20 – Day 13: 14 Days To A New Bathroom

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Bernadette is on Day 13 of the mini-series 14 Days To A New Bathroom. She will be talking about the order of work you need to follow to achieve a successful bathroom renovation. The tips she will share with you will be for a bathroom reno that will not involve any significant changes to the layout therefore, no council approval required.

Aside from that, Bernadette announces the “She Renovates” Facebook group and how you can join. Plus she reveals the bathroom competition to be launched after the mini-series!

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

Listen to Day 13: 14 Days To A New Bathroom 

Podcast: Download (Duration: 13:33 — 26.66 MB)

Bernadette covers,

  • Critical things you should prepare and coordinate with your trades in order before you start your bathroom renovation
  • When you will need to render or sheet the walls
  • When to build a false wall
  • Why it’s important for you to be onsite during the first fix
  • How to you can determine the right height for putting your toilet cistern
  • Why you should take photos of the bathroom walls while the finished wirings are still exposed
  • Waterproofing
  • Why she strongly recommends having the same trade to be both the tiler and waterproofer
  • The tiling process and why it’s important for you to get involved during this step
  • When to silicone the corner joints between the floor and the wall and the corners of the walls
  • What needs to happen during the second fix
  • Installing your bathroom’s accessories
  • Why she designates the painter for the last step
  • Cleaning and styling your bathroom
  • The final step to determine if your bathroom is fully functional


Episode highlights:

  • [00:00:29] Facebook group: She Renovates
  • [00:00:58] An extension of the podcast
  • [00:01:35] A bathroom competition
  • [00:01:48] The order of work
  • [00:02:50] A critical step in the process
  • [00:03:08] Be clear about what stays and what goes
  • [00:04:24] The first fix can happen
  • [00:04:43] Everything is positioned in the right place
  • [00:04:50] You need to make decisions about how you want things place
  • [00:05:08] Measure from the finished floor level
  • [00:06:02] It’s good to keep up with the property
  • [00:06:49] The main thing you need to know about waterproofing
  • [00:07:58] Next thing is you bring your tiler in
  • [00:08:48] You are involved in the layout of the tiles
  • [00:10:14] Remember not to grout the corner joints
  • [00:11:17] Installation of the finishing touches
  • [00:11:35] The last trade is the painter
  • [00:12:32] Once the bathroom is clean, you can then style
  • [00:12:50] – Make sure everything is functioning as it should
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson



Well hello! Bernadette back the episode 13 of 14 Days To A Beautiful New Bathroom. Before we get into today’s episode I want to share some exciting news. On Monday, we opened up a brand new free Facebook group called She Renovates. Now the intention of that group is firstly, to inform the topics that we cover in the podcast and to make sure that I’m hitting the mark in terms of the content. And the second one, is to build a community of renovators who are interested in supporting one another, to transform their income and their lives through renovating. So that’s really our mission. And it’s just an extension of the podcast. So I’d really love you to come over and join me. In order to find us you just need to go over to Facebook and search She Renovates. When you get to the group, it’s a closed group, you’ll find that there is a little application process. I actually don’t think it’s that onerous, but you just need to answer a couple of questions. We have a couple of my team manning that, one of them is my daughter number 3, Madeleine and I look forward to seeing you in there.

Given that we’re just about finished with the bathroom mini series, I’m planning to run a little bathroom competition over there. So look out for that. It’ll be happening in the next couple of days and I will give you details in the upcoming episodes. So let’s get into it.

Today we’re going to be talking about the order of work. And as we go along, I’ll give you a few tips with each of the trades and yeah let’s get started. Basically in this episode I’m assuming that the bathroom, there’s not going to be any significant changes to the layout, so it’s fairly straightforward and no council approval required.

Before we start with anything, we need to have our materials ordered, the work tendered and awarded, have selected your trades and have them lined up and ready to go. Before the demolisher comes in, you want to bring in your plumber, an electrical contractor to terminate the services, so the plumber will terminate the water so that the tapware and basins and toilets can be removed. And the electrician will do the same with the power and make sure that it is safe, which is a critical step in the process. Once it’s all done, then the demolisher can come in. But before that happens, make sure you mark anything that you’re planning to keep. Because they tend to come through, and just clear everything in their way. Be really clear about what stays and what goes. So there’s no confusion.

Often what happens when the tiles are coming off the wall, is that part of the wall comes off too. And you usually end up having to make good afterwards. If those walls are masonry, then you’re going to have to render and unfortunately render slows the process up. Because it takes so long to dry. Often you can have to leave it up to a week to dry before you can go on to the next trade. But if the walls are timber frame, you can actually just sheet the walls, which is much quicker. Be done in a day and then you’re on to the next thing the next day, but before you do any of that, the next step is to bring a builder or carpenter in, to construct any new stud walls.

We generally end up putting some sort of false wall in to house an in wall cistern or to put niches in the shower recess. If you’ve got brick walls, you can’t have niches unless you cut out the brick. What we usually do is just build a false wall. Also, if you’re putting in a bath to build that up either in stub or brickwork. And once that’s done, the first fix can happen. So the plumber and the electrician come in and do their roughing. If your changing over from hot and cold taps to mixers, that breaching piece from the mixer tap will be cut into the wall and the toilet set up. So everything is positioned in the right place.

You’ll need to be onsite that day, because there will be questions asked about where you want this and that. You need to make decisions about how you want things place that can sometimes be tricky, because when the bathroom looks like a bomb site and you have to visualize where you want to say the basin to be placed, it can be hard to visualize that.

And also in terms of measurements, we usually measure from the finished floor level. If there’s no floor and no tiles, you have to estimate how thick that’s going to be, to figure out the right height for putting your toilet cistern or whatever. That part can be a little bit challenging, cause there’s usually not a lot of wiring to happen in the bathroom, but often you’ll need to put in an extra power point. So if you’re putting in a heated towel rail, you might need to put power in for under tile heating. So all those things happen and then when that’s done what I usually do is take a photo of the walls. And the reason being, is that once the walls are closed up, in say you’re drilling in four hours and whatever. You really want to know where that pipework and wiring is, so you don’t drill through it. Because that can be a bit of a nuisance when you do that and also it’s good to keep up with the property. Because if you do ever have leaks, you’re usually able to identify what the problem is if you’ve got a photo where the plumbing goes.

Once the first fix is finished, then you can look at closing up the walls. And of course if you’ve got timber frame then that’s a case of wall sheeting, waterproof of course, and rendering. So often the shower recess will need to be rendered, which is as I mentioned, is a wet messy job and it can slow down a renovation, because it takes a while to dry. But anyhow, let’s assume you don’t have to do that, it’s just sheeted over and then we’re on to the waterproofing.

I guess the main thing you need to know about waterproofing, is give your waterproofer a key so that he or she can come and go and get those coats on. Most systems are either 2 or 3 coats and can be done in two days. So if it’s a 3 coat, they’ll usually do one in the morning of the first day, one at night and then the 3rd one the next day. Otherwise it’s just 1 each day, but you do need to make sure you get a certificate for that.

If you’re selling the property that will be required and if you’re renovating in a building, in an apartment building the owners corporation will want to see it and you want to keep that for your own benefit. I’m pretty sure I mentioned this when we’re talking trades, but you want to make sure that you’re tiler and you’re waterproofer are the same person if possible. It just saves you a lot of headaches, because once the waterproofing is done, you really need to look after that membrane. And if you’ve got tilers coming through who’ve not waterproof, often they can not be as careful as they should be. They might break a tile on it and not reinstate the waterproofing membrane, where all of a sudden it lost its integrity. So it’s enough said about waterproofing.

Next thing is you bring your tiler in and that is a 2 1/2 – 3 day process. So you have the floor grid which is the topping which creates the fall. So it’s sand and cement that the tiler will mix up in the bathroom and scrape it out and who will also set up for the floorways. And then let it dry.

Incidentally in apartment buildings these days, where waterproofing both under the screed and on top of it. So it’s double layer, just really belt and braces approach to making sure there are no leaks into the apartment below. If you’re going to do that and you’re in an apartment, you’ll need to bring your waterproofer back to do the whole process again on top of that screed.

Then the next step is the floor tiles. So my advice here is make sure you’re on site the day they start, so that you are involved in the layout of the tiles are set out. Because you want to know that you’re not going to end up with strange cuts or grout lines misaligned. Sometimes in order to get it to look good, you might need to start with a whole tile in the middle of the room and work out. It just depends a lot on the scenario, but just be there and be involved in that conversation about how the tiles are going to be laid out.

Same with wall tiles. You work out in full tiles, what sort of cut you’re going to end up with at the top and it may mean that you start with the cut tile thing, so you’re not ending up with a tiny sliver of tile at the top of the wall. I actually like to take the cornices off and tile to the ceiling and so that you have a nice square set edge. The problem that can arise is that the cornice is actually covering a space, because the ceiling sheeting hasn’t come across and met the wall. So there is a gap in there that has to be patched, but I still think it’s worth doing, it’s a much cleaner look. Some people worry that a ceiling is not flat enough, so that it will look wavy. But really, when you’re looking from standing on the floor, looking up, like no ceiling is ever perfectly flat, you really struggle to see if it’s not perfect.

And so once the tiling and the grouting is done, please remember not to grout the corner joints between the floor and the wall and the corners of the walls. They need to be siliconed. So if your tiler doesn’t do siliconing, you can probably get your builder to do that. That’s an important step.

So once the tile is finished, you’re really on the homeward bound. And now you’re up to the 2nd fix. You also want to get your shower screened measured up, so that it can be made up. But then the plumber will come back in and fix, fit off the tapware, the toilet, the shower, the bath everything. And same with the electrician, if you have an off the shelf vanity, generally the plumber will install the black vanity as well. But if you have a custom made one, usually the joiner does it. So there’s a bit of juggling around, to get the work to happen, and have things ready, the basin can’t go in until the vanity and the top’s gone on. So there’s a bit of coordination there.

Okay so once the 2nd fix is complete, what there is to do now is installation of the finishing touches. The shower screen, the mirror or mirrored cabinets, the accessories. As in the toilet roll holders, the towel rails and then the last trade is the painter. I actually leave the painter to very last. Or in this case the only thing that we haven’t done is the window dressings. But other than that, everything else gets finished. Because if you bring your painter in too early, you end up having to bring them back. Because the painting gets damaged with other trades in the room. And so I like to leave it to very last, so that when it’s finish, the jobs finished. There’s not a lot of painting in a bathroom, just say the ceiling, maybe door frame, door and window frame and then your up to cleaning.

So cleaning is a bit of a contract, because every square centimeter of tile needs to be gone over at least twice because it gets that film of grout. You need to clean it and polish it. So it looks pristine. And then once the bathroom is cleaned, you can then style.

One more task before you can declare it complete, is to actually use all the components of the bathroom. So have a shower, make sure that all your new plumbing is working well and there’s no block in pipes and everything is functioning as it should.

Okay, so that is episode 13 complete and I will see you back here tomorrow for our very last episode in 14 Days To A New Bathroom. In actual fact this episode is going to be How To Renovate Bathroom In 14 Days. So how that works and I’ll see you then.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

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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