Revamp your bathroom on a budget

Revamp your bathroom on a budget

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

A low-cost bathroom renovation can give you a clean, bright - and functional – bathroom. You will also have more money in the bank to spend on other home projects or a well-earned holiday.

Remember that ‘cheap’ doesn’t have to mean ‘low-value: Inexpensive upgrades carried out as they should be can add value to your home. Poorly executed projects, on the other hand – even costly ones - can decrease the value of your property.

Cheaper alternatives

Reusing refurbished existing materials is an excellent place to start if you want to save money. But if you do need to use new materials, less expensive alternatives can often look remarkably like the real thing. A good example is to substitute luxury vinyl for hardwood plank flooring. Modern vinyl is a vast improvement on the old-fashioned linoleum flooring. From a distance, it isn't easy to see the difference between vinyl and genuine wood floors. Engineered stone and quartz countertops compete with granite for a natural stone look, and faux stone ceramic and porcelain tile backsplashes mimic marble and travertine.

Paint

Most bathrooms need very little painting, as much of the wall space is filled with mirrors, showers, tiles, cabinets and bathtubs. The whole project shouldn’t take more than a day to complete. Be sure to buy paint designed for use in bathrooms and won't be affected by steam and dampness.

Plumbing

Avoid major plumbing moves by leaving the toilet, bath and shower where they are. Moving water supply and/or drainage instantly increases the cost of any bathroom renovation.

Light plumbing tasks can be carried out relatively quickly by even inexperienced DIYers. So, instead of calling a plumber, ask yourself what you could do on your own. Modern plastic plumbing pipes and push-in fittings may be all you need to do a first-class job.

Taps

Installing new taps on basins and baths will give your bathroom a new look, and it is something you can do without calling in a plumber. Remember to switch the water mains off before removing the old taps.

Shower

If your shower tiles are looking tired, try painting them for a fresh, clean look. Be sure to use speciality shower tile paint. Instead of a tiled shower floor, prefabricated shower pans are less expensive and can be installed without professional assistance. A new showerhead and modern taps will add the finishing touches.

Toilet

Replacing your outdated toilet is a reasonably straightforward project because the installation involves very few waterline hook-ups. Moving the toilet into place is the most challanging part because it is heavy. Get a friend to help you or buy a small trolley – which is always helpful to have.

Refinish your bathtub

Instead of replacing your bathtub, rather have it refinished. Refinishing is particularly effective if the surface is stained and there are some cracks and scratch marks. Another alternative is a spot-fix touch-up with one of the easy-to-apply touch-up products available from hardware stores.

Vanities

Bathroom vanities and tops can be bought ready-assembled so that you can have them in place in the morning. In addition, some coordinating counters have basins fused into them, eliminating the need for additional caulking, which can be tricky.

Cabinets

Installing new bathroom cabinets can be expensive. A more affordable way to refurbish existing cabinets is to remove outdated doorknobs and drawer handles and replace them with modern ones. Make sure the screws for the new knobs match up with the holes on the cabinets, so you won’t have to drill new ones.

Bathrooms in most homes aren’t very complicated, so you should be able to manage a bathroom revamp without professional help with a little bit of time and effort. Spend some time looking at bathroom layouts and basic bathroom design guidelines for ideas on getting started.

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