Changing bathrooms gives you the chance to get rid of the Avocado bathroom suite that you have always disliked, and replace it with something modern, stylish, attractive and functional. However, the replacement of your bathroom fittings requires a lot of planning in order to minimise the amount of time that it is out of use - especially if you only have one bathroom in your house.
You should bear in mind that a knowledge of plumbing will be required, so this is not a task for a DIY beginner. The following is just a rough guide and only covers the bath - not the wash basin or the toilet, so if you are going to attempt the job yourself, you will need more detailed instructions (eg from a DIY guide). Also, remember that baths, especially when made from cast iron, are heavy and it may be easier to manouvre them with the help of a friend.
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All pipes that are made from metal should be cross bonded with 6mm square sheathed earthing wire (to meet building regulations). You may also need some protective equipment such as safety goggles, gloves and ear plugs.
Preparing the work area
Remove all the old units, towel rails and other fixtures and fittings. If you have fittings attached on top of flooring, remove the fittings before removing the flooring. You will need to turn off the hot and cold water supply pipes before the bath, sink and toilet can be removed. It might be adviseable to install isolator valves in the pipes that enter the bathroom so that you can just cut off the water supply to the bathroom without cutting the water off to the entire house.
Removing the bath
Take off the sides of the bath to view the pipework. Drain the pipes by turning the taps on until they run dry, then disconnect the supply and waste pipes. Cut through any sealant between the bath and the wall with a Stanley knife or equivalent. Cast iron baths are extremely heavy and may need to be broken up before you can move them, but there is demand for them on the second hand market, so find out how much you can sell it for (intact) before you destroy it. After removing the bath, take the old overflow pipe out of the wall and fill and replaster the hole. Any wall tiles should also now be removed.
Installing the new bath
Check the bath for any damage prior to installation, and remove any packaging and coverings. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the cradle legs, centre support and baseboard. Next, attach the wall fixing brackets and hand grips (if supplied). Put the bath in an upright position and attach the taps. Use flexible pipes to attach the taps to the supply pipes to accommodate any misalignment. Finally, fit the overflow and waste outlets to the bath, attaching them to a 2-in-1 waste/overflow unit with an inbuilt deep seal trap. Adjust the height of the bath via the adjustable feet and place it in its final position, screwing the brackets to the wall and the feet to the floor.
Now connect the supply and waste pipes to their respective outlets - this can be an awkward plumbing job so be warned. Finally, attach the side panels. After any tiling has been completed, you can seal the gap between the wall and the bath with silicon sealant.
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