This article gives a general overview of the steps involved in adding an en suite but for a more detailed step by step description of adding an en suite shower room (minus the toilet) please see here.
To add an en suite you should not need to apply for planning permission but you should apply for building regulations approval from the local council.
This will ensure that any new electrical wiring, windows, ventilation or drainage all comply with building regulations.
At the end of the work you will be issued with a completion certificate which you may need when you come to sell your house.
The existing plumbing & the space available will be the main factors in determining whether you can have an en-suite, but there are other factors such as lighting and ventilation that should also be considered.
- running hot & cold supply pipework to the shower, toilet, basin etc.In this example, hot and cold pipes had to be chased up the wall in a bedroom directly below to get them to the new en suite. This was then re-plastered.
- running pipework for any new radiators – this will almost always involve lifting floorboards in the adjoining bedroom to extend the pipework that currently feeds the nearest radiator.
- running waste water away from the toilet, shower, basin etc to the soil pipe outside the house. This is often a stumbling block as waste water needs to run downhill (in a fairly straight line) to the nearest soil stack which is normally on the outside of your house.
The position of the new en-suite relative to the existing soil pipe is critical. i.e. if the en-suite is on the other side of the house to the soil pipe, you may have difficulties in installing everything you want in the position you want. Macerators can be used to combat this problem as a last resort.
You can only add an en-suite if you have space, and this example is approximately 1m x 3m, which is plenty – especially as the door can open outwards.
As en suites often do not have an existing window, lighting needs to be considered at the outset to ensure the room does not feel small & dingy.
In this example, the en suite was built to make use of an existing window.
To provide added privacy, windows can be replaced with new UPVC frames that contain obscured glass which let in light but maintain dignity. If you have single glazed windows and a cold room, then this may be the way to go, as it will keep the bathroom warm.
However, if you have fairly new double glazed windows that you are happy with (apart from the clear glass aspect) you can either have the glass (within the frames) replaced with obscured glass or apply an opaque film to the existing glass on a DIY basis. This is a very cost effective way of maintaining privacy.
A timed extractor fan was fitted to this en suite to combat any problems that could arise due to the humidity.
Please see here for more information.
5% is the amount the addition of a well-designed en suite could add to a property according to Nationwide Building Society. This equates to £10,00 on a £200,000 house – significantly more than the cost of installation.
The existing built in cupboards are removed and put into a skip, before timber studwork is erected to suit the new room layout.
Scaffolding is erected at this point to access the outside drainage pipework later in the week.
Hot & cold feeds are brought into the en suite from the house bathroom by running pipework up a channel that is chased into an adjacent bedroom wall situation directly below the en suite.
1st fix electrics are carried out at this stage – new cables are run within the ceiling & studwork for the new lighting & extractor fan which will carry moist air out of the en-suite.
A switch controlling an outside light is also relocated outside the en suite at this time, and a cable is installed to power the new electric shower.
1st fix plumbing work is carried out which involves running all the waste pipes within the walls & floor where appropriate. In the picture above you can see the basin waste poking out of the wall in the foreground and the shower tray waste to the rear of the room, which in turn drains into a new soil pipe that has been installed under the floor which carries waste water from the toilet at the other end of the room to the soil drainage pipe outside. The shower tray is also installed at this time.
Hot and cold pipework is run to the basin (at the bottom left of the photo above) and a cold feed is run to the toilet and the electric shower.
An existing radiator is relocated to suite the new bedroom / en suite layout and pipework is added to feed a new towel radiator within the en suite. This radiator is then removed so that the walls behind it can be plastered.
The stud walls are filled with rockwool insulation (for sound deadening) and then boarded with regular plasterboard and prepared for skimming.
The external walls of the en-suite are then skimmed.
Tile trims are then glued to the wall to separate the tiled areas from the plastered areas – These can then be plastered up to, leaving the areas that are to be tiled un-plastered.
This is an alternative approach to plastering the whole wall and then tiling over part of it, and it has a couple of benefits:
Tiling & plastering can be done simultaneously, rather than waiting a minimum of 4 weeks for fresh plaster to dry out prior to tiling.
Better Tile Adhesion
Bare plasterboard can carry tiles of up to 32Kg/m2 rather than 20kg/m2 for tiles onto plaster, meaning that you can fit a greater range of tiles, including larger, thicker, heavier tiles.
Plasterboard can be considered waterproof only when when tanked.
Skirting boards and door architraves are fitted to the new en suite and the door is hung to open outwards to give maximum space inside the en suite. This is done before the flooring is fitted for the best finish.
In this instance, an existing door was used to match the main door into the bedroom.
Externally, the soil pipe is extended upwards to connect up to the waste pipe protruding out of the en suite.
When connected, this pipe will take away all the waste water from the en suite’s basin, toilet & shower and deliver it to the sewer.
An all in one tanking kit is used to make the walls behind the tiles in the shower enclosure completely waterproof prior to tiling.
This is done to prevent any future problems.
The walls are painted at this stage with a paint suitable for fresh plaster (Leyland super leytex matt emulsion does a good job with this and can cover fresh plaster in 1-2 coats).
Painting can only be done when the plaster is dry, though this paint allows it to breathe and fully dry out after it has been painted due to its special composition.
Painting before 2nd fix plumbing saves tricky cutting in around the toilet, basin and towel radiator.
All woodwork is prepared and painted with white eggshell.
The shower enclosure is tiled using ceramic tiles and grouted once the flexible rapid set adhesive has dried.
2nd fix electrics are carried out, which consists of installing the extractor fan, ceiling lights and electric shower, as well as the switches and isolating switches that control them.
The existing carpet, that was rolled back when the work began to expose the floorboards beneith, (necessary to lift and run new pipework and cables) is then refitted.
This is an alternative to having a new type of bathroom flooring fitted.
The basin, toilet and shower enclosure are fitted once tiling has been completed and the flooring has been laid.
This is referred to as 2nd fix plumbing and is done at this time because the shower enclosure rests up to the tiles, and the basin & toilet sit on the finished floor surface which is carpet in this instance.
If you have any questions about this article or any others, please feel free to contact me.