Looking to refurbish your bathroom? One of the most common questions I get is “how long will it take?”.
A perfectly reasonable question because you have to factor in how much time you need to take off of work and if it can be done whilst you’re away on holiday for example. Now I know this is an annoying answer but the truth is, it depends.
The general rule of thumb for a complete bathroom fit out is 10 days. Any shorter than the builders are probably cutting some corners somewhere along the line which is obviously a bad sign. Any longer than it’s likely that they’re taking their time so if you’re paying them on a day rate you’re probably getting charged more than you should be.
Now I must emphasise that it really does ‘depend’ on what’s involved. If you’re just having your sanitary ware replaced and there’s no tiling work involved then you are looking at a couple of days work but if you going for mosaic tiles everywhere in the bathroom than it’ll probably take two weeks just to do the tiling!
We’ve installed thousands of bathrooms over the years so we have a pretty good idea of what’s involved. In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through the basic steps involved in process of a typical bathroom refurbishment so you can understand what actually happens and why it takes the time that it does. By the way, if you don’t feel like reading, I made a video on this topic too which you can watch if you prefer (scroll down to the bottom of the page!).
Ok.. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Day One – Stripping Out the Old Bathroom
First things first, the best way to start any bathroom installation is to strip out the old bathroom completely, and I mean completely. Removing the old tiles, bath, shower, taps, toilet, basin (annoyingly most people refer to a basin as a sink – a sink is in the kitchen, not the bathroom!) pipework, electrical cables etc and bringing the walls and floor back to brick and concrete or wood.
This can continue on to the next day if it’s a larger room but typically one day should suffice. To get that showroom finish it’s vital that you work from a bare shell so that everything is flat and level to begin with. It makes a big big difference to the overall finish.
Day Two & Three – Preparing & Plastering the Walls
Now we need to make sure that all the walls, ceilings and floors are level and straight. We prepare the surfaces in the right way and plaster the walls and ceilings. This gives is that really smooth finish and it’s the perfect base to work from. If it’s a concrete floor then we make sure that it is level. Wooden floorboards are prepared in a way that they are flat and level and have no protruding screws or nails sticking out.
If this preparation stage isn’t done properly it affects the rest of the job in a massive way so this is why you should allow at least two days. The timing can vary during this period as we have to allow for the plaster to fully dry otherwise the walls will crack and you could experience damp issues later on. A cold house in the winter would take longer to dry out so this needs to be taken into consideration when outlining a realistic time frame.
Day Four, Five & Six – First fixing
In the trade, we refer to this stage as the ‘first fix’. This is basically running all the copper pipes, waste pipes, traps, and cables so that they run ‘inside’ the walls and ceilings as opposed to ‘outside’ in some kind of casing or trunking (this looks very amateur and we are professionals). During this stage of the bathroom installation, we’d install the shower tray only and/or the bath so that it’s fixed and the room is ready for tiling. If the customer opted for underfloor heating we’d install the ‘first fix’ part of this system too at this stage.
Day Seven & Eight – Tiling
This is where the bathroom really starts to take shape as the tiles start to bring the new bathroom to life. We normally allow at least two full days for this part but, like I mentioned earlier, if you want a crazy custom designed mosaic pattern then allow much more time.
Tiling is an art form and should never be rushed. Tiling can and will make or break a bathroom in terms of the final finish. Some tilers from hell will use the adhesive to level out the walls which is such bad practice I’m amazed that people still get away with it!
Day Nine & Ten – Second Fixing
For most bathroom installers this is the final step but for MultiPlumb it is the penultimate step. Second fix is an industry term where we pretty much fit everything that needs to be fitted. We fix your toilet, hang your basin (not your sink!), fix your shower enclosure, shower valve, slide rail kit, toilet roll holder, bath screen, and taps and shower etc. Basically fixing the items that you’ll actually be using.
Day Eleven & Twelve – Finishing
This is the part which, unfortunately, most plumbers do not enjoy and normally don’t spend enough time on as a result. The problem is that a lot of work goes into a new bathroom install, most of which is never really seen and thus not normally appreciated by the customer. This is totally understandable because how can you fully appreciate something that you’ve never seen or understand right? From the plumber’s point of view, they’re probably ten days deep into the project and they have another job to start and their enthusiasm has worn off but they can see the finish line and can’t wait to reach it!
Through experience, we have learned to take our time and give the finishing the attention it deserves. Little things like the silicone sealant, wiping the tiles, polishing the taps and shower, making sure that the mirror is level and that the door closes smoothly all make a big difference to customer satisfaction and the overall finish of the bathroom.
So The Answer To My Question Is 12 Days?
Yes, 12 days is the average amount of time a typical bathroom installation takes from start to finish.
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If you have any questions feel to free to comment down below and I’ll answer them personally.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to answer one of the most popular questions regarding a bathroom installation. “How much does a typical bathroom installation cost?”.
If you’re thinking of updating your bathroom suite at home and need some advice feel free to get in touch with us. We’d love to help you create and plan your dream bathroom.
We install bathrooms in all areas around South East London and Kent. Call us for a free quote!