So you've decided on a new Bathroom-what next-is it a DIY project ?or are you having a proffesional to fit it for you?

1. Let's tackle the DIY project first

If you are one of those confident enough and with enough DIY experience, you've probably done a little bit of everything at one

time or another, but you should take heed that a complete bathroom refurbishment can be and is often, more work than it looks.But, with proper planning a good result is achievable.

2.What standard do you expect from the project you are about to embark on? and, what standard can you achieve?The following steps will assist you in your  preparation.

Bathroom suites/tiles/tools/books/photographs/materials

If you are pretty nifty around DIY there is no reason that you could not achieve a pleasing end result that might just take a little longer to complete, if, as i expect you are,looking forward to impressing the family and yourself with the end result.

Planning is key to your project.

Have a good look at your pre-existing conditions, i.e.Walls,floors,and any cables to light switches,shaver sockets etc.You could remove a few of the existing tiles if the bathroom is already tiled, this will allow you to gauge the condition of the existing plaster/render and the ease or difficulty with which the existing tiles will come off.

If you do need to replaster/render to any degree that you are not fully confident about, i would seriously recommend employing the services of a proffesional plasterer, as your finished tiling quality will be very dependant on the surface on which you are going to tile.You would least of all make your job a lot harder than it needs to be if your tiling surface is not as good as it could be.

This check would also help you to build the price in the cost of the project at planning stage, rather than be subjected to an unwelcome extra.Sometimes the condition of the plaster/reneder will not become fully apparent until a larger proportion of the tiles and existing adhesive are removed.

 I would also recommend that you check the existing pipework, which although might be water tight now,dependant on it's age,condition and quality of original installation, might be a safer bet to replace as it is often difficult to access upon completion. 

This will also give you peace of mind that once correctly installed and tested, the pipework for the water supply,waste and soil pipes,can be deemed as pretty well safe for the forseeable future.

Now you've checked the walls and the pipework, it is a good idea to have a good look at the floor, especially timber where there was an existing shower/bath.

Water damage can sometimes go un-noticed for quite some time(especially to ground floor bathrooms) and i have seen cases where little or no external signs of leakage, upon exposure has left significant damage to wooden floors/joists and beyond, so pull off a panel and lift some boards where possible around these areas to have a good look.

Again, any damage found can be accounted for at the planning stage.

When choosing your tiles it is worth bearing in mind that tiles with square or un-glazed edges are much less forgiving to the novice tiler.E.G a white tile with a brown unglazed edge.The tile spacer choice is also important,a small spacer, especially over a large surface leaves little room for manouvre and will accentuate any discrepencies.

Budget-When planning your new Bathroom you will undoubtedly have a budget to work from.You will be surprised at what is available, if you take the time to shop around. I have acheived some personally gratifying results gained from limited budgets and you will find similar possibilities by using the links provided. 

Tools-Make sure you have the correct tools and personal protective equipment to enable you to carry out the job,this will have a direct affect on your ability to produce a proffessional finish to your project.

Borders-Make sure your supplier gives you a border that matches the size and thickness of your tile where possible, because if this is not the case and you are DIY tiling you could have real problems when you come to fit the border if you were not aware of this.The border may protrude in an unsightly fashion or not match with the vertical grout line. Include for the border if you plan to incorporate one in your setting out calculations, as it might be too late, costly at least, if you realise last minute they are not in the right place. Cables/Wiring-These are very much dependant on the time elapsed since they were fitted, some bathrooms remain untouched for many years and if this is the case they would need to be replaced,however,unless you hold  the correct certification they would not be part of the DIY project and can only be replaced by a properly qualified person.

In any case all existing cabling should and can only be verified as safe by a proffesional. I employ the services of a qualified electrician as i am not electrically qualified.

W.C pan and cistern-Are they being replaced in the same position? if not, you will need to allow for possible adjustment/renewal of the soil pipe. Also check the height of the soil pipe by usyng a tape measure as the older pipes are sometimes set at an angle which is too high for the new W.C pan spigot, or, the existing W.C pan has been set higher to allow for the pipe.

Now that you are aware of this possibilty, you can check before hand rather than have the problem to overcome once the existing W.C pan has been removed.There are some excellent flexible W.C pan connectors available which are suitable for a multitude of connection variations. 

Now with the water supply isolated, you should be ready to remove your existing bathroom, it would be preferable to leave your bath and W.C pan in situ whilst removing tiles, as,if for any reason you cannot complete the removal you still have your W.C pan (mainly) and your bath and the rest of the family still like you.

Make sure you have a good supply of industrial strength bags for the old tiles and rubble.When you are ready to remove the bath you may need a hand, especially if the existing bath is of cast iron construction.

These can be broken into more manageable though still heavy pieces, providing you have the correct tools and personal protective equipment. 

The remaining pipework will need to be isolated and capped off for the time being, but the W.C pan is normally the last thing you want to remove at this stage, as even with the cistern removed, you can still use a bucket of water to flush, not ideal, but, needs must for now.

Once everything else is removed, you have almost a bare room you can begin to re-build to your own personal design.

Tiling-I am not going to tell you how to tile, as, if you don't have some idea to start with, it's probably best not to take on a job of such magnitude without some prior knowledge or practice.

Assuming you do, it is advisable to apply a bonding agent to the walls, mixed as per the manufacturer's instructions for the product. Read the instructions. The products you use should be based on the surface to which you are to apply the tiles and the tile itself and most tile shops will advise you on the best products to use in each case.

Many products are named according to their purpose i.e waterproof, flexible or marble and stone adhesive etc.etc. Assuming everything is going as you planned, it is time to start your tiling, as previously mentioned,planning is key, in this case levelling and setting out of the tiling.

Many people may have their preferences on setting out methods.To achieve the optimum result for me personally, is as follows: treat each wall as an individual project,find the centres, wall to wall/floor to ceiling and draw a plumb vertical and a level horizontal  line at the centres of the wall, the level horizontal line is transposed around to each wall to be tiled, a laser level is ideal for this job,use this line to ascertain measurements for border height and sizes of the cut tile to the border, (if necessary)also the cut tiles to the ceiling and skirting/floor levels.

You will also find that if you mark the positions of the W.C. pan and cistern you can see exactly where the tiles will finish above the Basin,Bath and W.C cistern.and make adjustments accordingly.

Top/bottom-When tiling, i like to tile before the bath is fitted as this gives me more room to work an avoids possible mishaps, again this must be planned properly- measure the bath panel height plus(remember to allow for floor finished level) the lip of the bath before fixing your batten perfectly level to the walls, i would also measure the bath width and mark on the wall before placing the batten to match the exact bath size.

You can now measure from your level horizontal line on the wall and ascertain  the size of the cut tile to the bath and cieling. Also remember that the tile finishes at floor/skirting level and this needs to be included when allowing for setting out.

I would personally prefer to see at least half a tile to the bath edge, even if this means a smaller cut to floor level as this to me is the most inoffensive place depending on the layout of the bathroom.Your personal preference takes priority there.Your choice of tile size will determine these factors and can be included at the planning stage.

If you thought the tiling was easy you might be surprised at the amount of work that goes into  preparation alone.Correct setting out and wall preparation is essential in achieving a proffesional looking finish.

As the basin and cistern have already been removed, you have the ideal situation of not trying to tile around them and you can complete  the wall tiling.

If the bath is between fixed points i.e two walls, i would leave out the tile at each corner until the bath is installed. This makes it easier to fit the bath if the bath fits snugly between the two walls.

Measure the width of your tiles.

From the plumb vertical line you have marked on the wall, take the measurement to the corners,allow for angle beads on external corners.By measuring the tile (include for spacer) and this distance, you can ascertain the width of the cut piece at each end.

As i said before i prefer to see as close as possible to half a tile at each end where possible and not to have a slither of tile cut in to the corners, this detracts from the finish in my opinion. By adjusting your start point i.e at the vertical line you can normally find a happy medium with a nice evenly matched cut tile in each corner.

A good tip for cutting tiles to corners is to reverse the tile, hold it into the corner and mark with a pencil each end where the tile joins the preceeding tile column,then reverse the tile,mark,cut and job done.(remember to allow for the spacer). I usually find this an adequate and accurate method.

Check levels as you go, as tiles have varying degrees of tolerance, which if you are deep in concentration fixing tiles, can be overlooked.  

Windows- Start in the centre of the window from a plumb line marked on the wall above and below the window,as uneven cuts to window edges are unsightly,this is where sometimes the cut to the walls either side of the window are governed by the window centre line and the centre of the window is the deciding factor.You can either start at full tile or at the halfway point of the tile,depending how much tile will be left either side of the window.

This is also where you'll be blisfully unaware if you took heed of the advice about wall conditions but boiling like a kettle if you don't have a level tiling surface around the windows. Don't forget the angle beads for your external corners, if you intend to use them.

Some people prefer a tiled edge, just a case of personal preference. Although not always achievable, the ideal window for me, is framed by equal tile spacing around the wall face.

Grouting/sealing-You can use a squidgy (rubber faced trowel)to grout, you will also need a decent sponge and clean water.Grouting is another art and not one i can admit to enjoying.

It is important to leave minimal residue as this is very difficult to remove if too much is left behind.So a good sponge squeezed out almost dry between wipes and clean water are a necessity.

Check carefully for gaps,small holes or cracks in the grout and make sure they are filled as these are sources of water ingress behind your tiles which must be avoided to prevent future water damage.

Once dried you will have a film covering the tiles, providing you made a good job of cleaning, this can be removed with a scrubber.(large abrasive pad that will not scratch tiles) These come in different grades of abrasion and once more you should seek advise from your supplier as to which one is suitable for the tile you have chosen.This will polish your tiles to a finish condition.

Sealant should be a sanitary grade mastic and i apply to all internal corners,a tip when using sealant if it's not something you often use is to use masking tape placed on the opposite internal corners with the desired size of seal between,the trick is application of the correct amount.Practicing it beforehand will be beneficial.You can get various mastic application tools from your supplier,use one of these to smooth the joint and remove the masking tape, pulling away from the joint.

Install bath-You can either connect to existing pipework or as previously discussed new pipework and flexible connectors make this fairly easy(you may need a basin wrench depending on available space).

Connect the waste pipes and traps and your on your way.You can now finish the tiling at the corners if necessary.When applying a mastic seal around the bath it is important to fill the bath with water first as this allows for movement and prevents the seal from splitting/cracking.The water should be left in the bath until the mastic cures.

Fix your basin and w.c. Once again flexible connectors are ideal, they also come with a ballafix valve for future maintenance and are particularly good for bathrooms with a wooden floor where movement can cause problems with the plastic valves that all cisterns have nowadays. Most w.c's and basins come with a fixing kit and if they don't your local Plumber's merchant will be happy to assist you.

This is a rough guide to your project, based on personal experience and cannot be expected to cater to every scenario,there are many variants involving different types of materials and products,this however should give you some insight into the project at hand.

I have attached a link you will find helpful in obtaining many Bathroom suites,accessories, tools and materials you will need.

There are some great bargains out there so please look through these as there is a good  chance of making substantial savings on your bathroom requirements.

Some of the larger stores charge truly ridiculous prices for in particular, plumbing fittings when compared to what is available to you and there is good opportunity for price comparison during the Planning stage.

Studying photographs and books will also give a good idea of how your choices may look in a finished environment.It is very much a matter of personal preference.Hopefully this has been helpful to you and happy shopping.

Proffesional Fitting,

This is fairly straight forward really, either get someone recommended whose work is checkable or ask for references for a couple of jobs you can go and look at and speak to the customer, after all,it's your money and it's not going to be cheap.If your within a reasonable drives distance do us give us a call and we will be happy to supply a free no obligation quote.