Whether you’re looking to sell your house or just keen to update your home, a bathroom renovation can be the key to a new look.
Real estate agents estimate that a $30,000 bathroom renovation can add $100,000 to the sale price of a $1 million house. But not only is a refreshed bathroom good for the sale price, it can also save your sanity by increasing the livability of your home. How long do you think you could live in a place where you hate the bathroom?
Bathroom renovations needn’t be lengthy or expensive but you do need to know how to get the most from the budget and the time you have. Fortunately we can share a few plumbing secrets to help you.
Anatomy of a Bathroom
Just like a top cosmetic surgeon you will also need to have a good understanding of anatomy (your bathroom’s, that is) before you can execute a seamless and pain-free makeover. This means at least a basic idea of the bathroom plumbing systems in your house and its condition.
There are two main plumbing systems at work in a bathroom: water supply and waste management. Make sure you are clear on where both systems sit within your bathroom because this will affect the changes you’ll need to make when you update, as well as the cost of your renovation. T: the rule is – the more you change, the bigger the price tag so it is . It’s a good idea to look at this before planning in order to maximize your dollar spend.
Water supply, as the name implies, delivers water through the pipes into the bathroom. Your shower, bath and sink taps will need to have capacity for both hot and cold water, while the toilet only requires cold water for the cistern.
On the other hand, waste management involves drains from the shower, toilet, bath and vanity unit that flow to the sewer system, as well as the floor waste for water overflow that also drains to the sewer. In addition to drains, waste management includes vents, which allow fresh air to circulate into the sewer system to balance the flow and odor of waste water.
The plumbing phrasebook
After you’ve familiarized yourself with the anatomy, you need to learn to speak ‘bathroom’ speak. As with a trip to a foreign land, embarking on a renovation can be an exercise in mastering strange vocabulary. Learning to speak with the suppliers and traders who’ll be helping you with your new-look bathroom will make the process a lot smoother for both of you.
Here’s a short glossary to get you started:
Fixtures or fittings or PC items: All the hardware that sits on top of the tiles such as baths, shower bases, vanities, taps and toilets.
Floor waste: The drain hole in the floor that is there in case of flood/overflow. Some plumbers may also consider this to be the grill structure inserted into the drain.
Pipework: The system of pipes that sits behind the wall. Generally speaking, plumbers mean water supply when they say pipework.
Points: This is where pipes are set up to connect to a fixture.
Valves: A switch or tap handle that allows the flow of water to be turned on/off. These allow taps and fixtures to be turned off or ‘isolated’ in an emergency or for maintenance.
Waste, waste pipe or sewer: All the pipework that drains dirty water, for example from toilets, baths, sinks and showers.
Water or waste points: The pipework and valves to which each fixture will connect.
You can bring in a plumber to help you find the right fixtures to suit your pipework or simply call them when you’re ready to disconnect your existing fixtures and strip out the tiles. Pipework gets updated first (if required), then comes waterproofing, tiling and then fixture installation. You may also need a second lot of waterproofing after painting to cover any gaps where moisture could seep through.
So before you undertake a bathroom renovation, do your homework and be clear on the plumbing system in your bathroom. This not only helps you decide on the design, it also makes it easier to predict any problems that may be lurking once you start breaking tile.
In our next installment on bathroom renovation, we will look at ways to get the most out of your reno budget, helping you add dollar value to your house while minimizing your plumbing bill.
About Laney Clancy
Laney Clancy is the Marketing and Finance Manager at Pipe Perfection Plumbers in Sydney. She is married to Darren, the owner of the business, which has a team that includes specialist Enviroplumbers and more, servicing the Inner West and Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Laney gets to talk to plumbers about plumbing and home maintenance a lot, and loves a good bathroom makeover. http://pipeperfection.com.au/