Bathroom renovations – how much do they really cost and what can go wrong?

Since I’ve renovated the bathroom a lot of people have had questions about it, so here’s some FAQ’s for you about the renovation:

How much did the bathroom renovation cost?

In total our bathroom cost us about £3000, i don’t have the receipts in front of me to give you an exact figure though but that’s including the deposit and materials we paid to the original bathroom fitter who mucked it up and ran away. So It should have cost about a grand less.

Labour was £1250 for the second fitters who actually did everything and fixed the problems the first guy left. They weren’t the best, but they could do plumbing and they had kind eyes and that’s really about all I could cope with after having the first one ruin everything.

All of our suite/ taps/ tiles etc worked out to about £1000, which includes a very expensive bath panel but doesn’t include the later fittings, like mirrors and towel rails which we haven’t installed yet.

Where did you buy everything from?

We spent ages making sure every thing we bought was stuff we liked, and tried to make sure it was all suitable for a small bathroom so we did lots of shopping around. This worked really well, but at the same time was quite stressful when on one day in June we had 7 different big deliveries coming from different people and I was the only one at home.

Our taps were from Taps and Showers Direct.com, and they were great. We were confused as there were two types of bath tap listed and one was a style we didn’t want, but they went out of their way to make sure it was the right one – even with my terrible description of what I wanted! Also, I can’t get across to you how much I ❤ my taps. Who knew buying taps was such an awful experience? But these are bloody lovely and cheap for what they are.

Our bathbath panel and toilet all came from Better Bathrooms.com, who despite all the things I’d read about broken things showing up and not being replaced, were brilliant. Everything arrived exactly as it should with next day delivery and I was helped to bring it into the flat.

The bathscreen is from Victorian Plumbing. It does the job but I wish i’d got a folding one as it is still too wide really for our small bathroom.

The white tiles came from tonsoftiles.co.uk, and the black ones from Topps Tiles. Everyone told us to buy lots of extra tiles as they break, but these tiles seem to be invincible – we have 8 square metres of the white tiles left and loads of cut offs because they just don’t break! The floor tiles on the other hand are from B&Q and on the last day the plumbers dropped the bath screen and cracked one.

The sink was the biggest problem, it was from Bathstore which we expected to have the best customer service, but they sent us the wrong one originally and then made a big deal about how they couldn’t get us another for seven days! After a bit of a (read nearly 3 hours of phone calls) fight they managed to get us next day delivery, but then we had a sink delivered every day for three days and had to be home to refuse it! It was a total nightmare, but I love the towel rail under the sink and its square shape so I’ll forgive them.

Who fitted your bathroom?

Since we don’t know anyone who’s had a bathroom fitted in Didcot we found one on Trustatrader, but unfortunately he wasn’t to be trusted. I’d like to write to them to tell them this, but they go back to the trader themselves to get their side of the story and frankly, i don’t want to have a big who-haa over it (especially since he knows where we live!)

Once he quit when he realised what a mess he’d made (lying about the reasons for it though) we found someone else – DEPS plumbing. They weren’t the top choice, but they were kind, seemed to have experience and could sort anything quickly and since they’d done it we’d have no problem hiring them again.

Were there any hidden costs/ problems?

We had a lot of problems with the first plumber, who didn’t show up on time/ ever, quit halfway through the day without telling us when we were due to move in that weekend and then left the place in such a mess that we had to do a lot of remedial work before anyone new could start (he dug a hole for the bath waste pipe that almost went through the ceiling of the flat below).

Once that was fixed any small problems were visual, like wonky tiles.

In terms of hidden costs, a few things popped up, like the bathroom wall falling down, and us deciding to have an extractor fan fitted last minute. We also had to get a bath panel as I’d originally wanted one built and tiled over, but had it gently explained to me that that’s a nightmare if the plumbing ever goes wrong.

If you could do it again what would you do?

I’d use a plumber recommended by someone – anyone – and I’d get shower curtain or a folding bath screen instead of the one we have. I was vain about having an ugly folding bathscreen but I a) forgot I am only 5 foot tall, and b) forgot the bathroom is small. Now the most expensive thing in the bathroom is this huge bathscreen which, although it is a sliding one, I can’t physically lean round to turn the shower on (i use shampoo bottles as arm extenders) and it has two panes of glass to clean, which is a nightmare!

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