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How to survive: a bathroom renovation

If you’re planning on renovating your bathroom, you may be wondering just how you’ll survive the project if it puts your humble WC out of action – especially if it’s the only one in the house. While this may sound like an ordeal, with a little pre-planning, you can minimise any inconvenience that a bathroom project will cause. You just need to know a few things in advance…

The time

In an ideal world, you’d align your bathroom improvement with something like a family holiday, entrusting a spare set of keys to the tradespeople carrying out the works. Then it’s just a week under the hot sun before returning, tanned and refreshed, to find a stunning new bathroom.

But if you can’t manage to be out of the house for the entire renovation period, try to pick a time when the work will impact the least on your home life. As an obvious example, avoiding getting the work done when you have friends or extended family coming to stay for a weekend!

The work around

Good communication with your tradespeople is key to a successful bathroom renovation. Since no tradesman wants to make your life difficult, let them know well in advance about any times in the week that you desperately need running water and electricity. For example, if you work from home Wednesdays, or your kids come home from rugby practice all muddy every Friday, chances are they’ll be able to schedule around those commitments.

The toilet

Now we’re getting to the really important bit. Perhaps the chief concern of all homeowners is how long the humble, yet essential, toilet will be out of action. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s actually a legal requirement for every home to always be left with a working toilet, so don’t worry about getting caught short! If you’re just replacing the old fixtures and fittings, it’s unlikely that the toilet will be unusable for any longer than a few hours.

The shower and bath

After the toilet, the next biggest worry of the single bathroomed homeowner is the shower and/or bath and again, the answer is the same – it depends on the actual project.

While whipping out an old shower unit or bathtub in itself can be done very quickly, it’s the tiling, grouting, drying out and sealing of the surrounding areas that can render your bathroom unusable for quite a while. If your tradesmen tells you to not use the bath or shower for more than a day, then you’ll probably have to consider alternative cleaning options. Many people use showers at their work, gym, local swimming pool or university while the bathroom sealant dries.

 Image credit: Sonia Belviso .   CC   Image credit: Sonia Belviso .   CC

The parts

If you’ve decided to buy your own faucets and other bathware independently and are enlisting trades to fit them on your behalf, it’s down to you to ensure that you have all of the parts ready on the day, that they all work and that they are the right ones.

Bathroom suppliers tend to have long lead times, which means your project could be delayed if you find yourself waiting delivery of another tap after the first one turned out to be faulty.


Whether you’re contemplating making a big, or a small change to your bathroom. Remember that the benefits of improving your bathroom far outweigh the associated stresses of home improvement. Go on, give it a go!

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