We always are looking at the different ways to improve the space within a bathroom and in this article we will concentrate on the actual steps to improve our bathroom. We will analyze the best modus operandi to obtain maximum benefits with the least expenditure.
The bathroom is probably the room less subject to reforms, despite the continuous use that is made of. In fact, it is estimated that plumbing may be in optimum conditions an average of 25 to 30 years, or even longer. But changes of owner or aesthetic reasons may precipitate a reforms, in older dwellings could even include replacing old pipes, normally lead a harmful material to health and sensitive to water pressures by others such as copper or plastics.
You do not always may require a complete modification of the bathroom, a simple change of sanitary pieces may be sufficient. But when a complete reform is required the work may be expensive, because it requires the work of several building trades: plumber, electrician, plasterer and painter. The sanitary pieces could vary quite a lot in prices those which are not cheap, are designed so that they endure the passage of time and use, so the quality is always high. Therefore, to request a quote to rehab a bathroom completely to include total change of ceramic, sanitary, piping, and therefore, painting and finishing, should not surprise us that the total figure could approach the 6,000€.
If you are considering restore the bathroom, first you should carefully reflect on the real needs for that change. A renewal of sanitary equipment and taps may be the solution when all pipes and walls are in relatively good conditions. The bathroom will look like new and in addition the job can be done in a couple of days so that the family routine will not be distressed.
Talking about prices
If we talk about prices, a first quality but simple hand basin, bidet and toilet could cost around 600€, although prices for best designed pieces could go up tremendously. A clear example of this is the bathtub. You can find them for less than 300€, but any that includes massages, air or water jets and even a radio, a CD player and telephone, exceeds the 1,800€ mark. With respect to the water taps, it is advisable to invest in these pieces because they are mechanical pieces used and obviously exposed to break downs. Heavy duty taps can start from 70€.
Normally bids are obtained from local builders and once a bid is accepted the budget, takes into account the hours of work of each of the trades, the job is done according to the accepted design and normally you can select personally the materials to be placed. A square meter of tiles costs not less than 15€ per square meter, but certainly is the element that most defines the decoration of the bathroom and the alternatives are ample in the market, foreign extravagances, catalogues include ceramics up to 120€ per square meter.
To modify the existing bathroom layout it is imperative to know the down pipe distribution, to avoid nasty surprises. Houses with two bathrooms or more should estimate the possibility to work simultaneously on all at the same time, since the work of the different trades will be cheaper, although doubling the cost of the materials.
Good planning could save lots of money
In any case before you jump into it is advisable to plan well ahead the different trades.
First come in the general builder to demolish the existing tiles and prepare floor and walls. The electrician and the plumber, take the reins afterwards. If there are last minute changes on the layouts, it is preferable to notify these two professionals before they begin their task, any change in the layout may imply changes in the electrical and plumbing layout although there is time until the builder comes in to lay the tiles, I strongly advise that before you begin the reform you should have a very clear idea about the position of sanitary equipments, plugs and switches and any plumbing position. Any changes once work has started, implies a waste of time and money.
For safety reasons, the plugs must be at a minimum distance from any water outlet. There is a little plan that can be obtained from the ITC-BT-27 Spanish regulation where it shows the different distances that can be allowed between electrical switches or power points and the different sanitary pieces.
In terms of plumbing, in the majority of the houses bathrooms are individually owned and therefore it is not necessary to inform the community about it. Anyway, any plumbing work could originate some risks of unexpected leaks, especially in older homes, therefore it is advisable to have controlled over the main water tap of the house to shut it down in case of an emergency.
Once the room is prepared, the builder will tile the walls and the floor and, finally, comes the turn of the installation of sanitary ware and faucets. If you have opted to select specially made sanitary pieces, usually you should take into account more than one month for delivery.
The last dilemma… bathtub or shower?
In a recent study on social habits concluded that 92% of the Spanish people prefer to take a shower to take a bath, but this is not so with the expats. Brits prefer the old tub to the shower, however when we get old and we all do…it is more accessible a shower than a bathtub. Showers also offer some advantages: take up less space, it is easier to access them (fundamental for people with reduced mobility) and there are less domestic accidents in them.
The environmental factor also counts: if a good use is made of a shower, i.e. we do not take more time under the shower than the time strictly necessary, great saving of water is achieved against to a bath. It is true however, that there is nothing more relaxing than a long hot bath after a long hard working day. The choice is yours.