29 Sep 2015

Bathrooms: Washing away your concerns


Laura Weeks, Marketing Coordinator at bathroom expert Crosswater, presents the secrets to a hassle-free bathroom project.


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When planning a new bathroom, en suite or cloakroom, first draw out a plan on graph paper – using metric measurements – showing where the bath, sink, toilet and shower are positioned, noting the location of windows and doors. In addition, measure how far away the room is from the existing waste pipes, plumbing and boiler. Consider all of the different people who will use the bathroom, from small children to grown adults, and think about those who may need a little help.

Work out how much you want to spend, ensuring that you don’t invest more than you are likely to recoup if you plan to sell your house. Make a list of priorities including what you need and what you would like to have. Take all of your information to a bathroom specialist who can help design and plan your bathroom options. Ensure they keep to your budget and ideally look for a company that can give you a 3D image of the finished room to help you decide on the best design for you.

Once you have a few designs shortlisted and you’ve made a final decision on all of the products you want to include, check to see what you can get for the best price, but keep in mind that if your budget allows, investing in high quality products will result in long term saving.

If you don’t have much room to work with, look for products that can be fitted into a corner or are reduced projection. There are plenty of products to choose from that offer smaller dimensions than standard sizes. Wall-hung units can maximise floor space and give the visual impression that the room is bigger than it actually is. Heated towel rails will minimise the requirements for further heat and therefore you’re less likely to need to find room for a radiator.

Storage is fundamental in the bathroom, whether it’s under or over a basin on the wall, so ensure enough cupboard space is provided. Ventilation is also important, especially if there isn’t a window, so think about fitting an electric fan – and get it certified by a qualified electrician. If you can’t fit a bathroom or en suite anywhere near your waste pipe, then it might be worth investigating if you can fit a macerator toilet – they can be noisy, but are worthwhile if it means you get that extra flexibility.

Creating an en suite

An en suite or cloakroom can make a big difference when you have visitors and will add value to your home. Look for dead space that you aren’t using for anything important and that is near the waste pipe. For example, you could use the space currently taken up by fitted wardrobes in a bedroom, or use a partition wall to divide the room.

Another option is to take space from two rooms rather than one; this is easier if the walls you want to use are partitions rather than structural. Make sure you can still fit a single or double bed in the remaining space, rather than losing a bedroom. If you want a downstairs toilet, think about any space you could utilise under your stairs or divide from the kitchen or utility room.

Renovating a bathroom

Renovating a tired, dreary bathroom is not a difficult task if you can keep to the same basic layout. There are lots of ways to update your bathroom on a smaller budget. For a quick update, upgrade the bath and/or the basin. It might be that the bath just needs a good clean, or the taps and waste pipes need changing – this is easy to do and very cost-effective.

If you are lucky enough to have a cast iron bath but the ceramic covering has started to crack, consider buying a resurfacing kit or hiring someone to do a professional job for you, rather than replacing it. When you come to sell your home, buyers tend to rate period features.

For the final touches, accessorise and complement with new curtains or blinds, by adding a new shower curtain or panel and by putting down a new floor. A coat of paint on the walls will give your bathroom a whole new look – check out specialist bathroom paints for durability.

Upgrade the suite

Fitting a new suite into the existing design is a more affordable option and easier than relocating the bath, sink or toilet. However, if you want to fit a new suite or relocate the bath, shower, toilet or sink, try not to do anything that would involve changing the existing pipe work or costs will start to mount. When choosing a suite, consider a bath made from acrylic, cast iron or steel – but check that the floor is strong enough to take a cast iron bath. You might want to go all the way by including a luxurious spa, adding a roll-top bath or even creating a wet room.

It is best to purchase a bathroom suite of the highest quality that your budget will allow and it’s worth looking around, as there is a huge range of products to choose from. Look online for ideas or visit your local bathroom specialists to ensure you are getting the best deal for your money. If someone is quoting for purchasing the goods and fitting them, always check what it would cost to have these jobs done separately.

Building regulations

Once your new bathroom or en suite is complete, you may be required to gain the relevant building regulations approval – including drainage, any electrics or ventilation and meeting safety standards for glass. If you are remodelling your bathroom, it’s worth updating to current building regulation standards, such as ensuring that any metal plumbing is earthed where electrics are earthed and that electrical fittings such as fans, sockets and additional lighting are signed off by a Part P registered electrician.

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