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WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT RENOVATING A BATHROOM, do you picture yourself being better than a contestant on a reality TV show? Do you think it would be a great project to have fun and make money from? Do you think you could work as a team with your family and somehow develop new skills and pull together a finished job on time and on budget? I’d hate to tell you “you’re dreaming”, but I do want to warn you that I’ve seen many cases where this is ‘the dream’ and the reality is far from it. Sometimes renovating a bathroom can be a fun and rewarding job and will look a million dollars when it’s done (properly). Unfortunately I’ve been called in many times to fix mistakes that should not have happened in the first place, costing the owner more than if I’d been there from the start to do it right. If you are considering renovating your bathroom and you want to do some of it yourself, please follow my ‘tradie rules’ so you don’t waste time, money, effort and sanity on your bathroom project. You’ll also save me a headache from shaking my head at your sloppy work.
can’t afford it all at once then wait until you can, otherwise it will end up costing you more doing bit-by-bit and you’ll hate living with a half-done bathroom! • Make a decision on what you want – it’s very hard to deliver a project if you don’t know what the outcome should be (plus it will drive your tradies mad). • Put a timeframe together and check this with your tradies. Make sure you know what order they need to come in and allow some buffer days in case anything gets delayed. • Make sure you pay deposits and balance invoices on time so you don’t delay the project. • Work out where all your fixtures and power points will go before work commences so you don’t have to try to cut into tiles later or find your ideas are no longer possible. • Order in your materials and allow an extra 10% so that you will have spare tiles if anything cracks/breaks during the renovation or after – it is very difficult to match tiles later down the track, they differ from batch to batch let alone after a year or so.
Get this done first:
Watch out for these bad boys:
• Set a budget and get quotes for all the trades you’ll need, even if you can do some things yourself. Get the tradie quotes to see what your bathroom reno is worth, and also if you end up not being able to do the job yourself, you will have a ‘plan b’. If you 12 - PWM FEB/MAR 2014
• If you get a great discount on specialty tiles beware that to lay them may be an additional cost as they will require specialist skills that draw a higher rate. • Ensure your waterproofing is done by a professional and can be
guaranteed, don’t assume that what you’ve got is good enough, check it. Water leaks can destroy a bathroom and sometimes cause problems in other parts of the house. • If you decide to do some things yourself, keep it simple. Ask your tradies what prep work you can do to help save them time (and your money). • Never do your own plumbing or electrical unless you are qualified. • If you are going to attempt your own tiling I would advise against it, but I’m a tiler so there’s a bias there. I’ve seen many, many bad tiling jobs by owner-renovators – most forget about setting the fall so that water drains to the right places, or they don’t think about where full tiles finish, how to cut them properly and how to grout or silicone with a professional finish. • Make sure you have a contingency plan and a contingency budget, you can uncover some hidden nasties (think termites and water damage) when pulling apart and renovating a bathroom so be sure that you can rectify anything that comes up so you’re not left with just a demolition site. • If you’re renovating for a rental property, pick sturdy over fancy when it comes to fixtures and fittings.
We gutted the bathroom, re-plastered the walls and then screed the floor (to get the right levels and fall, so the water runs where we want it to). We tiled the walls and floors, fitted a new shower base, vanity, mirror, toilet and fixtures. The tiles used were a specialty stone and they required extra precision to cut and lay them properly. It took just two weeks for 4 tradies (a chippie, electrician, a tiler and a plumber), along with the owner of the job as the labourer, to turn the place around. It looks fantastic and I know the owners are really impressed and now have an investment property worth so much more than what they purchased it for. I hope you have the same success with your reno project.
Some suggestions from my inner interior decorator:
• Big tiles and big mirrors can give the illusion of more space, which helps smaller bathrooms feel less cramped. • Keep colours neutral for longevity of the bathroom and also to help with resale or rental opportunities. If you want to add some colour, do this with towels and accessories. • If you’re going to have features make sure they are just that, features, do not overdo it!
I’m not saying that renovating by yourself is a bad thing, but you need to know when you need the experts and what you’re up for. Don’t jump into a project without knowing the ins and outs and the areas where you could potentially sink money. I don’t want to turn you off the project all together so here is some inspiration… A recent project that I worked on was an old house in Nambour.
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APC Renovations PWM FEB/MAR 2014 - 13
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Warren Hansen, a fully trade qualified carpenter, started at Oakvale Homes over 20 years ago as a building supervisor when the business commenced.
After a three-year break he came back to Oakvale and twelve years ago bought the business. He still likes to get out into the field, visiting houses at least three times to maintain quality levels and keep in touch with the local tradespeople working with him. A One-Stop-Shop is the perfect way to describe Oakvale’s Gympie Building Display Centre located on the corner of Cross Street and the Bruce Highway. Warren said he designed the centre mainly for a younger generation, who lead very busy lifestyles and would appreciate the convenience. “They can do it all in one shop and still have time to do things at home together,” he said. There are ideas for tiles, carpets & vinyl, bench tops, kitchen ideas, lighting, door selection, bricks, external cladding and bathrooms with concept colour and pattern options and tools to help you make the right choice — which is what Oakvale is all about. The advantage of having everything in the one place means that your selection schedule, including colours can be chosen conveniently in the one location. A range of products is available for every budget and individual needs. He said that more people took advantage of the display centre than visiting the display homes that Oakvale had built and opened around town. Featuring an open plan the stunning display centre has countless choices for you to make for your first home or dream home and the building is unique to the Gympie/ Cooloola Region and Sunshine Coast. Oakvale Homes represent value for money and according to Warren, as you can choose standard plans or have a custom built home. He said ideas and concepts from different plans could be built into one design that meet your individual needs. “We rarely build the same house twice, versatility is a big thing,” he said. Although specialists in elevated houses with Linea board cladding, Oakvale Homes are able to build steel frame and slab homes, with a range of brick and rendered homes available. From one bedroom to four, low budget to luxury Oakvale Homes builds the full range — the choice is yours. Using a fixed price contract means you can come away knowing what to budget for with no hidden surprises. Everything is included in the price including painting and Warren said he didn’t like to add anything on. “There are no cost pluses, unless you change your mind,” he said. Oakvale generally hold prices for six months. Something Oakvale Homes pride themselves on is using quality local builders and suppliers making sure your dollars contribute to the local economy.
The business also has very dedicated staff that have been with them over the years. Our contractors remain the same for each job and most have been with us for many years, one in particular for 10 plus years. Loyalty and consistency is one of our keys to success. Winning best Custom Built Home up to $150,000 in the HIA Sunshine Coast Housing Awards in 2002, Oakvale Homes’ owner Warren Hansen was especially proud and pleased as judges reported huge difficulties in choosing a winner. The awards recognise industry excellence in construction, design, innovation and technology and have a very high standard of entries every year. Homes are judged on quality, workmanship, design, visual appeal, energy efficiency, technology, innovation and value for money. Oakvale Homes were finalists in the 2003 HIA Sunshine Coast Housing Awards Most Innovative Use of Steel category. The business also received a bronze in the 2004 HIA Sunshine Coast Housing Awards Display Homes valued $225,000 to $275,000 category. The awards have spurred Warren on to build every home with award winning quality. Our most recent accolade was in 2012 winning the HIA Sunshine Coast Housing Awards for Renovations and Additions Project up to $300,000 with a superb replica of an existing ‘log cabin look’ dwelling at Canina just outside of Gympie. Having the diversity of offering sheds and solar power to you give us the edge and gives you peace of mind and stress-free building as we do it all for you. Looking after you is our number one priority all day every day.
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We want your Pictures! We realise some of our readers are doing their own renovations. We would love to share and showcase your hard work. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We want your Stories! Do you know of anyone or do you have a fabulous property investment experience to share. email us at email@example.com
Ask our experts a question.
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propertywise magazine Donâ€™t miss our next issue coming in April.
Boom Area focus on Kawana Waters
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Landscape Rental friendly garden
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