Installing a Bathroom Properly
You have finally decided to take the plunge to install a new bathroom. You just had your basement refurbished for your kids' recreation room. Your children are now in their early teens and the added space in the basement will provide a place for them to hang out with friends. You feel that the time is right for the addition of a new bathroom.
In some countries, a bathroom is also called a "comfort room" or a "restroom". It should not be thought of in terms of a "necessity" but rather as a place where you can feel relaxed and at peace. Thus a bathroom need not be a cold and dreary place. Planning and building your own bathroom should be fun. If you are a regular DIY person, then you can take a few suggestions on how to plan a nice and warm bathroom for the kids' recreation room. You might practice a dose of reality though in the actual installation as constructing the new bathroom depends on how much money you can afford and how much time (or inconvenience) you are willing to put up.
Set your bathroom budget. How much is your budget for the new bathroom? The new bathroom would definitely increase the value of your property if you plan to sell in the future. However, bear in mind that you should not go overboard with the budget as return of investment would not be maximized. Don't plan on a real upscale bathroom as the project is only DIY with maybe some professional help in some aspects.
Plan the layout of the Bathroom.
Before you can install your new bathroom, you should first plan your bathroom. It would be useful for you to browse on design online or in magazines. There are books totally dedicated to building bathrooms and half-baths (powder room). It would be a great idea to borrow "bathroom" books from the local library for you to read. Before you go and make a sketch of your new bathroom take note of the following pointers.
How big do you want the new bathroom to be and what are the fixtures you want included?
You have to know the different fixtures and their sizes. Some of the usual bathroom fixture that you should include are: bath or shower; hand basin or lavatory; water closet; and a bidet - though the bidet is more recommended for the master bedroom suite.
Take into account the placement of existing service lines, doors and windows.
Play on different plans and positioning of fixtures until you get the right "combination" to suit the need.
Note that there are minimum area requirements for each unit.
- For a bath, the minimum required area is 1.10 meters by 0.70 meter.
- A shower enclosed in three sides must have the dimensions of 0.90 meter by 0.70 meter.The minimum shower head height is 2.10 meters.
- A lavatory must have a clearance of 20 cm (8 inches) from each side and at least 0.70 meter (26 inches) in front. The same holds true for WCs and bidets.
See if there is any need for walls to be demolished or retained or reinforced; windows and doors to be relocated.
Is there a need to re-wire electrical circuits or re-lay pipes and relocate drains? If so consider getting a professional subcontractor for the job.
If you think you cannot tackle the planning of your new bathroom, get professional help. Since you would also need to hire subcontractors for the more delicate parts of the bathroom construction, get in touch with one right now to help you with the planning.
Bathroom Fixtures and Decorations.
Choosing the type, colour and style of your fixtures depends entirely on you. However it is best to be practical in this aspect as a too "exotic" taste could end up looking tacky in the long run. It is best to choose colours that are standard so you won't find it hard looking for replacements in the future. Make sure you choose light and "happy" colours for accents so as not to have a dark and gloomy bathroom. Experiment on colour combinations and use easy to clean finishing for the walls and floor. If you would rather buy a bathroom suite, make sure it fits not only the bathroom but also other parts of the house for ease in manoeuvring.
Check local building codes before starting your construction. There are different building codes for each country. In the UK the three most important building rules and regulations when constructing a bathroom are:
- A bathroom and WC should have external ventilation either by opening a window or by an exhaust fan with a duct. This flexible rule allows the construction of a bathroom in just about any space so long as there's ventilation.
- A room with a WC (water closet) must be separated from any area where food is prepared by a door.
- If the only bathroom in a building is accessible through a bedroom only, another entry point to the bathroom must be provided.
Installation of the new bathroom could now start.
If you need a contractor, now is the time to secure the services of one and have him produce a complete quote and estimates on the project. If you plan on dealing with subcontractors in some aspect of the construction phase, deal with their quotes now too.
Additional tips as you construct are: provide wide wet-walls to contain the 2 inch-diameter pipes that you will be running through the walls. It is best to use 2" by 4 " or 2" by 6" for your framing. Do not run your pipes in exterior walls. If you need to move a wall to accommodate a new bathroom, make sure you don't hit pipes and electrical lines hidden in the walls. More important is that you have to make sure that the wall to be removed is not a load-bearing wall.
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