1. Consider the rules
Planning permission is not usually required for an en suite, unless it involves an extension, but all work must comply with the Building Regulations. In a leasehold property, the freeholder will need to give permission for any alterations. Visit planningportal.gov.uk for details on planning and regulations.
2. Consider the space
An en suite bathroom is often created by converting a small adjacent bedroom, but this can have a negative impact on the value of your home. The ideal solution is to find space without having to sacrifice a bedroom.
A full bathroom will require a space measuring at least 1.7m x 2.6m. A shower room can be fitted into an area measuring as little as 1m x 2.8m – not much more than is needed for fitted wardrobes.
3. Consider the cost
A simple shower room will cost around £4,000-£5,000, while a large luxurious bathroom will be in the region of £20,000-£30,000. (All costs given include build materials and labour, electrics, plumbing, fixtures and fittings, decorating, walls and flooring.)
4. Consider the structure
The walls for a new bathroom are typically constructed using timber or metal studs to form a structural frame. Metal frame components are available to support wall-mounted basins and WCs with concealed cisterns – try Grohe, Geberit and Saniflo for similar pieces.
The voids within stud walls are ideal for concealed body mixer taps, showers and for forming storage niches. You will also need to plan for shower doors and towel rails.
5. Consider heating and plumbing
Extending the hot and cold water supplies into a new bathroom is usually very straightforward. If you have a combi boiler, which provides hot water on demand rather than requiring a cylinder, you need to ensure that it has sufficient hot water flow to supply an extra bathroom. You should also check your water pressure and choose appropriate mixer taps and shower fittings.
Connecting new bathroom wastes to the drains can be complicated, but there is always a solution – a flexible small bore waste pipe with a macerator (try Saniflo) will allow a bathroom to be fitted almost anywhere.
Various heating options include radiators, radiator towel rails and underfloor heating. The wiring will need to be altered to comply with the Building Regulations for bathrooms.
6. Consider the finishing touches
New bathroom walls can be clad in waterproof tile backing board – such as WEDI, Marmox or Aquapanel – plywood or moisture-resistant plasterboard. Pre-formed walk-in shower trays with the waste trap in the floor are available for wetrooms.
The en suite walls can be tiled or covered in coloured glass panels – large mirrors can also be used.
Tiling can be expensive, typically costing £24-£32 per m² plus materials, so plaster and bathroom paint or wood panelling is a more cost-effective option here. It is also a good idea to introduce plenty of lighting into the space.
Featured image: This en suite bathroom was created as part of a whole-house renovation. Read more about this en suite bathroom.