A Who, What And When Guide To A Bathroom Renovation

05 Jul 2022 by Caroma


First, it’s good to know who you’ll need to complete your renovation. In the great Australian tradition of nicknaming and abbreviating everything, the building site has its well-known terms of affection for carpenter (chippy), electrician (sparky), and bricklayer (brickie) but spare a thought for the plumber – what is their nickname? No one calls them a "plumbie".

A brief survey of tradesmen on several residential work sites – plumbers included – were left scratching their heads when asked what nickname they have for the person responsible for fitting and repairing pipes, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry fittings, and all manner of water supply, sanitation, and heating systems. An internet search wasn’t kind either, with ‘dunny diver’ the most common, so let’s just stick with the plumber, eh?

Regardless of their nickname in any bathroom renovation, you’ll need several different trades to get the job done.



Perhaps the messiest stage of your renovation. In the demo, everything that’s not needed is removed; tiles, tapware, fittings, shower, bath, toilet, and vanity to prepare for the installation of a new bathroom. It is project-dependent on who does this, if you have a builder they will likely take care of this stage.

Framing and Rough-In

This is a critical early stage of construction where framing is put up for your walls and ceiling by your builder or carpenter. After the basic framing is complete, we move on to the rough-in. This is where plumbing waste and water pipes are installed in the walls and floor of a bathroom. This is a critical step as you want to make sure that everything is in the correct place. Good planning prior will make sure you get all of this right. This part is definitely a job for your plumber. But call your electrician in too. At this stage, you should also get your electrician to put all of the wirings in the framing as well. Make sure you’ve thought about where you need powerpoints, lights, and other powered things like the exhaust fan.


A screen is a sand and cement mixture with reinforcement built-in. A screed is usually applied on top of the concrete slab to both level bathroom floors and ensures water flows in the right direction in preparation for tiling. Screeds are usually 40-80 mm thick. This job is another one for your builder.

Wall Sheeting

At this point, your builder, carpenter, or plasterer will hang wall and ceiling sheets. These will then be prepped for their final use. Either set for walls, prepared for tiling, or waterproofed for the wet areas.


Being the wettest part of your home, this is an essential stage to any bathroom renovation. Here a waterproof membrane is applied to bathroom floors and walls to create a physical barrier, preventing moisture from penetrating the structure of the home. It is applied before tiles to protect the walls and subfloor. Ensure that you get a qualified waterproofer for this critical stage.


Your floor and wall tiles are next in the process following the waterproofing. It’s an exciting stage as you this is when you can see your bathroom sanctuary really start to come to life. Tiling is a 2-step job, starting with the cutting and laying, then finishing with grouting. Some tiles may also need to be sealed, so be sure to check these requirements when selecting your tiles. Get a qualified and experienced tiler for the best results.


The correct order for painting can be a little controversial with different trades, but painting your ceiling and any walls that won’t be tiled are a part of the process. Some people like to do it before tiling, some afterward. Be guided by your other trades or your painter to get the best results for your specific bathroom renovation.


Perhaps the most exciting part of the whole process is getting the final finishing elements added to your new bathroom. Here bathroom fixtures like the toilet, bath, vanity, basin and tapware are installed. Whilst your plumber may be able to do all of this, you may also need your carpenter to lend a hand. And not to forget that you’ll need your electrician back as well to fit all of your electrical items like powerpoints, lights, and exhaust fan.

And voilà! After a final clean-up and some styling, your bathroom sanctuary will now be finished and ready to enjoy (and you’ll be in need of a long, relaxing bath).


Always ensure that your tradies have valid qualifications. You may also want to check their insurances in case something unexpected happens.

Another good tip is to find a tradie through recommendations wherever you can. Often you can also ask for references or to speak to a former customer as well for a reference.

Don't be afraid to ask for any of this. A good tradie won’t hesitate to provide you with any documentation or references that you’d like to see.

Now with this knowledge in hand, you can have the confidence to follow the conversation with your tradies during your bathroom renovation.

For over 75 years GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens brands, such as Caroma, Fowler, Stylus and Dorf have been a part of life in Australia. A wholly owned subsidiary of GWA International Limited, GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens is a Brisbane-based, Australian managed company with diverse interests in the building products industry and related companies.Clever thinkingOur reputation for innovative thinking stretches back to our founding fathers. In 1837, the Fowler brand began manufacturing sanitaryware. Dorf was established in 1948 by Keith Hooper, an admirer of Henry Ford. He decided to switch the letters in the word ‘Ford’ to create the innovative tapware brand we know today.Caroma was founded in 1941 by Charles Rothauser and his wife Roma when they developed the first one-piece plastic cistern, winning the first of many awards for Caroma including the FH Edwards Laurel in 1956. In 1980, Caroma introduced the world’s first dual flush toilet, which continues to save millions of litres of water each year.Caroma and Dorf remain to be some of Australia’s most widely recognised brands and continue to provide innovative solutions for everyday Australians and professionals alike.Unmatched Sustainability RecordOur Research & Development team, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Cummings, is recognised globally for its water saving achievements.Over the years, our products have saved Australia and the world billions of litres of potable water, the world’s most precious resource.As the leading manufacturer of Australian bathroom products, GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens has always made sustainability the focus of product performance.Long before it became fashionable to think of the environment, GWA was developing water saving and energy efficient technologies. We’ve pioneered an impressive list of industry firsts including:- Commercialised the dual flush button system.- The 6/3 litre dual flush cistern.- The 4.5/3 litre dual flush cistern with Smartflush® technology.- Industry first WELS 5 star rating for toilet suites with the new Profile toilet suite with integrated hand basin.- Industry first WELS 6 star rating for urinals with the new Cube® 0.8L electronic urinal suiteAlways SolvingToday, our Research & Development team is dedicated to continuing our reputation for innovation with a focus on developing the latest water-saving technology. Every product we make is designed and built to respond to society’s changing needs and an ever-increasing desire for efficiency and environmental consciousness. Our products meet relevant Australian Standards, WELS certification and Codes of Practice for new build and retrofit applications.Ever EvolvingAbove all, bathroom and kitchen products need to be desirable, practical and functional. At GWA Bathrooms & Kitchens, we’re committed to leading the way in developing groundbreaking industry innovations to ensure we continue to provide these benefits to the Australian people for years to come.


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