The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

10 – Day 3: 14 Days To A New Bathroom


On today’s episode,

Bernadette is on Day 3 of the series 14 Days To A New Bathroom on doing a quick low-cost bathroom makeover. She discusses resurfacing at length – tips on finishes and colours, time frame and cost – and it’s advantages as opposed to a complete renovation.

This episode is a part of a 14-Day mini-series on Bathroom Renovations.

Listen to Day 3: 14 Days To A New Bathroom 

Bernadette covers,

  • What resurfacing and why it’s different from paint
  • 3 reasons you should choose to resurface instead of painting
  • Parts of the bathroom you can resurface
  • The colours you can choose for resurfacing your bathroom
  • How resurfacing can greatly improve the time frame of your renos
  • The only thing you can’t resurface and why you shouldn’t.
  • “Nu Again”, a franchise of Resurfacing Australia owned by her students: Greg and Lee Bini


Hello! It’s Bernadette Janson with She Renovates the podcast for women who want to create an income and a life they love through renovating.

And I want to welcome you back to Day 3 in our mini series of 14 Days To A New Bathroom.

So today I’m going to be talking about doing a quick low cost bathroom makeover.

And the topic is resurfacing.

What I’m going to be covering is what resurfacing actually is, the advantages why you would choose to resurface as opposed to completely renovate. What surfaces can be resurfaced. The finishes and colors that are available. The time frame and the cost. And a few little tips to keep in mind.

Firstly what is resurfacing? And the first thing you need to know is, it is not paint.

Now we’ve all watched the bathroom makeovers on telly where they went down to Bunnings and buy a tin of tile paint and come back and splash it around the bathroom and they go, wow! We’ve got a new bathroom!

But the reality is, that the paint on tiles is just not durable. It will scratch, and in a very short period of time it just doesn’t look beautiful. I personally have a philosophical problem with selling a property that has painted tiles because it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors and I just don’t think it’s very ethical.

However, resurfacing is a different animal, resurfacing is a polyurethane resin that’s mixed with a catalyst or a hardener to create a really durable finish. So when it’s mixed with the hardener it’s then thinned down and sprayed on. So it’s a very consistent even look, you cannot tell the difference between a resurface tile and one that’s not.

Now why would you choose to resurface? Well, the first reason would be if you just don’t have the budget for a full bathroom makeover and the lay out of the bathroom works. It’s just that it’s old and dated and it’s a very cost effective and a time effective way to do it.

The second reason you might is, you might do a particular element of the bathroom like the vanity, because you don’t want to have to take all the tiles out. And if you pull the vanity off, the tiles often come off with it. So sometimes resurfacing is the solution.

Bath particularly are often resurfaced, in fact we’re doing one at the moment in one of our projects. Because we don’t want to pull the bath out because it’s a very confined space, and to find another bath that would fit that space will be problematic. So we’re better to keep it and resurface it, and it will come up as good as new.

And the other reason you would choose to resurface would be if you’re in an apartment building. So you might remember and I think it was in episode 2, I talked about how when you choose to renovate your bathroom often it’s an opportunity for the owners corporation to hand over the responsibility for the waterproofing to you. So what this will mean is if your bathroom ever leaks into the ceiling of the tenant below or the owner below, then you’re responsible for repairing it.

However, if you don’t have to disturb the waterproofing membrane, that won’t happen. You won’t have to take on the responsibility. So in that scenario, resurfacing is a good option, because you get a lovely new bathroom but waterproofing membrane stays intact.

Now what can you resurface? The answer is pretty much anything. So laminate bench tops. Cabinetry like the vanity can be resurfaced. Of course the wall tiles. And the bath. So the only thing that you wouldn’t resurface is the floor tiles and I will explain why shortly.

In terms of finishes and colours it’s pretty much the same as paint, you’ve got a broad range of colours and also you can have gloss, satin or matte in terms of the finish. People usually choose gloss for their tiles and sessional matte for the bench tops and cabinetry.

So there are even resurfacing colours that emulate stone, they’ll have little flecks of grey in them. So they look like stone. But of course if you’re changing colours in your bathroom, one on the wall one on the bench top, a different one on your cabinet. You’ll find that will impact the time frame, because of the preparation. Because each of those elements has to be masked up so they contain the colour and the cost as well.

In terms of durability. I would like the durability to be similar to polyurethane cabinetry, if it’s looked after, it will last for a long time. However, if you take it with a knife you’re going to get scratches in it.

That’s really the best way to look at it. One thing I did learn. Was that with resurfaced baths, if water pours on them, particularly in the old clawfoot ones. Often they’re not perfectly level and water won’t drain out completely. If water is allowed to lie around on the bottom of the bath, it will affect the resurfacing. And eventually it will start to peel, so keep the surface clean and dry if you can to maintain the lifetime of the finish.

In terms of time frame, a bathroom will take 2 – 3 days, which is amazing. Because when you fully renovate a bathroom, if you remove the tiles and you have to go through the whole waterproofing and preparation and tiling process, the fastest you can do a bathroom is about 2 weeks. Because of the wet trades that are involved. However, if you’re resurfacing you’re talking 2 – 3 days, which is an incredible advantage. If you’re just doing the bath, then it’s just 1 day.

Now let’s get to the floor. So the thing with the floor is it can be resurfaced. It won’t last. Imagine if you had polyurethane floors, it wouldn’t be too long before they had scratches. The recommendation so that you retain the waterproofing membrane is to tile over your tiles. So if you tile over the tiles, provided the tiles are sound, then your tiler can replace the floor ways. So put a new floor ways, then at a higher level because it will be slightly higher by the thickness of the tile and the glue. And you’ll get a much better finish than if you attempt to resurface the bathroom floor. Of course you do end up with a slightly higher floor which will show at the doorway. But if you’re not wanting to pull up the waterproofing membrane, you don’t have an option. That’s pretty much how it is.

And lastly the cost. So I should at this point acknowledge our students Greg and Lee Bini, who own a business called ‘New Again’. Which is a franchise of Resurfacing Australia in Newcastle and they have been my source or my authority on resurfacing. So they have done some fabulous projects.

Finally, in terms of, and of course this will vary from one contracted to another, but in broad terms a bath will cost you around about $700 for internal resurfacing, wall tiles about $1800 and vanity about $500. So if you’re having everything done in the bathroom, the whole bathroom done, it will take you 2 – 3 days and it will cost you around $2,000-$3,000. So it’s a very cost effective way to produce a new bathroom.

One last thing. Sorry I forgot to mention this when we’re talking about finishes in terms of colours. You can choose just about any colour for resurfacing. But what I would recommend is that you go for what the problem being when you resurface it changes the colour of the tile and the grout. And if you’ve got a coloured tile with coloured grout it looks a bit weird, and so if you stick with white and white tiles usually have white grout. You will not be able to tell that bathroom has been resurfaced.

So I hope you found this useful and I’ll see you in Day 4.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I have been listening to this Podcast for a few years now. I love how Bernadette freely shares her experiences and knowledge of renovating and how to create wealth through property. There are many people out there doing a similar things but Bernadette is the real deal. Her down to earth approach reasonates with me and I’ve learned lots from her. I’d highly recommend She Renovates!”
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

    Want more?

    If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

    The only membership you need to grow your renovation business…

    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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