Answering Your Bathroom DIY Questions: Part 2

Did you catch Part 1? Or are you too busy scoffing chocolate and enjoying all those things you’ve deprived yourself of for the last 40 days? Well, if you’re considering a bathroom redesign anytime soon, then I hope that some of the questions sent in to our Real Homes and Soak Q&A might help. They’re a real mixed bag, which just goes to show just how much there is to think about when installing your own bathing sanctuary.

Right let’s get on with padding out some more detail to the questions answered in the above You Tube video….

What tiles should I use on the floor as I’m worried about them ‘dating’?

Something which makes you smile every time you walk in a room can only be a good thing, surely, and just because something is patterned, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll date. Now, that’s not to say you won’t get bored of it, but if you buy and lay something you really love, rather than something which is simply on trend, then the chances are you won’t tire of it anytime soon. Classic tiles like patterned encaustics don’t really date, nor do classic monochrome geometric styles or beautiful  florals.

Pinterest and Instagram are fabulous for inspiration, but can also be somewhat overwhelming. Get yourself down to a good local showroom which has lots of different styles to look at and take paint swatches if applicable. I always, always pay for a full sample size tile and put it in the room to be laid, there’s nothing like seeing the size, texture and colour of a tile in it’s chosen room.

As someone who once had a bathroom floor with pink roses printed all over its cork tiles, personalisation is something I’m all for. Go for it. Make you heart sing when your body gets naked.

Compact family bathroom by Moregeous with Baked Tile Co flooring.

Should I get ride of our bath, as I hate it?

This is a very modern bathroom dilemma. I’ve removed the baths from many bathrooms   for clients and rentals, and haven’t regretted it. If this is your conundrum, calculate how many times you actually have a bath. I mean literally, count up the times the Radox comes out, as opposed to the Lush Snow Fairy. If you never, ever do and you don’t have children, and you aren’t going to, or they’re long gone, then by all means whip it out. But be aware that if you do sell, families might be put off. At our renovation we’ve two ensuites and a main family bathroom, which hasn’t got a bath. Instead I’ll  be putting the bath in our large ensuite. It works for us and that’s the thing, it’s all about what works for you. I haven’t had a bath at home for three years and I’ve missed it SO much. So so much. But some people hate ’em. There’s no accounting for taste I guess.

The upside of removing a bath is the large amount of extra space gained, which in the typical British bathroom can mean the addition of a super sized contemporary walk in shower – pure luxury for bath haters.

I’ve got a build-up of mould on my bath seal, I’ve tried everything but it won’t shift, I think I need to replace the sealant, can you give me tips about how to do this?

Firstly try Cif and a toothbrush. Honestly, I use little else when cleaning our rentals as most of those expensive plastic bottles of cleaning agents are a waste of money. If the black mould has been allowed to sit on the sealant for ages, it might have stained the surface. A 20% bleach and 80% water solution diluted into a spray container (I save old ones to reuse with Ecover), shifts all but the most stubborn mould stains.  I do used neat bleach on the most stubborn stains, but carefully squeezing it direct onto the sealant or grout, but check your tiles as neat bleach can damage natural stone or marble. It tends to be ok on ceramic or porcelain, but do test first. Most shower or bath areas sprayed with the diluted solution and left overnight come up bright and stain free by morning.

If the stain STILL won’t come out, then the sealant needs to be cut out and replaced. I use a Stanley blade but am well practised, neat & careful. Blades can wreck the surface of  acrylic baths so if you’re unsure or not steady handed then try a proprietary sealant remover from B&Q or similar. Then make sure the area is totally dry before using a sealant in a caulking gun to re-seal. Fill the bath first, keeping it full of water when you seal, as they often drop slightly when full so if you don’t, the seal make break the first time you use the bath after sealing it when empty. Makes sense? Google if it not!

To try and prevent this happening in the future, keep shampoo & shower gel bottles off the bath deck surface, as water collects behind them the air can’t circulate and thus mould growth happens.

My bathroom only has 1 small window, what can I do to make the room lighter?

There are tonnes of tips to make a room lighter: light reflecting paint, a fabulously bright LED light, white tiles and pale flooring will all lift a room. Mirrors also work wonderfully bounce the light around, and maybe try heat pads behind to stop a large mirror misting over. Maybe though, maybe the answer is quite the reverse. Why not embrace the dark side and stop trying to lighten? Deep & dramatic is such a hot trend in bathrooms right now – navy blues, charcoal greys, even black. I painted my bathroom panelling black a few months ago and left one wall white. Lo and behold it just didn’t look right so I took the plunge and painted it black too – it looks brilliant, so glad I did 🙂

I’m in a rented property, so can’t make any big changes to my bathroom, what can I do to revamp my bathroom?

Bathrooms can be pretty hard to update without dramatic changes but if you’re lucky enough to have a fairly neutral palette, little things make a big difference. Changing a shower curtain makes a big difference as is a cheap as chips – less than £10 and you can even take it with you when you move. Pretty much all the supermarkets now have brilliant new homeware ranges and new season towels. A geometric washable rug will hide a boring floor and maybe even ask your landlord if you can paint the walls white, should they be discoloured or damp stained.

The greenery trend works wonderfully in bathrooms and some lush planting will brighten up even the drabbest scheme. Again, you can then take them all with you when moving on, and the same goes for gallery walls and artwork. Use Command Strips and ask your landlords permission before drilling and fixing into walls.  I once had a tenant who painted all the tiles black, please don’t do that, it didn’t end well.

What are the pros and cons of rearranging the bathroom ‘furniture’ and relocating the toilet, sink or bath?

Huge question. Huge she said, in a Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive voice.

First up, this type of redesign is costly. Nothing rockets a plumber’s price like the  client deciding to move all the pipework and fittings. Of course sometimes this is completely essential, if you’re ripping out the bath for a shower cubicle, for example, or turning a bedroom into a bathroom, but mostly people are just looking to update and make the best use of their existing bathroom that they can.

Moving water feeds to basins and baths is relatively simple, just labour and lengths of extra copper or push-fit pipe, but you must think also about getting the water out of the room via the wastes, especially in timber floors where the joists might be in the way. Loos are more complex for the sole reason that the exit pipe is so much wider (4 inches) than those from basins and baths. Simply shifting a loo to the other side of the room is all very well and good but you need to ensure that the ‘fall’ for, ahem, the exiting items, is deep enough to carry said items out of the bathroom to the vertical soil stack. That’s the big 4 inch wide pipe positioned on the external wall outside your bathroom. If you live in an old house it’s quite possibly made of cast iron, which doesn’t bode cheaply for alterations. Get a good plumber’s advice on whether the changes you want will result in minor alterations or a new soil stack – all these costs mount up.

However, moving things around may well result in a bathroom which is 100% better than the original layout. Large walk in showers, double sinks and wall hung loos all need careful spatial planning and can often be fitted in with clever changes to the plumbing layout. You’ll need to assess which way your joists run under the bathroom floor to work out where wastes can exit the room, or try to actually position the bathroom furniture own the external wall – makes for a less costly use of practical fitting materials. Remember that a new shower cubicle has to have a waste and trap, other hidden below floor level (check those joists!) or elevated slightly in a frame. I’ve had clients who’ve gone off and bought a wall hung back to wall pan, completely forgotten that they also need a hanging frame and haven’t allowed for extra depth to fit it.

Sometimes simply moving the door or the side on which the door opens can make a big difference to a bathroom. If you’re renovating anyway, shifting a door over can be an acceptable cost increase and might mean squeezing in that shower cubicle as well as a bath, or adding a luxurious towel rail. Planning a bathroom is a minefield, so read up, You Tube and get yourself down to a good showroom with a scaled graph paper drawing or diagram of your existing room and pipework to get some advice.

Really this question needed it’s very own blog post. Or book. 😉

Right, that’s me done writing for an Easter Saturday. I’ve got kitchen doors to paint for a great little local community centre near us, a hallway to prep, wallpaper to buy and chocolate to eat. With the focus on the latter obviously.

Enjoy your Easter Weekend and I’ll see you next week for a bit of a reveal & how to on our original pine herringbone dining room floor, and also some pics of our latest project casually entitled How To Create A deVOL Inspired Kitchen for under £10.

2 thoughts on “Answering Your Bathroom DIY Questions: Part 2

Add yours

  1. Can I tile my bathroom floor over existing vinyl flooring? The current vinyl is stuck on solid and it will require a lot of work to remove it first.

    1. Hi Salim, do you mean with ceramic tiles or more vinyl on top? Nothing wrong with sticking more vinyl on top if you have a nice flat surface but I’d be wary of over-laying using ceramic as the tiles will likely crack on a suspended timber floor. Sian x

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