your bathroom renovation, and a good size for bathrooms is three or four cubic metres. You can put almost anything in these skips, which will be delivered and removed by the hiring company. You can mix up bricks and glass, sinks and floorboards. However, there are things you must not include. These are materials containing asbestos, liquids, food waste, hazardous wastes and paint. If you did include asbestos materials, there would be significant costs involved in cleaning the skip and to ensure the health and safety of the operators.

Of course, if you suspect that your bathroom has asbestos in it, you should not try to remove it. Specialist removalists with airtight enclosures, dampening tools and sealed suits will come and do that for you.

Ask about recycling too – the best operators recycle a significant proportion of the materials they collect. When you need a skip bin in Melbourne, it’s good to know that the materials in your old bathroom are being used elsewhere.

  1. Not thinking about your needs

Perhaps you’re not the type of person who likes to luxuriate in the sacred waters of your private sanctuary. Or you have five kids and a partner, so the thought of privacy at home is laughable, never mind being able to enjoy ten minutes alone in a bath. If this is the case, you don’t need gold-plated towel racks, decorative stained glass panels, or $1,000 Italian-designed taps.

Instead, think about where you are going to put the towel racks so that short-statured family members can access them, and make sure you buy a sturdy make for when your youngest decides to swing on them. If you have a young family, locate electrical outlets away from where live appliances could be immersed in a sink or bath.

What you need is a space where the day’s grime can be removed quickly and efficiently, a hosing down area with adequate drainage and nothing that can be easily broken. The bath, shower and taps should all be robust and functional. Instead of an extended spa that you will never find time to use, why not plan extra storage cupboards for all the towels and individual shampoo types that your family uses? And if there are going to be several siblings using the mirror at once, buy a nice wide one to cut down on accusations of ‘hogging’.

  1. Going with the cheapest quote rather than the best

When it comes to tradies, the cheapest quote may not always be the best. Ask for quotes from three different tradies and compare them. What is the most expensive one offering? What is the cheaper one not offering? Ask the most expensive tradesperson why their quote is higher and the response may reveal that they include something in the price that the other tradies don’t – a proper clean up, for example, or a guaranteed timeframe.

Talking to three different tradies also helps you understand the business of renovating. Get into a conversation about what you are trying to do and what you hope to achieve. You will hear three different appraisals of your situation, three different opinions. When these overlap and all three tradies say the same thing, it’s time to listen. You can Google and listen to friends’ opinions too, but tradies are the best resource. Getting one that you can communicate with, that you feel you can trust, is worth paying a little extra for.

  1. Forgetting the rough-ins

Fans of TV DIY shows will know that tradies often ask the owners for rough-ins, the electrical wiring and plumbing that needs to go in before the walls are covered with plasterboard. In one episode of The Block, plumbing for a shower had been installed directly in front of a window where the user would be visible from the street. And no, the window wasn’t frosted! Rough-ins determine all the fine details that follow.

You should sketch out where your toilet, bath/shower and sink is going to go and make sure that the electrics and plumbing go to these locations as required. It’s obvious that once you have laid in a pipe for the bath then covered it with hand-crafted Italian tiles, changing the position of the pipe is going to be a nightmare. Think about everything – especially whether you can be seen showering from the street or not!

One additional tip is to put 20% on top of your budget estimate for a contingency. Allow the smallest window possible for the disconnection of power and water to the bathroom, since this is going to disrupt your daily routine. Ending up with a nice bathroom is a matter of planning and checking off a list as you achieve your goals, from skip bin hire to that final coat of paint. Once you’re ready to start your reno, why not give us a call about your waste disposal needs?