August 14th, 2020 in

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Bathroom renovation tips: Wall lining, painting, Joinery and shower screens

Bathroom renovation is all about refreshing the tangibles of the bathroom. Most won’t touch on the plumbing and fixtures but sure touch on the paint, joiner and shower screens.

You can find “how-to” guides anywhere and everywhere. The following tips are rare which I have learnt myself with 20+ years of experience.

 

Tips for Painting Bathroom Walls

Depending on your design, the painting could take place on items such as ceilings, walls, doors, skirting boards, architraves and windows.

Below are my top 3 bathroom painting tips.

 

1. MOULD RESISTANT PAINT

My main piece of advice is to choose a good quality mould and bacteria resistant paint.

Bathrooms tend to contain high humidity and moisture levels that can easily lead to mouldy rooms if they are not ventilated correctly.

To avoid this happening, try and have a good mechanical ventilation fan installed.

Painting Bathroom Walls mould resistant

2. THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAIL

Like all painting, the detail is in the preparation work that is initially done.

The more time and effort you put into puttying holes, patching and sanding any imperfections along with applying good quality undercoats, the better the finished result will be.

3. COVER ALL FIXTURES & FITTINGS

Again it’s not rocket science but make sure all fittings, fixtures and tiles are completely covered to prevent any paint getting where it’s not supposed to be.

Prevention is better than cure – and you really don’t want to spoil your shiny new fixtures!

So that covers painting bathroom walls. Now let’s move on to shower screens.

 

Tips for Choosing Bathroom Shower Screens

Below are four of the most common types of shower screens available.

  • Fully framed shower screen.
  • Semi-frameless shower screen.
  • Frameless shower screen.
  • Shower rail and curtain.

1. FULLY FRAMED SHOWER SCREENS

These are generally the cheapest of the glass screen options. They primarily consist of an aluminium frame that runs around each piece of glass. i.e. top, bottom, doors and all frames.

Whilst this option may be one of the cheaper ones, it’s also considered one of the most watertight (something to consider if you have small children).

This style of the screen can also be purchased pre-made, online from various stores. And if your handy, it can also be installed on a budget. Here is an example of an online store that sells this style of the screen – Aqua Bathrooms.

Some more examples can be found here.

2. SEMI FRAMELESS SCREENS

Just as it sounds, this style of screens only has a partial frame – usually on the top and bottom of the glass, with a frameless door.

These look a little more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and are usually pretty cost effective.

Again, this style of screen can be purchased off the shelf (or online) but I generally get these screen customs made by a professional who will also handle the installation.

Here are a few examples.

Bathroom Shower Screens frameless

3. FRAMELESS GLASS SCREENS

This is more your designer style of screen and looks the most visually impressive.

These screens are basically all glass with just a few fixing brackets and hinges. They are also silicone sealed around all joints along the floor and wall.

But with all wow factor fixtures, they come with a price. This style is the most expensive of all the options, and funnily enough is probably the least waterproof due to its design.

Here are some examples for you to see.

3. SHOWER CURTAIN AND RAIL

Other than the glass options, this is your most cost-effective screen. That said its also terrible for containing water, so keep that in mind.

As far as installation goes, if you’re handy with a hammer drill this could also be something that you chose to install yourself and save a few dollars.

Here is an example of how cheap they are on Amazon.

 

Bathroom Wall Lining Tips

Depending on your bathroom, your wall linings will usually come under two categories:

  • Drywall linings – plaster board sheeting or cement sheeting.
  • Hardwall plaster – cement render over brickwork, or solid brick walls.

You would have determined what your bathroom is constructed from back in the preliminary stages of the project. So, by now you should be fully aware of your wall construction – especially after the demolition and removal of any wall tiles.

bathroom wall lining drywall

1. TIMBER FRAME WALLS

If you have timber frame walls you’ll most likely be looking at option 1 above and installing new sheeting.

It’s recommended when installing this sheeting that you use a product that is designed for a wet area such as villa board which is a fibros cement sheet. There are also other wet area boards such as “Aqua check” or green board.

But it’s best to consult with a manufactures technical department for the right board for your application.

2. BRICK WALLS

If you have brick walls you will more than likely be going with option 2 – a hardwall plaster.

This means using a cement render to re skim the walls straight and flush to be ready for tiles. I highly recommend using an acrylic render with faster drying times for this type of finish.

Standard sand and cement normally have longer drying times to fully cure. This can effectively delay the installation of your waterproofing membrane if it’s not completely dry, or worse cause your membrane to fail.

bathroom wall lining hardwall plaster

3. PHOTOS OF ALL YOUR SERVICES

Take plenty of photos of all your services (plumbing and electrical) in the wall, and your room in general before you sheet your walls.

These photos may come in handy for future reference down the track.

With either option this is generally a pretty messy stage of your bathroom renovation. So kindly ask your contractors to stay on top of any mess they make and clean up after themselves.

Once all your bathroom wall linings have been done the next step is to move onto Waterproofing.

 

Bathroom Joinery Tips

Bathroom joinery (or cabinetry as it’s sometimes known), can be classed as things such as vanities, shaving cabinets, and benchtops to name a few.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when choosing these items.

Bathroom Joinery: Cheap vs Custom Made

Depending on the design of your bathroom, you can opt for custom made bathroom joinery or off the shelf, pre-made, or flat packed cabinetry.

Generally speaking, something custom made will cost you slightly more than purchasing something already manufactured. But it really comes down to design and budget when choosing between the two.

1. BUDGET MAKEOVER = PRE MADE, OFF THE SHELF

Are you going for a budget makeover or just a freshen up of your bathroom? Then a standard pre made or flat pack vanity and mirrored cabinets will get you out of trouble.

Often times a budget of between $200-$300 will suffice for this.

Here are some examples of the type of vanities I am referring to.

If you go for a pre-made bathroom joinery unit, this will generally be something that your carpenter or plumber can install. But I suggest you nominate it on someone’s scope of works so that you don’t get the carpenter saying it’s the plumbers’ job, and the plumber saying it’s the carpenters!

Bathroom Joinery tips

2. DESIGNER LOOK = CUSTOM MADE

On the other hand, are you going for more of a designer look and require something custom made? Then you could be looking at anywhere between $1000 – $3000, depending on the style and finishes.

Here are some examples of custom made joinery in bathrooms.

Lead Times: Make Sure You Factor These Into Your Project Timeline

With any custom made joinery, you need to factor in lead times for manufacturing.

Most companies will have between a 4-6 week lead time from deposit to installation. Some more, some less depending on your finish

The lead time is something you need to factor in when you’re in your early preliminary stages of the renovation project.

Check Measure: After the Tiling Stag

Another consideration with custom made joinery is that there is usually a check measure that will be required. This comes after the tiling stages and before they start with their manufacturing.

So if this is what you plan on doing with your bathroom there may be a long manufacturing time. Make sure you also factor this into your planning schedule.

You’ll get a gauge of this from the contractors when in the initial quotation stages, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Generally speaking, the installation of the joinery is one of the final items to take place. So there may still be some fit off of services needed around part of the joinery. But either way its towards the end of the project.

Last of all, when everything is installed and completed its time to give everything a good clean down. That way you’ll be ready for those beautiful before and after photo’s that you can share with your family and friends (and don’t forget to share them with us!)

 

 

August 1st, 2020 in

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Home design apps: Design your own home within an app

Mobile apps do everything. So why not design your home with an app? Floor plan, interior design, augmented reality – name anything and apps can do it with ease.

Mobile or PC, there are a lot of apps to start with. We know you might have not given it a thought that apps could help you design and visualize the home. It makes the whole process easy and doable from your handheld device.

Don’t worry about the hardware specs, the apps we mention are not resource-heavy. Most modern phones can support all of the apps listed below.

We even got some advanced apps for PC for those in the motive to make perfect house plans like an architect.

So here we go,

 

Home design app for mobile

Measured (by Lowe’s)

Did you forget to bring the measuring tape to the client location? Or finding it difficult to stretch the tape all alone? Well, no problem. Just download the Measured app. It measures the distance between two points through your camera.

There are a lot of apps of this kind for Android and iOS. But Measured is only available on iOS as of now. Check out Measure by google if you are on Android.

A simple yet effective tool to get the measurement across the room, the house and even across the street.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Magic plan

Can you imagine that an app can make a floor plan on its own by just showing it around the house? It does feel like magic when Magic Plan does it. unlike most other similar apps. This really works and works without hiccups or errors.

The features don’t end there. You can do a lot more. Throw in furniture, décor and render walkthrough in 3D. You can even build and task and material list along with the pricing. Which means the initial part of the renovation plan and estimation for your customer is going to be ready within no time.

This house design app can be a very handy tool to convert what you see into a floor plan with just a few taps. It is primarily designed targeting realtors, and people in the construction business. But the app is really simple for anyone to use a floor plan which is why we recommend it for anyone putting up a floor plan for their home renovation.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

 

iHandy Carpenter

Not really an app to design your house but a tool very useful in executing the house design. By the name, it is a handy carpenter’s tool.

Plumb bob, Surface Level, Steel Protractor, Steel ruler – are the main features you will find in the app. Place it vertical, horizontal or flat, this tool works very well.

The use case is endless. You can use it to check for alignment or angle when you hand a photo. Comes for a one-time payment of $2. YOu can also get the free version in the name of iHandy Level Free with limited functionalities.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store
iHandy Level Free: Google Playstore Apple App Store

 

IKEA

Wondering why a furniture retailer got a place in the list of house designing apps. They are not just any furniture seller. IKEA is a leading furniture designer, manufacturer and retailer in the world. The reason to have scored a place on the list because it has a feature that shows the furniture right on your floor.

Using augmented reality, you can make appear any of their furniture in your home. That way you will know if it goes well with your interiors and spacing. You will be able to try all of the furniture that they sell for free.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

house paint colour picker
PC: Snowing from Freepik.com

Color Capture

Have you ever struggled to replicate the wall colours of your friends are the cool blue of the sky? Don’t worry Benjamin Moore has got a solution.

Start by snapping a picture of the wall or object you like the colour and the color capture will come up with the best matching paint options. With over 3,300 interior and exterior colour options from the brand you are most likely to get the colour you want.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Havenly

The go-to app to find the best designer to suit your needs. There are costly designers and then there are ones who charge less. But that is not the only way to filter home designers. You might be looking for a different style in a designer.

Havenly’s AI quiz puts you in the right direction to collaborate with the designers. You have the option to choose and work with anyone. They are not just that. They also have a lot of resources to work together in designing your home within the app. You will have to spend a little to get good results.

Download link:  Apple App Store

 

Houzz

It is the best of all worlds when it comes to home design apps in my opinion. You get home design ideas like Pinterest but more refined and the best only. You get 3d augmentation in the form of ‘My room’ to add furniture and decors to your space. That’s not all. The app has products with customer reviews and professionals listed for hire.

The feature pack app also has DIY tutorials, articles and the list goes on. If you are about to get into renovation you might wanna check this out as a one-stop solution for home design and professionals sourcing. With a total of 16 million design ideas and over 10 million reviews, it is also one of the house design apps with the highest user base. No wonder it won the best App award in Google app store.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Home Design 3D

A proper designing tool that can get real work done. You can do a floor plan, 2D design with furniture and décor and 3d walkthrough. This house design app is common among professionals for this purpose. Being able to do it on a mobile or iPad is the biggest wonder that has made it popular.

Homeowners can use Home design 3D to build and visualize a home of their own liking instead of going back and for to the designer.  You can try out homes of all type, colour the walls with the color of your choice and furniture from the catalogue to visualize your dream house.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Planner 5D

It is more or less same as Home design 3D app except it is more advanced. 2D plan, 3D plan walkthrough and a lot more to deal professionally with your clients.

It is also user friendly and is very ideal when you use it on an iPad. App has a few glitches that you have to put up with.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Decorator

Another augmented reality app to work on interior design with a lot of real-life furniture and décor. So what’s special about this app?

You have an inbuilt community of active interior design professionals and enthusiasts whom you can share with and get ideas for your home design.

Download link:  Apple App Store

mobile app for interior design

Design Home

It is a game app. Yes, a home design game. Like the cake game we used to play decade back, this app will give you a brief of what the design must be.

It is in your discretion to use the available floor mat, furniture and other decors to design the room like expected. Though sounds simple, it is one of the addictive games that you won’t stop playing. Especially professional interior designers.

Novices too can play it to get an idea of what will work together before buying for your home.

Download link: Google Playstore  Apple App Store

 

Home design software for PC

If you feel claustrophobic with mobiles or your mobile is too old to keep with all the home designing apps, here are some of the apps for PC.

Smartdraw

Though not designed specifically for home design, the app is capable of it. The capabilities go beyond and further. You can draw floor plans, edit and export complex images. You can also do flowcharts, project charts and most other business visuals. The example of how effective Smart Draw is, Elon Musk uses it.

The software is currently available for windows and web only. Plus, only the first-week trial is free.

Download link: Windows    Web

 

My virtual home

A comprehensive home design software for all 2d and 3d design needs. Like mobile apps, you have real-life furniture, adjust them to your design and 3d render it for your viewing.

The app is available in Windows and costs a high as it is prosumer grade software.

Download link: Windows

 

Sketchup

A professional, high-end home design software for every platform that most of the architect and design professionals use. The renders are true to life and the plan is very much customizable.

You can use the app in Mac OS, Windows and web. You even get a free version with limited features.

Download link: Web   Mac/windows
Signing off:

Converting the dream home from your mind to digital output for others to see is no more a chore. With these apps, you can achieve it within no time. Plus, you can do a lot more using augmented reality.

No more hiccups in your owner builder project or renovation project. Do your own house renovation planning and be a master at it.

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August 8th, 2020 in

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Choosing the Right Plumbing Fixtures for a Bathroom Renovation

The right set of plumbing fixtures can add that shiny finishing touch to your bathroom. Whether you are updating old, rusty fixtures or embarking on a full bathroom remodel, taps, sinks, showers and toilets are a major functional and cosmetic feature.

When choosing plumbing fixtures for your bathroom renovation, consider style, material, functionality, price and compatibility, as well as any tools, additional parts or speciality know-how required. Knowing how to choose the right fixtures and finding the perfect combination can be a challenge, but it is time well spent.

 

4 Things to Keep in Mind with Plumbing Fixtures

 

1. Aesthetics

Decide what styles, materials and colours work within your home and be consistent. There are two broad types to consider; modern or traditional.

Modern homes are generally well suited to smooth curves or defined angles with shiny, metallic finishes. Sleek stainless steel taps can add a touch of luxury and elegance to a contemporary city apartment. Conversely, the same stylish taps may look completely out of place compared to ornate bronze or copper fixtures more commonly associated with old-fashioned country homesteads.

 

Need some help finding design inspiration for your plumbing fixtures? Check out our blog post on bathroom design ideas and inspiration

 

2. Practicality

What kind of lifestyle do you have? This is an important question to ask yourself so that you choose fixtures that will suit your purpose. If you have young children, choose faucets that are easy to turn and are within easy reach. A single tap may be preferable over the separate hot and cold taps of times past, or it may be time to install sensors and go touch free.

For showers, one family member may enjoy a powerful massaging jet, while another may prefer a gentle rain. In this case, dual fixtures may provide the rare solution which pleases everyone.

Be aware that water efficiency of fixtures especially that of faucets and shower heads will vary considerably. It also pays to check pressure and temperature ratings, as particular fixtures or materials may be designed for a specific function.

 

plumbing fittings

Image source: flickr.com

 

3. Price

Price can be the final deciding factor for many. Different types of fixtures are available at a wide range of prices, depending on the material, style, brand and warranty. Figure out your budget first then stick to it by shopping around to find the best price. Pay special attention to wholesalers, outlet stores, warehouses, or if your product is available online.

For those on a budget, there are often cheaper versions of expensive fixtures and materials. Materials such as brass are often available across a wide price range. However, cheap fixtures may not last and may be difficult to find replacement parts for. Investing in well-known brands made of high-quality materials for a little extra can save you money in the long run.

Find out more about what the finishes selections process in the bathroom finishes slection process.

 

4. Compatibility with Pre-existing Fixtures, Fittings and Plumbing

Rearranging the layout of plumbing fixtures is more expensive and time-consuming than simply swapping out taps of the same size and material. Choosing fixtures that are compatible with the size, materials, placement, and existing plumbing system (or the one that you are planning) will make your life a lot simpler.

For those in need of a quick refresher, pipe fittings are the pieces that connect different pipes, components, and associated fixtures. They can be used to allow water flow between tubes of different sizes, shapes, and pressures or even divide flow so you can achieve your dream bathroom renovation.

The above content is written as guest post by Plumbing Plus.

 

Once you have chosen your fixtures, get them installed by a reputable, qualified plumber, who will be aware of standard plumbing, building, and health codes.

Professional plumbers will also be able to provide personalised advice on how to alter your existing plumbing systems to fit your chosen fixtures, predict any problems you may encounter, offer suggestions for saving money and most importantly, help you avoid re-enacting the great flood.

If you are 

  • a plumber 
  • planning on getting a plumber’s license 
  • building contractor
  • an owner-builder

here are some additional tips for you to make the fix plumbing fixtures with ease. 

Tips For Installing New Bathroom Services

This is the stage of your project when the plumber and electrician will come in to either install new services or modify the existing services to suit your new bathroom design.

 

1. HAVE ALL FITTINGS ONSITE BEFORE WORK STARTS

The biggest tip here when it comes to bathroom services is to make sure you have all plumbing and electrical fittings onsite before starting any of the work.

You’ll need to have all your fittings on site ready to go. These include:

  • Toilets
  • Taps
  • Baths
  • Basins
  • Light fittings
  • Exhaust fans
  • Heated towel rails
  • And all other items for the plumber/electrician

We touched on this during our planning stage so I won’t harp on it too much, but I recommend having all your fittings in a spare room or the garage for when your contractors arrive.

2. KEEP TECHNICAL DATA CLOSE AT HAND

Another tip is to have all technical data for the items available to contractors.

Normally they will be in the box’s supplied with the fittings, but in some cases you may need to download this information from the suppliers website, so be prepared for that.

Bathroom Services Fittings

3. PUT UNUSED PARTS BACK IN THEIR BOXES

When the contractors arrive they will generally pull the boxes open to get to any parts the may need at the initial rough in stages of the project.

I recommend making sure that when they are finished all parts (including instructions) that were not used should be placed back into the box. That way the contractors will be able to find everything when they return at a later stage for the fit off.

I have had a few bad experiences myself over the years with missing parts or instructions – so try and be diligent with keeping everything together.

If you are working with a larger company and not an owner operator, sometimes one tradesman may come out to perform the rough in, and when it comes time to the fit off they may send someone else. In that scenario if the box with the part is missing along with any parts or instructions…. Well you get the idea.

 

4. AVOID SCHEDULING CLASHES WITH CONTRACTORS

Another tip is to avoid having multiple contractors working in your bathroom at same time. We discussed this in Stage 3: Pre Construction when drafting our Construction Schedule for the project. But it’s still good to keep this in mind.

Book the plumber one day and the electrician the next.

Installing Bathroom Services

5. GOOD TIME TO THINK OF UPGRADING

With the installation of new bathroom services this could also be a perfect time to look at upgrading that old hot water heater or electrical meter board.

It’s worth getting advice from your contractors back in your preliminary planning stages when they are quoting your project. That way you can factor it into your budget.

If you are opting for upgrades to your services, the contractors would either be working on the upgrades at this stage of installation or at the end when they come back to perform the plumbing and electrical fit off.

 

 

plumbing & electrical fit off tips

6. AVOID SCHEDULING CONFLICTS WITH CONTRACTORS

 

Like I previously mentioned, its best to avoid having your contractors working over the top of each other.

What I tend to do is book in the electrician one day and the plumber the next day to avoid the chaos of too many people in one small room at a time.

 

7. USE DROP SHEETS ON TILES

Ask the tradesman to use drop sheets or protection over your freshly tiled floor.

Most decent contractors wouldn’t need to be reminded of this – but preventing scratches on the tiles is far better than finding a cure!

 

 

plumbing & electrical fit off stage

8. WARRANTY CARDS & TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Once the tradesmen have completed their installations, check all the boxes that your fixtures came with to make sure that any warranty cards or technical info are still there.

It’s a good idea to kept these – preferably saved into your job filing system so that you can call upon the information at a later date if any warranty issues occur.

Now that we’ve completed the plumbing & electrical fit off, it’s time to move onto Stage 4: Construction – Painting.

 

9. LAMINATE YOUR PLANS

It’s also a good idea to have a full set of plans laminated and left on site. That way if any of the contractors forget theirs they have something to work off.

It’s critical that all your bathroom services are installed exactly where you want them, so don’t be afraid to check the contractors work or ask questions if something doesn’t seem right.

 

10. TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS

Lastly, I recommend that you take lots of photos of all the bathroom services in the wall before they are covered up! Then if there are any issues down the track, you’ll know where to look, or where to avoid if installing new fixings.

 

Signing off

Plumbing work is something that needs complete attention and perfection. Else the fittings might end up leaking or start wearing out with time. So do not touch plumbing work if you are not a licensed professional. 

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason


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August 6th, 2020 in

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What Building Contractors do you need for bathroom renovation?

Many get excited about bathroom renovation and jump straight into design ideas. While that is a nice place to start, you must not overlook on the list of building contractors you will require during the process.

Choosing the right bathroom renovation tradies gives assurance of a good outcome.

Top 8 Building Contractors to Hire For Bathroom Renovations

Below is a quick list of which contractors (aka ‘tradies’ if you live in Australia) you’ll need for each part of the bathroom renovation process.

BUILDER

Will help you do everything from start to finish but they tend to be on the expensive side as they literally manage the whole process. If you don’t mind running around and doing some of the work yourself then you can quickly save a fair chunk of money.

But if you’d rather not get your hands dirty and have the cash to burn, then hiring a builder is your best bet, as they’ll manage everything for you.

ARCHITECT

Helps you design the plans and layout for your bathroom, and to make sure everything fits into the space you have.

Building Contractors tilers

CARPENTER

Helps build the cabinets and storage space in the bathroom, making it look as professional as possible.

ELECTRICIAN

Handles everything from the lighting and power to heating and ventilation.

PAINTERS

Helps you get the place looking wonderful when you are finished with the building and design work.

PLUMBERS

Handles anything that involves water, making sure that bathroom fixtures, bath, shower and toilet are all working and flowing smoothly.

TILERS

A vital part of the process. They help you make sure that everything from drain management to overall quality of design is just right.

WATERPROOFER

Makes sure that the place stays nice and dry after you go for a shower, for example.

 

Now you know who to hire. Let’s see how to hire.

 

How to hire building contractors?

There are many ways to find good quality building contractors such as by word of mouth referrals (i.e. family, friends, workmates etc.), local papers, Googling online, and much more.

But the way I suggest you do it (especially if you’re new to it all) is to use a trusted online service such as the ones listed below.

Now onto the big question of how to find a contractor, I recommend you try these services below:

 

Here is a video demonstrating how to use these online services as well as running you through the Master Contractors template.

 

 

Keeping Track of Building Contractors Details

Before you do that, the first step is to create or use a template to capture all of the contractors’ contact details in one location. Having everyone’s information in one place will make it easier to find when you need to call or email them.

I’ve created a free Master Contractors template for you (the same one I’ve used in my building business) which you can download here.

Signing Contracts: What’s The Process?

So when do you need to be talking with building contractors and obtaining quotations?

I’d suggest a minimum of two months before you plan on starting, or more if you can manage it.

Most good contractors will have at least a few months’ worth of work in front of them, and it will generally take a few weeks before they come back to you with a quotation.

 

TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND

1. Try and obtain 3 quotes so that you can compare your contractors on price but also on responsiveness.

2. During the quotation stages if they are hard to contact, don’t return calls and take a lot of chasing up for the quote – then I would be wary of using them as it’s probably how they will conduct themselves during your renovation.

3. Don’t be afraid to chase them up during the quoting stage. Sometimes a few extra reminders that you’re waiting on their price will keep you at the forefront of their mind.

4. Remember – most building contractors are generally on the tools during the day and do their quoting either at nights or on the weekends. The old phrase, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”, so don’t be afraid to follow up with them – but two reminders in my books is enough! After that, look elsewhere as they are probably not interested enough in the project.

 

Building Contractors quotations

 

GETTING IT DOWN ON PAPER

Once you have decided on a contractor and are happy with their price it’s time get an agreement down on paper.

Depending on what state or country you live in every governing authority will have different rules and regulations about what type of work licensed building contractors can carry out, and the dollar value associated with it.

Below I go through the process exactly the way I would given that I live in the state of NSW in Australia.

Over $5,000 AUD

Any work conducted over the value of $5,000 should have a small works contract in place.

These basically show the agreed price of the work, the building contractors details such as licences and insurances, the owner’s details and a place where both parties can sign off on the document.

Under $5,000 AUD

If the works are under the value of $5,000 I still advise to have some sort of agreement in writing.

This should include: the price, building contractors details, anticipated start and completion dates, and any other terms and conditions you might like included such as building contractor is responsible for cleaning up their own rubbish, who will be supplying materials, will there be any damages occurred if the project is not completed in time (i.e. $100 off their price every day they are over the agreed finish date) etc, etc.

You’re welcome to download the Work Order Document that I use for yourself. Please Note: This document is not classed as legal advice, and I suggest you seek your own before entering into any agreements you may be unsure of.

 

So, that’s all the information and advice I have got for finding and hiring the best tradies for your bathroom renovation project or any renovation project for that matter.

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason

CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

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August 2nd, 2020 in

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How to plan your project timeline with a Construction Schedule Template? (with download link)

Using a construction schedule template to plan out your project timeline is a great way to save time.

There’s no doubt about it, lining up all your key contractors and resources is one of the most important things you can do on a renovation project. It might seem daunting if you’re not a seasoned professional, but with a little guidance, you’ll be on top of things in no time.

The construction schedule template will help you to get down the scheduling basics. Then you can adjust the details according to discussions with each one of your chosen building contractors.

 

Construction Schedule Template: 3 Reasons To Use One

Having a construction schedule template is:

  1. Another way to help project manage your renovation and plan out all the critical tasks one by one without clashes or overlap. Great for helping you think about each stage and what you’ll need to have organised when your tradies arrive on site.
  2. Great for helping you think about each stage and what you’ll need to have organised when your tradies arrive on site.
  3. Will show you the order in which most bathroom renovations will be sequenced, and this is how I would suggest going through and finding your building contractors one by one as you work down your list.

 

Below is an example of what a construction schedule template looks like (note: if you’ve enrolled in the How To Renovate A Bathroom course, all these templates are included).

 

Construction Schedule

 

And here’s a video that demonstrates how to use one.

 

 

Some of the considerations when filling out your schedule for each stage of the project are as follows.

 

1. Site Establishment

This is the stage where you should get the project set up BEFORE any contractors arrive on site.

Your role as a builder or owner-builder include:

  • installing floor protection over carpets and timber floors
  • setting up skip bins for rubbish removal
  • setting up a first aid kit
  • any signage that may be needed to direct contractors
  • setting up all safety equipment on site (gloves, dust masks, glasses, etc)
  • setting up any temporary toilets if the bathroom will be out of action

 

During site establishment, I also book in my plumber and electrician. This is to make the work area safe. It’s also to perform disconnections for things such as water, gas and power so that the area is ready for demolition.

 

2. Discuss Timeframes With The Contractors

For all other items in your construction schedule template, I recommend discussing the timeframe to complete the works with the contractors.

When you engage them in the process, that way you are working within timeframes that they advise they can complete them in. So there’s no unrealistic expectations from either party.

 

Construction schedule template contractor

 

3. Avoid Scheduling Clashes

One of the main considerations is trying to avoid a clash in your schedule where two or more contractors need to work in the bathroom at the same time.

Bathrooms are generally confined spaces, and having guys working over the top of each other can be a recipe for disaster.

Depending on the scale and size of your project, you could have a plumber come in the morning and electrician after lunch. But generally speaking, I like to book them on separate days to avoid any headaches.

 

4. Keep your Schedule Up-to-Date

Another consideration is to keep your schedule current. If there are any changes such as delays or over runs with a particular section of your renovation, make sure you revise your schedule to reflect this.

Once amended make sure you contact your preceding trades and advise them of any delay well in advance so they can reschedule to fit you in at a later date. Calling a contractor one or two days before they were due to start won’t cut it!

Most good contractors will have a few months’ worth of work in front of them so it may take some shuffling on their part to fit you back in.

Finally, when you’re happy with your construction schedule, give every contractor plenty of notice on their start dates. Then book it all in and get ready to watch the magic happen!

 

That’s about it for now. I hope you can see the benefit of using this type of template to schedule in your construction work.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason

 


 

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August 9th, 2020 in

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Use a Site Establishment Checklist Before Starting Construction

Before starting any construction work, it’s vitally important that you have a site establishment checklist on hand.

Checklist can come in handy to keep track of all the things to be done in any situation. And it is ideal to have a checklist right before the most important stage of renovation or construction – the on-site work.

It’s there to help you prepare the building site so the renovation process can begin.

What is a Site Establishment Checklist?

Site establishment checklist will make sure you have done all the required safety measures and preparation for the upcoming site work to proceed without any hiccups.

Site establishment includes things like:

  • Protection to floors and existing surfaces.
  • Safety signs and first aid equipment.
  • Designated areas for material deliveries and rubbish etc.

 

It’s during this stage (or day on site) that you will also need to locate all of your mains services like water supply, gas and electricity.

  • Know where they’re located in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t scramble around trying to find a buried water meter at the last minute.

 

Below is an example of a checklist that I use for site establishment (note: if you’ve enrolled in the How To Renovate A Bathroom video course, all these templates are included).

 

Site Establishment Checklist example

 

Keep The Neighbours Informed!

This is also the time you’ll want to let your neighbours know when you intend to start with your renovation.

  • A letter dropped into the mailbox of your surrounding neighbours is all you need.
  • Let them know to expect a little noise and dust for a few weeks.
  • Give them a heads up if parking will be an issue due to tradesmen trucks and deliveries.

 

Here’s an example of a standard template letter that you could use.

 

Site Establishment checklist letter for neighbours

 

You can download the Neighbours letter template here.

By doing this upfront you can save yourself a lot of headache by not surprising your neighbours with it. And remember that you have to live with these guys longer than the duration of your renovation project, so be mindful.

 

How to Perform Site Establishment

Site establishment can be anywhere from a couple of hours to take care of a few basics, through to a couple of days for larger projects.

Below are some of the typical site establishment checklist items for a bathroom renovation.

 

Site Establishment Checklist

 

1) Neighbour notification letters

Inform your neighbours of intended start date and site contact numbers.
Do this at least 2 weeks prior to starting on site.

 

2) First Aid equipment

To be stored on site in a prominent location.
Include for any site inductions with new contractors on site.

 

3) Site amenities

Including toilets, running water, site sheds, tool lock ups, lunchrooms, etc.

 

4) Permits

May need to be obtained from local authorities for project specific items i.e. skip bins, work zones or traffic control items.

 

5) Traffic control

Needs to be considered for organizing deliveries and managing pedestrians.

 

6) Plumbing and electrical services

Need to be disconnected to work zones prior to construction.
Temporary utilities may need to be installed for the duration of the build.

 

7) Signage

Builders contact details.
Private certifiers (if you have one) contact details.
Relevant warning signs.
Location of site office signs or any safety and induction signs to be erected on the site fence or in a prominent location.

 

8) Dial before you dig services

Is required before arriving on site.
This ensures that any authorities services or mains will not be damaged during construction.

 

9) Insurances

To cover the type of work being undertaken during construction.
Homeowners household insurances may need to be varied or amended during the course of the building works.
Includes insurances like:

  • Public liability.
  • Workers compensation.
  • Construction all risk.
  • Homeowners warranty.

 

10) Check approved development application

Ensure your DA is installed or considered at the time of the site establishment being carried out.

 

As I mentioned before, every bathroom renovation project is different so you’ll need to do some research well in advance to see what requirements need to be in place. By using a site establishment checklist you’ll ensure that all bases are covered.

The one thing I can’t stress enough though is to plan ahead and have everything ready for day one.

You don’t want be putting these measures in place during the project as it could be unsafe for anyone on site. You could also potentially risk heavy fines from authorities is you’re found not to be compliant with the requirements in your DA.

 

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

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August 9th, 2020 in

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How to do a Bathroom Demolition Properly?

When it comes to the bathroom demolition stage, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action before you get started!

How to do a Bathroom Demolition Properly

 

1. Turn Off Your Water & Electricity

Always have your services capped off and made safe prior to any demolition by your plumber and electrician.

If you don’t feel confident in removing any items such as basins, baths, taps, toilets, light fittings and power points – then you can ask the professionals to remove them while they are making the area safe for demolition.

Familiarize yourself where all your service meters are located for your electrical meter, water meter and gas. Even after your contractors have been out to make the area safe before demolition there can still be a pipe buried in the wall that may get damaged during the bathroom demolition.

The last thing you want is to have water flooding your house and you cannot locate a water meter that might be buried in a garden!

bathroom demolition work

2. Check What’s Behind The Wall

Another consideration is what is behind your tiles, if you have a hollow wall (timber frame with wall sheeting), there could be a possibility that asbestos sheeting may have been used.

Depending on the age of your house, if this is a concern then an occupational hygienist can be engaged to test the materials and let you know before you start work.

Here is an example of a company here is Sydney that can perform such an inspection – https://www.airsafe.net.au/. You can always find similar professionals in your home town and country.

 

3. Inspect What Lies Below The Surface

With all renovation / demolition projects it can be hard to determine what lies below the surface, and sometimes the full extent of any damage or repairs needed may not be known until things are ripped apart.

For example in some old bathrooms waterproofing is non-existent and water damage over many years may result in a rotten timber floor below your tiles that may need replacing. Termites also come and go, and pulling linings off walls can often expose paper thin timber framed structural walls.

 

4. Have a Cash Contingency Plan

In most cases I would recommend having a 10-15% variation contingency up your sleeve for costs that might be unknown.

A few extra grand on a 20K bathroom might be all you need to be safe, but its recommended to have a little buffer for those hidden surprises.

bathroom demolition tools

5. Bathroom Demolition Tools

If you plan on tackling the demolition yourself, here is a list of tools and equipment you may need.

 

Now with the above recommended tools listed out, you need to ask yourself if I already own many of these tools? If not, what would it cost me to purchase or hire them for a few days or a week?

If the costs start adding up it may actually be cheaper to hire a demolition contractor or carpenter to come in and do your demolition and strip out of the bathroom for you.

Demolition can be a rewarding task when you get to pull out that ugly bath that you’ve had to put up with for years! But it can also be dangerous, so make sure you have fun but play it safe!

 

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason

 


 

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August 14th, 2020 in

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Bathroom Renovation Carpentry Guide for owners and builders

Here I outline some handy carpentry tips and advice to cover both structural elements and final fit offs.

Carpentry Guide for a Bathroom Renovation

 

The carpentry stage in a bathroom renovation will usually come before the installation of services. For example, if a partition wall is required to be built that will have new services running through it.

Some bathrooms may be a simple strip out and re-installation of services, so your carpentry tasks will probably only be minor. While other bathrooms can be more complex and require the skills of a carpenter in more stages throughout your renovation.

 

1. What Jobs Will a Carpenter Do?

Some of the tasks that a carpenter can undertake on a bathroom renovation are as follows, but not limited to:

  • The actual demolition of your existing bathroom.
  • Installation of partition walls or new wall framing.
  • Relocation of doorways and window.
  • Subfloor replacement of concrete or new fibros cement sheeting.
  • Replacement of rotten or damaged timbers.
  • New structural elements (if required).
  • New window and door installations.
  • Blocking out (framing) for toilet roll holders and other wall fixtures.
  • Installation of new cabinetry.
  • Fittings such as towel rails, mirrors etc.

 

So you can see from the above that a carpenter can play a pretty big part in your bathroom renovation.

carpentry tips bathroom wall

2. Where Will Your Fixtures Go?

One major tip to consider if you have timber framed walls when renovating your bathroom, is the location of any fixtures that need to be mounted i.e. towel rails, toilet roll holders ect.

If you can mark the locations of these on plan then a carpenter can install timber blocking between the studs so that solid fixing can be achieved. We have all seen the results of poor fixings into a hollow wall.

Once your carpenter has done his part in the early stages they’ll usually be back at the fit off stage.

3. Discuss Plans With Your Carpenter

Its important to run through the plans and put a scope together with your carpenter at the initial quoting stages. That way you can make sure that everything you would like them to do is covered in there quote.

 

Carpentry Fit Off

This is the stage of the project where your carpenter will come back and fit off items such as:

  • Towel rails.
  • Toilet roll holders.
  • Vanity cabinets.
  • Install doors.
  • Door locks and door furniture.
  • Window locks.
  • Robe hooks.
  • Mirrors shaving cabinets.
  • And much more depending on your scope.

 

If you are handy on a hammer drill you may be able to save yourself a few dollars by installing some of your own fittings.

Just be aware that it can be quite easy to scratch or chip a tile if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here are a few videos covering some more carpentry tips that may help if you want to have a crack yourself.

1. How to Drill Through Ceramic Tiles Without Scratching Them

 

2. How to Install a Hotwire Heated Towel Rack

 

Now if you have a door that needs replacing and you are feeling adventurous you may also want to try and install one yourself. But I will advise that this is one of the trickiest things to master as a carpenter, and you’ll require a few specialist tools for the job.

That said if you would like to try your hand at it here is another full tutorial on how to go about it.

3. How To Install An Internal Door (Plus Lock) – Complete Beginners Guide

 

So that about covers it for my carpentry tips. Now it’s time to bring in your plumber and electrician for Stage 4: Construction – the installation of New Bathroom Services.

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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August 8th, 2020 in

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Best In-depth Bathroom Tiling Tips no one tells you

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to bathroom tiling. But if you’re new to renovating some of the technical terms may go over your head.

However, I am not gonna bore you with the regular procedure of laying the tiles. You can check out other articles on Bathroom tiling for it. This is the in-depth insight from a 25+ year experienced builder.

Bathroom Tiling: 7 Great Tips

So lets try and cover some of the things you need to know when doing bathroom tiling.

1. The Bedding (or Screed)

What is a sand and cement bed?

You will often hear this term when it comes to bathroom tiling, and it refers to the material that is placed under the floor tiles.

  • It’s usually a mixture of 4 parts sand to 1 part cement
  • It’s mixed up and placed over a bathroom floor in a bedding layer of approx. 30-50mm thick.

The bedding (also known as a screed) will have a fall or gradient from the door way and edges of the bathroom walls, back into the floor wastes to direct any water back into the drainage system.

bathroom tiling floor

2. The Floor Gradient

Without this gradient there is no place for the water to go.

This is often the reason there is sometimes a large step up (20-40mm) into a bathroom. It’s because the bathroom floor and the floor of the main house have been installed at the same level.

If this is the case, it’s the 30-40mm tile bed and a 5-8mm tile on top that is causing the step.

The only way to avoid this is to drop the floor down the thickness of the bed and tile in the bathroom area.

New Homes: Easy to Factor in During the Planning Stage

If you are building a new home you can factor it into the plan and have your “wet areas” lowered by 50mm.

Existing Homes: Can’t Always be Achieved Without Great Expense
If you have an existing concrete slab there is no way to get a level transition between your bathroom floor and house without having the concrete slab approx. 50mm lower.

In most cases the existing concrete slab would have to be jackhammered out.

This could be a consideration if you concrete was old and substandard, or needed to be removed for new drainage. If that was the case then this would be the perfect opportunity to lower the finished level of the concrete by 50mm.

Timber Floors

The above also applies to timber floors.

The carpenters would have to put in extra time and cost to lower a timber floor.

But again, if the floor was being repaired or replaced you could also take the opportunity to lower the finished level (i.e. top of sheeting) by 50mm.

 

3. Under Tile Heating

Another consideration is under tile heating.

Each manufacturer of under tile heating may have different installation methods. For example, some companies may install the wire element “under” the screed bed, while others may want the product installed over the screed bed under glued under the tile.

Here is an video of the product we installed over the screed bed on one of our bathrooms.

 

4. Setting Out Your Tiles

Next thing to consider with your bathroom tiling is the set out.

It’s rare that you will ever get full tiles to work from corner to corner of a bathroom. There will usually be a cut tile on one wall or the other.

It’s critical at the set out stage with you tiler to discuss where these cuts will go and what will look the best. This is especially important when you have a tile with a pattern on it.

 

5. Finishing Tiles at the Edges

Another consideration is how your tiles will be finished at external corners of walls, window recesses or doorways.

One option is to install a mitred edge i.e. 45% cuts so that they meet on a point. Although not all tiles can be mitred due to the size of the tile, make of material and a few other varying factors.

Another option is tile trims. These come in various sizes, colours and materials. A tile trim gives a nice edge for the tile to finish up to and allows for the return tile around a corner to butt up neatly to the same edge.

tiling a bathroom

6. Grouting

Once wall and floor tiles are installed then grouting is next on the list.

I like to use coloured grouts as they look a little nicer than a standard sand and cement grout mix on the floor. But I use white for the walls. Mid-grey goes pretty well with most coloured tiles too.

And you can’t go wrong with a good quality mould resistant grout. It will make the tiles look fresh and clean for longer!

There are also different grout products for the walls and floors.

Generally the floors are more of a course sanded mixture. Whilst the walls are a much finer composition. You can also use additives to help prevent mould, but I recommend using the manufactures suggested product if you go this route.

Here is a good video tutorial around grout from Jeff at Home Repair Tutor.

 

7. Silicone Installation

One other finishing detail to factor in is silicone installation to all corner junctions of the walls, floor, windows and doors.

It’s important to note that the tiler should leave these junctions free from grout so that silicone can be installed as expansion joints. This will prevent unsightly cracking if grout was installed in these areas.

Here is a video demonstrating how to install silicone to these areas.

 

Once the bathroom tiling has been done you’re then ready to move onto Stage 4: Construction – Plumbing & Electrical fit off.

 

 

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

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Yes, I Want to Know More!