This bathroom, while complex, was actually quite kind to us. Of course the ceiling was sloped massively, of course none of the corners were square, of course the floor was uneven and sloped but that’s expected with UK houses. The customer wanted to choose all the design elements, tile, suite, furniture etc, so on this project we were just the muscle. We initially came up with a plan and got cracking however once we’d removed the toilet and sink units we realised we could ‘probably’ sink all the pipes into the floor cavity and do away with any boxing in.
If you’ve read any of our other content I’ve mentioned our attitude towards costs and us earning less in order to give you a better deal. This project is a really good example of what I mean. So the project was quoted at £4k labour only. When we discovered that we could potentially hide all the pipework or that the pipe work from the mains tank needed replacing – the price didn’t change. My promise to the customer was “For £4,000 labour, I am happy to give you the bathroom of your dreams” no matter if that took 2 weeks or 4. I knew there could be no design that would take longer. As a consumer myself I find it frustrating when work starts and then the price increases because something wasn’t spotted, or someone has a great idea half way through. I get why tradesmen do it (profit) but my ethos is quote to do the job, then do the job. Unless you’re creating mega detailed plans then how can you account for every bell or whistle that might pop up? The creation process should be more fluid, especially for bigger jobs. Anyway, back to the bathroom.
° Every surface and wall wasn’t level, plumb or square.
° The ceiling contained asbestos.
° The 60 x 60 tiles were pretty heavy.
° The bathroom had no electricity and only one small window, so lighting was poor at times.
Demolition went well. We did have a skip which makes everything so much easier although we did discover a boiler condensate pipe (see image below) attached to the waste pipe (incorrectly). The customer wanted the basin on the wall without the window so she could have a large mirror vanity unit which meant this needed resolving if we were to hide all pipes. The floor, while old, was in good shape so we decided to overboard prior to waterproofing rather than replace. I love how a room feels once demo is complete and everything has been cleaned.
With everything out of the way, all the new plumbing was added along with multiple isolation valves for futureproofing. It had none previously so we had to keep draining down the customers water tanks which was a hassle. Everything was measured, double and triple checked and the area under the new shower was reinforced although I seem to be missing a few photos, then the entire floor was over-boarded with marine grade OSB. We always, always use a flexible membrane underneath our tile when tiling over wood substrates. If ever you see a tiler doing otherwise, please challenge them. As wood expands and contracts it will shatter the grout which will lead to cracks and leaks, not cool! Not only does this flexible underlayer stop tiles from moving, it’s also 100% waterproof AND is cemented down creating a third waterproof layer before you’ve even thought about laying a tile.
Tiling, while I love it, is actually quite difficult, mainly because nothing is ever straight. While there are methods to address this, if you aware that your bathroom has some funky angles, please give a lot of thanks to your tiler once he or she has finished because I can guarantee it took a lot of skill to resolve and still look awesome. A laser is a must. I tiled for years telling other tilers I didn’t need one, using a spirit level for all my work until I finally bought one. Now I look for every opportunity to break out the toys and it’s made tiling 100% easier.
Just in case any pro’s are watching. I always tile my floors first so my wall tile drips onto tile, rather than down the wall joint. In the picture below, this wall is tiled purely because I had to tile in all my shower fittings so the mains water could be reconnected once and for all.
And from there the rest is history. I’m a huge believer in attention to detail and while this sounds like a cliché, I treat every job as if it was in my own home. The reward and satisfaction I get when a line is perfect, when something just is… ooh cherry, is amazing. In contrast, when I mess something up (which occasionally happens) I simply cannot leave it as ‘that will do’. I’ve lost a lot of money and time correcting work that doesn’t meet my very high standards.
I have some great design ideas for people looking for something a little different including my Sci-Fi loading bay, tropical stone paradise and more!