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Upgrading a Bathroom? Top 4 tips on getting it right.

Practical aspects homeowners might face in terms of upgrading!

All Bathroom Photos: Chris Snook Photograph (@chrissnookphotograph)

First things to consider are:

Are you in a Listed building or require approval to change the layout/remove parts of the original fabric of the building? If so, this will take up to 3 months to gain approval before you can start.

Second thing to consider is time, as many reputable tradesmen and contractors are booked up a few months in advance.

Have an accurate plan drawn up of the existing space and photograph the existing services such as a boiler, type of wc (where the existing svp pipe is),

What are your existing pipes are made of?

Are there vents installed near drains?

Old houses I recommend usually following the existing layout if budget is tight as many period properties still have lead pipes. Lead pipes are unacceptable for any application.

Chris Snook Photograph


Foul water drainage system has to vent to external air, with a soil and vent pipe (SVP) terminating a minimum of 900mm vertically above any opening horizontally within 3m or external air admittance valve terminating above flood level of highest sanitary appliance.

Current building standards require drains to have suitable ventilation to stop sewer smells and assist with good drainage. We specify anti-syphon traps

Chris Snook Photograph

The current regulations are for ventilation:

· Utility Room – 30 litres per second

· WC – 6 litres per second to flats and retail areas

· Bathroom/En-Suite/Shower Room – 15 litres per second

What are the key things to look out for?

Which way are the joists running? This will determine the layout

What are the current pipes made of?

Replace lead pipes with Ideally Copper but ABS is ok too.

Do an asbestos survey

Where is the outside wall for a vent?

Check current building regs for vent requirements

Be sure to insulated pipework

Tanking not only the direct area but the whole room.

I like to specify Schluter Kerdi System.

Chris Snook Photograph

What could go wrong?

Existing buildings you have to work with what is there. If it is an existing old floor, it will be required to be made level and will determine the type of UFH you use and often the arrangement of the bathroom.

Once you open the floors, be sure to keep some contingency fund as you don't know what's under there!

Loud Architects Photograph

Top 4 x tips on how to get this right?

  1. Survey the existing room fully

  2. Locate your stop cock before starting to work

  3. Order tiles in advance due to some having very long lead times. – often 2-3 months!

  4. If creating a modern look with a recessed wc cistern, make sure to create an access panel for maintenance as to not have to pull off your tiles if something goes wrong!

Kate Clare

LOUD Architects

All Bathroom Photos: Chris Snook Photograph for Loud Architects (

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