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Where (and how much would it cost) to create a shower room / bathroom in this house?

(35 Posts)
beaglesaresweet Wed 12-Mar-14 23:52:41

Sorry it's all a bit detailed and boring but...I'm considering a house where they have a nice enough bathroom but only one for the house, and it has no decent shower, just a hand-held attachment. Impossible to fit a screen even the way the bath is fitted. Can't add a proper overhead one there due to the boiler being positioned right behind the bath (cupboard door is where a shower could go) <argh - just why?>

There is a tiny cheap shower cubicle in the loft conversion on 2d floor, but has no loo there and also it's cheap and in a slopey-ceilinged corner, not my idea of comfort!

So there are quite a few bedrooms. One would be ideal as shower room as it's a box room with window, but it's not near the boiler and other plumbing, and it's at the front. I think it's too expensive if not impossible to extend the plumbing to there(?)

There is a 'study' - a walk-through room next to that tiny shower room in the loft. a good idea to extend into there, without knocking walls as there is a door from it to existing shower room? How good the pressure would be in the loft? I get an impression they don't use the existing shower much. The boiler is working well but is an older model and not combi - plus it's on the floor below.

There is also a bedroom next to the bathroom on first floor (where the boiler is), windows to the side of building so no loss of any nice views - could make a large very nice shower room, but I'm slightly sorry to lose a reasonable size bedroom (small double).

I'd like a good shower enclosure, elongated slightly, with good pressure. Plus obv a basin and loo.

When I say 'how much', I mean work and plumbing, not the units.


GillTheGiraffe Thu 13-Mar-14 00:08:28

You need PigletJohn.
I had a shower pump fitted today as the shower pressure was too low for the new mixer shower that runs off the central heating. Not enough drop, I was told. The hot water tank is in the attic and the bathroom is immediately below. Cost �440 to put the shower pump in but I had an expensive one and did much of the preparation when bathroom was refitted last week. It would have been a lot cheaper to have had an electric shower.

You'd have that cost, plus the shower enclosure, plus the shower itself, plus tiling, lighting, flooring, ventilation, heated towel rail...... almost a mini bathroom. Quite a few thousand I would think.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 00:25:00

electric showers are weedy and pathetic.

you can run pipes under the floor (unless concrete) or in the loft. It doesn't matter where the boiler is.

Fill a bucket at the kitchen cold tap, time it, calculate how many litres per minute you get.

How old is the electrical installation?

minipie Thu 13-Mar-14 11:01:29

Can you link to a floorplan?

beaglesaresweet Thu 13-Mar-14 19:02:01

thanks, mini and PJ!
can't link to a floor plan, it's typical Victorian semi but I think I've descibed it all well anyway.
PIglet, I absolutely agree re electric showers, weedy and pathetic, also very small. I'm used to proper ones with wide actual shower.
I would gladly just install one over bath if it wasn't for the boiler placed there - PJ do you think it muight be cheaper to movethe boiler to the ground floor?
I was after the general cost - minimal tiling, flooring etc, mini, sounds though you haven't dome ALL of that.
PJ, is it expensive to run pipes under floor? it's not concrete. That would involve lifting floorboards I assume, in hall and the new roon (now bedroom) but also the existing bathroom (or not). Existing has tiled floors - that's also a problem then.
To be honest would rather move boiler downstairs as it's probably also noisy and can be heard in bedrooms, but what is a more major job? The boiler has a water tank right under it. it's large. Electrics I think were changed about 8yrs ago. I haven't bought this house yet, just trying to see how much would these works cost so I can make the right offer! (so can't do the test).

beaglesaresweet Thu 13-Mar-14 19:11:10

I mean boiler is large, not the tank (which is relatively small)

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 19:37:24

it is quite normal to run pipes under floors. The carpet has to come up. If you have put down wooden flooring or tiles you will wish you hadn't. Pipes can be pushed some distance between joists if they run the right way.

A boiler can very conveniently go in a corner of the kitchen, where it is close to gas and water pipes, and the sink drain. Modern non-combis can be very small (search "Vitodens 100 compact"). Presumably the previous owners thought the kitchen was too small. I don't know what it would cost to move the old boiler, compared to the cost of getting a new one.

beaglesaresweet Thu 13-Mar-14 21:36:59

No idea why the owners have put the boiller there - I thought maybe it gave better pressure for taps upstairs? The kitchen is not huge but there is utility room with washing machine and dishwasher in it, right below the bathroom upstairs - so boiler could there I hope(?) it god go in the kitchen but the way it's fitted, no obvious place without changing cupboards around.
Would water [pressure for the shower be good if a(bboiler is downstairs, b)if it's in the box room away from there rest of plumbing?
This is not a small boiler - it's quite old looking and large! Is combi better if I wre to go for a new one?
Would the tank need to move too, or can it stay in the bathroom - in which case could the shower over bath be fitted right above the tank?
thank you for all advice, PJ.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 22:30:24

I don't like combis.

The "tank" is probably a hot water *cylinder.* You can recognise it by its cylindrical shape. The different colours have meanings.

The cylinder does not have to be adjacent to the boiler, but is most often close to, and often above it, usually in an airing cupboard. It is best if the cylinder is fairly close to the most-often-used hot taps.

Here is an example of a modern, small, non-combi (regular) boiler. I don't know of a smaller one, but they may exist. It is about the size of a small kitchen wall cabinet.

beaglesaresweet Thu 13-Mar-14 23:30:59

so would a combi or anon-combi give better shower pressure? or equal in the aspect? Is one more economical to run than the other?

Yes, by tank I meant cylinder - in tis case it's below the boiler both inb same airing cupboard which I thought was unusual. The cylinder is also, I thought unusual in colour - dark grey or dark-green (didn't look closely), normally they are bright asfaik.

beaglesaresweet Thu 13-Mar-14 23:31:19

*this aspect

PigletJohn Thu 13-Mar-14 23:48:01

A combi is generally adequate for a single-occupancy home, or one where only one tap will be used at a time, because there is no water storage, so you are limited by what is delivered by the main. This is why it is useful to measure water flow with the bucket.

An old house may have a small half-inch lead or iron pipe, which may also be scaled, kinked or crushed. This can be improved by running a new, larger, plastic pipe inside the house and right out to the main in the pavement.

In which case you can then have a bigger combi, or have the superlative option of a pressurised cylinder such as a Megaflo. Either way, there will be a cost in digging a trench.

beaglesaresweet Fri 14-Mar-14 00:31:56

So if I don't go for a combi - or stick with the existing non combi boiler, there won't be any need for a trench?
Is Megaflow used with combi ones?
So how is the shower pressure affected by having non combi?

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 01:03:04

You can get good flow from a tank (litres per minute) although the pressure will be low. A tank will generally fill a bath faster.

A combi will give decent pressure but the flow in an old house may be poor, especially if someone turns on another tap.

You can if necessary use a pumped shower to increase pressure from a tank.

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 01:06:42

A megaflo with a good incoming water supply gives excellent flow and pressure. It does not need a combi.

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 01:12:29


By Tank I mean the cold-water storage tank, or cistern, which is probably rectangular and in the loft. It supplies stored cold water to the hot water cylinder and (probably) to the cold-water taps in the bathroom.

Because it holds stored water, it can deliver water faster than the water main delivers to the house, until/unless it runs out.

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 01:12:57


By Tank I mean the cold-water storage tank, or cistern, which is probably rectangular and in the loft. It supplies stored cold water to the hot water cylinder and (probably) to the cold-water taps in the bathroom.

Because it holds stored water, it can deliver water faster than the water main delivers to the house, until/unless it runs out.

beaglesaresweet Fri 14-Mar-14 18:22:26

so what is Megaflow? i thought it was a type of non-combi boiler - but it is an attachment? can/should you install it when there is an old non combi in place?

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 18:42:15

A Megaflo (tm, there are others) is a brand of hot-water-cylinder which operates at mains pressure, hence it is able to deliver a high flow of hot water at good pressure.

It is not a boiler, but it needs a boiler (or an immersion heater) to heat it.

It is usually quite big, because people use it when they have drencher showers or run multiple baths in quick succession.

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 18:44:27


to get the best out of a Megaflo, you need a good flow from your incoming water main, because it does not (usually) have a cold water tank to buffer demand.

beaglesaresweet Fri 14-Mar-14 21:32:58

ah ok, so could it be fitted with the existing older boiler (not combi) by replacing the existing hot water cylinder? It does sound good for showers, especially as you say that non-combi boilers don't give great pressure.

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 21:47:19

you can heat a Megaflo or similar with any kind of boiler.

But as there is no cold-water storage tank, the amount of water that comes out will be no greater than the amount that goes in, per the bucket test, unless you run a new, larger, water pipe out to the pavement.

Some Victorian houses still have the old lead pipe, and you may be able to get a Lead Pipe Replacement subsidy, after having the water tested for lead content by the water co.

I did one a few years back, there was a gravel drive (not hard to dig up) and a good void under the ground floor to run the new pipe.

If there is not already a meter, you might be able to get one fitted (free) and perhaps get your new pipe connected to it without having the pay the pavement-digging charge.

beaglesaresweet Fri 14-Mar-14 21:52:20

interesting info, thanks, esp about avoiding the cost via meter installation grin. I will ask vendors if they replaced pipes or is it an old lead one.
I don't know if there is no cold water tank - I did think there was but you said it was cylinder by the boiler (wrapped in material), but maybe there is a tank elsewhere. .

PigletJohn Fri 14-Mar-14 21:59:40

50p says there will be a rectangular cold water tank (cistern) in the loft.

exexpat Fri 14-Mar-14 22:07:43

Reading this with interest, particularly pigletjohn's comments on combi boilers and pressurised cylinders - I am looking to replace two ageing combi boilers (two combis in one bathroom cupboard, one powers one bathroom and six radiators downstairs, the other powers the ensuite shower room and six radiators upstairs) but the heating engineer recommended by my builders/bathroom fitters has suggested a pressurised cylinder system instead.

Having two combis has been quite good because there is no issue with running two showers at once, and means that if one boiler breaks down on Christmas eve, the house is still at least half heated - but a cylinder sounds like it might be more fuel-efficient and cost less to maintain. Any thoughts?

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