Bathroom on a budget
However nice it would be to have bathing facilities that would do a Roman Emperor proud, it pays to be realistic. Being careful needn’t mean being miserable and uncomfortable. Check out these suggestions for where savings can be made and there’s no reason why you can’t bring a nice new bathroom in for less than £3000- £4000.
- Don't be overly ambitious with your design. By positioning the new units almost exactly where the old ones were you’ll be saving on labour costs that account for at least 70% of an economy bathroom re-fit. Besides that, running new drainage and water supply pipe-work is time consuming and involves extra material costs.
- Before you spend any money on tiles and fittings, bring in the professionals. There are no savings to be made in flooding out your downstairs neighbour through botched DIY or the shoddy work of ‘fly by night’ cowboys. If the professional outfit does have an expensive accident, then the company insurance should cover the costs involved (worth checking the T & Cs before any work starts, of course). Pre selection will also allow you to involve the experts in the design and vital material/fittings selection process
- Negotiate a fixed price with your contractor. It should be possible to hire a good contractor skilled in plumbing, builder work, woodwork, plastering, tiling, decorating and electrical work as necessary for less than £2,500 per standard bathroom inclusive of all works as necessary. But make sure that your contract is in writing and is signed and agreed by both parties.
- Shop around for your own sanitary fittings:- There are some fantastic deals to be had out there. If you see a ‘named brand’ shower in a big store don't buy it but check out comparative deals on line for a better deal.
- If you have a ‘combi’ boiler in your house you will find that a ‘power shower’ is probably the cheapest and definitely (performance wise) the best option. These showers can have an exposed or concealed valve depending on what kind of walls you have. When selecting an electrical shower, remember that the new more powerful showers available today ( rated up to and beyond 11KW ) will need a larger cable and mains circuit breaker installed by a qualified electrician. Using a similarly rated shower to the existing shower can save you hundreds of pounds in rewiring costs.
- Ceramic tiles (as opposed to porcelain, slate or natural stone) are the most popular and usually the cheapest to lay as they do not require specialist adhesives, cutting or drilling. The size of tiles can be a potential problem - large tiles generally look a bit odd in a small area and the size of tiles is always a major issue for walls and floors that are less than perfect. While smaller tiles can often cope with less than perfect surfaces, larger tiles can not – and tiling is more of an art than a science!
- The colour and finish of items in a bathroom design is down to personal choice. But beware of dark colours in a bathroom that offers little in the way of natural light and look for ways of saving space in a smaller bathroom – a cupboard under a basin is one simple and effective way of addressing storage issues.
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