Posted by: Fonte Dei Marmi | September 2, 2010

How to overcome the 7 most common bathroom design problems

Pressure – One of the most common pitfalls in bathroom design occurs with the wrong taps and showers being installed on incompatible water systems. There is a vast difference in available ranges between low (<1 bar) and high pressure (>=1 bar). Ensure you buy the correct brassware (taps and Shower) for the pressure in your home. London for example is now becomming a high pressure area so be careful not to buy taps because they are an attractive price, there may be a reason for it!

Pumps can be installed to increase pressure EXCEPT if you have a combination (‘combi’) boiler, which is a pumped system. As a rule you cannot install additional pumps as it will result in them fighting each other, resulting in no pressure just a problem! If you are replacing your boiler make sure you are getting the right system to give you the best pressure to every appliance throughout the property. A combi will pump water to a degree but you may be a long way from your boiler and have more bathrooms, this could result in the highest shower in the house being unable to work at sufficient pressure. So if possible look at the whole system even before buying a new boiler, it could be that a gravity system is the best solution with header tank and not a combi boiler. When it comes to pumps there is a lot to learn.

Noise – No-one wants to be woken up in the middle of the night by the flush of a toilet cistern. Even the quietest cisterns make a noise so try not to mount a WC against a wall adjoining a bedroom if you have a choice. Take into consideration noise from pumps and running water when deciding on your wall and floor coverings.

Pipes – Avoid moving the soil pipe externally as you will need to drill a very large hole through the masonry and will be left with an equally large hole to fill where the pipe used to be.

If you have concrete floors it is likely to be an expensive and messy job to move the pipework. Consider running pipes along the walls at low level. These can be concealed with timber boxing or behind storage units.

Shower enclosures – Installing a walk-in shower on a concrete floor will also need the floor to be chased out to conceal the waste water pipes and shower trap, so that the tray is at the same level as the floor.  Even though you can buy very shallow shower traps  it will still be a costly and expensive job.  An alternative is to raise the shower tray on up-stands or to build a framed & boarded platform; tile the platform and you could even add a couple of small LED lights to enhance its look.

Wall fixtures and weight – Before you set your heart on wall hung bathroom fittings make sure you know that the wall construction is able to accept the fittings and carry the weight. Similarly, if you envisage yourself languishing in a cast iron, roll-top bath with floor-to-ceiling travertine marble and heavy stone flooring, check that the construction of the property can withstand the weight.  Ask the advice of a builder or structural engineer and if there is any doubt choose lighter alternatives.

Renting – One of the biggest mistakes made by landlords is to use cheap and cheerful products that cost them dearly in the long run. You don’t have to buy expensive items, but make sure you buy robust  products which can withstand a hard time; tennants are not always the best at caring for a bathroom which is not their problem. We prefer British or European manufacturers with long guarantees, for which spare parts are usually readily available. 

Functionality – Your bathroom not only has to look great, but it has to work the way you need it too as well. Those lovely, sleek, minimalist taps looked great in the showroom but are no good if you’re not able to grip them with wet hands or if you have arthritis. The big rainshower, which in the advert showed someone basking in a stream of jetting water, may manage but a dribble in your top floor bathroom which will be a massive dissapointment.

The bath you want may well be large enough for a family of four, but takes half an hour to fill and if your living alone ask yourself is this practical for the size of the house. Also consider the water cost of filling that bath. Having a separate bath and shower in a small London bathroom will not work if you have to squeeze through the door which just about opens. Remember a shower can easily be incorperated into a bath.

Do not become disillusioned with your new bathroom; keep it simple, keep it practical and the design will follow. Also, simple designs mean less costly installation. We have lots to say about installtion issues into the future, so stay tuned.

In our next blog we will give you some top tips on preparing for the delivery and installation of your new bathroom.



  1. Oops – I have a freestanding, cast iron bath – it took four of us and some heavy rope to get it up the stairs. I have an old Victorian house with wood joist floors – I hope that one day I don’t find myself in my bath in the lounge below.

    Thanks for the good advice.

    Now, where did I put the number of a structural engineer.

    • i have a cast iron bath in a Edwardian house with wood joists floor. It’s been there since the house was built don’t worry no need for a structural ;-)) it wont end up in your kitchen. they are simply a work of art aren’t they 😉

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