Adding an en suite and / or a downstairs toilet is often a great way to make your house more liveable and sellable.
They make your house more practical when family life gets a bit frantic.
Also, a well-designed en suite (on its own) could add 5% onto the value of to a property according to Nationwide Building Society, so can be seen as an investment rather than an expense.
But more importantly, a new en suite can make your life better during your tenure of the property, maybe by reducing stressful morning routines, or by giving you your own bathing space separate from the kids.
Downstairs toilets are useful when you just don’t want to have to trek upstairs to the family bathroom to use the loo, or for when guests pop round for a quick cuppa and need to use the facilities.
We also install lots of downstairs loos for people future proofing their house I.e. for people who do not find climbing the stairs as easy as they used to.
Please see here to see how we could help you.
Case Study (an example of our work)
This case study details how we designed, planned and then installed an en suite & cloakroom in Leeds, with everything taken care of from start to finish:
- Free site survey to assess feasibility of plans
- Free itemised, written quotation & plans for submission to the council as required
- Installing the en suite & cloakroom, which consisted of the following trades:
- building work – for knocking through a new doorway into the downstairs WC under the stairs.
- joinery – for building new stud walls, hanging doors & fitting skirting / architrave etc
- wall & floor tiling
- electrics (lighting, electric towel radiator & extractor fan in this example
- PLUS – liaising with building control throughout the process to ensure everything gets signed off
Essentially, everything you need from start to finish, all starting with a free site survey through to the project managed installation.
We followed a detailed schedule of works so that all our work went as planned and that nothing was done on the fly without our customers consent.
Here’s some things you may need to consider (when adding an en suite or downstairs cloakroom) as we go through our case study:
To add an en suite or downstairs loo you shouldn’t need to apply for planning permission but you should apply for building regulations approval from the local council.
This will ensure that any new electrical wiring, windows, ventilation or drainage all comply with building regulations (though many electricians self certify their work).
At the end of the work you will be issued with a completion certificate which you may need when you come to sell your house.
The existing plumbing & the space available will be the main factors in determining whether you can have an en-suite & downstairs loo, but there are other factors such as lighting and ventilation that should also be considered.
I’ll show how these applied to the en suite in this instance:
- Running hot & cold supply pipework to the shower, toilet & basin etc
In this example, hot and cold pipes had to be run from underneith the bath in the house bathroom:
…..behind the WC next door and up the corner of the room into the en suite above on the top floor:
……before being run under the floor in the en suite (but we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.)
- Running waste water away from the toilet, shower, basin etc to the drains outside the house.
This is often THE biggest stumbling block as waste water needs to run downhill (in a fairly straight line) to the nearest soil stack which is normally on the outside of the house.
Pipe runs need to be planned WAY in advance of commencing the work, and is something we can advise you on during our free site survey.
In this instance, the existing external drainage pipework was located in an ideal position and adding the en suite & cloakroom was very easy to do as a result.
We had to replace / extend the existing soil vent pipe to make all the necessary new connections……
- As we elected to install an electric radiator in the en suite and none in the cloakroom, there was no need to run / extend central heating pipework.
You can only add an en-suite or downstairs toilet if you have space, and the downstairs loo in this project was the biggest challenge in terms of making the space work without feeling cramped.
The space was only 1.1m x 1.1m, and part of this small footprint was taken up by all the utilities under the window!
We utilised this small space in the best way possible by using our extensive installation experience and design knowledge by:
- planning a sensible layout with regards to the space available & where people entered it.
- ensuring the door opened outwards into the hall to ensure nothing clashed when opened.
- changing the kitchen door to a sliding door in the kitchen rather than a hinged door in the hall to avoid interference with the new cloakroom door.
- sourcing & installing a petite corner basin to maximise space in the room.
- relocating all the utilities into the smallest possible area under the window to maximise the available space.
- using a short projection close coupled toilet to limit its projection out into the room.
The en suite was less ‘problematic’ in that it was a decent enough size: approximately 1m x 3.6m, though we chose to make it 1m x 2.8m in the end, as the low head height of the eaves was not really useable.
The minimum space required for an en suite consisting of a shower enclosure, basin and toilet is approximately 0.8m x 1.8m.
Please see here for a small en suite example.
The available space:
Studwork was erected to define the space.
We chose to make the room the full width of the shower tray (1m).
Elecrical cabling was then run in the studwork and ceiling for the ceiling & alcove lighting, extractor fan, shaver point (for charging electric toothbrushes) and electric radiator.
All studwork was then insulated (to improve sound insulation to aid privacy) and plasterboarded ready for plastering.
You can start to see how we’ve made a shelf in the shower to store all the shampoo bottles etc that invariably end up on the shower tray otherwise.
We’ve also started to level out the uneven, wonky wooden beam that cuts across the shower (by boarding it out level.)
Plumbing work was also undertaken at this time to run vital pipework to and from the shower, basin & toilet:
Here you can see then we’ve installed a metal wall hung toilet frame that can 400kg of weight, so no worries about the toilet ‘falling off the wall’.
Next, the room was plastered, both within the en suite :
….& on the bedroom side:
Part of the shower area was left unplastered, as this area was to be specially prepared for tiling.
PS You can see how we have plastered the ceiling to make it completely level at this point.
The shower tray was then installed as well as the shower valve pipework, and we tanked this area prior to tiling to ensure a watertight installation.
The walls and ceiling were then sealed & painted by the customer to save a bit of money….
The floor and the walls in the shower were then tiled and grouted before the wall hung basin & shower enclosure were fitted.
We chose to add a small storage alcove accessed off the bedroom (underneath the shower shelf) to provide additional storage space in the otherwise un-useable eaves.
2nd fix joinery was carried out which involved fitting the door, skirting & architrave, as well as quite a few other bits & bobs.
The finished shower area
The finished view from the bedroom
WC & Basin:
We blocked up the old doorway from the kitchen into the pantry, and ran all hot & cold pipework under the floor into the room from the nearby kitchen sink.
This was possible thanks to a trap door in the floor to the crawl space below.
We installed a new doorway into the space by knocking through the wall under the stairs (off the hallway.)
We then re-hung the existing kitchen door on a sliding mechanism so that these two doors wouldn’t clash.
Within the room itself, we re-plastered all of the walls.
Then we had some work to do in containing all of the utilities: the fuse box, mains water stop tap, water meter and a load of cabling if they weren’t to overtake the room.
Whilst running new pipework and cabling as required for the new lighting & fan, we installed some custom made joinery to hide all of the utilities, whilst still granting access by means of a removable panel.
This would enable the fuse box and the electricity meter to be easily accessible.
We cut a neat small hole under the access panel to enable the stop tap to be turned off quickly in the event of a leak.
We also boxed in the waste pipe from the toilet, and prepared & tiled the floor.
Lastly, we installed the glass mosaic splashback and skirting boards, and our customer did an excellent job with the painting.
The view into the downstairs loo from the hall:
The new downstairs WC:
The corner basin:
Project managed en suite & downstairs loo installation in Leeds from start to finish with all the bits in between taken care of:
- No having to find a joiner, plumber, then a tiler, a separate electrician, oh and also a plasterer / scaffolding company…..
- No having to manage & communicate with all these trades to bring your plan to fruition.
- Ability to pick suite items from a local showroom (for personal choice without overwhelm)
- House left neat & tidy on completion
If you have any questions or thoughts about this article or any others, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.
Thanks for reading
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