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Top Bathroom Tips for Self-Builders

Top Bathroom Tips for Self-Builders - Blog

Bathrooms are often the last thing on a self-builder’s to-do list, with areas like the kitchen and living room normally given priority. This is because bathrooms are usually seen as just a practical space. However, a bathroom can be easily transformed into your own relaxing haven too – perfect for unwinding after a long day. And with some planning, you can create the luxury of a hotel or spa without breaking the bank. When self-building your bathroom, there is more than just the bathroom suite to consider. Your walls, flooring, heating and lighting all need to be factored into plans from the early design stages. Here are our top tips on what to bear in mind.


Designing Your Layout

The first thing you should do in a self-build is create your floorplan.

When deciding where to position your fittings, think about how they’re used and in what order. It’s a good idea to place your basin closest to the door, as it’s usually the last stop while you’re in the bathroom. Other fittings can be placed further into the bathroom. The position of your pipework and drainage will also determine where your fittings can be placed. For example, your toilet should be installed near your sewage stack. It’s important to finalise your internal layout before building begins to ensure that your plumbing is appropriately arranged. Remember that you also need to take ventilation, electrics, and circulation space around showers or baths into account when designing your layout.

To help design the bathroom of your dreams, speak to one of our specialists, or use our handy bathroom planner.


Consider The Space You Have

Before deciding on the layout, you need to measure the space you have. Once you know your measurements, you can start looking at the options you have for your space. For example, if you have a larger bathroom, you could go for both a freestanding bath and a shower, while leaving enough space for standalone storage unit. if you have a smaller bathroom or ensuite, you will need to plan how to incorporate all you need while conserving floor space:

 - Wall hung toilets make a small bathroom look bigger and leave more floor space around your toilet.

 - A corner shower enclosure is a great space saver, fitting perfectly into almost any size bathroom.

 - A wet room gives a greater feeling of space so is ideal for a small or awkwardly shaped room. For years, wet rooms could only be installed on a ground floor and had to be placed on a concrete or screeded base, but improvements in waterproofing products now mean they are suitable for both upstairs and down.

 - Choose a vanity unit that doubles up as a wash basin. That way, you will have a stylish storage solution for all your toiletries without having to fit extra furniture.

Once you’ve planned your layout, you should complete your walls and flooring before installing any fittings.


Walls & Floors

If you’ve decided to tile your bathroom wall, we advise doing this before installing your suite. It is much easier, and there is less chance of damaging your bath or other fittings. Likewise, it’s better to tile your floor before installing fittings as it provides a more high-quality finish and better seal against water damage. It also means that you won’t have to cut your tiles into awkward shapes to fit around your suite. The same applies if you opt for vinyl flooring.

Before laying your floor or wall tiles, make sure that all plumbing connections are present, such as your drains and water supply line. And if you are tiling both your wall and floor, it is easier to tile the walls first as this prevents damage to your floor tiles.

What kind of tiles should I choose?

The size and style of the tiles you choose can affect the overall feel of your new-build bathroom. For example, use larger tiles in a small bathroom to create the illusion of more space, or contrast a feature or statement tile with a simpler one. You should also consider the material of your tiles. Porcelain is ideal for a bathroom as they are more durable, absorb less moisture and are very easy to clean and maintain. This is particularly important for floors. If you’re looking to install underfloor heating, both porcelain and ceramic have excellent conductivity qualities.


Plan Your Lighting Setup

Plan the right lighting combination at the start of your self-build project to ensure you have a setup that meets all your needs. That way, you will have enough lighting to see what you are doing when getting ready while also creating a relaxing ambiance.

 - A main ceiling light in the center of the room will provide the brightness you need for everyday tasks. For a larger bathroom, you could fit an ornate light to act as a focal point. Use a flush mounted light for a small bathroom as they prevent the room from feeling cluttered.

 - Task lighting around mirrors is essential for tasks like applying makeup, dental care or grooming. Achieve this by using wall-mounted fittings, or buying a lighted mirror or cabinet.

 - Spotlights within the floor, along the base of a wall or in a corner shower can also help to create a relaxed, spa-like vibe or brighten up dark corners to make the bathroom feel roomier.

Make sure your electrics are planned at the beginning of your self-build and completed before installing fittings, so that all wiring is concealed. You should also avoid installing any lighting without the appropriate IP rating, as this indicates its degree of protection against water. Remember, each zone in a bathroom requires a specific IP rating.

Not matter what kind of lighting you choose, you can find it all here at Bathshack.


Heat It Up

When installing radiators, select a model that can deliver the required heat output for the room. A room's BTU (British Thermal Unit) requirement is based upon its cubic volume of the space (the room’s height, length and width multiplied by four) and its location in the house. For help with calculating your bathroom’s heat output, check out our BTU Calculator. Heated towel rails are also a great alternative to normal radiators, as they keep your towels toasty warm while being an attractive design feature at the same time. Shop our full selection of radiators including heated towel radiators here.

What about Underfloor Heating?

Instead of a traditional radiator, many self-builders are choosing to install underfloor heating (UFH) in their bathroom. UFH spreads heat evenly throughout the room and provides a warm, cosy feel for your feet. A warm floor also means that any water on tiles will quickly evaporate, making your bathroom floor safer and less slippery. If you’re considering Underfloor Heating for your self-build, browse your options here.


Ready to kit out your new bathroom? Start your self-build journey with Bathshack today and create your perfect bathroom, for less. We have 6 stores across the island of Ireland (and 2 new stores on the way!), with plenty of sales staff on hand to help you with any design advice you may need. Or if you prefer, you can request a call back from our Customer Service team or book a free virtual consultation with one of our showroom experts today.