A new bathroom

There are many good reasons for renovating an existing bathroom.  Existing features and plumbing may be dated and outmoded and in need of replacing, or the style of the bathroom set may be old-fashioned and in need of modernising.  Sometimes the use of a bathroom may change such as the arrival of children or when children become teenagers.  The design or function of a bathroom can be adjusted accordingly.  A new modernised bathroom may have the added advantage of adding to the value of home which incentivises many owners to renovate their old bathrooms, or indeed, install a completely new bathroom with a view to putting their house on the market.

Nowadays people have become used to having plenty of bathrooms in a home, as well as the choice of a shower or a bath.  Many people prefer having separate toilets to bathing amenities for added privacy.  Existing bathrooms can be re-designed, and minimal renovation work can separate these facilities into different rooms with reasonably little effort or cost.

Bathrooms are no longer simply functional entities within a house.  Stylish bathrooms are an integral part of every modern home, and with such a wide choice of bathroom furniture and fixtures to suit every budget, redecorating a bathroom is within every home-improvers scope.

A bathroom provides an essential function within the home and one which is used on a daily basis.  To many home owners a stylish yet functional bathroom is as important as a good kitchen or decent bedroom and when moving into a new house bathrooms are often given priority as far as renovating and redecorating is concerned.


Planning your new bathroom

When thinking through your plans for remodelling a bathroom, consider the practicalities. Whilst it is fun to launch into the selection of suites, accessories and furniture, before you travel too far down that road get the basics right.

At the early stages the advice of an experienced plumber will prove invaluable, as they are certain to produce alternative solutions and suggestions for the layout and design. They will be able to point out things to avoid and things to include, to make your new bathroom a success.

The bathroom plays a pivotal role in the smooth running of a household. A well-designed bathroom will work wonders for domestic harmony as well as adding value to your home if you should resell. After great kitchens, bathrooms with ‘wow factor’ are what buyers are looking for these days.

Remember that bathroom suites come in all shapes and sizes, and what may look fabulous in the showroom could be far too big for the space you have available. Take accurate measurements so you know exactly how much space you have, and the suite you purchase will be the perfect scale.

Make yourself aware of all that is out there. Don’t settle for a boring, predictable bathroom if you don’t have to. Research will tell you about wet rooms, luxury spa baths, multi-jet showers, twin sinks, heated, steam-free mirrors, excellent bathroom cabinets, perfect bathroom flooring and wall finishes. The remodelling of bathrooms has evolved and the scope of what is possible in the smallest room in the house has dramatically increased.


How to Fix Phantom Flushing

One of the most common problems for any bathroom suite, phantom flushing is basically an involuntary sound that comes from the toilet.  This involuntary flushing can waste water, and it can certainly make an irritating sound.  Luckily, it is a problem that can be fixed fairly easily.

More often than not, the cause of phantom flushing is the toilet’s stopper failing to seal against the seat of the flush valve as tight as it should be.  This causes water to seep into the bowl at a slow but steady rate, and also causes the sound known as the phantom flush. 

The first step to solving this problem is to turn off the water source for the toilet.  Once the water is off, the toilet should be flushed.  The seat of the flush valve should then be cleaned thoroughly with a scrubbing pad.  This method usually serves to fix the problem, but more persistent phantom flushing may be the result of an improperly centred stopper on the flush valve seat.  Moving the stopper around may solve the problem, but a replacement stopper may have to be purchased.


Replacing a Tap

When you attempt to open or close a tap and find that it is difficult or impossible the fault probably lies with a faulty head-gear. Replacing a tap is one home repair project that most people can easily complete. No plumbing skills are required and few tools are needed.

First isolate and turn off the water supply to the tap. When possible, turn off the isolating valve under the tap. If there is none, you will need to isolate the water supply at the main valve to the house.

Remove the tap cover with a small screwdriver. You will see the rim if you look closely at the top of the tap. Insert the screwdriver into the rim and gently lift it away from the tap. After the tap cover is removed you will see the screw attached to the spindle. Remove the screw by turning it anti-clockwise and the handle will lift off easily.

Using an adjustable spanner, loosen the head-gear nut. Hold the tap in your other hand to prevent it from moving while you are doing this and to make this step easier use a little penetrating oil first.

After removing the damaged head-gear nut check to make certain that there is no damage to the seat inside the tap. Once you have done this you can insert the new head-gear and screw the nut into place, tightening it with the spanner. 

Make certain that the tap is open when you reassemble it, so that when water flow is returned the debris can be removed without damaging the washer. Fit the new handle into place and secure with the screw, before replacing the cover. Restore the water supply to the tap and after a few seconds of running clear water you can turn it off.


How to put up Mosaic Tiles

A mosaic tile offers quite a unique style when compared with a conventionally patterned tile, and is a way of giving the walls behind a bathroom suite a different look. 

If you wish to put up mosaic tiles as a splashback instead of covering the wall completely, you must first mark the points on the wall where the tiles are to finish.  A splashback is most easily done when it is the height of a full mosaic tile sheet.  Of course, this step is not required if the wall is to be fully covered.    

The next step is to spread tile adhesive on the wall with a spreader.  The spreader must be notched and held at a 45-degree angle as it is dragged across the adhesive.  This is to make sure the ridges in the adhesive have an equal depth.  Adhesive must be applied after every two to four sheets of tiles, especially if one person is doing the job.  This is to eliminate the possibility of the adhesive drying before the tiles are put up on the wall.   

If you are creating a splashback pattern, you should put the first sheet of mosaic tile at one end of the wall.  If the entire wall is to be covered, the best place to lay the first sheet of tile is in a bottom corner.  The tile sheet must be tight up against the edges.  A spirit level should be used to ensure the tiles are put up properly.  A small piece of wood can be used to adjust the tiles.

Grouting can be carried out after at least 24 hours.  A spreader with a rubber edge can be used to distribute the grout, which should be waterproof.  Excess grout should be cleared away as you go and after the grout has set, the lines can be neatened with a shaper.

You can get all of the supplies needed to tile your bathroom from various suppliers including UK Bathrooms.


Contemporary and Traditional Bathroom Toilets

Bathroom toilets can be designed with a contemporary feel or with a more traditional look in mind.  The angular lines of an Edwardian style bathroom suite can be echoed in a freestanding toilet.  A wall hung or back to wall toilet will probably have a more contemporary feel.  Close-coupled toilets have the cistern positioned close to the toilet bowl, though cisterns can also be low level, medium level or high level, typically with a chain attached.

A Burlington traditional toilet will probably benefit from a wooden seat and cover, though seats can be extremely up-to-date, made from tough moulded plastic or wood.  Some covers are modelled from transparent Perspex, and can be decorated with colourful designs, containing eye-catching fish or shells for example.  Contemporary toilet covers can even be fashioned to close automatically after use.  They are a perfect remedy for that age-old gender divide.  After all, will men ever learn to close the toilet lid?

Hygiene can also be employed in the design of your toilet, as some toilets come complete with an anti-bacterial toilet seat.


Getting Rid of Grubby Grout

Even with regular care and cleaning, there will be times when the grout between tiles will need to be removed or repaired.  This is because grout is a porous substance that absorbs dirt over a period of time and, as tile and grout are usually used in areas that get damp and dirty such as kitchens and bathrooms, over time the grout will start to discolour and look grubby.  Re-grouting the top layer or completely replacing the old grout will instantly make any tiled area look cleaner, newer and more appealing.

Your first step is to use masking tape to cover the surrounding tiles for protection, after which you can either re-grout or completely remove and replace the grout.

If you re-grout, you will only need to remove the top three mm of grout around the tiles using an inexpensive tool called a grout rake.  Simply pull the rake’s toothed blade along the existing grout to take off three mm.  You can then cover the remaining grout with new grout.

In most cases, to get rid of all the existing grout you will still use the grout rake.  However, if the rake cannot get rid of all the grout, you will also need to use a grout saw.  Firmly pull the rake or saw over the lines of grout.  Do this a few times until the grout breaks away from the tiles; brush the old grout from the joint until it is completely clear, and then apply the new grout.

Ridding floor tiles of grout will usually require a grout rake and a chisel.  Floor tile grout is stronger than what is used on walls because it is often mixed with sand.


Keeping your bathroom at its best

As the bathroom is one of the most visited rooms in the home, there are steps that you will need to take to ensure that it is kept at its best.  Certain areas of your bathroom will often be exposed to water and will need treatment to prevent them from rotting or becoming mouldy.  A regular cleanout of your bathroom will help you to keep it looking at its best.
Steam from regular baths or Bristan showers can cause mould if your bathroom is not well ventilated.  There are a wide variety of extractor fans available that will help to remove any condensation.  Extractor fans are easy to install and are now available in a wide variety of styles, so you can easily find something that will suit and fit your bathroom perfectly.

If you have carpets or curtains installed, then there is a higher risk of them becoming damaged if they are regularly exposed to water.  Carpets easily absorb water, which will lead to them becoming mouldy.  If you can afford to, consider opting for a different type of floor such as tiles or linoleum flooring, as these will be easier to keep free of damp and mould.  You may also wish to consider replacing your curtains with blinds, as these are more suitable for bathrooms and will be easier to keep clean.

A regular cleanout of your bathroom accessories and products will also help to keep your bathroom at its best.  Any old soap, make-up, shavers or medicines should be removed as this will not only help to keep your bathroom tidy but will also create a healthier environment.  If you require extra space for your products, consider installing a small bathroom cabinet or vanity unit.  There are many designs available that will offer plenty of storage space as well as style to your bathroom.


Tips for a Greener Bathroom

Going green in the bathroom is a relatively easy thing to do, and doesn’t necessarily need to cost a great deal of money.  As a matter of fact, some things you can do to help the environment will actually save you money.  

It may sound obvious, but one of the easiest ways to go green in bathrooms is by using recycled paper products.  Gone are the days when recycled toilet paper was as rough as sandpaper; today, most brands of recycled toilet paper are soft, and very high quality.

One way that you can help the planet by saving water is by fitting a dual flush toilet.  This type of toilet uses different volumes of water for flushing liquid and solid waste, as you don’t need to flush liquid away with the same amount of water needed to get rid of solid waste.

Another way to go green is by investing in organic bathroom linens.  Organic linens such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo towels are produced without fertilisers or pesticides.  Hemp and bamboo towels are particularly well suited for use in the bathroom as they are naturally resistant to mildew.

You can do a great deal for the planet and your wallet by fixing that annoying dripping tap; even a small, constant drip can waste hundreds of litres of clean water per year, and if you are on a meter you will save on your water bill.  Also, never leave the tap running whilst cleaning your teeth.

You should also consider installing a reduced flow showerhead or an air-shower; these can help reduce water usage by an average of 30% simply by increasing the air to water ratio.

Finally, commit to using environmentally friendly soaps, toiletries, and bathroom cleaning products and ensure that they come in recyclable packaging.


Bathroom Furniture Has Come a Long Way

There is no longer any excuse for anybody to have a cluttered bathroom.  The variety of bathroom furniture that is currently available is enormous and no matter what your requirements may be, there will be a piece of bathroom furniture that does the job and fits the space properly.

There was a time when the laundry basket dominated many bathrooms, and filthy garments were regularly strewn across the floor.  Today there is bathroom furniture available which features an integrated laundry basket, and some pieces even have separate compartments for light and dark clothes.

Sinks in modern bathrooms are regularly incorporated into vanity units which have drawers and feature a large amount of storage space, integrated lighting, and a marble surround. 

We no longer see exposed plumbing or pipe work in the modern bathroom, either.  Today, it is hidden behind the walls or contained in cleverly designed bathroom furniture.  Furniture that is water-resistant and wipes clean now fills our bathrooms, hiding our toiletries, pipes, and toilet rolls. 

How did we ever cope in the bathroom before?