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What do you wish you'd known before renovating: Bathroom Edition

(108 Posts)
applesauce1 Sat 24-Oct-20 10:05:15

We're buying a new house and should complete end of December/early Jan (🤞).

The en-suite and family bathroom both need to be ripped out and started over. We'll do it all before we move in.

This started as an exciting prospect, but now I feel completely daunted as there is just too much choice.

We have a £12k budget for this element of the renovation but, it would be nice if things came in under budget (has such an astonishingly obvious statement ever been made?)

I really like the aesthetic of industrial/modern fittings and reclaimed stained wood. These looks are all over Instagram but don't appear in any catalogues. I really don't want to go for the hexagonal tile thing or anything too 'of the moment'.

Before I spend toddler nap time scouring the internet for bathroom furniture, please tell me everything you wish you knew, or your best advice, for bathroom renovations. The kitchen version of this thread was brilliant.

OP’s posts: |
PeterPomegranate Sat 24-Oct-20 10:09:44

If you need extractor fans then Zehnder do amazingly quiet fans: you think they’re not working quiet.

Also Macalpine shower traps that catch hair and you can lift out.

When we did the bathrooms at our old house we put ourselves in the hands of a local independent bathroom shop and they were great at helping us find units that fitted in small spaces etc. If you’re near South Harrow I can 100% recommend Olympic Bathrooms.

Slightlydustcovered Sat 24-Oct-20 10:34:08

I would just advise to measure and mark out the size of the items.. we have a snug ensuite ( lovely as stays really warm) but we assumed a small sink would be better as take less space. Well it looks rediculous now it's in. I will be changing it for one much bigger than either of us thought we would need. I wish I had just measured it out first. Lesson learned. Also I think a nice vanity sink is worth spending on, fab for hiding a whole host of stuff and useful storage.

SuperPug Sat 24-Oct-20 14:09:38

Same position as you, just bought a new house and redoing two bathrooms, in total spending about £15K on everything inc work. We were initially going to spend less on fittings but it made sense to spend more and have items that last instead of replacing.
I really wish we had used a bathroom designer. The products and the work are great but both are separate so we've had a bit of a nightmare in terms of some items that won't work and we've had to take back. First time doing this so I had no idea about the right valves etc.
Bathroom sales are great but some items are running out of stock the whole time, which is very frustrating. It's taken up a huge amount of time and energy, which I didn't expect to be honest.

SuperPug Sat 24-Oct-20 14:11:12

Wish we had looked at the one in S Harrow mentioned above. Not having that 'hand holding element has definitely been an issue.

Misty9 Sat 24-Oct-20 14:18:31

Make sure your tap choices fit with your heating system. I've just had a monobloc installed on my basin and the hot water flow is shite due to the tank only being 1.5m above so not enough gravity confused
Plumber waited until he'd ordered and installed it to tell me that monobloc taps aren't great with gravity fed systems...

Make sure you get isolators on all pipework. Makes life so much easier in future.

For small bathrooms, I've just had a corner vanity put in and it looks great and has a decent sized sink.

Most of all, line up your plumber well in advance and go on recommendations first. My original one bailed at the last minute and I've had a nightmare finding another one at short notice. It also meant I wasn't really able to choose my fittings... I don't recommend this approach!

Apassingglance Sat 24-Oct-20 14:20:19

I bought a huge swanky free-standing Italian sink that looks great but now I really wish I had opted for one with storage underneath. I wish I had included a specific in-built cupboard or unit for towel storage too.

randomsabreuse Sat 24-Oct-20 14:25:33

Waterfall taps are a disaster with hard water. Impossible to keep clean...

Blastandbollocks Sat 24-Oct-20 14:34:27

Local independent supplier all the way if you can find one that's recommended.

We've had a few leaks so after the most recent one which brought down part of the ceiling below, we've decided to do both ensuite and bathroom back to back.

B&Q quoted us £23k & Howdens weren't much less (and we'd still need a fitter) to do both (including fitting costs) and the options weren't great.

Local independent gave us masses of options, layout change we'd not thought about which is going to make a massive positive difference and it's costing £15k including fitting. The quality is excellent, the workmen are fabulous and they've sorted out all the issues without grumbling - including drains going up not down!

afromom Sat 24-Oct-20 14:39:17

If you are wanting a rainfall shower head over a bath (like I really wanted in ours) make sure you measure that there is enough ceiling height to accommodate it! DS is 6ft3 and we had to change our options due to not having enough head space for him to shower. It didn't even come to mind until our bathroom fitter pointed it out after seeing how tall he was on day one of the fit 🤦‍♀️

averythinline Sat 24-Oct-20 14:45:01

Waterfall tap too powerful for small sink and a nightmare to clean!

Vanity units yes....brilliant for storage..my stuff mixture online and local...

Decent taps....grohe/hansgrohe

Measure and measure again!

Decide on 'style' and stick to it...we had limited place to put sink in main room but needed curved corners as by door and would bash constantly!
So everything else needed to be curved...
Don't use b and q laminate floor even if says OK for bathroom....now got to rip up and replaced which will be a nightmare

Radiatornoise Sat 24-Oct-20 14:52:34

Thanks for the post OP as I would like to renovate my bathroom. I still love white ware and beige tiles but these have been around for 20 years. Is this look dated or classic?

roses2 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:03:20

We're having our bathroom done next month. Following tips!

Loofah01 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:05:11

Start getting tile samples sent through now, there's loads of places that send them out for free.
I created a trade account with victorian plumbing (not victoria plumb!) and got an extra 10% off the order meaning I spent extra budget on upgraded stuff. I went to the local independent bathroom design place and got an eye watering price so decided to do it myself and let the builders install. It's worked well and anything missing from the order was replaced quickly. Deffo dont scrimp on the taps.
I found a 600mm sink to be a great size and an 800mm too big to be truly useful.
If you can find a bathroom look you love then just copy it completely!

QuestionableMouse Sat 24-Oct-20 15:09:08

Get wall panels rather than tiles. No grout to clean and they come in a huge range of colours.

Rip everything out and tape the dimensions of the stuff you want to put in on the floor (or make card templates) to make sure it's a good fit.

MJMG2015 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:23:32

I had longed for an Aqua Lisa shower. Researched loads. Got a digital one. Really not happy with it - the water pressure was better with the very old rubber hand held shower hose directly off the bath taps. I'd never get a digital one again.

Love love love my tiles still 4 years on.
Love love love my light shaft/sky light window (shaft through the loft) wish I'd spent the extra to get the electric window - the pole is a bloody hassle

Hate that the fitter didn't listen to a couple of instructions and was an arse, so getting him to redo things seemed too difficult, but I wish I had as they still bug me every day, but despite having an extra box of tiles for emergencies there wouldn't be enough to retire the area if I was to get someone in to do what should have been done in either area, let alone both. (Tiles no longer made it I'd just buy more & get it done!)

Good luck!!

Murinae Sat 24-Oct-20 15:24:45

It will take at least a week longer to do than they say. Don't do both at the same time and leave yourself without a shower. Don't believe the plumber when he says choose any toilet you fancy. The one I chose didn't fit where the waste pipe was (fixed position in floor!) and I ended up having to buy another. Check that the plumber put the lid on the concealed cistern. Just found out ours didn't and now have a swollen/broken moldy cupboard at the back of the toilet and having to spend £400 on another cupboard, concealed cistern and fitting. This was after the office ceiling came down where he didn't fit a pipe properly.

Don't use click laminate unless it's the solid vinyl ones. The wood ones swell when they get wet and you'll end up replacing the floor.

Shop around for everything. We are now just doing the en suite (three years after the trauma of the main bathroom and collapsing ceiling). The shower we are now installing (Grohe) the rrp is over £600, Victorian Plumbing £347, and I got it from a website called plumbing for less for £208. Also Showerwall is great and the prices of that vary enormously for the exactly the same product. Victoria Plum was over £900 and I got it from Bathrooms of distinction for just over £500.

Make sure you get building regs sign off if you fit a megaflow or unvented system.

SuperPug Sat 24-Oct-20 15:29:43

Afromum, we have the same and a bit of a nightmare with finding a suitable bath screen. Interested to hear what you've used with that type of showerhead above a bath.

Toilenstripes Sat 24-Oct-20 15:54:38

Make sure your floor tiles can be easily cleaned. Ours are a light grey and they stain horribly.

december2020 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:56:59

Always storage! Our bathroom pre renovation had no storage. We put in a vanity unit and built a stud wall to conceal the waste pipe and built the mirror cabinet into it. So it looks like just a mirror on the wall, but actually has doors to lots of storage.

If you're going to any tile stores, don't just go off one tile/sample - pick the 2-3 tiles you like and place a few more of the same next to them. A tile alone can be deceiving until you see the "full effect".

Get a good local tradesman who will advise beforehand (so you don't end up buying stuff that's incompatible/too big/too small).

If you're getting a shower/bath splash screen - get an easy to clean one. It's made my life so much easier!

december2020 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:57:25

And an extractor fan always!

applesauce1 Sat 24-Oct-20 15:57:42

So much great advice. Thank you.

We were considering floor to ceiling tiles as I thought it looked nicer than a half tiled room (tiling in the shower or around the bath). I'm worried that this might cause the cost to shoot up, and with painted walls, we can more easily and cheaply redecorate to our changing tastes.

Does anyone have any advice on tiles walls vs. Painted walls?

I'd also love a vanity unit like that in my photo. I'd prefer real wood. Anyone know of somewhere we could find something like this, or will I have to ask a carpenter?

OP’s posts: |
Laquila Sat 24-Oct-20 16:11:34

Where's your photo, OP? My husband's a builder and joiner and made us a sort of mid-centuryish vanity unit with two enormous drawers and I love it.

The mirror above the sink has a sort of illuminated strip all round the edge that runs on via a sensor underneath it - I love it! It also had a mist-clearing heater thing in it so doesn't steam up.

Re painted walls v tiled walls - I think it depends how good your extractor is. Ours isn't great and so the painted walls (dark muted smokey blue) shoe all the condensation, although it's probably not that noticeable to anyone else. Personally I'm not a fan of the mermaid board stuff that a lot of people use in showers - we had it in our last house and it still needed a lot of cleaning, although I suppose at least you don't have the grout.

Floor tiles - we have a sort of faded/distressed pattern which is very good for disguising the odd bit of dust/grime. (I'm not usually a fan of distressed things but I'm pleased with them!)

Really the only thing I wish we'd had was a retractable shower head thing on the bath.

dalrympy Sat 24-Oct-20 16:14:12

Pay more for the suite if you can.

If you go for dark grout, the tiles cuts have to be SUPER straight or everything imperfection will show up

Badgertastic Sat 24-Oct-20 16:33:02

We did our bathroom and installed a 1500mm long shower tray. We had a rainfall shower head (but like a previous poster had to amend it as husband was too tall) and a 'normal' shower head too which came out of a valve on the wall. With only the rainfall it makes it difficult to clean, so we opted for both. The one thing I wish we'd have done differently was to put the water on off lever/controls near where you get into the shower rather than the traditional place of near the shower heads. I got a wet arm every morning with cold water 😂

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