Bath or Shower? Our 10 Switch Tips
Okay, before you start ripping out the old fittings, there are a few important things to consider before switching from a bath to a shower, or vice versa.
Bath or Shower? Our 10 Switch Tips
1. The water system
Top of the list is double checking that your bathroom - and the existing hot-water system - are suitable for the change. Otherwise, making the switch could prove to be more expensive than you first thought!
We strongly suggest that you ask an engineer or builder to assess if the water system in your home is pressurised or gravity fed and if any pumps exist. You'll also need to know if there are unvented cylinders and the capacity of these.
2. Space isn't the final frontier
Many of us make the mistake of calculating what's going to fit in our new bathroom design simply by whipping out the tape measure. But it's more complicated than simply space planning. You need to factor in the direction of floor joists, which walls are built of what construction, and where the SVPs (soil vent pipes) are in relation to the room. If you've consulted an expert, assessment will be a doddle and you'll be able to move forward with the correct information and support behind you.
3. Hire the best builder
Finding a builder doesn't have to be difficult. Some local councils run 'trusted trader' schemes and it's always worth checking these out. Ask your friends and relatives, who have experienced their work, for recommendations - they are able to give you their honest opinion and you'll be able to see the work for yourself (if you ask nicely!). Produce a written brief, including detailed drawings where possible, and always remember to get at least three quotes that look at the breakdown of costs. If one seems too good to be true, then it probably is - so always ask that particular builder how the price can be achieved without cutting corners.
4. Solid foundations
If you're switching from a bath to a shower, it makes sense to make sure the walls and floor are solid and waterproof. This may mean strengthening the floor by adding in concrete for a ground level bathroom or screed or timber joists for upper floors. For the walls, there are some great water-resistant materials at hand such as marine ply or aqua board. If you're planning a wet room-style shower consider liquid tanking systems to paint on the walls and floor before installation. Sounds like a big job? Trust us, this background work will vastly extend the life of your bathroom, making sure it's low maintenance and looks great for years to come.
5. Tiles tip
Concealed valves are bang on trend right now. While this adds to the smooth lines in your bathroom, the downside is that if you ever need to access the valves, it's going to mean removing tiles. So keep an extra box of tiles handy for any repair work - you'll thank yourself later.
6. Walk-in works
If you're looking to achieve a really self-indulgent showering experience, a walk-in shower is a winning way to improve the sense of space and modernity in your bathroom. There is no traditional shower tray in a wet room - the floor is tiled throughout and a pre-formed shower tray mat is laid, with the tiles placed directly on top. Turn your bathroom into a five star suite - it is sure to impress your guests!
*Tip - What's the difference between a walk-in and a wet-room enclosure?:
Walk-in shower enclosures have increased in popularity over the last few years. This popularity has been driven by the desire to achieve that wet-room look without the complications and expense that comes with plumbing a wet room. Made up of a simple glass panel, paired with a low-profile shower tray, one end of the shower enclosure is left open for you to and walk-in or both ends are left open so that you can walk-through.
7. Modular magic
Another stylish and hi-tech option is the enclosed modular shower. You can buy amazing modular showers off-the-shelf or have them built bespoke from timber and tiles. Bespoke offers more flexibility, but will be more expensive than store-bought designs.
8. Freestanding show-stoppers
Stylish freestanding baths are flooding the market right now (excuse the pun!) and many of us are sacrificing showers and built-in baths to make a freestanding statement in our sanctuary
First, work out if you want the tap to be wall-mounted or freestanding. There are some practical issues to consider too. Freestanding bath taps are easier to install on a timber joist floor than on a concrete one. It's fair to say that installing wall-mounted taps on a properly constructed timber stud wall will be a far simpler job than on a solid concrete block wall. Remember to check the position and direction of the floor joists when deciding on the best position for a freestanding bath, as the location of the waste trap and the pipe routes will play a big part in the installation work needed.
9. Cool and contemporary
If you're set on a centrepiece bath, building one onto a stable frame can facilitate some stunning designs. Picture this - your bathroom but featuring a bath with steps leading into them! The epitome of bathroom design luxury. One bonus is that the frame can comfortably conceal all manner of pipework and fittings. Clean in more ways than one!
10. Design on success
So now the exciting bit: armed with all the relevant information, design the new space and choose your fixtures and fittings. You will though need to factor in fiddly stuff like the location of shower valves, stud work and the waste trap point. If you're not sure, a builder, designer or architect will be happy to help.
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So what next?
So have you decided - bath or shower? Keep our 10 Switch Tips in mind when making your final decision and you'll be enjoying your new purchase in next to no time. Note them down or print them out and take them with you - organisation and research is the key to bathroom success!