Building a second bathroom

If you have no single storey to build an extension over, and still want your bathroom at first-floor level, then obviously you must construct some form of support at the lower storey. Once this is done you could take this opportunity to use the bottom storey area you have created under the new bathroom-perhaps as another room or a covered terrace, or even a garage. (It would be wasting space otherwise, and this is in London is virtually criminal these days !)

This would be good policy anyway, since double the total floor area is added at much less than twice the cost of a single storey addition, because both storeys have the same roof and groundwork. The design of this ground floor room will depend largely on its relation to other rooms and on other equally important factors such as aspect, outlook and privacy. It may face south or west-the sunniest aspects in the Northern Hemisphere-in which case you have a fine sun-lounge in the making which always adds to the value and enjoyment of a house. Facing other directions (providing it is quiet), it could provide the older children with a study, or if it has a pleasant outlook, the younger ones with a playroom. Or you could turn it into a utility room or an extended kitchen. The possibilities are many.

Drain for the bathroom

Bathrooms have the disadvantage of needing to be connected to drains. It may sound obvious, but in the first flush of enthusiastic planning you may overlook this one major point. Sanitary fittings must be connected to a soil stack which is a l00mm diameter vertical pipe leading to an underground drain at an ‘inspection chamber’,otherwise known as a manhole. This runs at a slow gradient either to a public sewer (the most usual in towns) or some form of approved disposal plant. The gradient of the drain should be neither too steep nor too shallow, otherwise blockages and difficulties in disposing of the waste occur.

inspection chamber manhole

The optimum ‘self-cleansing’ gradient is normally taken as l: 40 for a 102mm diameter pipe and 1: 60 for a 152mm diameter pipe. In a town you will have to connect it to the general sewage system or, if this is too far away or too deep, you will have to connect the soil stack to another form of approved disposal. (Working back from the lowest possible that is workable connection to the sewer at the minimum gradient will fix the lowest level for your new drain.) Alternative forms of sewage disposal are septic tanks and cesspools, neither a particularly attractive system-especially in towns.

The local building control will have to approve you using either of these systems in the first place, and also all their details such as capacity, construction and location. A septic tank is really a miniature chemical treatment plant, and the treated fluid drains away into the ground. Local authorities will permit you to use them only when satisfied that they would be in no way harmful or offensive to other residents in the area. A cesspool is simply a storage chamber which must be emptied periodically by a special pumping tanker-either belonging to the local authority or operated by a private contractor.

Whoever deals with it, it represents a regular expense, and because of its obvious limitations should be considered only as a last resort. So connecting the waste pipes to a sewer, or a satisfactory alternative, is crucial when you are planning to add a bathroom. If you can connect to an existing drain line, then fine. But if you can’t and must provide new drains, the cost could prove expensive out of all relation to the value of the improvement to your property.

The all in one bathroom

Whether or not to put the wc in the main bathroom or in a separate compartment may be an issue for the family to fight over, but it is also a tricky design consideration. To a large extent it will depend on the size and shape of the available space and the access. There may not be room for more than one door in which case a combined bathroom and wc is unavoidable. Or you could fit a shower instead of a bath, which may leave just enough space to fit a second door and have a separate wc.

The obvious advantage of having a separate wc is that it can be used independently of the bath and other fittings.Remember,while someone is dreaming in the bath you could have a lengthy wait .There is usually, however, no disadvantage in having the wash-basin and bath in the same room, though a separate shower is a good idea, especially for a large family. While someone soaks in the bath, several others could take a quick shower at the same time. This is one good argument in favour of a shower compartment, instead of shower fittings attached to the bath.

The most workable arrangement, if space permits, is a bathroom with bath and washbasin (and bidet if desired) in one compartment and separate compartments with entrances for the shower and wc. But if space really is too tight to allow this, then all-in-one bathroom does at least have the advantage of looking a less ‘bitty’ and sometimes even more spacious. Contact London Bathroom Builders for a free Quote on adding a second bathroom.

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