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Frequently asked questions

I'm planning my bathroom and don't know where to start?


Martin: Don't worry. Choosing your new bathroom doesn't need to be a complicated or daunting affair. There are just a few simple steps. Firstly decide on your style, contemporary or traditional. The next thing is to ensure you have your measurements and make your way into see us at Surrey Bathroom Studio. We will give you good quality, impartial advice. Good coffee. And (if you wish) we will provide a free home survey to ensure every is covered just as you need it to be.




How can I find a bathroom fitter that I trust to do a good job?


Arran: This is a subject close to my heart. Trust me, we want our bathrooms fitted by quality installers, because it reflects back on us. No two bathroom installations are the same. But fitting a quality bathroom is not something we would recommend that you undertake as a DIY task. We are happy to work with your chosen installers however, following years of frustration with the varying skills and levels of satisfaction with external fitters we made the decision to provide installation ourselve, meaning we can manage both the quality of design, product and now fit and finish. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss installation options.




I live outside Surrey - where do you deliver?


Martin: Don't worry. Although Surrey is our home and Guildford is our City, we offer a national delivery service via our own transportation. We even ship abroad and can arrange professionally crated products to be delivered to any of the main UK dock destinations. Delivery to local areas such as Epsom, Godalming, Haslemere, Farnham, Aldershot, Camberley, Woking, Farncombe, Horsham, Brighton and Cranleigh can be within days if required and being a service driven business we are always happy to look at special requirements in terms of days or times for delivery requirements.




How do I know if a bathroom suite is good quality?


Martin: Like anything you buy, the quality is down to how long you want to use it for, how many times you use it, what you want to pay for it, and how you want it to look. I pick product very carefully. I've 25 years of experience in all things bathrooms to help me.

Look for products with proper manufacturers warranties. Avoid products being sold cheaply on the internet.

Whatever your budget, whatever your choice from Surrey Bathrooms the quality will be there - guaranteed




Which toilet is right for my bathroom?


Arran: There are five types of toilets currently available in the UK. These are Wall hung, Back-to-wall, Close-coupled, Low level and High level. Wall hung This type of toilet has the pan hanging on the wall and the cistern concealed in the wall behind it. More common in mainland Europe, it has become increasingly popular over recent years as more people travel abroad. You do however need to ensure that the pan is supported properly when fitted either by the use of special floor mounting brackets or the use of a framework. These frameworks, which support the pan and provide a place for the cistern, are available from several suppliers.This type of WC allows ease of cleaning and as the pan is the only visible piece of pot it minimises the impact of the WC on the design of the room.

Back to wall
This type of toilet is used mainly when the client is having fitted furniture. As with the wall hung toilet the cistern is concealed inside the furniture but the pan is sat on the floor. It has the same advantages as the wall hung with the added benefit that people do not fear it falling off the wall. Close coupled
This is the most common type of toilet in the UK. This type of toilet has the pan and cistern joined together. It is often confused with the low level toilet, so we make sure the client understands this is a toilet with the pan and cistern physically joined together. The advantage of this type is that the pan has a splash back built onto it where it joins the cistern, so that when men and boys stand at the toilet and miss there is not so much mess. Toilets are meant to be sat on not stood against. If you want to stand up you should buy a urinal. This toilet is easily maintained and is therefore ideal for downstairs cloakrooms and main en-suites where they are likely to get a lot of use.

Low level
This type of toilet has a freestanding pan and the cistern sits approx 900mm or 36" up the wall with a short flush pipe in between the two pieces. Before the advent of the close-coupled toilet this was the most common and is still what most people with older houses have. This is why they can often be confused with the close coupled. They are now most commonly sold with traditional bathrooms and have a chrome or gold flush pipe. The difficulty with this type is that if men or boys use them they are apt to miss and the pipe goes green. Once this happens there is nothing that can be done to repair it. They are generally priced at 50% to 60% higher in price than a close coupled and are bought more for their aesthetic value than practicality.

High Level
This type was popular in the Victorian era and is associated most closely with bathrooms of that period. The pan is free standing and the cistern sits on the wall approx 1800mm or 6 feet up the wall with a chrome or gold flush pipe and a chain pull flush. It has the same disadvantages as the Low level when use by men and boys.In terms of price, this type is normally 50% to 60% more than the Low level. Sold mainly for the aesthetic value, all toilets in the UK now have to flush using 3 and 6 litres of water. Rimless This type is a recent innovation, and tends to only be available in 3 WC configurations (close coupled, wall hung and back to wall). Rather than your conventional flushing method where the water is flushed through holes around the rim, the open design of the WC rim enables a powerful flush, where water travels in a horizontal arc around the pan, then falls vertically. This means that every inch of your toilet is flushed, meaning that the toilet is as clean and hygienic as possible.




What are my sink options?


Martin: Basins are often referred to as sinks. Sinks are fitted in kitchens and basins are fitted in cloakrooms, bathrooms and en-suites.The term basin came from the use of a jug and basin in the days when these were used to wash yourself in the bedroom. There are six main type of basin available in the UK.

These are basin and full pedestal, basin and semi-pedestal, cloakroom, semi-recessed, counter top and under-slung.
Basin and Full Pedestal This where the basin sits on full size pedestal and is the most common type in the UK. Normally the waste pipe and hot and cold water pipes run through the pedestal and into the floor.

Basin and Semi Pedestal This is where the basin sits on a half height pedestal which does not reach the floor. They are very common in Europe and becoming increasingly popular in the UK. When recommending this type of unit, care should be taken to ensure that the client has the type of pipe work arrangement necessary to install the basin.

Cloakroom
These are usually fitted without a pedestal, as they are normally very small basins. There are some available with pedestals but you are best to check first. The wall hung ones are normally fitted with a decorative bottle trap.

Semi-recessed
This type of basin has a bow in the front but the underside has been cut away to produce a flat area. This is because this type of basin is usually fitted into a worktop.

Counter Top
This type of basin is either round or oval and fits into a hole cut into a worktop. Under Slung This type of basin is fitted under the hole in the worktop. This means that the worktop has to be a solid surface material, such a marble or stone. Tap Holes Basins come with one, two or three tap holes. One tap hole: This type of basin uses a mono bloc mixer, which normally incorporates a pop-up waste. The water is controlled either by a lever on the tap or a separate hot and cold handle on either side of the spout. Two tap hole: The most common type of tap configuration has a separate hot and cold tap with a plug and chain waste. The hot tap is normally fitted on the left hand side of the basin. Three tap hole: There are two type of tap arrangement that can be fitted to this type of tap-hole arrangement. Either a three-hole mixer which is a hot and cold valve head and a separate spout, usually fitted with a pop up waste. Or you could fit a pair of basin taps and what is known as a chain stay waste. A chain stay waste uses a plug and chain but the chain is held in place by a disc, which is fitted into the middle of the three holes. GLASS BASINS
As the name suggests these basins are made of glass just as the top surface of pottery is a glass finish. With these basins the whole item is glass. As with pottery the quality of the finished item depends on several factors.

Glass Thickness
To achieve a similar impact resistance to pottery an ideal thickness of the glass is 15m or above. However, you can purchase basins with a thickness of 5m and upwards. Glass is partly priced on the thickness. i.e. the thicker the glass the higher the price. Thinner glass will allow for a more detailed shape to the basin and can result in a deeper bowl.

Tempered Glass
All glass in the bathroom should be tempered. This is when the glass is treated by a special process. This process changes the properties of the glass, the result of which is that when it is broken is shatters into tiny pieces and not large shards.

Thermal Shock Proofed
This is where a basin has already been tempered and then is further treated. This extra treatment results in the basin being proofed against sudden changes in temperatures. Such changes occur when you suddenly turn off a cold tap and the turn on a hot tap. The resultant expansion of the material can cause it to crack or shatter if it has not been proofed. An example of a thermal shock proofed item you may be familiar with is a Pyrex cooking dish. One more thing to note:
If the basin is made of clear glass a decorative waste fitting, bottle trap and pipe work to the taps are necessary. This is because they will be on show after the unit is fitted. To offset this some manufacturers supply their glass basins in both clear and frosted finishes.




What are baths made from and which is best for me?


Arran: There are four main types of material used to manufacture baths in the UK. These are cast iron, pressed-steel, glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and acrylic.

Cast Iron Baths
This is the material from which most baths used to be made and is now most commonly used for free standing baths. There are two commonly held misconceptions concerning cast iron baths. The first is that they are too heavy .The weight of a standard cast iron bath filled with water is in the region of 25 stones.

The bath is usually fitted with four legs which means that the weight on each leg on the floor is approximately 6.25 stones. As we walk across the floor foot to foot we actually weight more that this.The second misconception is that they are cold. This is because years ago when we all used cast iron baths the houses did not have central heating. The bath can only reflect the temperature of the room that it is in. If the room is warm the bath is therefore warm. There is, however, one possible exception. If the bath is fitted in with a panel as opposed to free standing it may be that the air temperature under the bath is cooler due to the holes left by the plumber. If this is the case, insulation under the bath will solve the problem.

Pressed Steel Baths
This is where a layer of steel several millimetres thick is coated with a stove-enamelled surface. They are most commonly used in hotels and commercial premises. As the material of the bath is very thin they tend to cool down very quickly. They also tend to be very plain in shape due to the manufacturing restrictions of the material.

Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) Baths
This was the first type of plastic material used to produce baths and was used by almost everyone until the invention of Acrylic. It has very good insulation properties and enables baths of many shapes and styles to be easily produced.The two main difficulties with this material are as follows: Firstly, as the colour for the bath is produced in batches there can sometimes be problems with the match to the pottery and secondly if the bath is fitted in direct sunlight they are prone to theplasticiser leaking out of the surface and crazing of the surface texture occurring.

Acrylic Baths
This is the most common material now used to produce baths in the UK and Europe. It has the same characteristics as GRP in that it insulates well and can produce great shapes. However, as it is produced to internationally agreed standards of colour it is now what every pottery supplier uses to obtain their colour match. Acrylic comes in several thicknesses most commonly 3mm, 5mm, 8mm and 10mm. There is a common misconception that the thicker the acrylic the stronger the bath. This is not so. The acrylic is there only to hold the colour and maintain a waterproof barrier. You will normally find that the thicker the acrylic the plainer the style of the bath. The strength of the bath comes from the glass-reinforced plastic, which is sprayed on the underside of the bath. You should always look for a full encapsulated baseboard. This is where the chipboard base that supports the bottom of the bath is fully enclosed to prevent it from coming away after a few years of use. The sides of the bath should also be reinforced to prevent them from bowing out when the bath is filled with water. If the bath does bow out in the middle the result is often that the top ledge will drop producing a gap between the tiles and the bath.




Which shape bath will suit my bathroom?


Arran: There are a multitude of bath shapes and sizes available in the UK at present but they break down into several groups.

Rectangular baths - Single Ended
This is the most common style of bath with the taps at one end and is ideal for one person to bathe in on there own as it usually has a gentle back slope which offers good back support when relaxing.The most common size is 1700 x 700. They are however produced in sizes ranging from 1200 x 750 to 2000 x 1200. When a client comes in saying that there bath is 1680 x 680 this is usually because they do not realize that the bath is fitted into the plaster work when installed so that a bath that is 1700 x 700 straight out of the box is often small when fitted.

Double Ended Baths
This type of bath is common with people who prefer to bathe with a partner as the taps are mounted in the middle of the bath. They are becoming a lot more popular in the UK. However to make extra room for the two people the two back slopes on the bath can often be at quite a severe angle and therefore make the bath less comfortable for one person to lie out. Once again they come in a multitude of sizes, from 1700 x 750 to 2000 x 1200.

Corner Baths
There are two mains types of corner bath: equal sided and offset, where one side is longer than the other. Two equal sided corner baths are usually available 1100 x 1100, 1200 x 1200, 1300 x 1300, 1400 x 1400 and 1500 x 1500. The first three sizes are more commonly used as shower baths as the bathing area is too small for most people to use effectively. The 1400 and 1500 are big enough to use by most people for bathing. The offset corner baths are usually available in two sizes 1500 x 900 and 1500 x 1000. They are not very effective as a bath for most people less than 5 feet 4 inches tall due to the internal length. They are available with or without a seat in the corner.Shower Baths (Ophelia, Ianthe)These baths have a larger area at one end to allow for more room for showering. They are usually supplied with a bath screen made especially for the shape of the bath.Space Saver baths. These baths are made to a special shape usually thinner at one end to allow for more room to fit furniture or make more room for pottery or even a shower cubicle.




What are the best options for Bathroom taps?


Martin: There are four main finishes for taps and shower.

Chrome - the hardest wearing finish, usually last over 20 years.

Antique Gold used more on traditional style suites, is generally a soft finish which will last approximately 3 years with day to day use but in a rarely used second bathroom could last as long as 10 years.

Nickel (either brushed or polished) is the softest finish and would normally be for decorative house bathrooms that are rarely used.

Powder coated, not as common in taps but still used on showers, is where the product is coated with a layer of coloured plastic.

There are many types of tap configuration for baths, basins and bidets.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. This next section outlines the different types of tap arrangements that are generally available.

Bath Taps
There are several types of tap arrangement you can put on a bath. They are as follows: A pair of taps, a bath filler deck mounted, a bath filler pillar mounted, a three-hole bath filler, a deck mounted bath shower mixer, a pillar mounted bath shower mixer, a four-hole bath shower mixer, a five-hole bath shower mixer, wall mounted filler and an overflow filler.

Pair of bath taps
The most common form of taps for baths, one tap for hot water and one for cold. The cold tap is normally on the right and the hot on the left.

Bath filler
Deck mounted and bath filler pillar mounted.This type of tap has the hot and cold-water taps combined onto one mixer block.The deck-mounted type is normally contemporary in style whereas the pillar-mounted type (this is where the mixer is held above the bath rim on two pillars) is normally traditional in style. The advantage of a mixer over a pair of taps is the ability to mix the water to the desired temperature whilst the bath is filling.

Three hole bath filler
This is where the spout is separate to the bath tap valves. In this case you have a hot and cold valve and the spout is mounted either in the centre between the two valves or mounted in the comer.

Bath shower mixers
This is the same as the bath fillers but has a shower hose and handset attached. These types of taps are not designed to be used as showers for standing under and washing your whole body. The reason for this is that there is the real risk that is another person in the house switches on a tap or a washing machine kicks in then the temperature on the shower will change radically. These types of showers are designed for washing hair or rinsing the bath.

Four and five-hole bath shower mixers
These are the same as the three hole mixers but the four-hole mixers have a handset that sits on the bath with the hose under the bath rim. The shower is switched on by means of a diverter button mounted on the bath spout.The five hole mixer works in the same way but has a separate diverter mounted on the bath, not on the bath spout.
Wall mounted filler More popular on the continent, this is where the mixer is mounted on the wall above the bath and not on the bath rim.

Overflow bath filler
This is similar to the three-hole bath filler but whereas the three hole has a spout the overflow filler has the hot and cold valves on the rim of the bath and the filler is the overflow fitting which also doubles up as the pop up waste.

Basin Taps
As with baths there are several types of tap arrangement that can be fitted to a basin. These are a pair of taps, a mono-bloc mixer and a three tap-hole mixer.

A pair of taps
This is where you have a separate hot and cold tap on the basin with the cold tap usually on the right and the hot on the left. This is the most common configuration for taps on a basin. This type of basin normally has a plug and chain waste.

Basin mono-bloc mixer
This is where the hot and cold taps are mounted on a single tap bloc in the centre of the basin. This type of tap normally has a pop-up waste supplied as part of the tap.Three tap-hole mixerAs with the bath arrangement you have a spout in the middle and a separate hot and cold valve on either side. This type of arrangement has a pop up waste.

On a three tap-hole basin you can also fit a pair of basin taps and in the central hole fit a chain stay basin waste - this is where the plug chain is attached to a disc which fits over the middle hole.




Why do some shower enclosures cost more than others?


Martin: Shower doors and enclosures come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As with pottery the cost and quality of the units depend on the materials used in the construction and the design. Normally the thicker the glass the more expensive the shower cubicle. Less expensive enclosures generally use glass in the thickness range of 3mm, 5mm and 6mm. This thickness of glass will always have a metal framework surrounding it to support the weight of the glass. The mid to upper market enclosures have glass in the thickness range of 6mm to 8mm. Top quality enclosures generally feature from 10mm or 12mm glass. This type of cubicle generally has very little framework surrounding it or even none at all. The build quality of ancillary parts such as hinges and seals is also important, as these are the parts that wear the fastest with day to day use and will result in leaks. With sliding doors the rollers for the doors should be of ball bearing types. The reason for this is that with a ball bearing roller there is little or no wear on the wheels. This means that with constant use they do not become elliptical and the glide of the door is always smooth. The thickness of the frame and the wall profiles is also a contributing factor to the price. As a rule the thicker the frame and the profiles the more the cost. The profiles are the U-shaped channels that attach the cubicle to the wall.




Do I need a bidet?


Arran: Bidets are not that common in the UK as we are not normally raised to use them. However for those that do have and use them there are a few points to consider. For a bidet to work effectively they have to be fitted next to a toilet - not at the other side of the room or several feet away. A UK bidet now come with the tap fitted on the top and is usually a mono bloc mixer. There used to be bidets in the UK, which came with an up-spray of fountain spray as it was known. This type of bidet is no longer available




What do I need to know about Water Pressure?


Martin: Before you select your taps and shower valve, it is important you establish what water pressure is available in your home. Once you know your pressure, please use the minimum pressure icons we have provided as a guide to select the correct tap for your system. There are principally three types of systems;

Combination Boiler

This form is usually fitted in newer homes and typically provides high pressure from 1.0 - 2.0 bar pressure.

Pressurised system

This provides high water pressure typically 2.0 bar plus.

Gravity

This is a traditional hot water cylinder type and the water pressure is provided by the height from your cold storage tank to your tap/shower.

1 foot head of pressure = 0.033 bar

  • 0.1 Bar = 3 foot head of pressure

  • 0.2 Bar = 6 foot head of pressure

  • 0,5 Bar = 15 foot head of pressure

  • 1.0 Bar = 30 foot head of pressure etc

0.1 - 0.49 - Low Pressure (LP)

0.5 - 0.99 - Medium Pressure (MP)

1.0 Plus - High Pressure (HP)

If your have High Water Pressure you can use any tap marked LP, MP and HP, equally Medium Pressure taps can be used with taps marked LP and MP.





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