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Bathroom - losing the will to live

(40 Posts)
AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 21:10:38

I need a new bathroom. Like, I really need a new bathroom. Shower and bath are both leaking and we have decided, rather than patch them up for the umpteenth time, to rip everything out and start again.
I contacted two people, one I've used before and one recommended by a tradesman I trust.
First one was so completely crap at providing an estimate without a bomb up his arse that he is now out of the picture. Second one claimed to understand the urgency and promised that he could be ready to start on 10 April. Which soon after, inevitably, moved to 18 April. We are now some weeks into the planning process and have still not finalised a design, because he is so slow to respond to texts, emails and phone calls unless chased by the guy who recommended him who, bless him, feels a certain responsibility.
My question, to all you experienced property people, is this:
Is there any way of getting this work done without dragging a tradesman kicking and screaming through every inch of the process? Would going to a bathroom showroom and getting them to take ownership of the design and fitting be any better? And how much of a premium would they charge for this? I have been quoted £6k for labour with all fittings extra, which I think is probably reasonable, and am looking to buy mid-range kit (good-quality acrylic bath, Bristan or equivalent taps and shower, etc) - not Fired Earth or C P Hart but not B and Q either.
Or is there another way? Or are my expectations simply unrealistic?

RandomMess Mon 03-Apr-17 21:17:07

Go to a decent showroom with your measurements and where things are at the moment, tell them what you think you would like and ask them if its doable?

Plumber then just fits it all...

tasteslikechicken Mon 03-Apr-17 21:27:08

Unless your bathroom is the size of a small flat I'm struggling to think where you would spend £6k. £6k!

TheGrumpySquirrel Mon 03-Apr-17 21:30:32

OP I feel your pain. Been trying to get ours done for a year. 6k is a bargain I reckon. We just had a third set of builders round to quote. 50-50 on whether they'll even bother. Don't ask what happened to the others. Be faster to do it myself learning the trades as I go from YouTube videos.

Miniwookie Mon 03-Apr-17 22:02:21

6k????!!!!! Without fittings? I cannot believe a pp thinks this is a bargain.

TheGrumpySquirrel Mon 03-Apr-17 22:03:54

In London??

TheGrumpySquirrel Mon 03-Apr-17 22:04:54

OP is talking total gut and refurb. My friend got quoted 7k.

Miniwookie Mon 03-Apr-17 22:05:06

Miniwookie Mon 03-Apr-17 22:09:22

OP didn't say they were in London. I'm not thank goodness.

TheGrumpySquirrel Mon 03-Apr-17 22:10:37

Mini if you add up that list and then add the cost of demolition, replastering, moving pipework and drains, installing extractor fan etc.. you'd easily run up a hefty bill

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 22:24:14

I am in London. It is a gut and refurb job. Am also installing underfloor heating because I have the coldest feet in the world literally, and moving the loo.
If I am being ripped off please tell me, though I will not find it cheering to discover that not only can I not find a bathroom fitter with any enthusiasm for this job, I am also an irresistible target for rip-off merchants.
I am very very glad that I'm not the only one though. The YouTube idea is at the very least a constructive suggestion, for which I am very grateful, and I would certainly give it serious consideration were I able to spare the time at present.
Sometimes I am just so envious of people who can do DIY.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 03-Apr-17 22:31:20

My approach would be to dress to look nice but not wealthy (clean jeans and an M&S handbag), go to a scruffy independent local bathroom merchant at a very quiet time of day midweek with a list of requirements, sit down with an older member of staff, spec out what you want, go through the brochures together and make a long list of three grand's worth of fittings (ideally at this point he says "and we can get you trade price for that", knocking off fifteen percent). Write it all down and then say "so all I need now is a good fitter - can you recommend anyone?"

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 03-Apr-17 22:31:35

Oh and be super nice and friendly obviously.

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 22:37:58

That is a brilliant suggestion. I shall certainly try that - the only problem is that I'm battling with a work deadline at the moment and it's going to be hard to find the time. But it certainly sounds like a plan.
This may be a very stupid question - but will this hypothetical superfitter be able to do lighting and tiles as well?

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 03-Apr-17 22:41:24

Tiling is a specialist skill - some bathroom fitters will do it themselves - some will subcontract. But because it's quite a small self-contained task it's easier to find someone IME, especially if you're prepared to throw a little bit of money at it. I think you'd need an electrically qualified fitter because the shower, lights, shaver socket and extractor fans will all need that.

Faye76 Mon 03-Apr-17 22:48:38

Just getting our bathrooms done using a trade shop through our plumbers. We have one bathroom and two ensuites all with showers. Kit costing about 6k with large trade discount and labour 5k. I was lucky to get this sorted via my builders, but when I talk to the plumbers they think I'm getting a huge bargain compared to their normal customers which shocked me and I was amazed when I heard what the tilers earn. That said they've done an amazing job and it looks loads better than the b&q option I've always gone with previously! I'm sure if you go to a trade shop with measurements they will recommend one of the plumbers that use their shop.

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 22:48:56

Thank you!
My would-be fitter has not responded to the email I sent on Friday or to today's chase, so I think it's time to explore alternatives.
Squirrel - hope you get something back from your builder!
Perhaps we should spend a few days on YouTube and then go into business together.

Lunenburg Mon 03-Apr-17 22:49:16

Glad I am not the only one.

I am in North Yorkshire. Have requested begged four different Bathroom Fitters to come out and quote in the last year. One turned up, the remaining three have never even bothered to tell me they weren't coming.

The quote I had was for £6k to fit a simple bath, loo & basin and tile the area around the bath. The waiting time 9 months.

I then visited a more upmarket showroom. They were delighted to quote for the fittings but laughed when I said I needed a fitter. I was told that there is such a shortage in this area that they can pick & choose who they work for and typically look for more upmarket work so they can charge higher rates.

I am now also searching You Tube to try and work out if I can do it myself.

Miniwookie Mon 03-Apr-17 23:01:46

Luenberg if you don't want to do it yourself, get the individual trades in. When we gutted and refitted our bathroom, we organised a plasterer, electrician, plumber and tiler ourselves. You just need to research what order stuff needs to happen in. So much cheaper than the bathroom companies.

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 23:06:01

Well I'm glad it's not just me. And I'm glad too that £6k sounds close enough to the going rate.
Mumsnet Plumbing Inc. sounds like a great business idea.

Faye76 Mon 03-Apr-17 23:12:03

Put me down for tiling grin

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 23:13:16

Yes you can be the Queen of Grout.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Mon 03-Apr-17 23:14:28

Tiling tbf is entirely feasible to DIY - in the time it takes you to ring around every tiler in the county and be messed around by each of them you could have taught yourself from YouTube and done the job.
The actual fitting is more of a problem. It's the fact that it's a chunky gutting job but simultaneously not a hugely overpriced luxury wetroom which is screwing you.

The times I've done it I've either bundled it in with a loft conversion to make it worth their while or kept it so minimal that they can squeeze it job between other jobs.

SaltySeaBird Mon 03-Apr-17 23:19:28

We paid someone to do tiling first time we needed and they did an awful job (freshly plastered walls so a smooth surface to work with. Second time I did it myself and it looked so much better.

AspasiaFitzgibbon Mon 03-Apr-17 23:20:58

Tiling may be feasible for some people but I really don't think any good would come of me being entrusted with a tile-cutter and a set of spacers. Let alone spackle.
I wonder if I can talk DH into a loft conversion?

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