Bathroom fitters - what you need to know
What a bathroom fitter can help with
- Designing a bathroom.
- Installing a bathroom.
- Carrying out bathroom repairs (repairing bath panels and surrounds, repairing baths and basin surfaces, re-sealing, re-grouting and repairing flooring).
- Refurbishing the whole bathroom.
Bathroom fitters can help you revamp your bathroom, from installing a new bathroom suite to designing something more bespoke. They can sort out the plumbing and carry out any repair jobs like re-grouting and repairing flooring. They can also take care of the decorating, although if a large bathroom is being worked on and it has a lot of tiling or plastering involved, a bathroom fitter might work hand in hand with a tiler or plasterer to get the job done more quickly. If the electrics need to be touched as part of a bathroom refurbishment, they can do this themselves if they hold a Part P qualification, otherwise they’ll leave this for a qualified electrician to complete.
The good thing about bringing in a bathroom fitter to transform your bathroom is that they’ll know how the different elements of the bathroom should fit together, so things like pipe and cable runs will be in the right place before any tiling work is done. They’ll also help you make good design decisions so you won’t be left struggling to open a shower door that’s too close to a wall or find yourself squeezed up against a wall while on the toilet.
If you’re keen to save money by lowering your water bill, they can also advise you about the range of products on the market, like getting aerators fixed to your faucets. These are small attachments which act as a sieve, separating the flow of water into lots of little streams instead of one big stream. Doing this brings air into the water flow which gives less space for the water to flow through. As the water pressure stays the same, you shouldn’t notice any difference in the amount of water coming out of the tap but you will notice a lower water bill.
Costs for common bathroom fitting jobs
We surveyed our tradespeople to give you an idea of the amount you can expect to pay for common jobs. The costs below are an approximate national average.
| Some typical jobs
|Repairing the bath or basin surfaces
|Repairing the bath panel or surround
|Dealing with condensation and mould
|Fitting new lighting
|Refurbishing the whole bathroom
|Fitting a bath
|Fitting a cabinet
|Installing a mirror
|Painting and decorating
The qualifications your bathroom fitter needs
There are no legal qualifications needed to fit a new bathroom. If you’re looking for a bathroom fitter who can also get involved at the planning stage and design your bathroom, it’s useful to see if they have further training in computer aided design or a similar programme. If any electrical work will need to be carried out as part of the bathroom job, the bathroom fitter would need to have a Part P qualification or you could bring in an electrician to do the work separately.
Should I choose a bath or shower?
Whether you choose to have a shower, bath, or both as part of your bathroom depends on your lifestyle. Showers are kinder to the environment, saving 10-25 gallons of water each time compared to a bath and lowering your water bills in the process. They’re also great for getting clean quickly.
Baths are better if you’re likely to want to unwind at the end of a long day or you have young children or plan on having children in the future. It’s much easier to bathe a child in a bath than have them sit on the floor of a shower cubicle. It’s also easier to wash a muddy dog.
There’s no reason why you can’t have the benefits of both a shower and a bath by choosing to have a shower bath (a shower over a bath) instead of a freestanding bath. Combining the two saves space and if you choose a P-shaped bath, it’ll be separated from the shower to give you more showering space. A good bathroom fitter will be able to advise you on how to make the most of your bathroom space so you’re not opening a shower door right beside a wall or toilet. Having both a bathroom and shower could also make your home more saleable if you’ll be considering a house move.
How to design a bathroom
A good bathroom design is about more than just the wall tiles. Below are some things you should consider:
- Creating enough storage space – to avoid the cluttered look, store products that you don’t need to hand in a unit and roll up extra towels in baskets.
- Choosing bathroom furniture - pick your bath, shower and other furniture according to the floor space that you have. A shower bath can be a way of combining a bath and shower if you’d like both.
- Quality of materials – avoid mould and other humidity issues by picking paint that’s designed for wet areas, wallpaper that has humidity protection and non-slippery flooring like vinyl tiles.
- Use tiles wisely – too many tiles can make a small room look smaller so consider the size of the room.
- Making it accessible - shower doors that can’t fully open without hitting a toilet is a common design mistake. Measure your space beforehand.
- Position of the toilet – the toilet is the least attractive part of a bathroom so avoid giving it too much of the spotlight by placing it centre-stage. Have it to the left or right of a room instead.
Planning permission for bathroom fitting jobs
Planning permission isn’t required to install a bathroom unless it’s part of a house extension. However, if you live in a listed building, you should contact your Local Planning Authority before carrying out any work as different rules may apply.
Building regulations for bathroom fitting jobs
You won’t need to make a building regulations application to refit a bathroom with new units and other fittings but any drainage or electrical work might require approval.
Any new WC that doesn’t have a window which you can open, or bath/shower room needs to have a mechanical extractor fan to reduce condensation and bad odours. The performance of the extractor fan is measured in litres per second (l/s) and should be:
- Bathroom - 15l/s with an additional 15-minute overrun (after the light is switched off) if you can’t open a window.
- WC - 6l/s with overrun.
Turning a room into a bathroom
If you’re making a room into a bathroom, you’ll need approval to make sure the room has good ventilation and drainage and meets electrical, fire safety and structural stability requirements. A structural engineer or surveyor can assess the floor and let you know if it needs to be strengthened. If it does, they’ll be able to produce the paperwork which you can include within your building control application.
You’ll also need to make a building control application if you’re adding internal walls to get approval for the ventilation you’ve planned.
Re-fitting a WC on the ground floor
From 1999, any new WC on the ground floor of a house needs to be wheelchair accessible. Any re-fitting to one of these WC’s may need to be run through Building Control to make sure it’s still classed as accessible.
Insurance for bathroom fitting work
There’s no legal requirement for window fitters or conservatory installers to have insurance but it’s a good idea for them to have public liability insurance to cover themselves against any potential property damage and personal injury claims.
Questions you should ask a bathroom fitter
- Do they have public liability insurance and what does this cover?
- How long have they been trading for?
- Do they have a Part P qualification to carry out electrical work?
- Can they show you examples of your previous work and references?
- Will there be drawings of the bathroom design and specifications?
- Will it be themselves carrying out all the work? If not, what experience does the person have and are they covered by insurance?
- Will they give a guarantee for the work and how long does that last?
See the latest questions that homeowners have been asking bathroom fitters.
Bathroom fitting ideas
Find out more about what makes a good bathroom design and find out how to save water in the bathroom. Discover how to design a family friendly bathroom and if you’d prefer your bathroom to have the look of a mini spa, Phil Spencer shares his tips for transforming the space.