How do I get a new more comfortable bath?
February 19, 2010 1:35 PM   Subscribe

How do I get a new more comfortable bath? What is involved? How much would it likely cost, once I factor in labour and any other things it affects (in the UK)? I've never done this sort of thing before and haven't a clue.

I have almost zero domestic/DIY skills and am not fussed by having things look fashionable, perfect, matching etc, but I would like a bigger more comfortable bath. I don't know the first thing about going about this. What do I need to know? What is involved in having someone replace a bath? Do I need to worry about flooring, tiling etc? If I'm happy with everything else in the bathroom do I just leave it, or would the cost to get a new sink/lavatory not be too much of an extra cost - is it as well to do these things too, at the same time?

I wont be doing DIY but I do have access to help to organise things as I have spectacularly poor domestic coping skills. How do I go about this?
posted by Flitcraft to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Ask around amongst your friends, to see if they have a plumber or a plumbing contractor they like and trust. Meet a few they recommend. Eventually you'll find one you like. Then ask them all these questions. There is no way anyone here is going to be able to answer them without a lot more details, and really if you're not doing it yourself there's not much reason for anyone here to try. Talk to your plumber.
posted by rusty at 1:39 PM on February 19, 2010

By the way, any reputable plumber will meet with you and give you an estimate without charging you for it.
posted by rusty at 1:40 PM on February 19, 2010

Nobody in my close circle of friends would regularly use a plumber - maybe once every several years in an emergency when something is flooding they might look for one in yellow pages, which is why I'm asking here, to try to find out roughly what magnitude of task this is - whether a something like replacing a bath is hundreds of pounds or thousands of pounds. I'm trying to get some sense of what this might involve - because things like this are entirely foreign to me.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:16 PM on February 19, 2010

Expand your circle. :-) Got any older folks you're acquainted with? Parents? Co-workers? Anyone over maybe 35? You can always look in the phone book, but word of mouth rules supreme in the building trades. Lots of good tradespeople don't advertise at all, because they get all the work they need from referrals.

Replacing a bath can truly range from hundreds of pounds to tens of thousands. The devil is totally in the details. You mention wanting a larger one, so that raises the possibility of having to change the bathroom itself. Factors would include: what kind of tub is in there now, how's the bathroom laid out, how much bigger do you want to tub to be, is it a downstairs bath or an upstairs, what's the access like to the pipes and drains, could a different tub be hooked up to the same plumbing... that's just off the top of my head.

I know I'm telling you why I'm not going to give you a good answer, but it's really the sort of question that can only be answered by a professional standing in the room. If all else fails, start hitting the yellow pages and get people in to look at it. Don't let anyone charge you for an estimate, but anyone who'll come and take a look, let them. You'll probably find someone who strikes you as professional and competent.
posted by rusty at 2:23 PM on February 19, 2010

Agree with above that great answers are impossible for us to give because we just don't know the scope, but....I think it's a safe bet that if you're making the room itself bigger and replacing the bathtub, you're into "thousands" territory, at least. Don't know how far into, but into.
posted by tristeza at 2:30 PM on February 19, 2010

The first thing you do is evaluate the structure of the building to see if it can support the amount of water you want in your new, improved, larger bathtub.

A cubic meter of water weighs a metric ton.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:33 PM on February 19, 2010

No I'm definitely not altering the size of the room at all. Just wondering what's involved in swapping a small bath for a larger one, but it does sound like even that is a major undertaking then and not something simple at all.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2010

Sorry, I thought by "bath" you meant the whole room. Ignore me.
posted by tristeza at 3:20 PM on February 19, 2010

A suggestion:

You post a job and people bid on it. Rather like ebay they have feedback from their previous jobs on the site to weed out the real rascals.

You don't have to accept any of the bids if they're not what you want, but maybe you'd get an idea of the going rate for the labour if you described the job clearly.
posted by selton at 3:25 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just wondering what's involved in swapping a small bath for a larger one, but it does sound like even that is a major undertaking then and not something simple at all.
Nah, it's dead easy. They'll be in and out in a very short amount of time (for tradesmen) if the job is simple enough: There are four pipes involved, all of which will be there if you're replacing an existing bath, some stands to hold the bath and that's about it. If the new bath is substantially bigger than what's there, you'll probably need some redecoration work done -- more tiling and so on, and that'll be a different tradesman.

It's hard to say without knowing a bit more, though. Most baths aren't freestanding: they're against walls, and have limited space at either end. Is there room for a bigger bath, or does a sink or shower tray or (worst case) the toilet itself? All of the these things will rack up the price.

If you go bargain-basement, you'll get it for the multiple hundreds of pounds. If you want a seriously nice bath, you're talking about thousands. This is a great time to get plumbers and builders though: the market's very quiet and prices are dropping. Open Yellow Pages and start getting quotes.

Since you're doing this, I imagine you own the house (unless you have a surprisingly accommodating landlord and don't mind throwing money away). If you do, and are concerned about its potential value someday, it's worth taking the time to make sure the job is done properly and does match. If you've got the cash, spring for a new suite: a new bathroom helps a lot for resale value, a bodged-looking half-done job wreaks havoc.
posted by bonaldi at 4:47 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

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