How to Plan a Small Bathroom Renovation in London
The first step in planning a small bathroom renovation is to think about how it's used. This will help you work out a budget, timelines and what to include.
Full or main bathrooms and master en-suites get lots of use, so choose a good quality bathroom suite and fittings. You want this home renovation done to a high standard so it lasts years.
Guest bathrooms and powder rooms (aka 'half' bathrooms with only sink and toilet) are used less, so you can economise and won't need storage space.
Think about who uses the bathroom too. Kids are hard on things and get water everywhere so you need durable flooring and fixtures and a bathtub. Elderly people may need non-slip floors, low counters and grab bars; a walk-in bathtub is also desirable if you have space.
All this impacts on small bathroom renovation costs and timings.
How Long Does It Take to Renovate a Small Bathroom?
It typically takes 1 month to renovate a small bathroom. That's if you're stripping out and replacing everything. Add some time if installing non-standard features like a walk-in shower. Of course, if you’re only updating individual items then it will be quicker.
Surprisingly, a small bathroom renovation isn't much quicker than a large one. This is because both generally have the same fixtures and fittings, except for powder rooms.
A speedy renovation is desirable for a full or master bathroom, especially if it's the only one in the house. For guest or second bathrooms, you can afford to take your time.
You can either deal with individual tradespeople and suppliers yourself or go through a general contractor who will handle it all. This costs more but it’s worth it if you want to save time. Either way, good planning and scheduling everything and everyone in advance will streamline installations, especially if you can order ahead and store materials on-site. However, a general contractor may want to handle this part or use their trusted suppliers to ensure everything is up to their standards.
A small bathroom renovation offers some DIY scope—especially at the beginning (demolition) and end (painting)—but be aware you will probably be slower than a professional. If going the DIY route, agree on who's doing what beforehand to avoid any delays.
How Much Does It Cost to Renovate a Small Bathroom?
On average, it costs £2,000-£3,500 to renovate a small bathroom. This covers building work and installation costs. Sanitaryware and other fixtures and fittings are on top and the cost varies with quality and complexity.
If money is more important than time, you can save by dealing with individual tradespeople and buying materials and products yourself. Also by doing some DIY. Leave complex jobs like plumbing and electrics to the professionals, though, unless you're highly skilled.
As a rule, the faster the job, the higher the cost.
Major Steps of a Bathroom Renovation
Once you have your bathroom all planned out, the basic stages are:
- Demolition and stripping out of your old bathroom suite, wiring, waste pipes, tiling and flooring. Water must be turned off and capped off where necessary beforehand.
- Preparation and structural work by the builder, carpenter and tiler. Any existing damage will also be repaired now, including repairing brick rendering if necessary.
- Waterproofing. Walls and any areas that come into contact with water are coated with a rubber-like membrane. This essential future-proofing stage ensures your bathroom will be hardwearing and durable.
- First fix of plumbing and electrics, including water tanks and waste pipes. This stage is also known as a ‘rough-in’ and is more complex if you are relocating sanitaryware.
- Walls and floors. Walls are covered with your choice of tiling or wall boards that will be plastered over and painted. If installing underfloor heating, this is done before the floor covering is put down.
- Bathroom suite installation. The shower and/or bathtub, sink, vanity unit and storage cabinets are put into place.
- Final plumbing and electrics. The plumber and electrician return to finish installing and connecting everything up.
- Finishing touches such as mirrors, shower screen and accessories are added.
- A final clean and inspection and your small bathroom renovation is complete!