lets-do-diy.com logo lets-do-diy.com stripes
Account login  |  Register
Bookmark This Page

    Bathroom fixtures

    Summary: Planning bathroom features, advice when considering a bath, hydro bath, whirlpool, shower, basin, toilet and bidet.

    When choosing from the multitude of baths, showers, basins etc. on the market, look out for brand-name models as you are more likely to get better service should a fault arise. Choose a white bathroom suite to keep the room clean and bright and complement any décor changes in the future. To give you an idea of the range of features available in bathroom fixtures, here are some key points.


    The standard size is 1.7m (5.5ft) x 0.7m (2.3ft) but longer and deeper baths are available. The most common bath material is acrylic as it is a good insulator, but copper and stainless steel are now popular alternatives. Roll-top baths are traditionally cast iron and can be re-enamelled.

    The oval bath remains a classic choice for most people but exciting new shapes now exist, including corner baths for fitting in tight spaces, round baths, and square baths. Free standing baths are now often mounted on timber blocks or a metal frame instead of legs. Double-end baths have recesses at each end for two people to share a bath. Wall-mounted or stand-mounted taps and central plugholes keep uncomfortable fittings out of the way.

    For a spa-like feel, sunken baths are popular. The bath is set into a raised platform, usually tiled, so that only the lip of the bath is visible. For total luxury, technology now enables you to recreate a spa in your own home with the introduction of the steam bath.

    Bathroom Fixtures - lets-do-diy.com

    Hydrobaths and whirlpools

    For the ultimate indulgence, whirlpool baths are becoming a popular alternative to a Jacuzzi. These come in a variety of sizes including corner pools. A good way of hiding the plumbing is to install a sunken pool or box it in behind panelling.

    Features and price vary according to:

    • Number of jets - usually between 6 and 11 including hydrotherapy jets, pulsating neck jets, and adjustable lumbar jets.
    • Size – the larger the bath, the more powerful the pump needs to be.
    • Type of controls varying from simple on/off switches to programmable keypad or remote control systems.
    • Lights - some systems even come with relaxing underwater lights!


    Whilst many people install showers in tiled or glass panelled enclosures, this is not the only option. If you do not have the space for a full wet room, you could opt for a walk-in shower. These make great space-saving enclosures because you don't have to include clearance for doors, allowing you to expand the shower area. Alternatively, frameless showers have glass screens and doors, which are glued together so no metal fixings are visible. If space is tight, a bathtub shower uses the bath as a shower tray.

    Some new shower systems include programmable body jets which can be angled and water warmed up by remote control. The latest technology in shower design includes infra-red or keypad controls and audiovisual features.The trend for spa bathrooms has led to the creation of steam showers. At the touch of a button you can turn your shower into a steam room at any point during your shower. In addition to standard shower heads, you can find massaging showerheads, aerated showerheads, which create a soft sensual water flow, and rain water showerheads.

    There are various types of shower systems to choose from:

    • The simplest form of shower is the bath mixer shower, which has the advantage of not needing any additional plumbing.
    • A power shower uses an electric pump to increase the rate of the water flow to the showerhead from the water cistern. It is not suitable if the water is supplied from a combination boiler under mains pressure.
    • An electric shower uses an electric element to heat the water, which is mains-powered.
    • Thermostatic mixer showers have a built-in stabiliser that prevents the water running too hot or too cold.
    • A shower tower unit combines the thermostatic mixer shower with a series of adjustable jets. For a tower shower to work efficiently a ceiling height of 2200mm (7ft 4in) is required and a pump may be needed to increase the water pressure.
    Shower Fixtures - lets-do-diy.com


    Basins are now made from a range of materials including ceramics, stone, glass and metal. Wall-mounted basins with wall-mounted taps and spouts are taking over from the traditional pedestal sink for ergonomic efficiency and modern design. Semi-recessed and under counter basins are also available, and are designed to protrude from built- in bathroom furniture. The units are slimmer and neater, but as a result they have reduced storage capacity. Another fashion is the countertop or stand-alone basin; a bowl or tray placed on a vanity or counter. The range is extensive from metal bowls to granite troughs. If space is limited, cloakroom basins and corner basins take up very little room. The range of taps and spouts for basins is immense, with everything from antique mixer taps to automatic no-touch sensor taps.

    Toilets and bidets

    The standard toilet has a close-coupled cistern, with the cistern attached to the toilet. Modern cisterns tend to be smaller than in the past and extra slim cisterns are available. Low level and High level toilet cisterns are used in period bathrooms to add authenticity. Exposed pipes are often chrome or brass-effect. Concealed cisterns and back-to-wall pans are normally installed in conjunction with built-in vanity furniture. The cistern and pipework are concealed but an access panel must be fitted.

    For a more modern style, consider a wall-mounted toilet. These require a special bracing frame, which conceals the cistern. Square and rounded versions heighten the contemporary designer look. Modern toilets are often operated by a push-button on top of the cistern or on the wall, which often has separate buttons for a long or short flush.

    A bidet stands around 400mm (1.3ft) high and is connected to a hot and cold water supply and waste outlet in the same way as your basin. Bidets can also be wall-mounted and are often available in the same range as toilets in a matching shape.

    Author: C J Mills Google+

    Return to top of page
    Discuss Project

    Join an existing conversation or create a new thread related to Kitchens and bathrooms in our DIY forum.