In many semi detached houses there is often a separate WC & bathroom at the top of the stairs separated by a thin (non load bearing) blockwork wall.These 2 rooms can be left separate as in this example or knocked through to make one large bathroom as in this case study below.
Whether you decide to remove the separating wall to combine the 2 rooms into 1, or leave them separate, is mainly a matter of personal preference.
Please check whether the wall you want to remove is non load bearing before removing it, and get any necessary permissions before carrying out any building work.
PS If you are removing tiles from both rooms you may end up de-stabilising the wall, making it necessary to rebuild the wall anyway, especially if it is made of very large, thin blocks not tied into the external wall etc.
In this example, it was decided that the toilet & bathroom would be combined into one large room containing a toilet, basin, shower & separate shower enclosure.
Work carried out
Initially the existing bathroom was ripped out which involved:
- removing the existing suite as shown above.
- Knocking down the (non supporting) wall between the WC & bathroom & the studwork for the 2 x doorframes that would later be combined into the single entry point into the room.
The airing cupboard was now defunct (other than for storage) as the hot water cylinder had been previously removed when a combi boiler was installed. It was removed to make space for the new shower enclosure, and all electrical cables were re-routed and capped off where needed. All pipework was re-routed as necessary.
Once all the wall tiles were removed it was clear that the render beneath was blown (i.e. not bonded to the blockwork behind) so this was removed and the room was stripped ‘back to brick’ on the 2 x external walls to ensure the tiled wall installation would last.
The walls were then reboarded with plasterboard to give a flat surface to tile onto.
As the walls were to be fully tiled, there was no need to skim the boards prior to tiling.
Not skimming the boards before tiling is quicker, cheaper and plasterboard can support heavier tiles than a plaster skim on top, so you have greater flexibility in tile choice.
As the customer was living at the property during the renovation (and there was no other toilet in the house) a temporary toilet was rigged up as shown above.
New studwork was constructed, insulated and boarded once 1st fix electrical cables were run (in this case light switches and an extractor fan isolator switch above the door.)
A new door frame and door were also fitted.
In the background, you can see that the wet areas around the bath & shower enclosure have been tanked prior to tiling to ensure a long lasting, watertight installation.
Next all the 1st fix plumbing was completed, running supply pipework to the bath taps, shower valve, toilet and new radiator position.
Also, waste pipework was run at this time and the bath was installed prior to wall tiling beginning.
Travertine effect, large format ceramic tiles were used to tile the walls from floor to ceiling.
Here you can see the doorway into the new space made by knocking the 2 rooms into 1.
You can see on the ceiling where the walls were previously.
The shower tray was left unfitted until the majority of wall tiling above had been completed to minimise the risk of damaging it during tiling (not always possible in the bathroom installation sequence.)
Above you can also see that the floorboards have been covered with hardboard, prior to fitting the sheet vinyl floor to avoid tramlines forming.
I tend to fit all tiles ‘above the baton’ prior to fitting the flooring (whether vinyl or tile) to limit the time when it could be damaged.
After fitting the floor covering (again, vinyl or tile) I then finish the wall tiles down onto the floor for a neat finish.
The ceiling is prepared and skimmed (plastered) before the top row of wall tiles are fitted as this gives the neatest finish (this could have been done prior to tiling beginning.)
P.S. IP rated, bathroom specific spotlights were wired prior to plastering.
After the wall tiles are fitted, the window reveals are tiled and then the whole room is grouted in one go.
Colour co-ordinated silicone & grout are used to match the tile trims.
The shower enclosure is then installed, as well as the shower valve with the help of a fixing kit.
PS In the 2 pictures above you will see that the protective plastic covering is left on the bath & shower tray until the latest possible moment to limit potential damage.
This shower tray was mounted on a riser kit (rather than flat on the floor) to allow the waste to flow away above floor level (to suit the house’s existing drainage.)
The sheet vinyl flooring was then laid, and the door, architrave & ceiling were then painted & decorated.
The radiator was then hung in its new position.
All wall / floor & wall / ceiling junctions were sealed with silicone.
The bath panels were then fitted to a framework built under the bath.
This combined WC & basin unit was then fitted, and all pipework connected.
PS The original wall that separated the toilet room from the bathroom ran down through the middle of this unit (so the basin & toilet are in approximately the same position as before but without a wall between them – this saved a lot of money.)
This particular unit consists of a basin vanity unit (for storage) next to a WC unit which contains a concealed cistern, on top of which a single basin sits across both units below.
This bathroom installation involved the application of many trades (all managed by a single project manager):
- Labouring (ripping out the old suite)
- Tiling (all walls)
- Electrical work (extractor fan, ceiling spotlights, removing old cylinder wiring)
- Joinery (studwork)
- Plastering (ceiling & new studwork)
- Decorating (painting new plastering)
- Vinyl floor fitting
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