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Clean up by doing plumb job; Replacing a bathroom suite Fit your own WC and don't splash out.

Byline: Donny Sheridan

If there is one room in the house that is often overlooked, it is the bathroom.

People go years without decorating or even sprucing it up - and once you start to let it get out of hand, it doesn't take long before the room really looks awful.

The list of problems are endless - mould forms in corners and around silicone sealant, condensation ruins wallpaper, taps leak and streak, grout darkens and tiles form a film of grime. Not to mention my pet hate - a wonky toilet seat that does not stay up and moves when you sit on it.

So why put up with this? It is the one room everyone - including visitors - will use.

It can't be kept out of sight, unlike a messy bedroom where the door can be closed to hide the awful truth.

A new bathroom suite will help to sell a home but it should be enjoyed when you are living in the house. Why wait? Modern homes tend to have large family bathrooms where you can change the layout while older properties, such as tenements, have small bathrooms, which can't be repositioned but can be replaced.

It is expensive to move the suite to a new position as this involves re-routing water supply and waste pipes. But if you keep the pipes in the same position, you can fit it yourself. A new suite could cost as little as pounds 199 from Wholesale Domestic. Phone 0141 882 7774 or log on to So you don't have to break the bank. If you are not entirely confident in what you are doing, hire a plumber to double-check your pipes and carry out alterations.

But once your pipes are in place, you can fit the rest of the suite yourself.

Here's what you'll need..


Adjustable spanner

Crosshead screwdriver

Spirit level



Pipe cutter


Drill bits


Tile cutter

Adhesive trowel

Rubber grouter



Diamond core bits



Bath suite




Flexible tap connectors

Push fit tap connector

Length of 15mm pipe


Waste pipe


3inx2in timber

Cement-based board






step by step guide

Turn off the water supply before removing the existing suite or tiles. Open the taps to drain water from the pipes and flush the cistern to empty it. Place a basin under the traps to collect spills. Disconnect/cut the supply pipework and remove the suite. Removing tiles will damage the walls so have a plasterer handy to skim over the walls.


Before the new suite can be fitted, the walls and floor need to be tiled. I built my own bath panel and tiled it to match the floor and wall. This saved money on buying bath side panels.

1 Measure the bath length, height and width then build a simple timber frame using 3inx2in CLS timber to house it.

2 Line the frame with Hardiebacker cement-based board - which is waterproof - leaving a hatch to allow access to the pipework and drainage and adjustments to the bath's feet.

3 Tile the bath panel. I tiled it to match the other tiles in the room but this is not a written rule.

4 Continue to tile the rest of the walls and floor. This will allow the new basin and WC to sit on top of the tiles - because it is almost impossible to tile around a WC.


Most modern baths are assembled in the same way but read the instructions as there are always slight differences between designs. You will need a helper to prevent the bath being scratched.

5 Fix the legs to the bath. Fix overflow pipe to the overflow holes, screwing the outlet to the back nut. Fix the waste trap below the plughole to the waste pipe. Doublecheck them all.

6 Fit the taps through the pre-drilled holes to suit the choice of taps. Use an adjustable spanner to tighten the washers and nuts. Finally, fit the flexible tap connectors.

7 Ask someone to help you lift the bath into position and make sure it sits within the frame. Use a spirit level to check the bath is level.

8 Nine times out of 10 the feet will need to be adjusted to ensure the bath is completely level. Adjust the feet to the level of the bath, checking the spirit level.

9 Adjust the flexible tap connectors if required before connecting to the supply pipes. Tile the access hatch in the side panel and screw it on at the corners. Screw heads should be visible through the tiles so the hatch be moved. Seal joint between the bath and tiles with silicone.

Wash-hand basin

I opted for a wall-hung basin. The wall was cut out when the tiles were removed and the pipework set back in the cavity. Or you could build a frame over the pipes and tiling. Timber studs were put in the partition to make a frame to support the brackets.

10 Use diamond core bits to cut holes in the tiles for the pipework. I got access behind the partition to make a connection. You might need to cut the hole before fixing the tile and passing it over the waste.

11 Assemble the sink, fitting the taps and brackets the same way as the bath and following instructions. Hold the sink level and at the correct height against the wall. Get a helper to mark the screw position through the holes in the brackets.

12 Drill the holes for the screws and use the right fixings, such as coach bolts, to secure the sink to its supporting frame behind the tiles.

13 Fit the waste outlet into the bottom of the basin, making sure all washers are in place to form a watertight seal. Connect the trap and join it to the waste pipe. Finally, connect the water supply.


There are a few designs out there - high-level cistern, low-level cistern, close-coupled cistern and concealed cistern - and they all do the same thing. The most common toilet is probably the close-coupled cistern. As always, follow the instructions.

14 Fit the fill valve (water inlet pipe) inside the cistern, making sure rubber washer is in place. Tighten the lock nut and fit the fixing bolts.

15 Insert flush valve again, making sure the rubber seal is inside the cistern. Tighten the locking nut to the threaded section at the base of the cistern.

16 Place the donut-shaped rubber gasket on to the flush outlet on the toilet pan. Nest the cistern on to the pan, tightening the wing nuts to the underside of the fixing bolts.

17 Join pan to the soil pipe using a soil-pipe connector. Push it firmly into the soil pipe. Mark the position of the pan's fixing holes to the floor and drill holes in to the tiles. Make sure the plastic screw protectors are in place and screw the pan to the floor.

18 Use a push-fit tap connector to join the cold water supply to the cistern and turn on the water.

Top Tip

There are many ways to connect pipework together using compression joints, push-fit joints, grab-rings and metal to plastic glue as well as solvents and solder. Your plumbing merchant will be able to supply you with what you need to suit your type of connection.


Donny is delighted he has somewhere nice to wash up after all his hard work; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 22, 2009
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