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Cost of Installing a New Bathroom

A guide of the process of hiring a tradesman to install a new bathroom, including the costs of labour and materials.

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This article details the installation of a whole bathroom suite and examines the work that goes into carrying out this sizable task. While this can be a large, costly, and relatively lengthy job to carry out, it is seen as highly advantageous since it not only makes everyday life more comfortable, but can also add more than its cost the overall value of the property.

While it is possible to simply replace parts of the bathroom suite, there is little more satisfying than having the whole suite replaced in one go, and without having to pay a great amount more.

The costs of a new bathroom suite

Based on average costs charged by contractors and materials purchased from normal building and equipment outlets, the cost to renovate an average-sized family bathroom would be in the range of £3,200 to £4,000. This price would see replacement of a three-piece bathroom suite (toilet, bath & sink) with the addition of a shower and shower screen to the bath, wall and floor tiling, ceiling lighting, decorating, electricals, and waste disposal. It would also cover the fitting of ancillary items such as mirrors and towel rails.

However, this is based on standard equipment and it would be easy to increase this cost to almost £10,000 by using luxury items.

What installing a new bathroom entails

Replacement of an entire bathroom suite will require the removal of the old suite, the making good of the walls, floors and possibly even ceiling. Additionally, once many customers have made the decision to change their entire suite, they also typically decide to move or upgrade the main items to meet their own needs and desires. This would then also mean moving of the plumping elements and drainage, as well as radiator points and even electrical parts such as lighting, switches, and low voltage shaver points to match the new layout.

Much of this work is covered by regulations and will have to be signed off by professionals before it can be used. This means that the work has to be carried out by an accredited tradesperson in order to ensure that it complies with the current requirements. It also means that the actual cost of doing this kind of work will be significantly higher than work which does not need a tradesperson to do it. The cost of the sign off will also need to be added to the overall cost of fitting a whole suite.

Other tradesman that may be needed

If you decide that you do want to have an entirely new bathroom suite, it may also be the best time to tackle other jobs in the bathroom that you have put off until the you decide to replace the whole suite, such as enlarging windows, changing central lighting for selected spotlighting, and adding or moving radiators.

Because the fitting of a whole new suite is usually expected to take a bathroom back to first its principles – effectively a room with a number of service points - carrying out other work at the same time makes sound economic and practical sense, and will leave you with the bathroom that you always wanted rather than a halfway house.

General advice for bathroom installations

Installing a new bathroom suite and having an extension added are two of the most detailed and complex jobs that a homeowner can expect to carry out on their property, so that generally means that it will come at a higher cost than other, lesser, building work, and it is expedient to get at least three quotes to carry out the work. These quotes should cover, the cost of doing all of the work – from removing the old suite, to moving any fittings that need repositioning, to fitting the new suite and making good any work – and should include the cost of bringing in other experts (such as qualified electricians) to make sure that all the work is completed to a high standard. The quote should also include the supply of the new suite, to your specifications, as well as fitting it, and the proper disposal of the old suite.

If you have experience in tiling, you may decide that this big and costly job is something that you want to do instead, saving yourself a substantial amount of money. Similarly, you may feel comfortable with doing the painting to a good standard and can elect to do that instead of the contractor. Either way, you could end up saving a good deal of money in this way.

Potential Issues

Changing your bathroom may seem fairly easy, but once parts are cleared out to make way for new equipment, a number of previously hidden issues may come to light. With flooring removed, you may find that the general condition of the floorboards may not be as good as hoped and remedial action needs to be taken to repair them. Similarly, once the walls are stripped, there is usually repair work that needs to be carried out on the plaster behind and can range from the filling of gouges and scratches to the entire re-plastering of a wall.

Unfortunately, wall plaster can suffer over time in a damp environment like a bathroom, with steam usually being a problem. While a little water seepage can cause damage by slowly softening the plaster itself, if the wall is saturated with water – such as in the presence of regular steam - the wooden lath behind the plaster will absorb water and begin to expand. As it expands, it pushes outward and can cause the wall to crack and weaken, and you will typically have to replace the wall!

Exposing the drainage system can also bring up issues that need rectifying before the work can be completed, leading to an extension of the work, and increased costs. Interfering with the ceiling and walls in older properties may expose dangerous asbestos sheets or wool, which will need specialist removal and treatment, significantly increasing the cost of the whole project. Materials such as this will need to be disposed of at specialist facilities, and at your cost.

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Sam J

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