Water is an essential part of any bathroom, and you obviously need pipes to bring that water into the room. However, pipes and other plumbing fixtures are hardly the most attractive addition to your bathroom, and most people who have exposed pipework would unsurprisingly prefer to hide everything away. There are various ways of doing this, ranging from the budget options to more expensive projects.
Let’s delve straight into the different ways of hiding bathroom plumbing.
Boxing in Pipework
If you haven’t the budget to rip out all existing fixtures and replace them with items that have concealed pipework, then boxing in your existing pipes can be a good option. If you have basic carpentry skills and tools, it is something you can do yourself, without ever having to get a joiner in to do the job. You will need tools such as measuring tape, nails, hammer and a saw, as well as pieces of wood to make the box shape.
This is a great way to hide the pipes if they are running along the floor at a low level, and the box you create can be used to form a low shelf. Once it is painted to match the rest of the paintwork or the wall colour, the pipes will also be a lot less noticeable. If boxing in pipes seems too complicated, even just painting the pipes with the same paint as the walls can make them blend in more.
Old fashioned toilets or baths often had exposed pipework, especially in Victorian or older houses that were originally built without a bathroom. If the pipes running from your toilet or sink are very obvious, there are new products on the market which will hide some of the pipes completely. Many of these items feature boxed in storage around the pipe which takes sink waste away, or has a slim line design such as a cistern which is integrated with the toilet.
Sometimes updating your bathroom with modern fixtures and fittings can be enough of a new look in the room to make the pipes less noticeable. Cost will very much depend on the type of new sink unit or toilet you choose, but costs average around £600 for buying the items and getting them fitted by a plumber.
If you have pipes running around the walls which are not suitable for boxing in, and if you don’t like the idea of major building work, then it can be possible to hide the pipes by building another plasterboard wall in front of the existing wall. If you have a particularly large bathroom, which is often the case in older properties, then this can be a cost effective option.
A builder will be needed to construct the walls, and then a plumber to move the toilet or sink so that they fit neatly onto the new walls. If you are having electrical work done, such as having new lights or an electric shower fitted, remember that electricians require special qualifications to carry out work in bathrooms. Make sure you get several quotes for having the work done, and weigh up this option against the other options before deciding to go ahead.
Hiding Pipes in the Wall
The final and, sadly, most expensive option is hiding the pipes completely by sinking them into the wall or under the floor. This is the way that new properties are built, but it can be a pricey option to retro-fit into a house. It is still something worth considering if you are building an extension with a new bathroom, or planning on rearranging your bathroom anyway. A little bit more disruption with ripping the floor up or digging channels in the walls is going to cost a little more, but will make a huge difference in the long run.
If you want to hide the pipes without replacing the sink and bath, then it is possible to get a builder to move the pipes around anyway, but it will mean you are without the use of the bathroom for several days, and there will be other work such as plastering and decorating that needs to be done after the pipes have been moved. If you only have one bathroom in the house, you may have to accept that you have to move out while the work is done.