The Maxx Electrical Bathroom Renovation Guide for Newcastle
Bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in the house and when renovation time roles around, can easily become one of the most expensive. Often, only a kitchen renovation is more expensive than doing up a bathroom.
Once you start adding up the prices of baths, plumbing, toilets, sinks and taps, tiles, vanities, lights, fans and accessories, the costs start to rise. We wanted to make it easier for renovators to spend money wisely to make their bathroom perfect in function and beautiful in design.
Below we’ve listed some tips we’ve learnt from over 30 years helping builders and DIY-ers renovate their bathrooms. We’ll outline some nifty technology and features you may not have known existed so you don’t miss out on creating a really special bathroom.
Are you about to start a bathroom renovation project and want to speak to an experienced tradie? Call Maxx Electrical on 02 4954 9134
Bathtubs come in a whole range of styles, colours, shapes and finishes and can range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Bathtubs are a luxury item, and
regardless of your budget, you should head to a showroom to try them out for size and comfort.
Budget: You could consider a traditional bathtub in a tiled-hob. An acrylic bathtub for this kind of installation will cost between $100 and $400 depending on size and shape.
Mid-Range: Inset baths come in a variety of shapes and sizes and as you start to spend more, the look and finish improve. You can consider baths which offer a sleek modern shape built into a beautiful hob or complete the traditional with freestanding baths. Expect to spend more than $450 on a mid-range bath.
Luxury: At the top of the range come the truly luxurious bathtubs. Bigger, sleeker, deeper baths mean you can take bathtime relaxation to a whole new level. Spa baths are always popular for those wanting maximum comfort in their bathroom and add extra interest in a luxury bathroom. Modern designer freestanding baths are also an option for those wanting a modern, hotel style bathroom or for a traditional look consider a clawfoot or freestanding bath. You will be wanting to budget over $1250 for a bath like this.
When installing a bath it’s always good to consider the placement of power points relative to the bath tub. Electricity and water don’t mix and there are limits to how close powerpoints can be to a water source like a bath. When installing a spa bath it is important to make sure your power system can handle it. Water pumps like those found in spas require their own circuit which may add an unexpected cost to the price of your bathroom renovation. If you’re considering a spa bath it’s better to be on the safe side and contact an electrician like Maxx Electrical to take a look at your bathroom and make sure it will all work the way you want it to.
Tapware is the bling in the bathroom and can make or break the reno
There are a couple of different types of taps available. More traditional styles will have a separate knob for hot and cold water with a central spout, requiring 3 cuts in your benchtop or basin. More modern tapware will have a mixer and an integrated spout and come in a wide variety of shapes; from short and stumpy, to gooseneck, to square; some taps even have open spouts and LED lights to add that extra bit of ‘wow.’
With many fixtures that are semi-permanent, like tapware, we recommend buying quality because it can save you pain down the track. Replacing taps, especially wall-mounted taps, can be a nightmare when you have to contend with tiles as well as matching up the plumbing. It can also work out to be more costly to replace a tap than to simply buy a quality tap in the first place.
For bathtubs, a trend at the moment is freestanding taps. While these look stunning and add to the clean, minimalist design of many modern bathrooms, you do need to consider that you will be needing to plumb through the floor which can be difficult.
Also, consider the cartridge for mixer taps and whether it is plastic or made out of stronger, longer-lasting porcelain. More expensive taps will have better components and because of this, warranties can vary greatly. A basic tap might only have 1-year warranty whereas a more expensive unit could have a 15-25 year warranty.
The price varies greatly for taps so it is something you will want to explore. A budget tap could cost as little as $25 but luxury taps, especially those with lights, can be in excess of $2,500.
You don’t often need to worry too much about an electrician when installing taps except to check that the power supply, if there are any around the tap, is safe. If you are plumbing through an existing slab it is best to have an electrician check to make sure there is no risk of cutting an existing power line. Also, most of the taps with lights in them will have their own water-turbine power generator. This means they produce a tiny amount of electricity using the flow of the water through the tap to power the light and shouldn’t require an electrician.
Basins & Vanities
Basins also come in a wide range of finishes, colours, styles and sizes. Some bathrooms, especially those for families, will have two basins but that requires a reasonably large vanity. With all the styles of basins available now, it is a good idea to explore your options in store and see which suits your design best.
There are a few different categories of basins to look at. They are;
- Wall hung basins. Wall hung basins are perfect for small spaces and powder rooms. Often they will have no vanity and no storage under them.
- Semi-recessed basins. These look like the older fashioned Belfast-style sinks in kitchens. Semi-recessed basins site slightly forward from the vanity and can provide a larger basin space without such a deep vanity. Like the wall-hung basins, semi-recessed basins are used in tight spaces but offer storage space which is often very useful.
- Inset basins. Inset basins are mounted into the bench but have either a slip lip on the top of the benchtop or have a portion of the sink sit proud. There aren’t many inset basins in the market at the moment. Most renovators are going for either under mount/under bench or bench-mounted sinks.
- Bench Mount Basins. Bench mount sinks are very popular at the moment. These modern sinks sit completely proud of the basin leading to striking lines and powerful shapes. With the right lighting, bench mount basins throw shadows that can add something extra to designs.
Under Mount/Under Bench Basins. Under mount or under bench basins sit beneath the benchtop. This gives an almost invisible look and can suit any design, from ultra-modern to traditional.
Basins are so varied it is easy to get carried away in all the different options. You can choose from manufactured stone, concrete, porcelain, glass and rock to get the finish and texture of your basin just right. Consider the shape and depth as well and make sure it complements the size of your room and vanity.
Some vanities come complete with basins which provide a cost-effective and clean solution.
With vanities, it will really be determined by the size and shape of the room and the location of your plumbing. For the luxury hotel look, consider floating vanities that are mounted on the wall instead of floor-standing.
Basins and vanities can be priced from under a hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Most people will spend around $1000 on a vanity and basin for their kitchen project.
You can have a whole lot of fun selecting showers and shower screens when renovating a bathroom.
Shower screens can come in frameless, semi-frameless, or framed and are available in a range of colours. While the most common type of shower screen now is frameless glass, there is a trend moving to having no shower screen at all. The floor of the shower can be angled in such a way that limits the amount of water that will run from the shower and limit splashing. These obviously require a skilled tiler who knows what they are doing.
Shower screens can also be translucent or ‘fogged’ and can come in a range of tints to complete the look you’re trying to achieve. There is a new technology emerging now that changes a screen from see-through to opaque at the flick of a switch by applying a small amount of voltage to the glass.
Shower heads will require a bit of attention too. Even something like the traditional shower head that comes out of the wall has a bit of variety to it. A wall mounted shower head can have hand-held components, variable height supports and varying lengths and colours. Matte Black taps are very popular at the moment.
Shower heads now can even have lights and speakers in them. Some of these require power so an electrician is definitely needed to install this.
Below are some examples of the different types of shower heads available to renovators now.
- Hand Showers
- Integrated Rail Showers
- Wall Mount Shower Heads
- Roof Mount Shower Heads
- Invisible (Concealed) Shower Heads
Unlike taps for the basin, the shower heads with lights often require an electrician to install them. Make sure you use an experienced electrician to ensure the bathroom is safe for you and your family. If you are renovating a bathroom in Newcastle or the Hunter, contact Maxx Electrical and we can talk you through making your bathroom stunning, practical, comfortable and safe.
Lighting in the bathroom sets the tone. Great bathroom design depends on great bathroom lighting so getting it right is important.
Depending on your priorities and your budget you could consider an all-in-one option. These are great for ensuites and smaller spaces where roof space is at a premium. An all-in-one light will normally include a light, heat lamps and an exhaust fan.
When considering the perfect lighting for your bathroom you need to keep in mind that the bathroom is a functional space. People will need to be able to clearly see themselves in the mirror and finding lighting that can do that and look great could be a challenge. Most bathrooms now have more than one light to maximise the amount of light in the bathroom. Mounting lights around or above mirrors is an option and there are many functional and good looking options that will help facilitate this.
Dimmable LED lighting can help provide the light you need when you need it but also allow you to dim the lights for a relaxing Bathroom atmosphere. Wall lights are very much in fashion for bathrooms as they throw a warm light to the floor and ceiling rather than out into the room, creating a lounge-like atmosphere perfect for relaxing. Of course, for the truly luxurious bathroom renovation project, you can go with a chandelier. A note of caution about chandeliers though is to consider the cleaning of anything more embellished, as it can become something that you will need to do regularly.
Bathroom lights will vary greatly in price based on style and function. Basic oyster lights will start from around $20 whereas designer lighting can cost north of $1000. Most all-in-one bathroom lights will cost between $150 and $450.
LED lights are normally fixed so that they aren’t dimmable. New LED lights are now available which will allow them to dim, creating a luxury environment while also providing the brightness when you need it. LED lights will look great, last longer and save you money as they use less power.
Of course, there is plenty that your can DIY in a bathroom renovation. Electrical is not one of that. Make sure you choose a reliable licensed electrician to do your electrical work in your bathroom renovation to keep you, your family and your home safe.
Exhaust Fans & Heating
The exhaust fan efficiently extracts excess steam, heat and odour from the bathroom to make it a much nicer environment to be in. While making the environment much more pleasant, a bathroom exhaust fan will reduce the potential for mould and mildew to grow meaning the bathroom is also safer.
One of the best things about the modern bathroom fan is that it can control the environment no matter what the conditions are like inside the room. A unit like an IXL 3-in-1 can extract heat, steam and odour, or extract just steam and odour, or it can add heat via heat lamps if desired. There are many great options available today which we are happy to speak to you about.
All-in-one exhaust fans like the IXL Tastic, IXL Triumph or HPM products vary in size, looks, extraction rates and heating capacity just like a standard bathroom exhaust fan. Expect to pay more than $170 for a quality exhaust fan.
We recommend units that are energy-efficient, powerful for both extraction and heating, and quiet. Installing exhaust fans in your bathroom will require a licensed electrician. Make sure you get one with plenty of experience as they will have to cut into your ceiling to install the exhaust fan and heat lamps. An experienced electrician will also know what to look for to make sure the installation is safe. If you’re in Newcastle or the Hunter and are in the process of renovating an oven, call Maxx Electrical for a free quote.
Toilets are something that will probably get the most use in your bathroom so it pays to chose your toilet carefully. It may sound silly, but try them before your buy. Not literally of course, but sit on them and make sure they are comfortable and at the right height. Nothing cheapens a bathroom like an uncomfortable toilet, so make sure you get a good one.
Something that is often overlooked when buying a toilet is the cleaning of it. No one likes cleaning toilets so make sure you check the nooks and crannies that will prove to be an extra challenge.
Here are the basics for the different types of toilets you’ll come across.
- Close Coupled toilets have the cistern attached the toilet and sit proud of the wall. These can also be considered freestanding and are the more traditional style you’ll find in your search.
- In-wall Cistern toilets have cisterns concealed in the wall and can be used with either a freestanding pan (bowl) or wall-hung pan that floats above the bathroom floor. These toilets give a clean luxury look and are a must in a minimalist bathroom.
- Wall facing toilets have the cistern and bowl joined together in one unit. They are often slimmer than close coupled toilets and look more permanent. The wall facing units sit flush against the wall and are the most common styles of toilets.
- Toilets will come with dual flush mechanisms and different water ratings. Consider the impact on the environment and your pocket when selecting toilets. Often, the more expensive to buy the cheaper it is to use and easier it is to clean.
Expect to pay between $150 for a basic toilet all the way to a couple of thousand dollars for a luxury model.
Tiles add a lot to the feel of the bathroom and vary massively in cost, size, colour and texture.
For a budget bathroom renovation, consider simple ceramic tiles that tie in with your architecture and design. The simpler the tile, the easier it is to dress the bathroom up with colourful accessories.
Striking colourful tiles and graphic tiles add interest and can change the feel of a room in a heartbeat. Consider the size of a room and the lighting before choosing your tiles as tiles which look one way in a shop can quickly have the opposite effect in your home. Feature tiles are priced per sheet, not per metre, so the price can quickly add up when tiling large areas.
Natural stone tiles are in vogue now but require care and maintenance to make sure they last the test of time. Natural stone tiles will need to be sealed to make them waterproof and this process will need to be repeated every couple of years depending on usage.
Tiles can consider from $20 per metre to over $500 per metre. Consider also the cost of labour and preparation.
Heated Towel Rails
Cold morning? Wet, miserable towels? Not anymore with heated towel rails in your new bathroom. These towel rails dry and warm your towels in colder months making them a practical and luxurious addition to your home. Heated towel rails are normally made from stainless steel and can be either plug-in or hard-wired. If you’re going for that permanent look and want your bathroom finished to a high standard, make sure to have a quality electrician (like us) install your new towel rails.
Mirrors are very practical items in your bathrooms and are often just viewed as a necessity, however, mirrors can add a lot the feel and design of the bathroom. The perfect mirror is one the complements the size of the rooms and reflects the right amount of light and colour. Mirrors come in all different shapes and sizes, from traditional bezel edges to modern pencil edging.
For those with only a small amount of space or those wanting to maximise storage space in their bathroom, consider mirrors with cupboards behind them. These are often cheaper than you might think and can be a real practical addition to your bathroom.