10 – Day 3: 14 Days To A New Bathroom

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bathroom resurfacing

On today’s episode,

Bernadette is on Day 3 of the series 14 Days To A New Bathroom on doing a quick low-cost bathroom makeover. She discusses resurfacing at length – tips on finishes and colours, time frame and cost – and it’s advantages as opposed to a complete renovation.

This episode is a part of a 14-Day mini-series on Bathroom Renovations.

Listen to Day 3: 14 Days To A New Bathroom 

Podcast: Download (Duration: 09:13 — 16.87 MB)

Bernadette covers,

  • What resurfacing and why it’s different from paint
  • 3 reasons you should choose to resurface instead of painting
  • Parts of the bathroom you can resurface
  • The colours you can choose for resurfacing your bathroom
  • How resurfacing can greatly improve the time frame of your renos
  • The only thing you can’t resurface and why you shouldn’t.
  • “Nu Again”, a franchise of Resurfacing Australia owned by her students: Greg and Lee Bini


Hello! It’s Bernadette Janson with She Renovates the podcast for women who want to create an income and a life they love through renovating.

And I want to welcome you back to Day 3 in our mini series of 14 Days To A New Bathroom.

So today I’m going to be talking about doing a quick low cost bathroom makeover.

And the topic is resurfacing.

What I’m going to be covering is what resurfacing actually is, the advantages why you would choose to resurface as opposed to completely renovate. What surfaces can be resurfaced. The finishes and colors that are available. The time frame and the cost. And a few little tips to keep in mind.

Firstly what is resurfacing? And the first thing you need to know is, it is not paint.

Now we’ve all watched the bathroom makeovers on telly where they went down to Bunnings and buy a tin of tile paint and come back and splash it around the bathroom and they go, wow! We’ve got a new bathroom!

But the reality is, that the paint on tiles is just not durable. It will scratch, and in a very short period of time it just doesn’t look beautiful. I personally have a philosophical problem with selling a property that has painted tiles because it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors and I just don’t think it’s very ethical.

However, resurfacing is a different animal, resurfacing is a polyurethane resin that’s mixed with a catalyst or a hardener to create a really durable finish. So when it’s mixed with the hardener it’s then thinned down and sprayed on. So it’s a very consistent even look, you cannot tell the difference between a resurface tile and one that’s not.

Now why would you choose to resurface? Well, the first reason would be if you just don’t have the budget for a full bathroom makeover and the lay out of the bathroom works. It’s just that it’s old and dated and it’s a very cost effective and a time effective way to do it.

The second reason you might is, you might do a particular element of the bathroom like the vanity, because you don’t want to have to take all the tiles out. And if you pull the vanity off, the tiles often come off with it. So sometimes resurfacing is the solution.

Bath particularly are often resurfaced, in fact we’re doing one at the moment in one of our projects. Because we don’t want to pull the bath out because it’s a very confined space, and to find another bath that would fit that space will be problematic. So we’re better to keep it and resurface it, and it will come up as good as new.

And the other reason you would choose to resurface would be if you’re in an apartment building. So you might remember and I think it was in episode 2, I talked about how when you choose to renovate your bathroom often it’s an opportunity for the owners corporation to hand over the responsibility for the waterproofing to you. So what this will mean is if your bathroom ever leaks into the ceiling of the tenant below or the owner below, then you’re responsible for repairing it.

However, if you don’t have to disturb the waterproofing membrane, that won’t happen. You won’t have to take on the responsibility. So in that scenario, resurfacing is a good option, because you get a lovely new bathroom but waterproofing membrane stays intact.

Now what can you resurface? The answer is pretty much anything. So laminate bench tops. Cabinetry like the vanity can be resurfaced. Of course the wall tiles. And the bath. So the only thing that you wouldn’t resurface is the floor tiles and I will explain why shortly.

In terms of finishes and colours it’s pretty much the same as paint, you’ve got a broad range of colours and also you can have gloss, satin or matte in terms of the finish. People usually choose gloss for their tiles and sessional matte for the bench tops and cabinetry.

So there are even resurfacing colours that emulate stone, they’ll have little flecks of grey in them. So they look like stone. But of course if you’re changing colours in your bathroom, one on the wall one on the bench top, a different one on your cabinet. You’ll find that will impact the time frame, because of the preparation. Because each of those elements has to be masked up so they contain the colour and the cost as well.

In terms of durability. I would like the durability to be similar to polyurethane cabinetry, if it’s looked after, it will last for a long time. However, if you take it with a knife you’re going to get scratches in it.

That’s really the best way to look at it. One thing I did learn. Was that with resurfaced baths, if water pours on them, particularly in the old clawfoot ones. Often they’re not perfectly level and water won’t drain out completely. If water is allowed to lie around on the bottom of the bath, it will affect the resurfacing. And eventually it will start to peel, so keep the surface clean and dry if you can to maintain the lifetime of the finish.

In terms of time frame, a bathroom will take 2 – 3 days, which is amazing. Because when you fully renovate a bathroom, if you remove the tiles and you have to go through the whole waterproofing and preparation and tiling process, the fastest you can do a bathroom is about 2 weeks. Because of the wet trades that are involved. However, if you’re resurfacing you’re talking 2 – 3 days, which is an incredible advantage. If you’re just doing the bath, then it’s just 1 day.

Now let’s get to the floor. So the thing with the floor is it can be resurfaced. It won’t last. Imagine if you had polyurethane floors, it wouldn’t be too long before they had scratches. The recommendation so that you retain the waterproofing membrane is to tile over your tiles. So if you tile over the tiles, provided the tiles are sound, then your tiler can replace the floor ways. So put a new floor ways, then at a higher level because it will be slightly higher by the thickness of the tile and the glue. And you’ll get a much better finish than if you attempt to resurface the bathroom floor. Of course you do end up with a slightly higher floor which will show at the doorway. But if you’re not wanting to pull up the waterproofing membrane, you don’t have an option. That’s pretty much how it is.

And lastly the cost. So I should at this point acknowledge our students Greg and Lee Bini, who own a business called ‘New Again’. Which is a franchise of Resurfacing Australia in Newcastle and they have been my source or my authority on resurfacing. So they have done some fabulous projects.

Finally, in terms of, and of course this will vary from one contracted to another, but in broad terms a bath will cost you around about $700 for internal resurfacing, wall tiles about $1800 and vanity about $500. So if you’re having everything done in the bathroom, the whole bathroom done, it will take you 2 – 3 days and it will cost you around $2,000-$3,000. So it’s a very cost effective way to produce a new bathroom.

One last thing. Sorry I forgot to mention this when we’re talking about finishes in terms of colours. You can choose just about any colour for resurfacing. But what I would recommend is that you go for what the problem being when you resurface it changes the colour of the tile and the grout. And if you’ve got a coloured tile with coloured grout it looks a bit weird, and so if you stick with white and white tiles usually have white grout. You will not be able to tell that bathroom has been resurfaced.

So I hope you found this useful and I’ll see you in Day 4.

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If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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