Getting to Grips with DIY Plumbing

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Have you ever considered designing your own bathroom and undertaking some DIY plumbing? Many people choose to indulge in a home plumbing project however it goes without saying that it’s important to have a plan of action and know what you’re doing. There is more to bathroom design than picking out a designer bathroom furniture and a posh bath!

Choosing how your new utilities fit into the space allocated is vital to many would-be designers, besides deciding upon a preferred style or colour scheme.

American architect and Professor Alexander Kira questioned conventional bathroom design in his seminal work, The Bathroom, published in 1976. Challenging purely functional and utilitarian bathroom design, Kira was keen to break away from standard design features and created his own ideas of how a bathroom should look and what it should contain, including a unisex urinal!

Whatever design principles you choose to follow, whether they be standard or more ergonomically unique, installing your own bath and dealing with plumbing matters requires some basic groundwork.

DIY Plumbing and Maintenance

If you want to fit a new bath, shower, sink or taps, there are now more resources than ever available to help DIY novices complete a professional job.

Understanding the maintenance requirements of the various plumbing components within a bathroom is essential to avoiding future problems.

These include but are not limited to: taps and valves, supply pipes, storage tanks and waste pipes. All of these need to be regularly checked and maintained to prevent leaks usually caused by a gradual deterioration in their condition.

Installing a New Bath

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With all of these components in good order, you can then set about installing bath or shower units. When installing a new bath, if you are moving it to a new position, you will have to ensure pipework is altered to reflect this.

If any new pipework is required, you will need to plan for this as well as measure the bath and determine where you need to position pipes for bath waste. New supply pipes may also be required to connect to the flexible pipes attached to the bath taps.

Before setting the bath in its permanent position, fit taps, waste and overflow as this is extremely difficult once the unit is in place. Detailed diagrams and instructions on fitting gaskets and mixers are now available online.

The ‘waste’ refers to the plughole that removes bath water whereas the overflow prevents the bath from flooding if the taps are left running. There are two types of combined waste-and-overflow units: a compression unit and a banjo unit. There are minor differences in the way these are fitted; however, advice is readily available.
With the aid of a spirit level, check that the bath is level and not in a slanted position; it’s also important to support the bath and spread its weight using either plywood underneath its legs (if it has them) or place two boards underneath to distribute its weight over a greater area.

The final stage of installing your new bath involves sealing the unit to the adjacent walls using a waterproof solution. This is an essential step as it prevents damp occurring later on. Ensure surfaces are dust and grease free before applying a high quality silicone mastic sealant. Again, advice on application is widely accessible.
Installing a bath unit is just one of the plumbing jobs you can complete by yourself with the relevant information and advice easily available. Choosing a design is one of the most exciting steps when creating a new bathroom, however, now you can have the added satisfaction of completing a DIY bathroom project too.


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