For many people the bathroom is a sanctuary, the one place they get to escape from the world and truly relax. So it’s little wonder this is a room we are always keen to improve, update and redecorate.

There are many things to consider when approaching a bathroom renovation, but the most important one is your budget, according to Barry Horin, building consultant at the Sydney Building Information Centre.

I always emphasise the number one requirement when renovating a bathroom is to set a budget, because it could cost anything from $10,000 to $30,000, Horin said. Once you set your budget you can design and plan your bathroom within those parameters.

The next most important thing to think about is getting a team of tradesmen or a licensed builder who can create what you want and do it according to the building code of Australia.

When deciding on the fittings and style of the room, the toilet, mirrors and tiles, things to consider are the amount of space you have to work with, but also what will fulfil the needs of you and your family.

Some people aren’t very practical with the bathroom, said Horin. They go for the cosmetic appearance of things, but really you have to think how serviceable the tiles or the taps or whatever you’re installing will be.

You also have to think whether it will be serviceable in the long term, because you may want your bathroom renovations to last 15 to 20 years. If things are only going to last short-term it may be a waste of money.

The next vital thing you need to look at is waterproofing, as leaking showers and sinks are some of the most common bathroom complaints. After renovating bathrooms for over 10 years, Horin says he’s come up with the best waterproofing system around.

I use a copper tray, which is one-piece and can be made to any size to suit the shower recess. I then use a membrane system which covers the tray and the wall and the whole bathroom and prevents any capillary action going up the wall over the tray. If this is installed in harmony with the manufacturer’s instructions, this waterproofing system will last the life of the bathroom.

Horin’s last tip may sound obvious, but it’s something many people overlook: read the instructions. We always find people doing things like putting wall tiles on the floor, and the code clearly states you only put floor tiles on the floor. These can crack and be dangerous, he explained. So with everything, you should read the instructions carefully.

Info The Sydney Building Information Centre is holding a bathroom renovation seminar on Sunday 2 May at 525 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills. It runs from 8:30am to 5pm and costs $115 per person (includes hot lunch). Bookings are essential on (02) 8303 0545 or at www.buildingcentre.com.

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