An ugly, dated or barely functioning bathroom or shower room can make home life miserable, so how can you improve yours? Asks Julia Gray.
l. If the bathroom suite’s fine, changing the tiles may be all that’s needed to give the room a great new look.
The easiest and quickest way to remove tiles (and plaster or render) is with an SDS drill and chisel attachment – try the Erbauer ERB654SDS Corded SDS Plus Drill (E74.99, Screwfix), which is lightweight enough to hold for long periods but has plenty of power (800W).
If you’re re-tiling yourself, an electric tile cutter is essential – the Erbauer ERB337TCB 75oW Tile Cutter (E89.99, Screwfix) is excellent.
Water-cooled diamond-blade tile cutters like this can be messy (use them outside if you can) because the water sprays, but they do make cutting tiles easy – the Erbauer ERB337TC has a laser line for accuracy.
2. A budget way to make over tiles is to paint them, although it can look odd to have the tiles and grout the same colour (unless they’re white).
Use a specialist primer and a tile paint or conventional wood/metal paint for the top-coat.
Painting the walls a different colour is another quick and easy way to give the room a new look.
Special kitchen and bath-room emulsions are designed to withstand things like steam and mould. You should never apply paint in wet, damp or steamy conditions, so if you’ve only got one bathroom and want to redecorate it, ventilate it well before starting to paint.
3. Perhaps you fancy turning your shower room into a wet room?
This is typically a water-proof room where there’s a shower but no shower tray or enclosure, so the whole room effectively becomes the enclosure.
Creating a wet room may work in a really small space, but a wall-to-wall shower tray and a fixed glass screen, produce a similar look for less money, and there’s no danger of soggy towels or toilet paper.
4. It’s advisable to consult a good plumber before making any-thing more than cosmetic changes to your bathroom or shower room, as there may be issues you hadn’t thought of.
It’s easy to unwittingly buy a shower or tap, for example, that’s not suitable for your home, although some manufacturers make it easy, so as long as you know which system/ boiler your home has, choosing one is simple.
Updating your bathroom may enable you to benefit from new technology like digital showers, which can be controlled from a remote control (and often an app too) and let you pre-set personal preferences to get the same showering experience every time.
Digital showers can also save water – if a member of your household spends too long in the shower, you could set their shower to shut off after a certain time!
5. You may also want to ask a plumber/ heating engineer or builder about im-proving the room’s heating.
With the weather getting colder now autumn’s here, underfloor heating (wet or electric) is a luxurious addition to a bathroom or shower room, although it can be disruptive to retrofit.
A heated towel rail (or radiator) is needed for drying/ warming towels, but many models are quite small, which can make it difficult to dry wet towels properly and to heat a larger room.
Really tall models are relatively rare, but are a great addition to a bathroom or shower room, both practically and aesthetically.