Bathroom or Shower Renovation? Points to Consider BEFORE walking into a showroom.

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Before you even walk into a bathroom showroom, and walk out, what seems like hours later, laden with product brochures feeling overwhelmed and totally confused about the choices available to you, do your homework first. Look for inspiration from magazines, Pinterest and the internet and collect together ideas and pictures of the type of bathroom you would like.

1. Budget – Decide how much you want to spend, as this will narrow down your choices and avoids you getting carried away with fancy fixtures and fittings which you may not necessarily need. You usually get what you you pay for in terms of quality in the product.

2. Measure your rooms dimensions including ceiling height (so you know the height of your chosen shower will actually fit). measure the windows and doors. Even the smallest of bathrooms can be made both functional and a joy to be in, as illustrated in the small en-suite below.
Ensuite After
3. Note where your existing plumbing pipes are, including the soil stack (for toilet waste). Pipes can often be re-routed if necessary, but best to check with a qualified plumber first. It would also help to know if you have high or low water pressure. Think how disappointed you would be having the ‘rain water’ deluge head fitted in your shower, to be greeted by a trickle of water.

4. Ask yourself basic questions – What do you want to do in your bathroom? Bath with a separate shower, or do you only have space for a shower bath? Do you want a statement or purely functional bath? Do you want to remove your bath and replace it with a large walk in shower? Will the shower be walk in or have an enclosure? Do you have room for, or want twin basins? Will the basins sit on or under a vanity unit, or would you prefer a pedestal basin. Write down your answers and make a checklist.

5. Storage – Consider storage needs for bottles, make up, toilet rolls and perhaps towels. A vanity basin with drawers fitted with separate compartments could be considered, and a mirrored wall hung bathroom cabinet.

6. Lighting – A range of task lighting for applying make up and shaving. Consider wall hung vanity cupboard with a back lit mirror and a de-mister pad, with wall lights each side of the cabinet to avoid shadows from being cast onto your face. Recessed LED lights in ‘cubby holes’ (built in recesses used for shampoo, conditioner and shower gels avoiding chrome fittings) and under unit or shelves add ambiance whilst enjoying a relaxing soak.

7. Fittings – This can be a mine field. What style do you want? Sleek and modern, classic, square or round? or period? Do you want looks over functionality? Do you want mixer taps, bath fillers (bath fills with what looks like an overflow) plus a diverter hand set, or standard ‘telephone’ taps. Bath shower mixers or thermostatic shower mixers? Do you want chrome, gold, brass, white or very decorative fittings? Do you have a preference towards Caronite, steel, acrylic, cast iron or other material for your bath? Cast iron is heavy, expensive and virtually everlasting. Caronite is durable, excellent wearing capabilities, mid range in price, good quality and very popular. Steel is less expensive than Caronite, is hard wearing but can feel cold. Acrylic baths are cheap, light and light, but are prone to movement. A Jacuzzi bath tends to be great to begin with, but tend to clog up with limescale if fitted without a water softener if you live in a hard water area.

8. Flooring – Do you want tiles, if so with or without underfloor heating? Or would you prefer vinyl, wood, lino or other specialist bathroom flooring? All these types of flooring have pros and cons. Tiles are functional and durable, but ensure the tile chosen will not be too slippery when wet. Tiles will be cold to step on unless underfloor heating is laid.This form of heating is generally and electric matting system laid under the tiles. Vinyl is warm and soft underfoot and a practical and generally cheaper option than tiles. Lino is durable and functional. Both vinyl and lino and other man made products come in a huge range of designs.

9. Heating – Do you want a statement radiator, or a heated towel rail? Do you want the heated towel rail to be dual fuel? (Dual fuel means having a separate electric switch fitted which can be used to warm and dry towels when the main heating is not switched on). This is ideal in the summer, if chilly.

10. What do you want on your walls? Do you want fully tiled, or only in the wet areas? Do you want different tiles in different areas? How do you want the tiles hung? Landscape, portrait, brick style or another way? Although a popular choice is to tile the side bath panel, however, this can cause expensive problems should you ever need to gain access to plumbing behind the bath panel.

Once you have narrowed down your wants, needs and desires, then go to a bathroom showroom, knowing the sort of things you require from your bathroom. This will make it far easier for you to make informed purchases.

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