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    Planning a bathroom

    Summary: Planning a bathroom, keeping costs down and legal considerations.

    The bathroom should be both a sanctuary for relaxation and a functional space. To help you design your dream bathroom, our guide takes you from floor to ceiling, with ideas for decoration, layout, lighting and heating with information about the range of fixtures available, plus how to keep costs down in your plans.

    Creating a bathroom

    The bathroom should be more than a place to wash in. Whether you dream of a spa sanctuary or a modern designer room, transform your bathroom into a personal space that you can relax in. Renovating a bathroom will also add significantly to the value of your home, so it is worth employing a builder or bathroom installation specialist to help you plan the layout of the room. Many bathroom suppliers also offer a planning service so you can talk through your needs and even see 3D virtual images of how the room will look. To get you started, here are some design tips for making the most of the space available and choosing materials for your ideal look.

    Creating a Bathroom - lets-do-diy.com

    Planning a bathroom

    First make a scale floor plan of your bathroom on squared paper. Take measurements from both the floor and halfway up the walls and use the smaller measurements on your plan. Mark windows and doors and where existing electrical circuits and pipes run.

    Having decided what fixtures you will need in your bathroom, make sure there is sufficient space for them, remembering to leave plenty of clearance around each. A bath, for example, will need 700mm (2ft4in) clearance from walls and obstacles. Now make a list of any other requirements, such as shaver points, cabinets and shelving, mirrors, extractor fans, laundry baskets, bins etc.

    If you need to do any plumbing and electrical work, preparation will need to be done before the flooring can be laid. This is known as first fixing. It is generally better to install the flooring before any fixtures (showers, toilets etc.) although some manufacturers of wood or laminate flooring recommend that flooring is laid after the appliances are in place. If your bath or flooring is heavy, you may need to reinforce the floor first. If you are fixing appliances to a stud wall, you may need to insert double noggins into the framework.


    Keeping costs down

    Refurbishing a bathroom can be an expensive process. To keep costs down, here a few basic tips:

    • Minimise layout changes. The most expensive part of bathroom installations is the plumbing work needed to re-route pipes so try to keep baths, toilets etc. in the same place where possible. Raising the floor height by laying tiles can also mean that pies have to be extended.
    • Single out features you need to spend the most money on. Adding a new vanity unit or flooring could transform your bathroom but will mean you have to spend less in other areas.
    • Keep fixtures basic and simple. Buy a plain bath or basin and jazz it up with more expensive taps or conceal it behind panelling.
    • Avoid the necessity of a whole matching bathroom suite by dividing off the toilet area with a screen or partition wall.
    • Update existing wall and floor tiles using tile paints and transfers or new border tiles.
    • Reduce flooring costs by laying vinyl tiles or rubber-backed carpet in the bathroom.
    • Change the look of the room by painting walls. Blues and greens can be refreshing, whilst purples and warm colours create a relaxing intimate mood.
    • Save yourself money later on by waterproofing the bathroom before installation.
    • Get quotes in advance and consult your plumbers and electricians about suitability of fittings before you buy them.
    • Organise builders and tradespeople to visit in the right order to avoid revisits and delays because something hasn’t been done. Work should usually be carried out in the following order: Re-route plumbing; Prepare wiring; Install bath and shower tray; Install shower mixer; Tile floors and walls; Install the toilet and basin; Fit the shower enclosure; Lay soft floor coverings; Fit electrical appliances and light fittings.

    Legal considerations

    You will only need planning permission for your bathroom installation if it affects the external look of the building e.g. if the bathroom involves an extension or changes to the windows. However, if your building is listed you will still need to apply to the Planning Service for Listed Building Consent.

    Your installation must comply with building regulations. If you need to make a new connection to the house’s main drain stack, you should apply for Building Control approval and make sure the work satisfies regulations. You will also need to consult Part P of the regulations for electrical restrictions. Other relevant regulations to a renovation project include guidelines on safety, access, structure, resistance to moisture, ventilation, hygiene, drainage, heat producing appliances, energy conservation, and glazing safety.

    Author: C J Mills Google+

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