Things to be aware of when renovating your bathroom.

Bathroom/toilet is probably the single most daunting part of a house renovation. Before we embarked on our home renovation, we did A LOT of research over the Internet as well as reading home improvement books (ok, the boyfriend did, I only had the fortune of reading all the relevant stuff he copied and pasted to me on emails). It’s really important to read up because then you’d be able to gauge your contractor’s level of knowledge and experience.

If your contractor claimed that he could change your toilet position where ever you fancy, BEWARE. It’s not recommended to change your toilet’s position (unless you’re planning on tearing down the entire house and rebuilding a new one) because that would mean moving the outlet pipe, which is a very taxing task and not to mention, RISKY. If your contractor didn’t have the chops to do it, you might just end up in a world of shit. Literally.

Even tasks like water proofing the toilet and tiling requires a lot skills. So yeah, that’s why it’s important to know your contractor’s skill level.

For instance, it probably seems a no brainer buying toilet bowls. You measure the space you’ve got, go to a shop and choose the design and size that fits best, right? Nope, it’s not that easy. First of all, you need to have the measurements of the distance between the outlet pipe from the wall, which you should be able to get from your contractor. Each and every toilet bowl has different tolerance of distance so you have to buy the one that fits. We wanted all the sanitaryware in our bathrooms to match so we were very lucky to find one model that could tolerate the “outlet pipe – wall” distance of all our three bathrooms, which are 6″, 9″ and 12″ respectively.

So after the toilet choices are narrowed down to the right fitting then only you can start choosing designs and size. The person selling the toilets to you should be able to assist you with finding the correct fit. If they can’t, please stay away ;)

There are generally two types of toilets; syphonic and wash down. Syphonics are the ones that flush down in a slow circular motion and are quite trendy now due to its supposed feature of saving water and almost silent flushing. Wash downs are the traditional ones that flush everything at one go.

But what many people don’t know is that your outlet pipe plays a main role on whether to get syphonic or wash-down. The rule of thumb is, if you don’t wish to run the risk of getting floaters, just get wash-down. Unless you’re absolutely, 100% that sure your outlet pipe is straight, do not get syphonic toilets!!!!

Another thing I did to make sure that the bathroom sinks and toilet bowls fit comfortably with ample space to walk and dance in my bathrooms was that I made actual size cutouts of the sanitarywares and placed them over their respective position. That way, I could see for sure how the space would be like after installation. Some people have a good feel about space, I don’t, so doing that really helped to ease out the space concerns.

Okay, hope this helps! I can’t think of anything else to add on, but will do so when I figure out more things. Feel free to ask any question in the comment section or better, feel free to comment about additional stuff one should be aware of when renovating a bathroom, will deeply appreciate them :)

Posted from my Crackberry.

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17 Responses to Things to be aware of when renovating your bathroom.

  1. Mellissa September 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Extra tip! For KY’s sake, make sure you have another toilet when your one and only toilet is under renovation :P

    Wow so many things to consider man, a lot I would’ve never thought of!

  2. whimsicaljottings September 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    1. Type of tiles used in the bathroom – NON SLIP!
    2. Ventilation, consider a ventilation fan.
    3. Type of tap used should be proportionate to the sink, long spout if sink is broad. Else water wont be splashing into sink, but on the surface AROUND the tap.
    4. If the bathroom has windows, remember to get frosted glass!
    5. Consider distance from shower head to shower (tap?) Make sure its not annoying.
    6. Consider space for towel rails too, and how it may affect space for movement. Towel rail should be easily reached from the shower space.
    7. MAKE DOUBLY SURE that you’re buying stainless steel, non rusting fixtures. In msia, I kena conned by this shop, fixture started rusting in no time. Sometimes its just the screws that are the culprit.

    Kim, are you having a wet/dry bathroom?

  3. sotong September 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    wow.. so mafan one ar.. ishh.. then i should change my mind to renovate my toilet now.. was thinking to install a robotic toilet which can help you to wash/wipe your ass :P hahaha… joking :P

  4. Suertes September 14, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    Well, I learned quite a bit here. Now, why is it that some sit-down toilets have covers that do not have enough space to keep up? (i.e. the flush cabinet is too close to allow a decent angle for the cover and seat to rest when raised.

  5. KY September 14, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    how about u should have written this piece like a month ago fml.

  6. Suanie September 14, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    informative article! I’ll remember when i need to renovate my toilet :D

  7. ShaolinTiger September 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    The thing that shocked me most was how much it costs to renovate one bathroom, had to adjust the budget after doing 3 bathrooms.

    To do one normal size bathroom, at a decent level (not even to say extravagant) is around RM7000!

    If you use higher end stuff (rain shower etc) it can easily go over RM10,000.

    Just for one small room, it’s nuts.

    Great tips from whimsicaljottings, there’s a lot of ergonomic issues to consider too with racking, sink/toilet size and position and so on.

    Also one tip from me, when buying sanitaryware stick to Orin or Johnson Suisse, they are the top 2 brands and around the same quality/price range. Just Orin has slightly more modern designs.

    Forget all those other China brands like Inax/Econax/Inno which offer soft-close, dual flush, syphonic for a cheaper price but will break in less than a year. Especially for Syphonic if you must use it, use J.S, Armitage Shanks or Orin, because the china brand syphonic the exit hole is small and if you even use a 1″ offset pipe to the flange it won’t flush.

  8. WD September 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    The distance between the wall and the centre of the outlet is called the roughing-in distance. If your outlet is on the floor, it’s called BO(Bottom Outlet). Wall, it’s HO(Horizontal Outlet). Normally, you would pick a pan(WC) that has the right roughing-in distance. If you use washdown WC, you can use the so called offset connectors if your BO/HO is out by a bit. For syphonic WCs, please do not use offset connectors (some plumbers might say it’s OK, but really, it’s not). Syphonic clogs quite easily with an offset connector. When that happens, you will really be in deep shit.

    Syphonics actually uses about the same amount of water. For Malaysia, it’s a standard 6L for a full flush. The nice thing about syphonics… you can flush while sitting down. It doesn’t splash like a washdown :) Good if you are having a long shit and it’s getting a bit stinky.

    Suertes, if I understand correctly, you are saying the seat cover, and seat itself keeps falling down instead of staying up when you lift it. Could be due to lousy design of the WC. Like what ST mentioned, avoid el cheapo brands. It’s a pain to replace the pan. Spend a bit more and get a good one. Another reason could be because of the way the bathroom floor is angled towards the floor trap (so that the water flows towards it). Sometimes, it is too steep and so happen your pan faces the direction of the floor trap. Hence, gravity causes it to not stay up. Use some bluetack :)

  9. WD September 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    If you are the pick-the-pan-first type of person, you should get the right roughing in distance, and inform your plumber about it. Your plumber then should create the outlet pipe at the correct distance, taking into account the estimated distance when the wall tiles are up.

    One more important tip is the location of your vent pipe. Please, do not close existing vent pipes. Some contractors like to do that, telling you those pipes are not necessary. If you create totally new bathrooms, please get the plumber to put in a vent pipe. Vent pipes are necessary to equalize the pressure inside the sewage piping when you flush, so that your shit goes to its destination smoothly, and also does not suck out the water from your water traps due to negative air pressure.

    Hmm, what else. Remember to have gulley traps for your floor traps especially if they drain to the sewage pipe. Prevents smell and things from crawling into your bathroom. You can also have floor traps with water seals for double protection.

    For bathrooms on the upper floors, water proofing before tiling is a must. For ground floor, it is recommended although not necessary. Doesn’t cost much. It helps prevent water from seeping into the ground, which tends to attract termites due to the humid environment.

    I agree with whimsicaljottings, ventilation fan is a good idea. Keeps humidity low, especially if your bathroom doesn’t have a large window or receive much sunlight. Mold is a bitch to get rid off. Consider ceiling ventilation fans, they look nicer(harder to clean though.. )

  10. whimsicaljottings September 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Holy schmoly. 10K???

    But ST, why is rain shower so exp? I installed two in our house, and they are like a couple of hundred bucks the most, not causing like a major increase in cost.

    Funny story: Our plumber fixed the rain shower in our bathroom, and when the hubs stood under it, the shower head was like 2-3 inches above his head only. HAHAHHA. Yea our plumbers are short Italian men. Rotflmao. Moral of story; esp since ST you’re so tall, get your plumbers to take your height into consideration too when getting fixtures done.

    They had to re-do the shower heads in mine solely coz the hubs is way taller than them. :P It’s all about relativity.

  11. ShaolinTiger September 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    Haha not only rain shower loh, but using all higher end stuff. I saw one bathroom recently not much bigger than ours is around 10k. If you include those tempered glass screen is easily RM1-2k per piece. Rain shower here for decent brand (without heater) is at least RM1500-2k.

    Also using more expensive tiles, more patterns and so on easy can add up over RM10k.

    Normal average bathroom using good quality for everything is at least RM5-7k (waterproofing, tiling, fixtures, sanitaryware, accessories etc).

    Not going for rain shower right now, but yah, shower is always too low for me LOL will be watching out for that one.

  12. whimsicaljottings September 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Phwoar, 1-2k? Maybe I shd start an import-export biz to Msia. lol. Oh ya, one more important tip. MAKE SURE your plumber uses ANTI MOULD silicone for sealing purposes (sink etc) Must specify, else they cincai use the regular stuff, then you will get fugly black mould in no time. My house in Msia liddat lar :( damn pissed.

  13. Suertes September 16, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    Ya, man. Building materials is a lucratve business. A friend of mine quit IBM to open a building supplies store in Puchong.

  14. Kimberlycun September 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    mell: ROTFLOL

    whimsicaljottings: wow thanks for the detailed tips! VERY HELPFUL especially the towel rail one! we’re doing wet bathrooms but won’t be getting ventilation cause got many windows :D

    suertes: i think it’s the toilet designs, it should stay up.

    ky: how about we’ve mentioned to you before? lol

    suanie: thanks!

    st: well, gotta pay up if we want these stuff to last for at least 15 years, innit. it’s worth it baby.

    WD: thanks for the clarifications. never really knew what are the actual terminologies. gonna check with my contractor about vent pipes, i have no idea what they are!

    whimsicaljottings: yeah we dunno why good quality rain shower so gawddamn expensive here! gonna put that off till the wallet is less stressed haha.

    suertes: time for a career change!

  15. Rizwan December 12, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    great info. really helpful. we’ve been trying to get ours renovated for a while but can’t find a decent contractor and not really sure where to begin. could you recommend one? if yours was good it would be great if you could post their contact info. thanks a mill

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