BATHROOM RENOVATION COSTS IN SYDNEY

We explain how much a bathroom renovation can cost & how to work out your budget.

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How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

The real costs of renovating explained

Getting a renovation completed in 2020 & 2021 has been the most popular thing for thousands of families to do because of all the worldwide restrictions on travel. People have decided to spend money on where they live or even build new rooms or a granny flat to create new income earning potential. 

We get asked every day ‘how much does a bathroom renovation cost’ and we wish there was a simple answer. There are literally billions of variables available and that is why you will get hundreds of answers or big variances in the quotes you get. We even have had examples of people choosing a cheaper quote & then asking us to repair it afterwards.

Using our knowledge and expertise as Sydney renovators with more than fifteen years of experience, we have created the guide below to give you relevant information so make an educated decision. Nu-Trend has renovated hundreds of bathrooms in houses, units, or apartments in Sydney for residential or commercial use. 

We want to help people understand the potential costs involved in a renovation project although, more importantly, how to plan your budget correctly. Nu-Trend is a renovation contractor in Sydney that can work closely with you at each step of a bathroom renovation project to deliver a modern room, to your budget. We focus on delivering high quality finishes in compliance with Australian Standard AS/NZ3500:2018 & with Home Owners Insurance

Beware of sales gimmicks & discounted pricing

Although think about it, how can they give you 20% off something that neither you, or them, know the cost of?

 

The only way an offer like this can be genuine is if you have a quote from that company that was done before the promotion & then they agree to provide the 20% now because you go ahead with the work. For anyone about to renovate the first thing you have to do is be very aware of the sales gimmicks & tricks that renovation companies will use to entice you. 

 

It is important to realise that from this advertisement they will know the people that either clicked on the ad or asked for a quote. What they will do is keep the offer in the back of their mind & load up their pricing accordingly. They will include a line item on their quote that shows a 20% discount, but because you have no idea what the baseline costs would have been anyway, there is no way for you to really compare or work out the real value. Therefore the discount is most likely ‘fake’ and was just a way to generate the lead in the first place.

 

Similar scenario applies to ads that talk about ‘free toilet included’ or things of that nature – nothing in this world is free, so somewhere else in the quotation that item, the labour to install it etc is being factored into the quote. Also – how do you even know it is a brand new toilet?

 

What are the main types of renovations most people do?

The first thing to clarify is what are the types of renovations that can be done? If you aren’t comparing a similar scope of work then there is no way you can estimate your costs correctly, compare quotes or even budget correctly. One of the unique aspects of working with Nu-Trend is that we are licensed plumbers and renovation contractors – so we can help you manage the whole project from end to end, we even provide a complimentary plumbing inspection before we begin any work to make sure the room is suitable.

 

  1. Complete renovation – this is the most common type that Nu-Trend is contracted to complete. It’s the most expensive but you are doing more work, stripping a room back to the floor & walls to then build a brand new bathroom. Every single inch is brand new & you can control every aspect of the layout, design, fittings, tilings etc. You can even change the floor plan or orientation of the layout to make more space.


  2. Remodel – sometimes people will mix this term and actually mean a complete renovation. Although from our perspective this might be when you use the existing floors & walls but change some of the main items like shower, bath or vanity. You use the existing framework & give it an update with more modern fittings. Not as expensive as a complete renovation but you are forced to deal with existing conditions of the property & your changes can be limited.


  3. Makeover – we don’t really think about makeovers as renovations because in most cases it is just doing simple things like changing the taps, maybe the vanity sink, painting over the old wall tiles or installing new lights. Just minor cosmetic changes to give the bathroom an update. People who have a small budget, are about to flip a property or setting up rental accomodation will do this to save some money. It can make an old room feel fresh, but you just don’t get to create the same ‘wow’ factor vs a completely renovated room. In a lot of cases you can do this yourself or hire a local handyman.

 

Why have renovating costs in Sydney increased in 2020 & 2021?

The costs to renovate in Sydney have increased in the last two years because of two main reasons;

  1. Demand has increased – with health orders forcing people to stay home most families have decided to spend money renovating their property. The discretionary spending that would have gone to eating out, travelling or even buying a new car has been diverted to renovation projects. New bathrooms, kitchens, house extensions & even granny flats are constructed in record numbers across Sydney.

    The increased demand begins to push prices higher as the number of available tradespeople decreases. Obviously finding a company that is reliable becomes harder too, so it means some contractors may decide to refuse work, quote higher prices & push lead times out depending on the client’s request.

     

  2. Materials shortages – around the world the same thing is happening & manufacturers of building materials are then faced with a surge in demand, so typical market forces come into play with supply & demand shifting pricing. Timber, metal and ceramics are all basic building materials used in millions of products, that the increase in primary materials then flows into the cost of goods manufactured.

     

  3. Home & car values increasing – Sydney property prices continue to rise with The Urban Developer estimating the median well over one million dollars which is making it harder and harder for new buyers to enter the market. It is forcing potential homeowners to reconsider buying and instead look to renovate their current property or make it larger. For homeowners that have large blocks of land, this has included building a granny flat so that it can be rented to make additional income. The used car market has also seen average prices increasing because the stock of new models isn’t readily available. Again, supply & demand has shifted the goal posts with some models selling for double the price vs the year prior. This is forcing people to re-evaluate their spending choices.
 
 
So when you combine a labour shortage together with a product or materials shortage, the cost to build or renovate increases as well. A quick search on Google shows hundreds of news stories about what is happening across Sydney in the last 18 months & how that trend is likely to continue into 2022. realestate.com.au reported a Darlinghurst home was sold for nearly two million dollars but was only halfway through the renovation because the owners couldn’t complete the build. Australian Financial Review estimate around thirty four billion is ready to be spent on renovation jobs with families saving just over one thousand dollars per month. Even local boat broker, Luxury Marine, has seen a sharp rise in the number of people selling their boat for cash so the funds can be used for other projects.

 

Are some renovation items a waste of money?

If you are living in your ‘forever’ home & there is absolutely no intention to ever leave, then in many respects, spend whatever you like, nobody is going to care really (except maybe the people waiting for an inheritance). Although if the idea is to live in the property, make some improvements & eventually sell in order to live somewhere else, then some thought & consideration has to be given to what are cost effective renovations that will add impact & capital growth. Some items will end up being an absolute waste of money.

  • Electricity re-wiring
    There are quite a few renovation items that are ‘invisible’ meaning any potential buyers won’t immediately see them unless they are pointed out. If the house is unsafe, then yes, it should be re-wired. Although in many cases this won’t be necessary therefore the cost won’t deliver any real value.
  • New roofing
    The majority of buyers are not going to climb up on the roof to look over it therefore re-roofing, re-surfacing or even painting the roof could end up being a waste of money. Maybe a high pressure clean could be enough to present the property and that’s it.
  • Inconsistent interior design
    Some people fall into the trap of renovating some rooms & not others. This can lead to a very inconsistent interior design that can put off potential buyers. The money saved by not renovating every room is then lost by not realising the potential benefit of having a property that looks & feels uniform & styled correctly.
  • High end materials
    Importing a rare tile from the corner of Italy might sound romantic, but 80% of people won’t tell the difference between that & something made locally. Unless the entire home is put together by an interior designer & being presented to a market that appreciate the designers, spending money on high end materials could be a waste of time.
  • Swimming pool
    This one is a double edge sword – in some areas it might be expected that the property has a pool. Although not every family enjoy swimming so for some potential buyers it is added headache, cost & maintenance responsibilities. Depending on the type of property it is, it could be an $80-$150K investment that could be spent in other areas for better impact..
  • Ducted heating & cooling
    Installing split air conditioning can be more economical than a fully ducted system. Visually for buyers there is just as much impact knowing the house has air conditioning of some type. If they are combined with ceiling fans and plenty of ventilation with new windows that can be impactful & cost less than a fully ducted system.

Do you have to completely demolish your old bathroom to renovate?

You don’t always have to completely demolish your old bathroom to give it a renovation. It is possible to install a new toilet, shower, vanity or bath tub to change the look of the room. Although that isn’t the same as a complete renovation so it means you may still be using the existing tap ware, cupboards, tiles etc.

The benefit of doing a complete bathroom renovation is the room is stripped back to the wall studs of the property. We can then prepare the room to be as square as possible, make sure the piping is sound and re-construct the bathroom from the ground up. It means that every element is build using the latest materials, adhesives, techniques where you can see each element being done. 

It means there are not any nasty surprises within the walls or floors that we can’t see and you get to work with a known foundation. We see a lot of bathrooms that have leaks, waterproofing failing or other problems which were caused by half done renovations.

The top ten things can influence a bathroom renovation cost

It is very easy to get bathroom renovation quotations online and we see people getting really confused. This is because the quotes will vary from $5,000 to $50,000. A lot of this has to do with what information was provided when trying to get the quote, how precise that was and if the renovator was able to understand what is required. To do this online is difficult as there are so many variables.

So what are some of the things that influence a bathroom renovation cost?

  • Where you live
    The builder has to determine the distance his trades need to travel to/from the site but more importantly what is the access like, the age of the property or building or how difficult it will be to complete the work. So a house on a nice quiet street is different from a small unit block in a tight city street.
 
 
  • Is structural work required
    To the naked eye the walls and floor may look fine, but in reality, they may not be 100% aligned and therefore could need remedy work. Or you may be thinking about placing a 200kg bathtub in the room which may need ceiling re-enforcement.
 
 
  • Fittings and fixtures
    Yes it is true, you can buy taps and fixtures from Bunnings for $5. Although like anything in life you typically get what you pay for. So quality products using better materials and internals will, of course, cost more. You can select these yourself or you can have your renovator do it for you, either way, time, energy & effort is involved to select, source and deliver the right items.
 
 
  • The floor plan
    Is it a simple square room or an odd shape that needs to be worked with? Do you want rounded walls or other changes made to the existing floor plan?
 
 
  • The size of the room
    Renovating a 4-metre square room is cheaper than an 8-metre one. Everything required changes ie materials, time, preparation work etc.
 
 
  • Existing services
    The electrical, waste and plumbing of the existing room could be used in lots of cases. Although you may like to move things around, which is possible, although requires the work to be done but also the right level of expertise to ensure it meets safety and building code requirements.
 
 
  • Is it a new or existing room
    There are different scenarios and sometimes we are starting from scratch which means creating a room to fit in with the existing structure.
 
 
  • Extra luxuries
    You may be looking to have floor heating, mood lighting, extra ventilation or even larger windows installed. All this is possible but needs to be factored into the project.
 
 
  • How quickly you need the renovation completed
    There are times where a property owner needs something completed within a short time period and other times a job can be spread over weeks or months.
 
 
  • Are you using a bathroom designer?
    For most renovations with a budget of $40,000 or less there isn’t a bathroom designer involved. Most of the inspiration for the design will come from magazines, photos online or other sources that are used to re-create a particular look or style. Some renovations will have a designer leading the work being done to choose fixtures, fittings, colour palette and overall design.
 
 
  • Are you using a project manager?
    For larger renovations having someone manage the project from end to end will help co-ordinate everything that needs to happen to finish the renovation job quickly. Nu-Trend will typically provide some level of management to make this easier for you, although for larger jobs normally a designer and project manager are involved.
 

How much are products for bathroom renovations?

The other element that people don’t consider when comparing their renovation quotations is how much the products cost. You might get excited when you see a cheap renovation quote and it lists ‘toilet, vanity and shower supplied. Although what is actually being supplied, is it a few items worth one hundred dollars from Bunnings or is it quality, trusted products from bathroom design companies?

 

 

A high quality bath tub will cost around one thousand dollars while a cheap one may be one hundred dollars – immediately you have a big disparity in quotation costs. This is where it becomes important to be really clear about the purpose and goal of the renovation. So for example, is it a rental property, are you restoring an old home, have the kids moved out so you want a luxury retreat or are you renovating to sell for profit?

 

 

Each scenario will lead to different choices of the products being used and where money is spent and this can influence your bathroom renovation budget greatly. If you make a list of the items needed in the room you can then add things like exhaust fans, lighting, towel rails, door handles, drains, cabinetry and other items that are needed to complete the room. All of these items can greatly vary any quote you received, so it becomes important to list each item so you are working off a master list. A complete bathroom renovation usually means replacing most of the items mentioned above so it becomes important to be really clear about what you need to achieve, your budget and a clear list of items you need.

 

As we mentioned earlier prices have gone up in 2020/2021 and we don’t see this changing much in 2022 until supply begins to improve. Using Gumtree, eBay, auction clearance houses or even Facebook Marketplace could be one way to find specific items you need to save some money. There might even be local suppliers who are trying to clear out old ranges or superseded models that are perfectly suitable.

  • Tiles
    Simple tiles can cost from $30 to $60 per square metre with premium tiles $150 or more. So combine this with the size of the room and costs can very quickly grow by 20 or 30%
  • Vanity and basins
    We will repeat ourselves here but yet again there are simple all in one vanity and basin units that are pre-made and simple to install or you can get bespoke, hand crafted, pieces that are designed to suit the style and space.
  • Insurance
    The first thing any property owner should check is if their builder has the right Home Warranty Insurance provisions in place to make sure you are protected We have helped a lot of property owners correct problems or complete jobs where the builder went out of business or walked off a project.
  • Toilet type
    Similar to tiles or bathtubs, a simple toilet with plastic cistern could be as little as $250 but there are other options like concealed units etc that can cost over $1,000.
 
  • Bathtub
    A simple acrylic bathtub is normally $300-$500 while freestanding, stone or other premium material tubs could be $8,000-$10,000 to make a statement piece.  A heavier tub may also require floor re-enforcement work to be done to ensure it is safe. A tub that has floor mounted tap mixers may also require relocating existing plumbing. While the physical size could also be a factor if roof tiles need to be removed to get it into the room. So a variance could be $800 installed to $15,000 installed just with a few different factors.
  • Shower with or without a screen
    In some situations it may be possible to place a pre-fabricated shower screen into the floor plan, although typically it is recommended to have a custom made one to ensure correct fit but also maximise the use of the space. Coming back to the design though, a open shower recess could be designed that eliminates the need for a shower screen at all.
 
  • Shower with or without a screen
    In some situations it may be possible to place a pre-fabricated shower screen into the floor plan, although typically it is recommended to have a custom made one to ensure correct fit but also maximise the use of the space. Coming back to the design though, a open shower recess could be designed that eliminates the need for a shower screen at all.
 
  • Tapware
    Really cheap taps can be bought for less than $20 inc gst while designer tap hardware can be up to $1,000 inc gst. On average people will spend between $100 inc gst & $150 inc gst on a good quality tap. You will need 3 to 4 of these for a typical bathroom.
 
  • Showerhead
    Similar to taps, you can buy basic showerheads for around $20 inc gst while fancy ones that have massage functions can be can be up $1,000+ inc gst. On average people will spend between $200 inc gst & $350 inc gst on a good showerhead. Some will have multiple spray patterns, nozzles or even adjustable pressure
 
  • Lighting
    The lighting may not need to be changed but if you want to create a luxury feeling then changing lights to be dimmable or to have spotlights for applying makeup could be a good idea. In some situations down lights plus a ceiling fan with light could be installed.

How much do bathroom renovators charge per hour in Sydney?

The average charge per hour for bathroom renovations in Sydney is between $45 and $80 per hour inc gst and this will vary depending on

  • The scope of work
    As we have outlined the scope of a renovation project can vary greatly considering the millions of options. So for each scenario we will take this into consideration when determining our quotation as it could be we are doing labour only or it could be end to end design, supply, project manage etc.  
 
 
 
  • Size of the job 
    Similar to the scope of work, the physical size of the job will determine the per hour rate as there may be extra labour required to complete it to your required timing or budget.
 
 
  • Complexity of the job 
    Like any skilled profession there will be variances in the hourly rate based on the complexity of the job. A simple bathtub replacement is different to a second storey ensuite addition to a 1920’s home for example.
 
 
  • Level of experience or qualifications
    Some local handyman services might be cheap to hire if all you need is installing a towel rail or some painting.
 

What is the average cost of renovating a bathroom per square metre

$1,400 per square metre based on using some of the existing items in the room and off the shelf products.

$1,600 per square metre replacing most of the items in the room and doing a complete rebuild

$2,400 per square meter which is a full rebuild using high quality tiles, fixtures and fittings.

The average cost per square meter to renovate a bathroom will depend on lots of different factors, so it is a similar scenario to what we have explained earlier where these things will vary your cost greatly.

  • What is the size of the room
    The per square metre cost will be relative to the size of the room of course, although there could be situations where you might want a renovation completed in a short period of time, this requires more labour and hence lifts the cost slightly.
 
 
  • What is the scope of the renovation 
    Fairly self explanatory but doing a renovation which is just replacing a bathtub vs doing a complete strip back of a room creates totally different scopes of work, changing the cost per square metre greatly.
 
 
  • What materials are being used
    Just like the scope of work, the materials like tiles used will vary your average cost greatly.
 
 
  • What fixtures and fittings being used
    Just like the scope of work or the materials used, if you use high-end fixtures or fittings then your average cost goes up.
  •  
 
 

What is the average cost of different room types in Sydney?

For a completely new build it is approximately $18,798 to build a bathroom

For an existing property it costs on average $19,553 to build a bathroom.

The really simple answer is you can’t. There are thousands of online articles or hacks to make updates to your bathroom to save money. Typically these are things like painting over existing tiles, doing fresh grout, resurfacing, updating tapware and things like that. They are home DIY activities that can freshen up a bathroom but ultimately you are working with the same room and it isn’t a complete renovation. When you renovate a bathroom on a tight budget it normally means that corners are being cut in terms of the items being used, the labour involved or how much is actually being renovated. It may suit some situations but typically these are short term projects that don’t deliver long lasting results.  If you are looking to renovate to profit in the long term, then a quality bathroom renovation with the right budget will give you the returns you are hoping for. Be careful what you see in photos online or on TV shows, with the right lighting they can easily hide poor quality surfaces, finishes and all the little details that you notice in real life.

When you are planning a bathroom renovation it is important to consider the various types of trades you will need to have it completed. You may be lucky and some can cover multiple areas or in other situations, one company can do it all. In any scenario, you must make sure they are qualified, insured and licensed before any work commences. We do see lots of examples where Clients haven’t checked, only to find out their project was done to a sub-standard level.

In most situations you will need a;

  • Plumber
    They manage things like piping, waste removal as well as bath, shower or toilet installations.
 
  • Electrician
    For any lighting, switches, fans etc that are being added or changed.
 
  • Tiler
    In most renovations, the floor and wall tiles are changed in the whole room.
 
  • Waterproofer
    This has to be a qualified person to ensure the room is waterproof and won’t damage other parts of the building.
 
  • Carpenter
    If things like walls, doors, shelves or cabinets are needed they can either create or install them.
 
  • Painter
    When all the renovation work is done all the surfaces need to be painted to finish off the room.
 

Nu-Trend will typically manage your required trades to keep the project running smoothly. We can also work with other contractors if required like architects, designers etc.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has reported an estimate of more than 230,000 bathrooms renovated in 2018/2019 with more than 70% of those in properties aged 11 to 20 years old. This average is taken from thousands of bathroom renovation sites of all shapes, sizes and situations. Many people do ask us if a bathroom can be renovated for less than $10,000 and while the answer is yes, you need to understand what that would truly mean in terms of quality, fittings and design. 

Looking at averages that are quoted on websites or in reports can also paint a false picture if all the details aren’t provided to be able to determine exactly how the price was made up. As you can see in the other sections of this guide, there is typically more than meets the eye when it comes to bathroom renovation costs – even variances like labour rates in different states.

What is the cost to supply & install bathroom fixtures?

The cost to supply and install fixtures and fittings will vary greatly, especially if you are asking people to quote on generic items like this example below

 

2 x Silver Taps vs Caroma Metro Basin Tap Set SKU 97400C5A

 

Typing silver taps into Google reveals over 37,000,000 search results so can you imagine the cost variances on quotes if your requests are very generic? Especially when you apply this to all the items that are needed. It also doesn’t take into consideration where they item needs to come from, is it a bath from Reece or something that needs to be imported from Italy?

 

It is another area where we find people get frustrated or wonder why there are big differences in the quotes they are getting. Below is a rough guide you can use that is based on mid-range quality items. For all Nu-Trend enquiries we receive we provide written quotations and try to be as specific as possible.

What is the cost to get a bathroom designed?

Online D D Bathroom Planner Tool

The simplest and cheapest way to come up with a bathroom design is to do it yourself. Grab a pen and paper, measure your room and map out what you’d like to do. For lots of jobs we help the property owner work with this method. It isn’t precise, but we do our best to get as close as we can to the idea. There are free tools online like the 3D Bathroom Planner from Reece that can help you visualise what you are trying to create – you can even choose specific products that we can then fit for you.

 

For people who want to get a little more serious you can engage with an interior designer or an architect who can not only create a design, but also draw up all the plans required that include 2D drawings and 3D models. Leveraging their expertise means you can build a designer bathroom but also provide every trade with specific plans to build to that are accurate to the nearest millimetre. This method also means you have a specific build of materials to work from as well so that can help with budgetting or getting quotes. Costs will vary depending on how they are engaged & how many consultations or drawings are needed.

 

In either scenario you can still get inspiration from other sources like magazines, websites or even Pinterest where you find colours, textures or styles that you like. These can then be applied to the design.

Can you change the floor plan of a bathroom on a concrete slab?


A lot of home owners think that if your bathroom is on a concrete slab you can’t really change too much, although, it is quite possible to move a toilet, shower or even add a bath tub into a room. Nu-Trend is able to prepare the waste and water services as well as the floors or walls to help you make changes to the layout of the room to accomodate your renovation project ideas.

See some of our renovating advice.

The best way to get a bathroom renovation quote in Sydney

Here is our step by step guide on getting accurate bathroom renovation quotes. By gathering the information below you can present a clear and detailed plan to each company. By compiling all the information below you can present a very specific list of needs and requirements to be quoted on. Doing this work will avoid getting quotes that include things you didn’t ask for but also ensure each company is quoting consistently on the same scope of work. This can make the process of comparing quotes much easier thus saving time going back & forth clarifying prices etc.

 

  • Are you licensed and what areas are covered?
 
  • What qualifications do you and your team have as individuals?
 
  • What insurance provisions do you have?
 
  • Will you be carrying out the work or will it be other contractors?
 
  • Will you provide a written quotation?
 
  • What references do you have that I can call?
 
  • Do you have job sites that are active that I can inspect?
 
  • Do you have previous examples of your work?
 
  • What brands do you prefer and recommend

What are the steps to follow for a bathroom renovation

  • Initial planning – this is the critical part that most people don’t spend time on. Read, research and understand what is required with the main priority of setting a budget to work with as this will drive your decision making around the project.
 
  • Get the required permits or approvals – depending on what you are trying to achieve you may require certain permits, inspections, reports or approvals to undertake certain work and this can vary by state or local council.
 
  • Check for strata requirements – if you are doing the renovation in an apartment then there is another level of regulation and process to follow to ensure the work doesn’t effect the rest of the building or neighbours.
 
  • Decide on what trades are needed – Designer, demolition, plumber, electrician, plasterer, waterproofer, tiler, builder etc you will need a good understanding of what you need before you can begin getting quotations.
 
  • Be clear on the timeline – depending on the amount of work your contractors are doing, a renovation job could take a week or a year. It is important to understand this very early.
  • What is the purpose of the renovation? Is it your ‘forever home’, property flip, to add value etc
  • When was the bathroom first built?
  • What is the size of the room?
  • What floor is the bathroom on?
  • Will it require floor plan changes?
  • Will you move existing services?
  • What style of bathroom do you want to achieve?
  • Who will design the bathroom?
  • What is in the current bathroom?
  • Will you do the demolition?
  • Will you replace the flooring?
  • What wall finish would you like?
  • What extra items are going into the room?
  • Have you chosen your fixtures and fittings?
  • Will you supply all the products?