Long leisurely baths, quick cold morning showers, kids brushing their teeth before bed and all the many functions of a bathroom require a clean and tranquil environment for the whole family. Many people will recall days of shared housing and the low priority of the bathroom in student digs! Which is why homeowners take great care of this important room and not just in terms of cleanliness.
The biggest priority is drainage. Ensure all water drains effectively and do not put baby wipes or anything down the toilet that may block it – particularly if you live in an older building with plumbing systems that struggle with anything other than toilet paper. Seriously blocked drains, or old pipes that can’t cope with modern life will need the attention of a plumber.
Another bugbear for the homeowner is noise in the bathroom. Extractor fans, noisy systems, tripping taps, noisy cisterns and macerators can cut through the tranquillity of the bathroom. Consult your plumber to reduce noise and create the perfect ambience for your dream bathroom.
You can have individual ones for the hot and cold water or mixer ones or when it comes to the bath a unit that combines the taps with a shower.
Not all taps fit all baths and basins, so before you buy them make sure that they are suitable for the holes in the bath or basin they will be going on.
There are three main types of taps; pillar, mixer and lever head, which can be traditional or contemporary in their design.
Pillar taps are where you have separate taps, one for the hot water and one for the cold.
With mixer taps, there are two handles, one for hot and one for cold water, but the water is mixed inside the tap and comes out of one outlet.
Lever head taps are like mixer taps with the hot and cold water being combined inside the unit and coming out of one nozzle. However, it is operated with one handle which is pushed up or down to regulate and stop the flow and to the left or right to change the temperature of the water.
The range of basins comprises full pedestal, semi pedestal, corner, semi- recessed, wall-hung, counter top and those that fit into vanity units or wash stands.
Basins are usually made from vitreous china, but with countertop basins a wider range of materials is available including marble, steel and glass.
The type of basin to choose will depend on how much space there is in the bathroom and what style wants to be achieved such as modern, traditional or vintage.
Corner basins are real space-savers while incorporating a basin into a vanity unit can provide useful storage space.
Available styles of toilet comprise:
Closed-coupled: Here, the cistern, which is attached to the wall, sits on top of a floor-mounted pan.
Low level: The pan, which is fixed to the floor, is connected to a low level cistern by a short pipe.
Wall-hung: The cistern is hidden behind a panel. With it being wall-hung, a check needs to be made to ensure that the wall is strong enough the take the weight.
High-level: This is an antique-style where the floor-fixed pan is linked to a high-mounted cistern by a long pipe and the flush mechanism operated by a pull chain.
Back-to-wall: The pan is fixed to the floor and the cistern is concealed within a unit or a wall.
If a householder wants to create a bathroom in a location that is too far away from the property’s sewage pipe then an alternative to a traditional flush toilet needs to be installed.
The solution to this is a small-bore waste system with a macerator.
A macerator features a waste disposal unit and a pump. The solid waste is mashed to a liquid, which is then pumped through the small-bore pipe to the home’s main sewage pipe.
A good plumber can advise and you can add value to your home with an extra bathroom or by creating an en-suite.
Bidets are not as fashionable as they once were, but they can be a useful additional amenity.
They are generally used to wash the lower body, but some people also use them as a footbath.
In the past space has been a factor as to whether a bidet can be accommodated in a bathroom, but this problem has been overcome as combined bidet/toilets units now are available.
Before starting the search for the perfect bath, measure the room and the spot it will be located in so the dimensions of what can be fitted in are known.
When it comes to baths there are many different shapes, sizes and styles – rectangular, corner, round, built-in, freestanding, sunken, panelled, compact and space-saving, and P and L shaped to a give more room for a shower.
In addition, they can be made from a variety of materials including acrylic, pressed steel, cast- iron or a resin/stone composite.
What is comfortable for one person, may not be for another. So it may be advisable to find a showroom, where customers are allowed to lie-in different styles and shape of bath to find the one that suits them best.
For sheer luxury, a spa bath can be installed to provide additional relaxation with the bather immersed in bubbling warm water and massaged by water jets.
For people with mobility issues, who find it difficult to get in and out of a conventional bath, but do not want to replace it with a shower, there are walk-in baths.
These have a door in the side so the user can walk in and sit down on the integral seat. The bath is filled and emptied while the user is in the bath.
The choice when it comes to showers is vast and there are models to suit a wide range of budgets and tastes in styles.
A significant decision that needs to be taken is to whether the preference is for a bath with a shower or if you want to replace the bath completely and install a shower or wet room, or, if there is room, have a separate shower cubicle in the bathroom.
Also, which shower to buy may be determined on how high – or rather low - a property’s water pressure is.
Here, we take a look at some different sorts of shower.
This shower is relatively easy to plumb in compared to other types with the water coming directly from the mains supply.
It is a way of having a high pressure shower without installing a pump.
However, the water flow and heat can be affected if taps are turned on, toilets flushed or washing machines are in operation at the same time as the shower is being used.
These work by drawing water from a home’s cold and hot water tanks
The shower’s water pressure and flow is dependent on gravity and will be determined by how high above the shower the cold water storage tank in the roof space is.
Therefore, with this sort of system a downstairs shower will cascade water at a better rate than an upstairs one because it will be further from the loft tank.
If flow and pressure proves a problem, the solution is to raise the tank or fit a pump.
Pumps can be fitted to both mains and gravity-fed showers to improve the pressure and flow of water.
These come with a built in pump and are probably the best ones for providing a forceful, invigorating spray of water.
However, they generally use more water than other types of shower – something to bear in mind if a property has a water meter.
Installing any type of shower can run into difficulties so it’s always advisable to get in touch with a local, reputable plumber to carry out the work, quickly and efficiently.