Friday 24 January 2020

My Bathroom Renovation

The one room of my home I have always hated the most, yet spend a lot of my time in, was the bathroom. I never liked the tiles, the colour scheme or the bulky, poorly made vanity unit around the sink. It was a nightmare to keep clean, one of those tiles was wonky and the grouting was uneven. Yet spending an hour or more in there every weekend in the bath relaxing is something I absolutely loved doing. 
My Bathroom Renovation
I wrote a post (here) about beginning a bathroom renovation, they don’t come cheap, so it was something we started saving up for. Watching a lot of home renovation shows is a guilty secret especially the American Home shows - they often advise you to have home warranty plans in place such as those offered by First American Home Warranty whereas here, our home insurance is vital particularly when it comes down to keeping our appliances and systems updated.

As always when you start to save, something more pressing pops up and needs replacing - the hoover, the washing machine and the bed collapsing didn’t really help - the latter is still on the list to be replaced, but one day it will happen. However, the issue of a bathroom renovation became much more of a priority than a new bed and it has now been completed but it wasn’t without a whole lot of stress.

The flat above mine helped move the process of a bathroom renovation along a little because of a leak coming from their bathroom down in to mine. Have you ever had that feeling of knowing you can hear dripping water, but can never find the source of that leak? Well, this had been happening for some time to me, laying back in the bath to relax and all you can hear is 'drip, drip drip', the kind of noise that really annoys me.  Anyway, I checked every possible source within the flat to see if I had a dripping tap or pipe and found nothing.  Then one day whilst washing my face, I felt a drop of water fall on to my head, looked up and it was coming from my ceiling. 
My Bathroom Renovation
That leak quickly became 12litres of water into a bucket, which over the course of a weekend I emptied twice.  To add to that stress, a hole in my bathroom ceiling appeared, it started around the size of a 50p and then parts of the plaster started to fall off, as well as that we had more water running down the hallway walls, across the top of my front door and eventually the door, which was wooden, became so warped we couldn't shut it properly. Water creates a lot of issues and quickly paints starts bubbling, wood begins to rot and mould appears on all surfaces, especially if it is left.  So finally, due to one reason and another, we had no option but to claim on the insurance and get quotes for the damage to be fixed. At this point, it is worth checking any home insurance policy you have for the amount of excess you are liable for and what is and what is not covered. The insurance claim in itself is incredibly stressful as we had a loss adjuster come round to ask questions and see the damage for themselves and it was quite a relief for someone who is neutral to see the damage and see what a mess we had had to live in for 6 weeks. Once we heard back about our claim, we made the decision to renovate the entire bathroom using the funds we had saved so far, it made more sense and we had the budget to do it, rather than just replace the ceiling, replaster the walls, get a new sink and then paint, when eventually we would have to re-tile, put in a new bath and toilet anyway.

Choosing a bathroom suite is much harder than I first thought and anyone who follows me on Instagram might remember my outbursts at why when you want to buy a bathroom suite half the time it doesn’t include a bath or a shower, the suite is now a toilet and a sink - frustrating beyond measure plus most bathroom suites don't come with fixture and fittings, so they are an extra too. I spent hour upon hour looking, measuring and searching for something that would fit into our bathroom and eventually found something I loved the style of and that would fit right - Victoria Plumbing saving the day and being able to deliver on a Saturday without charging me an extortionate amount of money. A few days later the bathroom suite arrived with the most helpful of delivery man and it was packaged incredibly well and not a single item was damaged, cracked or smashed.
My Bathroom Renovation
I mentioned how much I hated the previous tiles, so this time I was determined to get ones I really liked. We had decided that the tiles would be grey, not too fancy or too plain. So off we went to B&Q who happened to have a sale on and we picked up floor and wall tiles for less than half price and instead of going for your more traditional white grouting, we went for dark grey. The walls we decided would be plain white, they had been light blue before, a shade we went for to cover up the luminous yellow it had been before. 

If you have never renovated a bathroom before but are thinking of doing your own then I have some tips to share with you. 
  1. The budget, the most obvious of all. Have a look around online and in-store to see what prices you might be expected to pay, they differ a lot but it gives you an idea as to what is out there.  After that, whoever installs your new bathroom, even if it isn't a full renovation, it comes with a cost.  The same goes for dispensing with your old bathroom furniture, how much does that cost and where is it going?
  2. Measuring - ensure that you measure your space properly. Baths come in all different shapes and sizes and the length and the width will matter. So with your bathroom, you need to measure the base of your toilet, it’s height and this goes for your sink as well. All those extra centimetres and millimetres matter.
  3. Toilet - Now this might sound very odd, but where your toilet resides is important because that is where it will stay unless you are literally removing absolutely everything and starting over because that waste pipe which connects to your toilet is important and it costs a lot of money to move it.
  4. Tiles - if you are tiling the wall or the floor - how much are you tiling and what is the per metre square measurement? Tiles are usually sold in boxes of 8-12 tiles which will give you a per M2 allowing you to work out how many boxes you need. Important to ensure you buy an extra box in case of damages. 
  5. Finally your extras. I mentioned I wanted somewhere to house my lotions and potions and whilst you can buy an abundance of shelving for the bathroom, I wanted to limit it.  We opted for a mirror on the wall which isn't too fancy and fits nicely above the sink.  Then we decided to opt for one glass shelf and a rail to hang towels on underneath that shelf.  Sadly, we had no room for a towel heater, but in its place, we have a single white tallboy cupboard which hides all the lotions, potions, cleaning products, toilet rolls and other toiletries.  Again, all of this comes under number one with budgeting.
However, the most important part of any renovation is to ensure you have a trustworthy to fit your new bathroom. We are lucky enough to have a family friend who did ours, but you need someone reputable and qualified because it could end up costing you a whole lot more.
My Bathroom Renovation
In total from start to finish, our bathroom took around 5 and a half weeks to be completed and considering this involved some re-wiring, a new ceiling, re-plastering of all the walls, painting, glossing, installation of a new floor, new bathroom suite, new lights and a new extractor fan in the middle of Autumn, it is quite something. As you can see we kept it simple with a grey and white theme and whilst it is a small space, it looks so much bigger than it did before.  All we have left to fit is a shower screen if I can ever find one that works!

As you can imagine, I am just so happy with how it looks, I love the colour scheme and it is now my happy place.

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