ABN 12 002 307 039 LIC NO. 275 455C

Your Ultimate Guide To Quality Bathroom Renovations


We’ve written this short eBook to answer some of the questions we are most often asked when it comes to bathroom renovations.

Though the bathroom is a small room, it plays a very important role in our daily lives; there is an enormous amount of design, planning, and organization required during the renovation process.

I hope this helps you plan your bathroom ideas and aspirations.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on
0404 853484 or email us steve@bsnelson.com.au

The bathroom renovation process usually takes between four to five weeks. The process is often a bit slower during the winter as the weather tends to slow down the drying times.

The waterproofing and sand cement bed all need to fully cure before moving to the next stage.

Shower screens take up to 10 days to be ordered and installed. They can’t be ordered until the wall tiles are installed so that we can take accurate measurements. All of these contribute to the duration of the renovation.

WHAT AFFECTS THE COST OF MY BATHROOM RENOVATION?There are several factors that affect the cost of the project. They include:

    1. How much of the old internal linings will need to be replaced
    2. Will the doors, jambs, or windows require replacing?
    3. How much painting will need to be done?
    4. Is the bathroom on a slab or timber floor?
    5. Is there asbestos?
    6. Does the plumbing need to be relocated or completely replaced?
    7. Is the timber floor still in good condition, or is it rotted or damaged by termites and moisture?
    8. Do you want under floor heating?
    9. Is there a need for some extensive electrical work?
    10. What are the prices of your preferred tiles and other inclusions?
    11. How high are you planning to tile?
    12. What is the level of access to the room from the driveway? In situations where there is a considerable distance or difficulty, the price will vary.

Generally, a small ensuite can cost between $18,000 and $22,000 for a full renovation and redesign.
A standard bathroom can cost between $22,000 to $30,000.
Check out the size of our team required
for a Bathroom renovation.
I. Carpenters
ii. Plumbers
iii. Electricians
iv. Plasterers
v. Carpet layers for when the room is adjacent to carpeted areas
vi. Painters
vii. Tilers
viii. Waterproofers
ix. Shower screen and mirror installers
Our team is made up of the best with decades of combined experience in bathroom renovations.


Of course, you can! From experience, this usually isn’t a problem. Clients will usually stay in the home while we renovate.
Sometimes they choose to go away for a week or two to avoid the mess. If it is an ensuite, we like to have the main bedroom vacated and fully covered with drop sheets and black plastic. The first week of the renovation is usually the most challenging; after which, there is very little dust.

This can be a problem when there isn’t another bathroom in the house. We have had occasions where the client has hired a site WC. You can rent a small mobile bathroom mounted on a trailer. You will be without a WC for 2-3 weeks while we do the renovation if you don’t have a second toilet, renting one is necessary to ensure the experience is as stress-free as possible. This needn’t be a nightmare; it needs to be exciting!

We provide a 7-year warranty on the waterproofing. All the other products that will be installed come with warranties.
You also have the security of knowing that we have been in the business of executing excellent bathroom renovations for over thirty years in the Forster Tuncurry Great Lakes area.

We understand the importance of seamless communication; you can be sure that we will keep you well informed throughout the project.
Our Site Foreman and Steve are both available during the day. You will also be able to reach us via messages, emails, and phone calls. We will endeavour to let you know who will be on-site next and when we will need access. This allows you to be able to go about your daily activities with minimal disruption.
To facilitate a seamless process from start to finish, we use Buildxact, a project management software, to help keep every job on schedule.

Variations are used when the scope of work changes and/or the value of the inclusions change. They can potentially lead to delays in the schedule, but that is no problem for us to manage.

Variations will be issued from our software and sent to you for approval via email. Variations will be subject to a 20 % builders’ margin.

You will receive copies of the waterproofing certificate and warranty issued by Dazco Waterproofing. They are a local company and our preferred installer.
We generally have professional photos taken of the completed project, which we will share with you. These are always a great thing to have to show your friends and family.


1. Initial call or contact
It all starts with the first contact. There are several avenues through which you may have found us – our website, Facebook, or perhaps a recommendation from a friend we have worked for previously.
During the first contact, we will typically discuss what ideas you may have in mind and what you are hoping to achieve. We will ask you a series of questions to help us understand exactly what you want from this renovation.
After the call, we will send you a welcome email along with samples of some of our past projects. Over time, we’ve found that clients find our portfolio to be a valuable resource when planning their renovation.
This call helps us decide if we are a good fit, and if your budget is enough to make your dreams a reality

2. Site visit
Next, we will organize a suitable time to meet on-site to discuss the project and get to know each other.
The site visit allows us to thoroughly evaluate the scope of the project and understand exactly what you want from the renovation. We then complete our comprehensive estimate sheet which takes everything into account so that our quote is highly detailed, and there are no surprises for you at the end. How often have you heard horror stories from your friends about the experiences they suffered through when they built or renovated? This is not acceptable to us.
Our fixed price quote has been proven over time to be as accurate as they can possibly be. It’s a quote you can fully rely on, with no hidden costs. Variations will only result from the changes you make during the renovation or from any repair work we find during the process that needs repairing.
While on-site, we will take several photographs and measurements. On many occasions, clients are looking for a new layout and a more functional room. In recent times, we are finding that more clients are choosing to remove baths entirely and opt for a large walk-in shower. This visit also presents an excellent opportunity to share our experience and knowledge to help you with the decision making.
Every job is different; we find that bathrooms that are on bearer and joist timber floors can have the complication of rot in the timbers if the shower has been leaking for a while. If access permits, we can get under the house and inspect the subfloor area, take some photos, and discuss our findings with you.
It is also during this stage that we assess the property to see if it was built with asbestos products. Using asbestos products for building was stopped in the 1980s. If it so happens that your house was built in the that era, we will retrieve a sample out of a wall and send it to a lab to have it undergo a comprehensive test. Asbestos is a toxic material, and there are extremely strict rules and protocols while dealing with it.

3. Quote Preparation
After the site visit, we aim to have the quote back to you within five days. Our quotes are very detailed and comprehensive. It typically includes all the inclusions, allowances, and exclusions, as well as a detailed scope of works.
Some items have a PC (provisional cost) rate allocated to them. These are items where you may spend more than the allowance or save money and spend less. The PC items are included in the quoted total.
The items we usually PC are plumbing, electrical, and the inclusions to the bathroom. We use only the best quality products that have been proven to last from our many years of experience. We stay away from inferior products that don’t last. In our industry, you get what you pay for.
An example of this is a toilet. You can buy one at Bunnings for $ 220. Or you can buy a good quality Caroma for $ 700. They may look similar, but time will tell as the cheaper one doesn’t always last. Therefore, It is in your best interests that only top quality products are procured and installed.

4. Finalising the deal
This is when all the fun begins!

  1. We put your bathroom renovation into our schedule.
  2. We prepare all the necessary paperwork, including a HIA contract.
  3. An invoice will be presented for a 10 % deposit, which is required after signing the contract.
  4. If the project is over $20,000, we will provide you with Homeowners Warranty insurance. This will be included and clearly specified in the quote. This isn’t something that all renovators offer, but it is something that we do for our clients.
  5. A visit to Milligans Shower Screens is also suggested so you can look at the various shower screen and mirror options available.
  6. Tile selection can be made at Tilepower Forster or Taree. We can introduce you to them in the shop, or you can decide to go in on your own.


Step One: Preparation

Figure 1: A Demolished Room
Preparation is key.

  • First, we remove all your valuables and wall hangings before we start, so they don’t get damaged during the renovation.
  • Next, we install covers along the walkway to the room to contain the dust and protect the floor coverings.
  • The room is usually demolished on the first day of the project; the room will often look something like the photo in figure 1.
  • We use demolition hammers that have vacuum fittings. They are amazing because they catch much of the messy dust.

Step Two: Repairs

Figure 2 – A Damaged Floor

The second phase of the demolition usually starts on the second day. This is when the plumbers and electricians come and do their part. It is when the room is in this state that we will be able to investigate to see if there is any water or termite damage and make any repairs where necessary. These repairs, if major, will initiate a valuation for approval. However, if only minor repairs are needed, it will be done at no extra charge.

This ensuite bathroom below in figure 2 had extensive damage. The shower was about to fall in with the client along for the ride.

Step Three: Plumbing and Electrical rough-in

Figure 3: Electrical works

The length of time this takes will vary depending on what you decide to do with the layout and inclusions. When clients change the layout of the room, there is a lot of plumbing required in preparing for the plasterboard.

Electrical work can be quite involved as recent trends show more clients are now installing:

  • LED lights connected to sensor lights under the vanities
  • Underfloor heating
  • Power points in their shaving cabinets to charge the toothbrush or shaver
  • Pendent feature lights
  • Senor lights to the room so that the visit during the night can be easier.

The carpenters need to prepare the frames and floor for the plasterer. The walls need to be straight so that the tiles sit nicely on the wall. Many old homes need a lot of frame prep as they are often out of plumb.

Step Four: Plastering

Figure 4: Preparing the room for waterproofing

The plasterer comes in and sheets the walls and ceilings to prepare it for waterproofing. We find that many clients are choosing to tile up to the ceiling, meaning there is no need for a plaster cornice. Square set cornice looks modern and sharp in the bathroom and a finish I will usually recommend.

Figure 4 illustrates how we create the tiled Niche’s in the walls. They are waterproofed and they provide functional storage solutions. Also, they look fantastic when a feature tile is used.

Step Five: Waterproofing

Figure 5: Waterproofing over the sand cement bed
This is the waterproofing stage. Figures 5 and 6 show the various stages of the waterproofing process. First, we waterproof the floor; then, we waterproof the sand cement bed to provide added insurance against leaks in the future.

Notice the floor waste has been recessed? This allows the tilers to install a smart tile floor waste, which blends into the tiles. These are our preferred waste; we use them whenever we can.

Figure 6: Sand cement bed

Step Six: Wire Reinforcement

Figure 7: Wire reinforcement in the sand bed
The next step is to install a wire reinforcement in the sand-cement bed. This is only done when working with timber floors. It is an extra precaution we take to avoid cracking and movement as time goes on.

Figure 7 shows the shower recess; you can see the aluminium angle that is the shower recess waterproofing angle. This Is sealed to the floor to contain the water from the shower and sits under the shower screen.

Figure 8: Shower recess tiles being laid on the sand-cement bed
We like to start with the floor tiles, then follow with the wall tiles. Once the wall tiles are completed, we can then order the shower screens. They can’t be ordered until the tiles are in place. Shower screens can take 7-10 days to be manufactured, and this does tend to slow the renovation down.

Step Eight: The shower screens and mirrors

Figure 9: A frameless shower screen
Many clients prefer as little glass as possible to avoid the cleaning glass requires. We are finding that walk-in showers are extremely popular.

There are three styles of screens.
I. Framed screens: This is the cheapest option; the frame is around each panel of glass. Some find this hard to clean.
ii. Semi-Frameless. This option has a frame to the top and the bottom of the glass panels. This looks slightly like a frameless screen.
iii. Frameless. This is the premium option. They do look stunning; however, they cost nearly double the cost of framed screens.
The shower recess below has the Niche’s in the wall for your footrest and also a place to store your bottles.
The floor waste is a smart tile waste which conceals the floor waste nicely.

This shower has the frameless screen
This wall-hung vanity has LED lighting under it; attached to it, we have a sensor light. This allows you to be able to easily navigate the bathroom at night. The nice subtle light automatically comes on every time someone enters the room. There are so many great new modern ideas to make your bathroom special – as well as practical.

Step Nine: Painting

At this stage, the painter comes in and paints where required. We usually have new architraves and doors that may need replacing. Depending on the age of the room, we will sometimes paint the ceiling of the bathroom too.
We have had occasions where our clients have asked that we paint more of the house while we were there. This is never a problem.

Step Ten: Professional Cleaning

We employ the services of our professional cleaner to come in and clean the bathroom and the adjoining rooms. The rest of your home will not require much cleaning as we take steps to ensure a clean site throughout the process. We use jack hammers that have vacuums. attachments; this helps us minimise the dust spreading through your home.
It is at this stage that you begin to see and experience the value of your investment. Bathrooms are such an integral part of our lives and homes. And like a new kitchen, they are worth the investment and contribute largely to the value to your home.


Steve and his wonderful team recently finished a complete renovation of out bathroom and we are thrilled with the end result, we found Steve and his team to be helpful, friendly and professional. Shaun you really are a tiling genius! The work is first class and we will be seeking Steve’s help with future projects. Highly recommended.

Allan Butler
B&S Nelson renovated our holiday house in mind 2018. Steve was a pleasure to work with and has a practical “can do” approach to all challenges. As we were not around all the time, there was more responsibility on the builder. Our project was on time and on budget. We would definitely recommend Steve and B&S Nelson!

Wendy Machin
As interstate residents living in South Australia we did extensive research locally here in Forster to investigate recommendations for a local builder to manager our Forster property renovations. B& S Nelson was a name that consistently came up and after meeting Steve and discussing our reno plans we felt very comfortable to leave our project in his hands. We have no hesitation in saying that we made the right decision. Living interstate we really did rely on Steve not only as our builder but as our project manager. Steve constantly sent us a flow of photos of our site progress we truly felt confident and informed through the total renovation. During our few onsite visits it was great to met his team of builders, plumbers, electricians and painters who all added to the outstanding result we obtained with our Foster home. Every day now we enjoy the results of the work Steve’s team achieved and would be very happy to recommend B & S Nelson to anyone considering any home renovation.

Ray Wakeling – Forster Keys
Steve recently undertook the job of designing and renovating our 30 year old bathroom. His contractors and staff transformed the old into a fantastic, modern new bathroom. We love the finished product and were extremely happy with the level of professionalism that he applied to all our interactions. Steve worked with us on the design and was flexible in his approach to any changes we wanted to make throughout the build. I would recommend B & S Nelson Building Services for their reliability, honesty, quality workmanship and great service.
Greg Saggus – Melbourne


Bob Steve and Brett Nelson have all been part of the business over the last 30 years. We have been making dreams come true for hundreds of clients and continue to do it everyday.
Our work covers small bathroom renovations to million-dollar new home builds; which means we have the experience to ensure you get the quality result you are after. We have the systems, trades and knowledge to make your dreams happen seamlessly: no hassles and “On Time As Promised”.

I invite you to take time to read the reviews in this e-book and check out our website www.bsnelson.com.au

Quality Design & Construction
Building & Bathroom Renovations