One common question people ask when it comes to house renovations is whether or not it is easy to fit a bathroom suite. Let’s face it, a bathroom refurb is time-consuming and tiring and often requires specific skills like electrical work, wiring and plumbing. These trades aren't accessible for everyone to learn that aren’t accessible to everyone. Hiring tradespeople like plumbers, electricians, bathroom fitters and general bathroom suite renovation services can be expensive compared to the DIY approach.
So, to answer the question posed, no, it may not be easy but it is possible to fit your own bathroom suite. This could be part of your current bathroom setup or as a new bathroom. You simply have to be willing to get down to it, get dirty and be willing to learn along the way.
Why would you want to fit your own bathroom suite?
Renovation can be extremely costly, and no doubt you probably have a hole in your pocket just from planning everything involved. Learning a trade such as bathroom installation, bathroom design and bathroom renovation could prove to be a very useful side hustle.
Whether you think it might be a good trade to start learning or that it could be an activity to do with your partner, this may be an opportunity to turn a drab chore into something more meaningful. Choosing a new bathroom suite is also a nice thing to do with your partner or family as it will improve your existing bathroom. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want as otherwise, the whole process may take longer than you would like.
The budget set aside for your bathroom replacement and renovation may be allocated to builders, electricians, plumbers, plasterers and tilers. These are the trades that are focusing on fitting a bathroom and understand all the fittings of a new bathroom. There are also bathroom installation costs to take into account with a contractor who will be arranging the bathroom suite, and the cost of bathroom fixtures themselves. Bathroom renovation costs can be expensive, and so in order to have the luxury bathroom you've always dreamed of, you must take price into consideration.
A large motivator for people wanting to improve their bathroom suite themselves might be that you can save on some of that budget to buy stylish high-end vanity fixtures, a toilet, bath taps and bathtubs. Bathroom tiles, vinyl flooring and a shower head can be added to create the look you desire. However, know that you probably will not be able to save money on every element of a complete bathroom and plumbing work. A full new bathroom suite must be thought through.
If you’re not a qualified electrician or electrical engineer, rewiring is definitely not something you would want to try doing yourself. You won't be able to achieve a safe bathroom installation with common sense alone. A poorly wire standard bathroom suite could stop working suddenly and can even cause electrical fires to happen. Electricity is dangerous, but even more so in a room where you’re using water in various ways. Wiring in a new bathroom must be done correctly and professionally.
Read our guide on electrical products and bathroom safety for more information
Because of the nature of the job, you’ll need to do all the wiring before all the other jobs and small jobs. Paying for an electrician (who’s officially certified) to ensure the lights are installed as part of the bathroom fitting and the wiring before the plasterboard goes in is something you cannot skimp on. Bathroom installation costs in this situation are worth it for the peace of mind.
This only applies, however, if the wiring hasn’t been done. If the new bathroom has already been fully wired, then you can just skip this and move on.
Plumbing in a new bathroom, unlike rewiring, is much less dangerous when it unfortunately goes wrong. However, plumbers are qualified, specialist experts who train and charge so much for a reason. Depending on the kind of person you are, you may have a cursory knowledge of plumbing and bathroom installation in this area, or you may know nothing at all.
If you are the latter, then it is advisory to not to go near the plumbing in the new bathroom or even an old bathroom. However, if you’re generally quite handy and want to save money on bathroom costs and bathroom installation costs, you could give it a shot.
If you’re just plumbing in new basin taps, new bath taps or a basin, it is relatively simple. However, if the home you’re moving into comes without fittings and waste connection, then it may be best to reconsider doing it yourself.
Tiling may be the most straightforward money-saver for you. You just need attention to detail, some skill with your fingers and a lot of patience. Remember, once you put a tile down on either the walls or floor you won’t be able to shift it or take it back. It remains in the same place. This makes it imperative that you take the time to get the job right.
Floor tiles and wall tiles in a new bathroom are very similar, apart from the fact that the tiles on the walls may slip. You will have to use matchsticks or plastic tile spacers to prevent this from happening in your new suite. Make sure you also purchase pre-mixed mortar rather than trying to make it yourself. It’s not worth saving on mortar.
If you’re willing to risk it, grab a good tiling cutter and work carefully on the tiles around the perimeter on both walls and floor. You also need to remember to cut and grout your tiles evenly so that your finished product will turn out straight. If you’re not confident doing the job, you can hire a tiler to settle the edges and the corners as part of the fitting costs.
At Victoria Plum, you'll find plenty of great advice on tiling. For starters, why not check out our comprehensive guide to tiling?
Fitting your shower will prove to be a task in itself. A lot goes into the work behind the plaster and the wall tiles, and a lot of that is plumbing. You probably don’t want to just jump into this, but if you take your time to slowly work through all the individual components and test along the way, it should be possible. Shower enclosures just need to be installed correctly and sensibly.
In comparison, installing your shower tray is much easier, and thus, this is what most people do themselves. It’s important to note that if you’re installing your own shower tray and using a plumber for the rest of the bathroom fitting, communicate with them on what order the parts will be installed, and work together on the job.
All you need is a line of silicone sealant, the tray itself and some specialised tools. The installation should be straightforward, compared to that of a toilet, bath, extractor fan or water pipes.
Whilst wiring, tiling and plumbing all have reasons to be done professionally as a job, plastering is completely possible to do yourself and can save you a fortune on average costs. With plastering, you just need the right tools and a lot of patience.
Plastering is a thorough, methodical process that whilst not technically intricate, is time-consuming and slow. You will need to strip the wallpaper off completely, wash down all of the walls, tape the plasterboard with scrim tape and make sure your walls are coated in PVA to stop plaster from cracking.
You will need to mix the plaster and complete 2 to 3 coats before flattening it. It’s a lot of work, but if you block out some time to get it right then you may not have to think about this ever again when it comes to bathroom fitting costs and having a bathroom installed.
Find out how to prepare your walls for tiling
There are some parts of the installation of a bathroom that are tricky, and some that are really quite mundane and do-able. You should take concepts such as safety, time and tool access into consideration. After moving into your home, you need to get the plumbing work and your luxury bathroom done properly. As you will have to use the bathroom when living there, you can’t procrastinate. It's a job to be done.
Here at Victoria Plum, we love keeping up with the latest interior design trends, so why not discover more bathroom ideas for some inspiration?