Proper planning and execution for a bathroom refurbishment

The Squaro Infinity collection from Villeroy & Boch

Bathrooms have long since evolved from rather overlooked “wet rooms” to personal wellness oases. Walk-in showers, heated floor tiles and sufficient space are just a few features that will make your bathroom feel more comfortable and inviting. If you want to refurbish your bathroom, you should start planning early.

The bathroom is the room with the highest square metre price – a lot of technology and design are packed into a small space here. This article presents an overview of the work involved in a bathroom refurbishment, explains the typical process for a complete bathroom refurbishment, presents some bathroom ideas for inspiration and gives an overview of the average costs. 

Before a bathroom refurbishment: points to consider

Before you start planning, you need to think about how you plan to handle the refurbishment. The costs for refurbishing your bathroom will depend on how much you can do yourself.           

Theoretically, there are four possible options: 

  1. Do everything yourself: this is only possible if you have a great deal of experience. Gas, water and electrical installations should always be left to a professional. 
  2. Do some of it yourself: you take on work such as painting or stripping. The rest is handled by professionals. 
  3. Find different tradesperson for each task: in this case, you will need to find a separate independent gas-water installer, electrician, drywall builder and painter. You coordinate the dates and manage your own construction site. 
  4. Appointing a single service provider to refurbish your bathroom: this option means ordering your complete bathroom refurbishment as a package from a specialist company. A complete service means that you pay a package price for all the bathroom refurbishment work. The company you appoint is responsible for coordination. 
Bathroom planning with Villeroy & Boch

The best option for you will depend on your budget and your own skills. Bear in mind too that professional companies will provide a guarantee for their work and be liable for any damages or errors.

As well as this basic decision, there is another factor to consider in relation to future use. Who will use the bathroom? Will it be a young family with small children, a couple without children or a single person? 

One key criterion when refurbishing a bathroom is the age of its users and the usage period. A young couple who are just starting a family will have different requirements for a bathroom than elderly people who are enjoying their retirement.

Define requirements and wishes

Decide whether you need a bath, shower or both. Is a toilet enough or do you need to factor in a bidet and urinal too? Would you like a single washbasin or a double washbasin? The available space or budget will often help to make this decision.

Bathroom refurbishment with Villeroy & Boch

Thinking ahead to tomorrow

When refurbishing a bathroom in your home, it makes sense to plan ahead. For financial reasons in particular, it is advisable to consider accessibility issues when refurbishing your bathroom. Accessibility is not just a benefit for elderly people. Certain features will be useful in everyday life for young families, single people or couples without children too: a bathroom with a walk-in shower, non-slip tiles and a height-adjustable washbasin means greater safety and comfort for users of all ages.

Bearing in mind the average 20 years of use for a new bathroom, young people can think ahead and plan features to ensure that future modernisations are simple and cost-efficient. Because careful planning of a bathroom layout will allow it to be easily optimised later with a few simple age-related modifications such as grab handles or washbasins with space below to accommodate a wheelchair. Cost-intensive structural adaptations requiring complete conversion of the bathroom are unnecessary with farsighted planning.

Preparatory inventory before planning

Before you actually start planning your complete bathroom refurbishment, you should draw up a scale floor plan including the following information:

●       Wall measurements including height and width

●      Windows and doors including opening direction and radius

●       Locations of any ventilation outlets

●       Details of any sloping ceilings including the height

●       Electricity and water connections

●       Radiators

When drawing up your inventory, consider the following questions too:

●       Are electrical connections and water pipes working and safe? Do they need to be replaced?

●       Do electrical or water connections need to be installed in a different place?

●       Is sound insulation required for wastewater pipes?

●       Does new heating need to be installed, for example, underfloor heating?

What you need in a new bathroom

Some items are standard in a bathroom, for example, a toilet, washbasin and shower. In small bathrooms, this leaves very little space for other installations. You should always consider storage space when planning a bathroom and, in particular in a small space, make the most of every possibility. For example, choose slim cabinets, vanity units with shelves, bathroom cabinets with an integrated mirror front or a high cabinet above the door.

More space means more comfort

If you have more space at your disposal, you can also consider a bath, bidet or urinal. A generously sized whirlpool, a sauna cabin or steam shower with every possible comfort are options too. After all, more than ever, the bathroom is now a wellness havenwhere you relax and replenish your energy. 

  

Other items of furniture in a bathroom, such as comfortable chair and a chest of drawers, make it feel particularly homely. If you have more space at your disposal, inviting loungers with a side table will add an extra-luxurious touch your personal feel-good haven. 

Legato collection from Villeroy & Boch

Process for a bathroom refurbishment

This is the typical process for a bathroom refurbishment:

1. A list of products can then be drawn up based on the plan.

2. Use this product list to choose and order your bathroom fittings and tiles.

3. The building site is set up and preparations made for stripping old fittings.

4. Dismantling of all sanitary objects, possibly including radiators and taps, is the next step. If you are not using an installation system, tiles will also need to be chiselled off and disposed of.

5. If required, electrical connections and pipes are replaced. Professionals recommend this every 30 years to avoid electrical or water damage.

6. For a complete conversion, electrical and water/waste water connections are installed in the new locations.

7. The walls are then plastered, if applicable new screed is cast and drywall works completed.

8. Wall and floor surfaces are prepared for tiling/painting work.

9. This is followed by installation of the bath and shower including sealing.

10. The bathroom is tiled.

11. Custom-made shower partitions can be ordered at this point as you can now calculate the required dimensions with millimetre precision.

12. Final assembly of sanitary objects such as the toilet, washbasin, bidet and urinal is carried out along with installation of other accessories such as towel holders and holders for a toilet brush and toilet paper. Light switches, plug sockets and lights are also fitted.

13. The walls are then painted or wallpapered.

Tip: Before you start refurbishing your bathroom, organise alternative toilet and washing facilities for use during the building phase.

Design ideas for a new bathroom

There are endless options for designing a bathroom The following ideas should provide some inspiration:

Costs for a bathroom refurbishment

Refurbishing a bathroom – what does it cost? As mentioned at the start, the costs are highest for a bathroom. Overall, the costs for refurbishing a bathroom amount to around 1,000 to 3,000 euros per square metre. The main cost factors influencing the total price of a bathroom refurbishment are the size of the room, the quality and amount of fittings as well as labour costs and other professional services. The following average values should provide a rough guide. Prices increase if costs apply for stripping and dismantling the old bathroom. 

  • A small bathroom of 4 to 6 square metres with simple tiles, a washbasin with a vanity unit and mirror, a toilet and a shower cabinet with a simple PVC shower partition will cost between 6,000 and 18,000 euros. 
  • A medium-size bathroom of 6 to 10 square metres with a double washbasin, a vanity unit and mirror cabinet, a walk-in shower with a real glass partition, high-quality tiles with decorative details, LEDs and painting work will cost between 15,000 and 30,000 euros. 
  • Refurbishing a larger bathroom of 10 square metres or more with luxurious fittings such as a large washbasin, a steam shower, a bath, underfloor heating, natural stone tiles, LEDs and a sound system will cost 30,000 euros and upwards. 

Tip: Low-interest loans and grants are available for age-related conversions. Visit the website of the KfW bank to find out more about the current funding opportunities. For example, funding loans for a bathroom refurbishment can be found under programme number 159, “Age-appropriate conversion - loan”. 

You might also be eligible for grants of up to 6,250 from the KfW under programme number 455-B “Reducing barriers – investment grant”. If funding is exhausted, no more grants are paid out. This is currently the case for 2022. As soon as new funding is released, new applications can be submitted. (As at March 2022) 

Long-term care insurance funds also contribute to bathroom refurbishments with grants of up to 4,000 euros if a level of care is involved. 

 

More information on refurbishment costs