Decoding renovation lingo

Decoding renovation lingo

Reading time: 4 mins

Starting a renovation involves coming to terms with a heap of industry-specific terminology.

Sometimes, it can even feel like the tradies you’re working with are speaking an entirely different language! A great way to stay on top of your project and make wiser decisions is to brush up on some common renovation lingo.

Read on to pick up some new words and feel prepared for your bathroom reno.


Retrofitting refers to the process of replacing a product without changing the entire layout of a space. For example, you might retrofit a brand new toilet into your bathroom to add value and improve hygiene, without tearing up anything else in the space.

Set out

Set outs are completed before the rough in is done. This is where the plumber checks that all the fittings are in the correct position while allowing for the thickness of the plaster and tiles that will later be used.

Rough in

A rough in involves the installation of plumbing waste and water pipes in the walls and floor of a bathroom.

Fit off

A fit off is the installation of various fixtures to an inwall plumbing system. This can include showerheads, basins, toilets, and more.

Lock up

Reaching lock up is an exciting milestone. This means all your doors and windows are secured and you can lock up the house!


Above counter basin

This is a basin that’s mounted on top of a benchtop, with most or all of it being visible above the benchline.

Semi-inset basin

An inset basin or vanity basin is installed into the vanity benchtop, with the outside rim sitting above the benchline.

Semi-recessed basin

A semi-recessed basin is placed in the vanity benchtop and extends just past the front edge, making it ideal for narrow units.

Under counter basin

Installed under a benchtop, under-counter basins work particularly well for stone benchtops.

Wall basin

As the name suggests, wall basins are mounted directly to a wall and don’t require a vanity at all. This is ideal for small bathrooms or powder rooms.

Freestanding bath

Freestanding baths sit directly on the bathroom floor and don’t require a support structure. They can be installed back-to-wall, away from the wall, or even in the middle of a room if you’ve got the space!

Inset bath

Inset baths are a particularly practical option, being installed against one or more walls to save space, and usually tiled around so there are no gaps; perfect for making cleaning a breeze!

Hand shower

Hand showers include a handset on a hose that can be fully manoeuvrable or placed into a holder to function as a wall shower.

Overhead shower

Overhead showers are mounted to a shower arm, which allows for a rain-like showering experience.

Wall shower

Consisting of a shower rose attached to a fixed shower arm, wall showers are ideal for small spaces.

3-piece taps

3-piece taps include a hot tap, cold tap and spout, with the individual taps needing to be adjusted in order to control the temperature.

Mixer tap

Mixer taps combine the temperature handle and spout in one unit, with the one lever controlling both temperature and water flow.

Back inlet cistern

Back inlet cisterns have a water inlet connection that runs directly from the wall into the back of the cistern, allowing it to be completely concealed.

Bottom inlet cistern

A bottom inlet cistern receives its water supply from the underside of the cistern, with a visible water connection beside the toilet

In-wall cistern (concealed suites)

In-wall cisterns are also known as concealed suites, as they’re hidden in the wall with only the toilet pan and flush buttons being visible. The pans can be either wall hung or back to wall.