Advice / tips on cheap renovations

We're really excited to buy our first house this summer. We're on very modest wages and have been saving and scrimping for years to get a foot on the ladder - so this is huge for us.

The place is small and outdated but functional. The only thing we need to do right away is to install a bath. There are obviously other things we'd like to do like installing an extractor or fixing up wall holes etc. but these can wait. Having rented all our lives, we don't have many DIY skills although I'd like to think of myself as "handy" with a power drill. (Maybe just a delusion!) Would appreciate any advice on how to install the bath (and do other reno jobs) cheaply / any resources for DIY other than Bunnings videos etc.


  • +1 vote

    I'm in the same boat. Need to do some basic reno and think I'm ok as a handyman. Wife disagrees.
    In saying that due to the waterproofing requirements I wouldn't do a bath myself. Would pay someone. There's some well priced plumbers around. And can get materials cheap cheap if you don't mind stuff from China.
    Take a look at trade depot. Although be prepaired for long waits and the possibility of missing parts (so going back and forth a few times)

  • +2 votes

    We did our own bath… we had no bathroom for 6 months.
    I would recommend getting someone in to do the bathroom haha.

    We are pretty handy, with a very handy father as well, but the bathroom was a pain in the neck (we did the whole small bathroom, including rotten floors and bent walls).


    This is useful, thank you. So looks like we’ll be finding a plumber then. I’d still like to do as much of it as I can to keep the costs down. When you say sourcing materials from China, can you give any suggestions on online stores you’ve used?

    • +1 vote

      I personally wouldn't buy from online, it's easy for a lot of that stuff to be broken and if you need a replacement you don't really want to be waiting for them to ship you out a new one. I know in Dunedin there's a store that specialises in super cheap Chinese import bathroom gear so there'll be others throughout the country, but I've actually found places like Plumbing World aren't that expensive.

  • +1 vote

    Also check local laws regarding toilet DIY projects as not to break them. Our PM got pinged for that:

    Since you are doing the bath, it should be fine, but ya never know…

  • +1 vote

    Keep an eye out on TM for good brands like Methven; decent tapware not only lasts longer but is easier to get parts for and fix if it does break. People often buy for renovations and don't end up using so flick off on TM cheap. That's how we did our bathroom on the cheap.

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