Bathroom: renovate, refurbish or modernize?

These three terms are often used as synonyms for each other. Yet they describe completely different things.

  • Renovate
    When you renovate, you change the look.
  • Refurbish
    When something is refurbished, it was broken or damaged before.
  • Modernize
    Modernizing means replacing something and thereby improving it.

Using the bathroom as an example, however, you can quickly see how everything often interlocks. In the old bathroom, a few tiles are broken, the old, calcified sink faucets are wobbly and there is a strong smell from the shower. Here you should renovate for a new bathroom, renovate and best of all also modernize.

What is the problem with the distinction between terms? That depends on a number of factors when you want to calculate the effort and associated costs.

Typical for renovation work

Wall, floor and installations such as sinks, tubs and showers or their fixtures are typical items for renovation work. Replacing tiles or some fresh paint on the walls is one of them.

However, sometimes renovation and modernization automatically intertwine.
While tiles were the rule for decades, at least on the walls, the new variety of materials offers opportunities for renovation to go hand in hand with modernization.

  • CERAMIN Tiles (wall and floor covering) have significant advantages over ceramic and natural stone tiles:
  • CERAMIN Tiles are about two-thirds lighter than ceramic tiles for the same size.
  • CERAMIN Tiles are accordingly easy and dust-free to install.
  • CERAMIN Tiles can be easily cut to any desired size using standard cutter knives.
  • CERAMIN Tiles means no grouting.
  • CERAMIN Tiles are 100 percent waterproof and non-slip as a floor covering, and are also suitable for use with hot water underfloor heating systems.

Renovation in the bathroom: piping

Bathroom renovation almost always involves the replacement of piping. Even if only individual pipe sections are involved, walls have to be opened. Not infrequently, power lines are also affected in this context, which in turn should or must be reconnected by electrical specialists. 

Modernization and state subsidies

The potential for improvement through modernization in the bathroom is versatile. New radiators help to save energy. However, the effort required here depends to a large extent on the piping system in the house.
With many new fittings, water and energy consumption can be regulated. Conversions for accessibility in the shower or bathtub area have long since ceased to be just a practical question, but at the same time offer a great deal of scope for bathroom design.

Particularly important for modernization projects: For many age-appropriate conversions in the sanitary area, you can apply for subsidies from the KFW Bank.

Conclusion: Knowing the differences saves time, money and nerves

Due to heating, water and sewage connections, the bathroom, along with the kitchen, is one of the most interconnected rooms with the entire plumbing system. Structural changes may involve additional work on this system.

It is all the better if you can clearly separate the terms a) in your own ideas and b) in communication with DIY stores, craftsmen and architects. It becomes particularly sensitive when such changes do not affect rooms that you occupy yourself, but also tenants and leaseholders, for example.

Simply because of the ever more versatile ways of saving energy - from material properties, regulations, control and measuring instruments to insulation - the range of products and services on offer is becoming ever larger and more confusing. The distinction between renovation, refurbishment and modernization helps you to better structure your own ideas and thus keep better track of the effort involved.

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