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Can you renovate a bathroom yourself?

Published on
June 22, 2023

Renovating a bathroom can be an exciting project that adds value to your home and enhances your daily life. However, many homeowners wonder if they can tackle the job themselves or if they need to hire a professional. In this article, we'll explore the factors you should consider before taking on DIY bathroom renovations, as well as the steps involved in the process.

Assessing your DIY skills and experience

Before starting a bathroom renovation project, evaluate your DIY skills and experience. While some tasks might seem simple, like painting or putting up a mirrored cabinet, others require specialized knowledge and tools. Therefore, it's essential to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you ever completed a DIY renovation project before?
  • Do you feel comfortable using power tools and heavy equipment?
  • Are you familiar with the laws around plumbing and electrical?

If you're a seasoned DIYer who has previously tackled plumbing and electrical work with licensed experts, you might feel confident taking on a bathroom renovation project. However, if you're a beginner or feel uncertain about any aspects of the bathroom layout project, it might be best to consider hiring a professional.

Basic DIY tasks for bathroom renovation

If you have some DIY experience but haven't attempted a bathroom renovation before, there are some basic tasks you may be able to handle on your own. These could include:

  • Removing old fixtures and fittings: Before installing new fixtures, you'll need to remove the old ones. This task can be time-consuming, especially if you encounter stubborn screws or bolts.
  • Cleaning and preparing surfaces for tiling or painting: Proper preparation is key to achieving a professional finish. Make sure to clean all surfaces thoroughly and patch any holes or cracks.
  • Installing new hardware, such as towel racks and toilet paper holders: This task might seem simple, but it requires precise measurements and a steady hand to ensure you don't crack any wall tiles.

While these tasks can be accomplished by a DIYer, they still require attention to detail and can be time-consuming. Therefore, make sure you're up for the challenge and have the necessary tools on hand.

Advanced DIY tasks for bathroom renovation

If you have more extensive DIY experience and feel comfortable tackling more complex projects, you may be able to handle advanced tasks such as:

  • Laying tile or other flooring: Tile installation is a complex process that requires precise measurements and cuts. If you're up for the challenge, make sure to research the proper techniques and tools needed.
  • Building custom cabinets or vanities: This task requires advanced woodworking skills and specialized tools. If you're not confident in your abilities, it's best to hire a professional or at least buy a pre-made vanity that you can install or hang yourself.

Keep in mind that these tasks require specialized knowledge and equipment, so be sure you have the skills and experience necessary to complete them safely and effectively.

When to call in a professional

There are some situations where it's best to call in a professional instead of attempting a DIY bathroom renovation. These could include:

  • If you're unsure about any aspect of the project: If you're not confident in your abilities, it's best to leave it to a professional to avoid costly mistakes.
  • If you're dealing with structural issues, such as water damage or mold: These issues require specialized knowledge and equipment to address properly.
  • If you're short on time and need the project completed quickly: A professional contractor can ensure that your bathroom renovation is done quickly and correctly, without risking damage to your home or putting your safety at risk.

Ultimately, the decision to tackle a bathroom renovation project yourself or hire a professional depends on your DIY skills and experience, the complexity of the project, bathroom style and your budget. Whatever you decide, make sure to plan carefully and take all necessary precautions to ensure a successful and safe renovation.

Planning your bathroom renovation

Once you've decided to tackle a bathroom renovation, the next step is to plan out the budget renovation project. This can be broken down into several key steps:

Setting a budget

Before you begin any renovation project, it's important to determine how much you can afford to spend. Consider factors such as the cost of materials, labor, and any unexpected expenses that may arise. It's also important to set aside a contingency fund for any unforeseen issues that may arise during the renovation process. Keep in mind that a bathroom renovation can be a significant investment, but it can also add value to your home. Find your budget and stick to it. We also recommend getting a quote for a qualified bathroom renovation company to complete the project because half the time, the products you buy yourself end up costing twice their cost.

Choosing a design and layout

The design and layout of your bathroom will depend on your personal preferences and the space available. Consider factors such as the size and style of fixtures, glass doors, floor tiling, freestanding bathtub location, shower location, shower enclosures, keeping some existing tiles or going ahead with a complete overhaul... as you can see there are a lot of considerations. You may want to consult with a professional designer or contractor to help you create a functional and stylish space that meets your needs and fits within your budget. We recommend speaking with someone who is frequently renovating bathrooms and has experience as an interior designer.

When choosing a design and layout for new bathroom, it's important to consider the practical aspects of the space as well, changing things like the shower location can have a huge impact on your bathroom renovation cost. For example, if you have a small bathroom, you may want to consider a space-saving bathroom design, that maximizes storage and minimizes clutter. If you have mobility issues, you may want to consider a design that includes features such as grab bars and a walk-in shower.

Selecting materials and fixtures

Choosing the right materials and fixtures can make a big difference in the look and functionality of your bathroom. From shower screens and premium tiles to a budget bathtub and budget tiles, be sure to select high-quality materials that fit within your budget. And yes, you can still get high quality and premium products that fit within your bathroom renovation cost. When selecting materials and fixtures, consider factors such as durability, ease of maintenance, and energy efficiency.

You may also want to consider eco-friendly options such as low-flow toilets and showerheads, which can help you save money on your water bill and reduce your environmental impact. Additionally, choosing energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems can help you save money on your energy bill while improving the overall comfort and functionality of your bathroom.

Overall, planning your bathroom renovation requires careful consideration and attention to detail. By setting a budget, choosing a design and layout that meets your needs, and selecting high-quality materials and fixtures, you can create a beautiful and functional space that adds value to your home.

Step-by-step guide to a DIY bathroom renovation

A bathroom renovation can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and a bit of patience, it can be a rewarding project that adds value to your home. Here's a detailed guide to help you through the process:

Demolition and preparation

The first step of renovating a bathroom is demolition. This is where you remove any old fixtures, fittings, take off wall tiles, rip up floor tiles,  and prepare the space for a major renovation throughout. Before you start, make sure to turn off the water and electricity to the bathroom. This may include tearing out old cabinets, removing plumbing fixtures and electrical, and scraping away old tile or other flooring material.

Once the old fixtures are removed, you'll need to inspect the bathroom walls and ceiling for any damage. If you find any, make sure to repair it before moving on to the next step.

Plumbing and electrical work Rough In

Before installing new fixtures and fittings, you'll need to make sure that your existing plumbing, and electrical is functioning properly. As said earlier, unless you are a qualified and licensed professional, it is against the law to complete your own plumbing and electrical work for your renovation. We recommend making contact with a local plumber to better understand the plumbing costs involved and to add these prices to your renovation budget.

Walls, tiling and flooring

Once the rough in is complete, you can begin installation of any framing, gyprock and tiling for your walls and floor. Make sure to measure carefully and use high-quality materials to ensure a professional-looking finish. If you're not comfortable with tiling, consider hiring a professional to do the job for you.

If you're installing new tile, make sure to choose a grout color that complements the tile and adds to the overall look of the bathroom. You may also want to consider adding a tile backsplash behind the sink or vanity to protect ceramic tile on the walls from water damage.

Installing fixtures and fittings

Once the tiling is complete and you have allowed for tile drying time, you can start installing new fixtures and fittings, such as your bathtub (whether it's a freestanding bath or corner bath), shower, basin, premium toilet, and vanity. Make sure to measure carefully and double-check your work before securing anything in place.

When installing a new bathtub or shower, it's important to note this falls under the work of a plumber and must be performed by a licensed professional.

Painting and finishing touches

Finally, you can add the finishing touches to your bathroom renovation by painting the walls and adding hardware such as towel racks and toilet paper holders. When choosing a paint color, consider the overall style of the bathroom and choose a color that complements the fixtures and tile.

You may also want to consider adding a few decorative touches, such as a framed mirror or a piece of artwork, to your bathroom designer give your bathroom a personal touch.

With these steps, you can transform your outdated former bathroom space into a beautiful and functional space that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Safety considerations during a bathroom renovation

Regardless of whether you're completing a DIY bathroom renovation or hiring a professional, safety should always be a top priority. A bathroom renovation can be an exciting project, but it can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Here are some additional safety considerations to keep in mind:

Proper use of tools and equipment

When using tools and equipment during a bathroom renovation, it's important to use them properly and follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines. This will help to prevent accidents and injuries. Additionally, it's important to wear the appropriate safety gear such as goggles, gloves, and a mask when necessary. For example, when using power tools or handling hazardous materials, it's important to wear protective gear to prevent injuries and exposure to harmful substances.

Electrical safety

Electrical safety is a critical consideration during a bathroom renovation. If your bathroom renovations include any electrical work, it's important to know it is illegal for non-licensed individuals to perform electrical work, including during a bathroom renovation. As such, it's crucial to leave any electrical work to qualified and licensed professionals. Attempting to do electrical work yourself can result in serious injury, damage to property, and legal consequences. You can learn more about electrical safety with the housing industry association

Preventing water damage

Water damage can be a disaster and blow your bathroom renovation cost out of the window if you're not careful. To prevent water damage, it's important to seal joints and connections properly. This includes using the correct sealant, ensuring that pipes are properly connected, and ensuring that all fixtures are installed correctly. Additionally, it's important to ensure that the bathroom is properly ventilated to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Flooring safety

Flooring is an important consideration during a bathroom renovation. It's important to choose a flooring material that is slip-resistant, especially if you have young children or elderly family members. Additionally, it's important to ensure that the flooring is properly installed and that there are no loose or damaged floor tiles, or floorboards. This will help to prevent slips, trips, and falls, which can cause serious injuries.

Proper waste disposal

During a bathroom renovation, it's important to dispose of waste properly. This includes disposing of hazardous materials such as old paint, adhesives, and cleaning chemicals in accordance with regulations. Additionally, it's important to properly dispose of construction waste such as old tiles, flooring, and fixtures. This will help to prevent environmental damage and ensure that your renovation project is safe and sustainable.

By keeping these safety considerations in mind, you can ensure that your bathroom renovation project is a success, without compromising your safety or the safety of those around you.


A DIY bathroom renovation can be a rewarding project that adds value and functionality to your home. However, it's important to assess your skills and experience, plan the project carefully, and take appropriate safety precautions to ensure a successful outcome. Whether you tackle the project on your own or hire a professional, a renovated bathroom can make a big difference in your daily life.

If you'd like to talk to one of our experts (no obligation) before performing your bathroom renovation, we encourage you to reach out for a chat.

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