Fitting a new bathroom can be a great way to breathe new life into a tired room, but you’ll want to be sure you go about it the right way. As you’ll find out, it’s a little more complicated than picking out a new three-piece suite.
Working out a budget
As well as buying the bathroom suite itself, you may also need to account for wall tiles, flooring, lighting, plugs, soap trays, bath mats and shower curtains or doors. Plus, don’t forget about plumbing and electrical installation costs.
The taps on your bath and sink might be small details but can make a real difference to the look of your bathroom. Many standard bathroom suites come with taps included, but if you need to buy taps you can expect to pay anything up to several hundred pounds. Mixer taps – the ones that mix hot and cold water – are generally more expensive.
It's well worth installing a shower if you have the space. Not only can they save time and money, they can also be more eco-friendly than baths. According to Waterwise, a short four-minute shower with an efficient showerhead uses less water than the average bath (which runs about 80 litres of water).
Showers can work off both conventional water tanks and combi boilers, or you could opt for an electric shower, which heats the water as and when you use it. If you don’t have good water pressure, you may find that the shower is a bit weak. You can overcome this with a shower pump.
Labour adds up
The most expensive part of your bathroom bill can often be the cost of installation labour. Big bathroom suppliers can install bathrooms for you for a charge, but you should get several quotes before you commit to one. Using an installation service means they’ll also remove and dispose of your old bathroom too. Tiling, flooring and plumbing are in addition to the installation of your bathroom. If you’re organising the work yourself, then you may need to get the right tradesperson for each job.
Make a plan
Get some graph paper and draw up a floor plan of your bathroom.
Mark the location of doors and windows and special features such as alcoves.
Add measurements of room length, width, height of ceiling, and height and width of doors and windows.
Use this to help you design your new bathroom.
If you don’t have a window, then you may need to get an extractor fan fitted to ensure that condensation or damp doesn’t build up after baths and showers.
Also think about the electrics. You don’t want to lie in a bath with a blinding light above you, but make sure the option you choose is safe. You might also want to include a shaving socket, which can also be useful for an electric toothbrush (depending on how it's charged).
Many bathroom suppliers will offer all this as part of the service, but there’s no harm in coming up with some early ideas of what you want.
Bathroom floor options include natural stone tiles, slate, ceramic tiles, cork tiles, vinyl or laminate flooring, solid or engineered wood floorboards or painted floors. Choose the one that suits your needs – you don’t want a potentially slippery tile floor if you have small children, for example. Or you may want to treat yourself to heated flooring for a touch of luxury.
For the walls, popular options include ceramic, natural stone, slate, glass and mosaic tiles. You can also buy water resistant paints that are suitable for bathrooms.
If you’re doing the work in order to help sell the property, try and remember it’s not you who you’re decorating for. You might want to consider something simple that won’t put people off.