Organising Your Bathroom Suite
The bathroom should be one of the most inviting rooms in your home. Try to make it a combination of warmth and luxury with the practical plus points of easy-to-clean fittings and splash proof wall and floor coverings.
Relaxing in a hot bath, or enjoying an invigorating shower are both wonderful ways to unwind after a difficult day, but a chilly, badly decorated bathroom is no place to linger. Often a coat of paint, some waterproof flooring, fluffy towels and the addition of a heated towel rail can make the difference between discomfort and welcoming warmth. If the suite is old and in poor condition the plumbing is antique and the space is badly planned, more radical improvements are needed.
Look through manufacturers’ brochures to find a style you like. Although many of the rooms shown are larger than the average family bathroom, there are plenty of good ideas on how fittings can be arranged. Some bathroom manufacturers offer a free fitting kit.
If you can, It is worth visiting some specialist bathroom shops where you will baths, basins and fittings in many different shapes and colours. Specialists are a good source of non-standard sized baths, such as continental sit-up models. You’ll also see unusual finishes, such as fake marble and metallic effects. Some specialists sell showers, including the latest ‘environmental enclosures’ complete with soft rain effect and remote controlled music. All specialists have a range of taps, tiles, towels and accessories, so it is possible to do your entire bathroom shopping under one roof.
When looking at brochures, remember that colour printing can be deceptive. Most sanitary ware manufacturers supply colour samples which can be matched up with wall-coverings, flooring and tiles. Take the colour sample with you when you shop and ask if you can compare colours in natural light – showroom lights change tone.
If you are unsure how changes might affect plumbing-ask a plumber for a survey.
Lack of ventilation causes condensation in bathrooms. An extractor fan fitted with an automatic steam sensor will ensure the moisture is expelled to the outside air
SARTING FROM SCRATCH
Installing a brand new bathroom is an opportunity to get everything right. A new suite, flooring, lighting, heating and decoration give you the chance to plan a room to suit both your tastes and your lifestyle. Use the checklist below to decide what you would like in your new bathroom before you make a plan and choose the fittings.
Make a plan
Measures the room in millimetres as sanitary ware is manufactured in metric sizes and draw the shape of the room on to squared paper, allowing one big square per 25cm. As well as the length, width and height of the room, mark the following on the plan,
- The position of the door and the direction in which it opens.
- Size and position of windows
- Position of the hot and cold water supplies.
- Hot water cylinder and airing cupboard.
- Radiator or heated towel rail,
- Cold water tank.
- Electrical fittings.
- Anything you want to keep.
Re-planning your bathroom need not mean buying new fittings, if the existing suite is in good condition but badly placed, it may be worth moving it around. If your suite needs replacing, look through bathroom manufacturers brochures and make a shortlist of suites which appeal to your tastes. If the house is modern in style, concentrate on contemporary suites, if you live in a period home, look at traditional style bathroom suites
The WC needs to be linked to the main soil stack (the big pipe which goes down the outside of your house.) Moving this is very difficult, so try to keep the WC in the same place.
It is cost-effective to have the WC, bidet, basin and bath in a line, so that there is one straight run of water pipes. The pipes can be hidden away behind a partition (called a plumbing duct.) It may be possible to position the duct across the room so it makes a low dividing wall. Position the bath on one side and the WC, basin and bidet on the other. If you want to hide pipes in ducting, choose a wall-hung WC, basin and bidet designed for use with concealed plumbing.
Space around fittings
Sufficient floor space around fittings is important if the bathroom is to work efficiently. There should be enough space around each fiting for it to be used comfortably. At the side of the bath, allow room for the user to get in and out easily and dry himself in comfort. A standing area 70cm wide at the side of the bath is the minimum comfortable space.
Space at the front and sides of the wash basin, WC and bidet is equally important. Allow an area 70cm wide and 110cm long in front of the wash basin. Don’t position a shelf or cupboard over the basin where someone could bump their head. The WC and bidet should be set in an area about 70cm wide, with 110cm of space in front. If the WC and bidet are side-by-side, the space between them can be decreased as it is unlikely that both will be used at the same time.
If the bathroom has a separate shower cubicle, make sure the entrance is not obstructed and that there is enough space for the door to open fully. If space is limited, choose a cubicle with a sliding door. Allow about 70cm of standing space in front of the shower.
The usual site for the bath is with one side and one or both ends hard up against a wall, but if space and plumbing permit, it is possible to achieve a more interesting layout by centring the bath along a wall, or in the middle of the floor.
If the bath is positioned with the side centred in the middle of a long wall, you can build a plumbing partition duct along the tap end and site the washbasin or WC on the other side of it. The plumbing duct should end at about waist height. The space above can be left open, or can be filled with shelving or a display of plants. The advantage of doing this is that the bath is screened from the rest of the room, so more than one person can use the facilities at a time.
Another idea is to build a floor-to-ceiling tiled partition at each end of the bath so that it is enclosed in an alcove. Put the WC at one end and a shower cubicle at the other.
if there is space, install two washbasins to ease the strain on the bathroom at peak times. Make sure that there is enough space for two people to stand at the basins. If the WC is in the bathroom, site the basin close by. Make sure, too, that there is a towel rail close to the basin and wall space for a toothbrush holder and a soap dish.
WC and bidet
Ideally, the WC and bidet should be separate from the bathroom, but in many homes lack of space makes it impossible. You may have very little choice on position as it depends on the location of the main soil stack, but if possible, site the WC close to a window or ventilation. The bidet should be beside the WC.
Before you buy any sort of bathroom equipment, list what is wrong with the current room, and what you would like to have.
- Facilities How many bathrooms, showers and WC’s do you need? If the family have left home, would you be better off with en suite facilities in the master bedroom, and a separate shower and toilet?
- Position is your present bathroom in the right position?
- Hot water Does your present system provide enough hot water?
- Who uses your bathroom? Do you need to make safety provisions for old people or children?
- The fittings Are they in good condition or do they need replacing?
- Your budget How much can you afford to spend?
- Heating Is the bathroom warm?
- Ventilation Does the bathroom suffer from condensation?
WC and bidet space
There should be enough space around the WC and bidet for comfortable use – about 70 cm wide and 110cm space in front.
Beside the bath
Allow enough space (70cm minimum) beside the bath for users to climb in and out to dry themselves.
Around the basin
Space around the basin is important; allow 70cm wide and 110cm in front. Avoid the installation of deep shelves above the basin.
BATHROOMS FOR CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY
- A step up to the bath makes climbing in and out easier.
- A shower cubicle fitted with a thermostatically controlled shower means that children and the elderly can bathe safely, unattended.
- As children have a habit of locking themselves in bathrooms and toilets, fit a lock which can be opened with a screwdriver from the outside.
- Install a locking cupboard for medicines.