The cost to refurbish a bathroom

A 50plus guide to the cost of maintenance and repair work

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What are we talking about? How long does it typically take to refurbish a bathroom?
Typical time 5 to 7 days
Dependencies The work needs to be estimated following a site visit


Bathroom refurbishment ranges from the small makeover to the major refit. This article provides a flavour of the changes that can be made and the associated labour costs.

Like for like refurbishment

'Like for like' means removing the existing bath, basin (and if in the same room, the toilet) fittings and replacing them with new fittings in the same location with similar plumbing. This approach, when coupled with redecoration and possibly replacement tiling results in a bathroom which looks and feels like a new at modest cost. Variations which influence cost include particularly wall tiling and floor finish (e.g. tiling, laminate). If your plumbing is ancient then expect some repairs of valves to be required. If you have just one loo then keeping a facility functioning can usually be accommodated.

  • Typical recommend time - around 5 to 7 days

Changed configuration

Changing configuration does of course add to the time and hence cost. Changes which tend to be the most expensive are those requiring relocating the toilet waste. Changes to hot and cold supplies are relatively simple assuming access beneath the floor.

The impact of tiling. Tiling often has the greatest cost influence as it is time consuming. Old tiles usually need to be removed (we are not fans of tiling over existing tiles). Remember if tiles have been tiled down onto an existing bath or basin then these components probably won't come out without some tiles being removed. If the old tiles are either concreted in (hard to remove) or on plasterboard (which usually needs replacing) then more time will be required. With tiling the greater the area and number of edges the greater the cost. If ceramic floor tiling is being considered then a stable base is required. Most manufacturers are recommending from 10mm of ply boarding over floorboards for a base to tile on. Consideration in these circumstances needs to be given to the link to the adjoining room and to the need to trim the door(s). Laminate flooring has become popular in recent years and this offers an attractive, practical and economic alternative to floor tiles, as does vinyl tiling. Remember with floor tiling and laminate that its is best to site the toilet and basin pedestal on top of the flooring rather than try and tile/lay laminate around them. Tiling is usually costed for a specific installation.

A shower is an increasingly popular facility in a bathroom. For more on showers see the separate article here.

Additional lighting is often called for in bathrooms. Bathroom lights must be suitable for the zone in which they are fitted. For more on bathroom zones look at the technical support information here. For general guidance on lighting read the separate article here.

Extractor fans are mandatory in new build bathrooms and it's a good idea to fit one during a bathroom refurbishment if one is not already present. Fans can be combined with lighting or independent. A through the wall installation is the simplest or a ceiling unit can be fitted. Fans, like lighting, come under Part P.

  • Typical recommend time - from around 4 hours

Much electrical work in bathrooms is subject to Part P of the Building Regulations. More information can be found here.

Boxing in is often requested for bathrooms. Remember that access needs to be maintained to parts that may need servicing e.g. a toilet cistern and beneath the bath or basin). The time taken to box in varies substantially with the complexity and is usually costed for a specific installation.

Requiring waste in difficult locations can be overcome by fitting a macerator (often known as Saniflo which is a trade name). A macerator requires a much smaller outlet pipe and can pump waste uphill. They need to be used with a certain amount of care as some items often disposed of 'down the loo' can't be if a macerator is in use.

Information on technical issues around bathrooms, electricity and heating.







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