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A bathroom with pale grey floor tiles, a floating timber vanity and white vertical wall tiles
There are plenty of things to think about before you start renovating your bathroom. We've made a list of the big ones to get you started.

Create a bathroom that will last

Builder Amy Thackeray of Sunday Homes, a construction company based on Sydney's Northern Beaches, has just completed an extensive renovation of this 1960s cottage and solid waterproofing – using James Hardie's SecuraTM flooring and VillaboardTM lining – has been key to creating a bathroom that will last.

A watertight plan

“I think back in those days, waterproofing was barely even a thing,” Amy explains. “If it was, there was certainly no certification around how it needed to be done.” Our standards are much higher now.”

The family that Amy was working with had been living in the cottage in Sydney's Curl Curl for some time, but with a small floorplan and just one bathroom, so it was time to make some drastic changes to take them into the next decade or two.

“We basically created a master extension at the back, which included an adult bedroom, walk-in robe, and new bathroom,” Amy says. “Then the main house also had a full revamp of the existing bathroom, so the boys have got a new bathroom now to themselves and we added in a powder room, which was part of the lounge room before.”

A bathroom under renovation with James Hardie Villaboard walls

The master ensuite comes to life

The master ensuite, was designed as a luxurious escape from the day-to-day of family life – essential when you have three teenage boys. A custom-made timber vanity blends with terrazzo-style porcelain floor tiles. The walls were lined in James Hardie's Villaboard lining, a product that Amy uses in all her bathroom renovations.

“With any wet area you need to use a proper lining so the tiles can stick and stay,” she explains. Villaboard's performance is 100% better than the minimum tile adhesive, as Amy notes: “A bathroom is obviously a really high-moisture area, so, you do normal lining throughout the house, but then you need to use the Villaboard in the bathroom. It can withstand that humidity.”

The base of the bathroom floor uses Secura from James Hardie, also specially designed for wet areas, to assist in waterproofing and ensure that the new bathroom will last the distance, especially because the family chose a classical design for the room, which won't date quickly.

“That's what we really try and design towards, making sure that nothing's too ‘popular',” says Amy. “It's classic and you can just update it without needing to renovate again in the next 10, 15 years.”

“Any of our building works are guaranteed for seven years structurally, but I imagine in this day and age, a bathroom is going to last a hell of a lot longer than that.”

And the family agrees. “We love everything about our new bathroom,” says Sandra, the owner. “Our favourite elements are definitely the custom timber vanity and matching shaving cabinet. We know we will be here for a long time.”

A Secura from James Hardie bathroom floor

Amy's top four tips for renovating a bathroom

1. Waterproofing

Ensure the area is properly waterproofed – an existing bathroom may need to have a concrete screed, while a timber substructure works well with Secura sheets, which have one side designed for tiled applications and include a sealant gap.

2. Go for classic style

Well-built bathrooms are designed for longevity, so try to avoid finishes that are just popular in the moment and for hard surfaces, such as tiles, baths and vanities. Smaller items, such as tapware, accessories and freestanding furniture can be refreshed regularly in order to keep the space up to date.

3. Consider the alternatives

There are alternative wall options that can deliver elegant, classic style while expanding design possibilities. Hardie™ Groove Lining, for example, is ideal for use in bathrooms (excluding showers). This hard-wearing, VJ sheet panel has the look of tongue-and-groove timber to complement almost any bathroom style. It has the durability of fibre cement, and the uniform panels are free of knots and wont shrink or swell with moisture.

4. Have a plan

A bathroom renovation uses most building trades, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical and tiling. Having a solid project management plan in place is essential for making sure each trade is timed as efficiently as possible, which will also help with budget management.

Renovate your bathroom

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.