How to Update Your Old Bathroom

If you decide on a refit for the bathroom, careful thought is needed as to the present and future requirements of those using it.

Space may be better utilized by a general rearrangement. Modern, matching colours in surfaces and appliances, and a wide range of wall and floor finishes can be used to update the bathroom and make this a décor success.

Any bathroom should be planned to suit the needs of the people using it. Requirements of, say, a young married couple, a growing family, or older and possibly infirm people, will obviously vary.

The amount of traffic, and the times of demand on hot-water supplies, all need to be taken into account, for nothing disturbs the routine of a house more than a congested washing and bathing area at times of heavy demand.

The amount of equipment in an average bathroom varies but the usual minimum is a bath and a wash handbasin.

WCs may be included or be separated from the bathroom. Obviously many bathrooms are not large enough to take extra fittings such as showers, bidets or an additional wash-handbasin, but, with careful planning, a great deal can often be achieved.

The position of bathroom fitments normally depends on the siting of plumbing outlets. It may be possible to reroute pipes and waste outlets on existing systems to achieve a more workable arrangement.

Fittings are made in a wide range of colours.

Hot and cold

It is as important to take as much care when choosing taps as choosing bigger bathroom fittings. Taps should be well designed-and easy to operate and clean. Modern taps may be made of chromed brassware, gold plated if you prefer the opulent touch, or made of tough plastic.

The upstand of the tap should stand well clear of the bath or basin. If the upstand is not high enough it is difficult to clean the tap and the area beneath.

Taps should not be mounted too near to the wall so as to pinch or bark the fingers when the tap is turned. The screw-on screw-off tap is most often used though some are foot operated.

Baths and basins

Basins are made in a wide range of shapes and sizes, in vitreous china, fireclay, enamelled sheet metal, plastic and glass-fibre. Fixings vary but basins are usually mounted on a matching pedestal, wall mounted, or fitted in a vanitory unit which can also provide useful storage.

A basin should fulfil certain basic requirements. It should be shaped to hold a good depth of water without wastage, enough to immerse both hands below the overflow level.

You should be able to wash your face without hitting your nose on the taps! The water should run away quickly and there should be a ‘soap-sinking’ deep enough to hold the soap.

Baths also vary greatly in design. They are made of enamelled cast iron, enamelled pressed steel, moulded plastics or glass-fibre. The latter materials have the advantage of being light and easy to handle.

Usually, baths are rectangular, with one end slightly sloping. Taps may be fixed at the end or the side of the bath, dependent on design. The best way to test a bath is, before buying, to lie in it and see if it is comfortable.

Most modern baths have matching side and end panels to provide a neat appearance, hide the plumbing and yet provide access where needed.

If elderly people or small children are to use the bath it is possible to fit a bath with a dipped side to allow easy access. Also an integrated hand grip is desirable. If this is not available, a wall-mounted hand grip will give safe support.

Some baths have a specially designed non-slip base. If the base is smooth, keep a rubber mat in the bath for use by the elderly or very young.

In cases where bathroom and WC are combined, it is sometimes possible to separate these two areas.

Where space is limited, the cut off could be a studded partition, decorated to match the walls, or in a bigger area a system of storage such as open shelving, cupboards or drawer units could be considered.

If the WC area is not too small, it may be possible to plumb in an additional small wash-handbasin. These can be very compact and may be recessed into the wall, surface-fixed or corner mounted.

The ‘Loo’ or Toilet

The height of a WC is usually 410mm from the ground plus the thickness of the seat. Research has suggested that 355mm is medically a better height. In a small area, a low-level cistern may look neater and take up less head room than a high-level type.

It is desirable to locate a WC beneath a window.

You can install a slim-line cistern where space is limited. WC cisterns can be chain, lever or foot-pedal operated. On hygienic grounds, the latter is desirable.

WC pans are usually made of vitreous china or fireclay. Most seats are now made of plastic rather than wood. These are available in a wide range of colours and patterns. Padded vinyl and even heated seats are also made.

Boxing in

Pipework for baths, handbasins, showers, WCs and so on is best hidden. Try to make pipe runs neat and conceal them as much as possible. Exposed pipework can be boxed in with a simple framework and hardboard structure, but access must be left for any maintenance work that may be necessary.

Allowing for access fixing points, the covering can be painted, tiled and so on to blend with the general décor scheme.

10. June 2012 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Update Your Old Bathroom

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