The Self Build Self Help Site

Self Build Bathrooms

Bathrooms are important. No longer are they merely the functional necessities that once characterised their use and situation; now, their style and finish are as important as the same considerations in our kitchens and living spaces. No other room has the opportunity to become a bespoke luxury retreat that we can create ourselves with careful planning and designing.

Style

The options for styling your bathroom are as various as they are in any other room in the house. Your preference may be for traditional rather than modern designs, or vice versa. Whichever is the case you can echo the style you have created throughout the rest of your house by carrying similar themes into your bathroom, and in actual fact many modern designs borrow from traditional ideas, while traditional designs utilise modern minimalism to make the traditional aspects stand out.

The style that you choose may depend on the logistics of your bathroom renovation. Careful planning and evaluation of your floor space will give you an idea of the kind of fixtures and fittings you can use in the new design. This stage of the new-build process is imperative in order to ensure you maximise space without purchasing goods needlessly. Space-saving measures can also be employed to make greater use of tight spaces, such as an L-shaped bath with side panel and a shower above it. These kind of choices are often a compromise between your ideal bathroom and one that is attainable and comfortable.

If you do have the space for a bath that sits in the middle of the room you must make sure that you also have the strength. These bathtubs can be heavier than their built-in counterparts, so extra support may be needed to aid installation. They are also often more expensive, so if you have a tight budget you may wish to look at other alternatives. In terms of practicalities, they are also more difficult to clean, though they do attract less clutter and so marry both minimalism and traditionalism. Free standing baths do give the room a centre piece that can prove breathtaking, so the choice must be evaluated carefully. If you have your heart set on a free standing bathtub then there may be other areas where you can save money to arrive under-budget.

Functionality

When all is said and done a bathroom must retain the functionality for which it is designed. This functionality should also be embedded in the planning phase of your bathroom such as installing high-density boarding behind your tiles for extra protection against water damage. You should also decide which kind of plumbing you should go for. Copper piping is traditional and gives off that aesthetic, though it is both more expensive and more difficult to install than Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) piping. CPVC, an ultra-flexible plastic piping, is more delicate than copper during installation but is less noisy, even with high-velocity water, though copper piping has a smaller inner-diameter which makes it easier to install in tight spaces.

The functionality of a shower is also as important as its style, and your choice may also depend on available space, budget and water system pressure. If you have a combination boiler then the best choice may be a mixer shower, drawing hot water instantly from the boiler. If you have a water tank with a gravity-fed hot water cylinder but your system suffers from low water pressure you may find that an electric shower would better suit your needs. The kind of system you have dictates the kind of shower you should use, though you may still be able to customise the type of shower head and valve. Most heads come with multi-spray options, though drench heads are now incredibly popular. However, these units can use up to 50% more water than a regular or eco-shower head and can be no more ecological than having a bath. They are therefore more expensive to purchase and use. Eco-heads, however, can save up to 30% than a regular shower head, making them both ecologically and economically sound.

If money and water use are no objects, you could always plump for a luxury shower enclosure, complete with LED mood lighting and multi-jet heads. Or, if you have a strict budget, you can choose a simple enclosure with a wall-mounted head, but you should ensure that the space is no smaller than 900mm2. DIY enclosures are available that arrive as panels to be fitted together into a unit, though if you have a recess in your bathroom it may make greater use of the space to add a tray and shower door to create a separate small shower room rather than an enclosure.

Compromise

As in any other renovation your new bathroom is subject to scores of conditions that are as individual as the bathroom itself. Careful decision-making in the early phases of your renovation will give you greater flexibility when it comes to redesigning your floor space and purchasing your fittings. This will, in turn, ultimately give you greater satisfaction when it comes to using your new space.