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Well-known bathroom brands v. unbranded B&Q/Wickes stuff?

(27 Posts)
CurlyhairedAssassin Tue 24-Jan-12 19:10:46

I was just thinking of the bathroom brands that I know eg Ideal Standard and Twyford and wondering whether they ARE better quality than unbranded stuff from B&Q or if it's just because I know their name that I think they are better, IYSWIM?

We're getting our bathroom done and reading horrific stuff re: poor quality acrylic baths and poor fittings on toilets and basins on cheap imported stuff from the likes of B&Q etc. I have seen a bath from Ideal Standard online which bangs on and on about the quality and durability, made from Ideal Form Plus (I assume this is their own strengthening process).

So WOULD a well-known brand be actually of better quality, do you reckon?

PigletJohn Tue 24-Jan-12 22:14:45

not always, but generally speaking, the products which are sold cheap have been made cheap. Even own-brands will have graduations of cosdt and quality.

cantspel Tue 24-Jan-12 22:27:22

b&q do a bathroom suite called the seatle for under £300. It includes taps and waste ect and gets 5 star reviews.
It is sold so cheaply as the bath sold with the suite is not the oringinal bath for the package but a trade bath and there is nothing wrong with a standard trade bath if you are paying that sort of money.

I need to refurb a bathroom on a limited budget soon and am going to get this suite and just upgrade the bath taps (standard tap to one with a shower attachment) and upgrade the front bath panel to the high gloss black one that b&q sell for £48

gobblygook Tue 24-Jan-12 22:39:36

I would care more about spending money on mixers, taps, shower etc. In my old place I hardly spent anything on the bath itself or the toilet, and they lasted forever. I also made the mistake of not choosing taps, mixers etc carefully and they were a pain in the ass over time.

partyhats Tue 24-Jan-12 23:28:00

We are doing our bathroom soon and have gone for the best quality we can afford as we do not plan to move. Having had both B&Q and more expensive german made bathrooms there is a world of difference in the look , feel and durability. Gobblygook is right about taps as well.

workshy Tue 24-Jan-12 23:31:10

cheap suite, upgrade taps and toilet seat

it is worth spending money on tiles though

PigletJohn Wed 25-Jan-12 00:41:42

UK taps generally have bigger internal waterways and give better flow than stylish Italian ones that are designed for higher pressures.

they are also easier to get replacement washers or cartidges for.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 25-Jan-12 17:41:58

Hmmmm.....ok, thanks.....I have seen an all-in deal in our local bathroom showroom - showerbath, screen, complete toilet and washbasin plus taps and waste. For 800 and something. I've looked up equivalent from an online shop and it seems like a good deal but concerned about the taps now, I don't want the top layer peeling off! should I be asking more specific questions from the showroom bloke about the tap quality?

PigletJohn Wed 25-Jan-12 18:55:43

you could ask what brand they are

if unbranded that is discourafing. Good taps can cost a lot (especially bath fillers with shower mixer incorporated, but I prefer separates). I might have a link for the Bristan Factory Clearance somewhere. Are you going for chrome, or what?

have you got a combi, or a megaflow? is the hot water via a tank? is the cold water in the bathroom from the mains? it makes a difference.

PigletJohn Wed 25-Jan-12 18:59:24

here you are

they might not be to your taste, of course, but they are good quality and the clearance items are sometimes greatly reduced

Includes some bathroom suites.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 13:08:58

Thanks everyone.

PigletJohn, we've got a conventional boiler with tank in the loft and yes, we're going for chrome taps. Wow, the ones that you linked to are REALLY cheap! I think our budget will stretch to a fair bit more.

The package we've seen is a Roca sink and toilet (with softclose seat) and Trojan showerbath. Taps and wastes and shower screen included. I've priced it all up on a discount bathroom website and it seems like we'd be getting a decent deal and the man I talked to was really helpful. I'd feel a bit more relaxed about buying through a shop as opposed to online. Am not able to get there today to ask of the taps are branded or not.

I have to say, our current bathroom was put in (badly) by the previous owners and their taste was, ahem, twee to say the least. We have one of those shell bathroom suites from B&Q - lovely!! grin Cheap gold coloured taps with the coating rubbing off. It is all really horrible, so ANYTHING will be an improvement!!!!

nemno Sat 28-Jan-12 13:26:53

I will never go for a cheap showerbath again. Our acrylic one clearly flexes too much and it has been impossible to get a watertight seal between it and the tiled walls (yes, it is correctly mounted under tiles and sealed when bath is full of water etc). Obviously when used as a bath it is fine but a power shower with a moving adult under it has led to lots of problems with wet walls, floors and the ceilings below. We have solved the problem by having shower curtains hanging into the bath on the wall sides btw. Hth.

Princessandapea Sat 28-Jan-12 14:56:12

I got a cheap suite from wickes and have also suffered with the bath constantly moving and leaking. We are in the process of getting it taken out (after only 2 years) and as we can't get our original tiles, replace the ones that will have to come off to get the bath out, we may have to get the whole bathroom re-tiled. If I was to do it again I'd pay the extra.

PigletJohn Sat 28-Jan-12 15:34:05

Bristan taps are a really good UK brand, those cheap ones are at factory clearance prices. I'm not too keen on the look of some of them.

As you have a conventional boiler (?with a hot water cylinder?) not a combi, you need UK standard taps with good big waterways as the water pressure will be much lower than in utaly where the stylish imports come from.

Good bathroom taps easily cost £100-£200 a set, and a good shower mixer much the same, or easily double for a top brand.

londonmackem Sat 28-Jan-12 15:50:38

Wickes are absolutely pants, I dropped an empty shampoo bottle into ours (was not their budget range) and it cracked very badly - new bath. I also found their delivery and customer services a nightmare. 8 week wait for new toliet when 7 months pregnant - wrong toilet delivered 9 times!

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 17:40:03

Nemno, where was your acrylic bath from? The one we're looking at has a 25 year guarantee, surely that must count for something?

We do have a horrible acrylic bath at the moment, it's over 10 years old and does creak a lot but it's never actually cracked. The seal round it isn't great on ours either but I thought it was just the crap DIY job that the previous owner did. But maybe it's shifted over the years.

Pigletjohn, they are Roper Rhodes taps. Storm, I think the name of the design is. Seen them for 65 quid for basin mixer on online shop. U reckon they're ok?

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 17:41:04

Londonmackem, an empty bottle?! Bloody hell....... Think I'll stay away from Wickes then.

gilmoregirl Sat 28-Jan-12 17:52:24

Your old bathroom sounds exactly like the one I just replaced - champgne shell edged suite with gold plated taps - to add to the elegance mine aslo had gold and cream tiles with grecian ladies on them. tasteful. grin

The guy that put my new one in got the stuff for me - it is" heritage" which I had never heard of. I just wanted a reasonable quality plain white suite. I don't think he made a great job as the seal round the bath is already coming away (hope it is not as another poster experienced caused by the poor quality bath?) and the taps have lost pressure.

I paid around £3500 for all the materials (suite, taps, plasterboard (LOTS) , tiles, flooring, lighting, cabinet, paint etc plus radiators for whole place so not sure how much the actual suite cost.

nemno Sat 28-Jan-12 18:51:53


I don't know where my plumber sourced the bath but it is an Ideal Standard Space one. A quick search suggests it would cost £3-400. It still looks fine, is probably 6 years old and has always had the leaky problem.

nemno Sat 28-Jan-12 19:11:14

I've just searched a bit more and if our bath were bought now it would have a 25 year guarantee and the website makes all sorts of claims as to it being high quality acrylic etc which prevents movement ... perhaps the new ones are better. Or maybe the marine ply flooring under it is the thing that moves. My new plumber does think that if he pulled the bath out and put a modern type of joining seal in and tiled again over this that it would be fine. This would mean 3 new walls of tiles though, so for the moment we are sticking with the shower curtains. Hope your renovations go smoothly.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 19:33:32

gilmoregirl - grin tasteful!!!! Arf at grecian ladies!

Nemno, thanks. That's a bit worrying, I thought Ideal Standard, being a well-known brand, would be fine. I wonder what a 25 year guarantee actually covers, though. I mean, it might cover against cracks etc but not against movement. Hmmmm.....I hope you solve your problem, must be a pain having to faff around with a shower curtain.

MadameCastafiore Sat 28-Jan-12 19:36:32

I think our stuff is Duravit - was quite expensive but I wan;t something a bit diferent.

They have a range called Happy D which is fab.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 19:42:55

I just checked the Trojan bath 25 year guarantee and it says it doesn't cover impact damage - it actually says something about it not being manufactured with a crack in it!!! So basically a crack that arises from a dropped shampoo bottle, even though it might be empty - would not be covered under the guaranteed, even though to me that would mean that the acrylic wasn't strong enough in the first place!!

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 28-Jan-12 19:44:20

Looks nice, Madame, but a bit beyond our price range really.

PigletJohn Sat 28-Jan-12 23:07:19

Sorry I don't know Roper Rhodes

The biggest problem is using imported taps on low-pressure UK water supplies, especially if they are tank-fed, and even more if they are tank-fed hot and mains-pressure cold.

Most imported taps are Italian designs, intended for higher water pressures than we get here, and are stylish, but give a very weedy flow. If you are looking at them in a shop, small pipes coming out of the bottom, the size of a pencil, are a warning sign. One-hole taps usually (?always?) have small tails. Ordinary UK taps have 15mm tails on basin, and 22mm tails on bath taps, and will be WRAS approved. They can give a good flow even at low pressures. Combi boilers and Megaflows have much higher pressure than tank-fed, though usually lower than in Italian houses.

Mixer taps, especially ones with ceramic disks, are more troublesome than the ones with a capstan handle on top.

Pop-up wastes always leak.

You have to decide if stylish design is more important to you than poor flow, unreliability and leaks.

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