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DIY plumbing advice

Before you begin any plumbing work you should first and foremost find out where the stop tap is situated, this can be under the sink in the kitchen, cloakroom under stairs cupboard, if in any doubt there will almost certainly be one outside the property, but care should be exercised hare as the stop tap outside can sometimes serve a number of adjacent properties.Another must is to see what kind of piping is used in your home, they could be lead but unless the building is very old they will be of copper. This is fine but again cooper tubing went from Imperial to metric some years ago and for the normal small pipes, this will be 15mm or slightly over an inch in diameter. Modern compression fittings will cope with this minor size difference without problems. However, the main difference is that whilst imperial was measured externally the metric pipe is measured internally the difference is too small to be concerned about. The sizes that are used in domestic situations are 15mm, 22mm and 28mm, the Imperial sizes are one inch, three-quarter inch and one inch.Two types of fittings are available, soldered and compression and all fittings today are metric, so if you wish to use a soldered fitting to join an Imperial pipe to a new metric pipe, adaptors are available, with compression fittings it is not necessary but you would be well advised to buy Imperial olives for the older pipe. So before you decide to undertake fitting new taps, basins or putting a new water supply to another room, note where the stop tap is, and what kind of piping you have installed in your home.

Saving money on your bathroom renovation

Money is tight for the majority of us during this economic crisis, but updating your bathroom doesn’t have to be expensive; check out our handy tips on updating your bathroom on a budget.Planning your bathroomHaving a plan together before you start renovating your bathroom is one of the most important tasks and can often save you money. Look at all of the existing furniture and fittings and make a list of everything you want to keep. It is a good idea not to replace the whole bathroom suite if you can get away from it as this is a big expense, and just adding some new Sagittarius taps and mixers to your suite will transform your bathroom entirely.Look in magazines, bathroom brochures and online for inspiration and get some samples from bathroom suppliers so you can see if it would work in your bathroom.Shop aroundOnce your plan is finished its time to part with some cash, so it is important to shop around. Check out online retailers like UK Bathrooms or Wickes for the nest price, and also check local bathroom specialists as they may have some cheap deals or ex-demo products at reduced prices. Reclamation yards are also a good place to get bathroom items, but bear in mind that there may be additional work needed to make it suit your theme.Add a personal touchPersonal touches can add a great deal to bathrooms and provide an ideal place to relax and unwind. Fittings such as a colourful rug or new mirror will add an extra dimension to the room and helps give it character.Be practicalThere is no point spending a large amount of money on a fancy bath if you and your family only take showers, so be practical about what your needs are. Fitting an energy efficient shower may seem a bit expensive but will save you money on your household bills.For a more luxurious feel why not add some scented candles and fluffy towels.

Dual flush toilets save water

One of the newest items to complement a bathroom is the dual-flush toilet.  Check these toilets out at UK Bathrooms.  They come in many stylish looks and are made by the best manufacturers.  For those who are tired of their water bill breaking the bank, a dual-flush toilet makes sense.  Press one button for liquid waste (uses less water) and another for solid waste.  These toilets can save quite a bit of money, particularly for families.Some of the designs are very sleek and modern, with concealed cisterns and a wall-hung WC.  Others are a more traditional style, but all have a two-button flush plate, usually mounted on the wall.  Dual-flush toilets can save up to 67% of water usage over a standard flush toilet.  Some of the more traditional designs have a standard lever on the cistern which is lifted up for liquid waste and pressed down for solid waste.  These toilets are so efficient that many public institutions such as universities and government buildings are installing them when toilets need to be replaced.They make just as much sense for family homes.  Easy to clean and rarely plugged, low-flow Geberit toilets are also low maintenance.  They were fairly expensive when initially marketed, but have come down dramatically in price and are an excellent option for just about anyone.Very little retrofitting is needed, unless a standard toilet is to be replaced with a wall-hung, dual-flush toilet.  The installation can be done in a day with only standard household tools and a plumber’s wrench.

Dress up that mirror with its own frame

If you are looking for a way to dress up your bathroom, why not look in the mirror?  UK bathrooms often have simple mirrors that can easily be dressed up.  Adding a simple frame around the mirror can add interest and depth to your bathroom, and it is relatively easy and affordable. The first step in this project is to choose a mirror, if you do not already have one.  Choose a mirror that is large enough for the space, but small enough to have a frame around it.  Draw an outline of the mirror onto the wall. Next, attach wooden ledger boards to the wall on the inside of the line you made to hold the frame in place.  Cut the tiles you chose for the frame into the right sizes, and glue them into place with tile adhesive.  Place an additional ledger board on the outside of the frame to hold it in place for 24 hours while the adhesive dries.  Then, attach the mirror, remove the ledger board and you have finished.  The end product will be quite beautiful and add character to your bathroom.

Bathroom cabinets – adding the finishing touch

A bathroom cabinet is a welcome addition to a cloakroom or a bathroom.  There is a wide range of cabinets to choose from, the majority of which are wall-mounted.  Tall, free-standing cabinets are a good choice if you have plenty of space.  In a small bathroom or cloakroom where space is a key consideration, a slim cabinet can be a good option.  You might also want to consider a deeper cabinet with a sliding door, so no space is wasted for swinging doors.  A mirrored cabinet gives you the functionality of bathroom mirrors, and the benefit of enhancing the appearance of the room thus giving the illusion of additional space rather than space being taken up.  Some cabinets also include a shaver socket.  For the ultimate experience in terms of luxury, choose a cabinet with sensor lighting via an infrared no-touch switch.If you have young children, make sure to position your cabinet in a way that at least one of the bathroom shelves is out of their reach, allowing you to safely store away medicines and sharp items like razors.Checking out online bathroom retailers can be the cheapest option when looking for a new bathroom cabinet; suppliers like UK Bathrooms and B&Q stock a wide range of cabinets to suit any need.

Bathroom suites for small bathrooms

The fact that a bathroom has limited space available should not mean that it has to compromise on style and function.  A large number of bathroom suites are designed specifically for small spaces and can make the most of any space available.  Choosing the right design can turn ordinary bathroom items into eye-catching features without the need to add too many space-consuming accessories to achieve a stylish look.A simple place to start when choosing a suite for a small bathroom is the colour.  Bright white suites can help the room to appear larger and high-gloss items can also help the room to have a very modern feel, especially when combined with shiny chrome accessories.  In a more traditional bathroom, wood is still an option, although light wood is preferable to darker wood since it helps a room to appear less cramped.  Light colours can also benefit a small bathroom with a limited amount of natural light because of a small window, cheering up the room that would otherwise feel dark.The size and shape of items in a bathroom suite can also help to make the most of the space available in a small room.  Large, bulky items can look out of place in a small room and consume far too much floor and wall space.  As well as looking unsuitable, they can also make a bathroom an uncomfortable space that is difficult to move around in.  Smaller suites help the room to appear larger.  Many suites feature items that can maximise space by fitting into corner spaces and improving the amount of floor space available.  Companies such as Simpsons Showers also provide a wide range of shower screens and enclosures to fit showers into even the smallest of spaces, saving plenty of room in a small bathroom that is not large enough to accommodate a bath.

How to choose tiles for your bathroom suite

One of the most telling factors about the age of your home is the choice of bathroom suite and the bathroom tiles used. Walk into many older houses and the tiles and bathroom suites will instantly date the property. As renovating this room can require considerable investment it is important to select something that will last for at least five years. Although it might be tempting to go for the hot colour of the moment, tiles and bathroom suites are the design elements that remain constant in any bathroom. So think carefully before finalising your design choice. Many people opt for a neutral colour and then accessorise with things like vanity units, bathroom mirrors and shelves, which can be updated easily.  Another consideration is whether to tile up to the ceiling. With many people opting for electric showers in the family bathroom it makes sense to have tiling throughout the room. Even with an extractor fan installed your bathroom will inevitably get steamy and tiles are a hygienic and easy to clean solution.Consider the design of your bathroom and look online at somewhere like UK Bathrooms, who have great images to inspire you. You may want to consider two types of tiles, accent ones to create a sense of luxury and neutral ones everywhere else. A classic bathroom suite, in a neutral colour, will remain functional and stylish for many years.

Bathroom sinks

Size and style are the key issues to consider when choosing a sink for your bathroom or cloakroom.  When measuring, remember you need to have plenty of space to access the sink unit, as well as space for the unit itself.A wall-hung sink is ideal for a compact cloakroom or en-suite bathroom.  Some slim-line pedestal sinks are also suitable for smaller spaces.  If wall space is really limited, a corner sink is a good option.  Deep or wide sinks can give a real feel of luxury, and are perfect if you have plenty of room.   A square sink makes a statement in a modern room, as do counter-top sinks.  For more of a period look, a sink set into a vanity unit works well.  You will also need a vanity unit for counter-top sinks, and there is a wide range of styles available to choose from, both modern and traditional.  Bathroom vanity units also provide useful storage space for toiletries and linens.  The majority of sinks are white, which is ideal for any colour scheme, but if you prefer something a little more unusual you could choose a sink made of stone, such as marble, granite or travertine.  For something completely different, you can even choose a bathroom sink made from recycled materials.  UK Bathrooms sell a stunning sink made from recycled coconut in resin - it is hard to believe something so good-looking could also be kind to the environment.

Multi-purpose radiators

How many times have you stepped out of the bath or an electric shower to grab a cool, damp towel, or put the towel on a radiator and felt the cold when going to get it because you have blocked the heat with it?  The solution is to install a towel radiator from UK Bathrooms.  It provides you with the best of both worlds, keeping you warm and giving you an inviting towel to snuggle into.When these radiators were first available there were limited options, but now the choice is wider in terms of style and size.  They are usually connected to the central heating or hot water system, although some can be connected to the electricity supply.  The majority have horizontal rails, often with varying gaps between them to accommodate different sizes of towels or clothing.  The rails can be straight or curved.  As with ordinary radiators, there are a range of sizes to suit different bathrooms.  Towel radiators generally come in two finishes, chrome and white.  They can be installed in the same way as an ordinary radiator, though instructions should always be followed.

Adding a wet room

One of the few drawbacks of the modern home is that the bathrooms tend to be on the small side making them difficult to modernise. However, turning it into a wetroom can be the answer and will certainly add a “wow factor to your home. Adding a wetroom allows you to add a new modern toilet, shower and basin, but you will still have lots of room afterwards.If you do not feel able to omit the bath, another good idea is to use the existing en-suite area which would be ideal. Wetrooms are easy to keep clean and you can even have wall mounted basins and WC’s to keep the floor clear. Of course the walls will have to be tiled using a quality ceramic tile using waterproof adhesive and grout. The floor will be tiled also and will need to be angled toward the chosen drain area.Today, there is a huge choice of electric showers, which can be fitted with a choice of adjustable jets. Although not entirely necessary, a glass screen can be a useful addition and will help prevent enthusiastic children spraying the walls. You will enjoy this addition to you home giving it a modern touch.

Fitting bathroom taps

To install new bathroom taps, you will first need to have predrilled holes in your bath.  If you have removed an old tap, then there will already be the right holes.  However, if you have fitted a new bath, it is likely that you will need to drill the appropriate holes for fitting the tap.  Before drilling, turn off your water supplies, and turn on all the taps in the house to let them run empty.  Turn them off again, when you have completed this step.You can now fit the new pipes.  You should make sure that the diameter of the tap is the same to that of the hole.  This will give you a seamless fit and a professional finish.  Once you have fit the taps satisfactorily, you can then reconnect the water supply.  It is recommended that you fit isolating valves to hot and cold pipes, as this will help with future maintenance.  Now check that all copper wiring is earth bonded, and switch your water supply back on.  Once you have checked for leaks, you can now use your new taps.

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