bathroom refurbishment

Paradise to practicality – bathroom upgrade

Whether you are looking for something neat and functional or the height of luxury, choosing a bathroom upgrade can be quite time consuming.

There are so many options to choose from sometimes it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.

So, how do you go about making that all important decision? What are the key things to remember, and is there anything that could have an impact on your decision?

We’ve pulled together some (hopefully) helpful information to help you answer those questions, that will soon have you languishing in bubbles, or zipping in and out, as happy as can be!

Key considerations for a bathroom upgrade


It’s always good to think beyond the here and now. Trends come and go and putting  in a new bathroom suite or replacing tiles because they are no longer “fashionable”  is a costly mistake to make.

Equally, having a totally modern minimalist bathroom sitting alongside the rest of your house that is done out in retro style, would look completely out of place. When planning it, think about it so that it fits your style, the house style and will stand the test of time.

That’s not to say adding a slight twist or a bit of your own style shouldn’t be shied away from, just remember that you will need to live with this for years and years to come.


Though it probably isn’t top of your list of things to think about, it’s an absolutely vital piece of your bathroom puzzle. Even if you are thinking of just updating and replacing items with a newer version, it is always wise to get your plumbing checked out.

Pipes particularly in older houses can become worn and degrade over time. Although the lifespan is somewhere between 60-80 years, it’s worth getting them checked over. Even the tiniest of cracks can lead to leaks later on.

Another point about older homes is some can have lead pipes, which must be replaced, due to the health risks associated with them.

It’s also worth noting that if you are thinking of adding something to your bathroom – an independent shower or a bath for the first time, where it’s placed and how it will connect to your existing pipework, without being too invasive is also a key consideration to take into account.

Fixtures & Fittings

These are fundamental to getting the look just right for your bathroom, however, if you don’t pay close attention to what you are buying you could spend unnecessarily.

Showers and your heating system

Taking into account your existing heating system can affect what shower you have and how much pressure you get in return.

If you have a water tank then a power shower is the way to go, using a pump it will boost the pressure of your water ensuring you always have enough to really enjoy your shower.

If you have a combination boiler or a pressurised system (where hot water is fed directly from the mains, not through a tank) then you can’t have a power shower but  you can install a mixer/digital shower, which should still give you a super shower.

You can, of course, go for an electric shower, which will run independently to your heating system (which is great if your heating system suddenly stops working). So, as long as you have water and electricity you are good to go.


Considering the size of your bathroom might pre-determine the size of toilet you install, however, there are a number of other options to think about that can change the look and feel of your bathroom:

Closed coupled: where the cistern (bit that holds the water) is sitting directly on the back of the pan

Wall hung: where the cistern is concealed but the pan is suspended from the floor (appears to be floating)

Low/high level: where the cistern is connected by a longer length of pipe (like Victorian systems)

Back to wall: where the cistern is hidden and the pan appears to be directly attached to a wall or unit.

You can even have one with a skirt! This “hides” the s-trap or p-trap (the curvy bit behind your toilet).


Different types of baths can make a big difference not only budget wise but in the look and feel of what you are trying to achieve, and if you love a good long soak, how long the water remains hot.

Acrylic: It’s a perfect fit for affordability, durability, and versatility. Clean lines to fit most styles from square to P shape. Great for bathing young children and then having a lovely soak in later on, once they are in bed.

Enamelled Steel: A nice middle ground for budgets and it’s hard wearing with  great insulation. A super alternative to cast iron and acrylic. Steel is also known for its hygienic properties, which means that it’s resistant to germs and bacteria. One note of caution, they can be very slippery, so a bathmat with children is a must.

Cast Iron: They are a luxury item and look beautiful when feet are added to make it a free-standing bath. It has durability, statement and style on its side. However, these are heavy, really heavy to get in and difficult to get out. You may also want to double check  that your floor will withstand the weight of a filled bath with a person. It should be ok, but if you are in any doubt it’s always good to check first.

Copper bath: A statement for sure and a wonderful way of having a heated bath. As a statement, free standing they look beautiful. However, although hard wearing you cannot use bath salts in them, which means that they are limiting and can be slightly higher maintenance than other baths. Can be reasonably pricey to purchase as well.

Stone: A real luxury statement, stone baths are known for being great at keeping the water hot for longer than other baths. It is also great for homes that need a contemporary look. The downside is that these are luxury for a reason, the cost is quite high and     you’ll definitely need to think about reinforcing the floor (unless it’s a ground floor).

There are other types, but these are the main-stream types of baths found in the majority of showrooms or online bathroom stockists.


Knowing what your budget is going to be and what you want to spend your money  on is key. Are you investing in an all-round bathroom so an equal spread across the  shower, bath and toilet or are you wanting to splash out on a super-duper shower  but happy to have budget bath because you’ll only use it occasionally?

Remember that you will need to also factor-in the cost of removal of your old  bathroom suite, installation of your new one plus all the little extras – plugs, radiators, cabinets, soap and toothbrush holders, tiling and flooring.

If you need any help, with this aspect, we are well versed in helping manage  bathroom projects from start to finish and in giving guidance on how to get the best out of your budget.


If you are planning on installing a brand-new bathroom or a downstairs WC you  don’t usually require planning permission, however, it’s always good to check with  the planning office.

There are always exceptions to the rule; such as if you live in a listed building or you  are adding it to an extension.  Even if you don’t need planning permission however  it’s likely you’ll need to consult with Building Control about their regulations.

So, there you have it.

If you need any assistance with planning or fitting your bathroom upgrade or refurbish, we would be happy to help. You can take a peek at one we recently upgraded and see what a difference it can make:

For all your Plumbing and Heating needs – Bradley Plumbing and Heating. Here’s a bathroom refit we did earlier.


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