Baths and bathrooms
I don't do whole bathroom installations or renovations on my own, but I will sometimes work with other tradespeople where I do the plumbing and others do tiling, carpentry, decorative and electrical works.
A couple of cast-iron roll-top baths restored
It gives me particular satisfaction to rescue something tired but beautifully-made like a cast-iron roll-top bath or WC cistern and give it a new lease of life, enhancing the customer's home in the unique way that a modern equivalent cannot match. I've been fortunate to be able to do this with a couple of baths.
Bath No. 1
When I encountered this bath it was sitting in the corner of the bathroom, very scaled-up and dirty, with worn-out, dripping taps. In an effort to modernise the installation someone had (presumably back in about the 1970s when such things were all the rage) boxed it in with hardboard covered in tile-effect wallpaper(!), which was by now peeling and warped and looking very sad.
I stripped the bath of its fittings and drilled holes for new taps to mount on the top rather than the vertical end. (The customer wanted a bath/shower mixer and I couldn't find any that fitted the vertical holes where the original taps were mounted.) A resurfacing specialist came and cleaned up the inside of the bath, filled the old holes, and re-surfaced it (beautifully!) and I stripped and re-painted the outside of the bath and its cast-iron claw-type feet.
Stripping the paint off the feet initially left a brushed-steel finish which both I and the customer thought attractive, so I applied a lacquer to protect them from rust and left them like that. The photograph above shows slips of chipboard under the feet but I later made up wooden slippers (like those in the photograph of Bath No. 2, below) to protect the vinyl floor from the feet.
Apart from renovating the bath I did a fair amount of work on the bathroom:
- replacing the old lath & plaster ceiling (which was pock-marked from where expanded polystyrene ceiling tiles had been removed)
- stripping and re-painting the cast-iron fireplace, re-laying the hearth (which was cracked) and making a wooden fender-type surround to the hearth
- re-fitting the old washbasin with new taps and waste, on tubular chromed support pillars
- replacing the radiator and fitting a towel-warmer radiator (arranged to be on when either the central heating or hot water was on)
- replacing the floor (the old boards were beyond repair) and laying a good-quality vinyl, and new skirting boards etc
- installing a DPS Pandora thermal store (like this one) in an alcove in the corner of the bathroom to provide mains-pressure hot water without storage tanks (since part of the plan was to free up the space used by the tanks in the attic bathroom to allow installation of a shower up there later)
- getting a carpenter in (there's only so much I can take on myself!) to construct an airing cupboard around the tank and pipework, giving the customer plenty of storage space for towels, bed linen etc.
With all the time and effort I put into the project above I think I ended up practically paying the customer for the privilege of doing the work for them, but it was very satisfying!
Bath No. 2
Flushed with the success of the earlier project, when I came across this bath in a new customer's house I showed them photographs of the previous one and, with Mr Customer doing some of the DIY work, smartened up their bathroom.
Before: the bath had seen too much Vim in its time and the enamel was worn away in places. I stripped the taps and waste fittings from the bath and it was re-surfaced by a specialist. The outside of the bath was repainted, then new taps and wastes fitted and the bath reinstalled.
I made up some wooden shoes to prevent the cast-iron feet of the bath digging into the Marmoleum floor the client had had laid. I also fitted a new WC (visible behind bath) and basin for them.
Neither of the above resurfacing jobs was (as far as I recall) done by Diamond Gleam. I didn't know about them at the time, but their website is particularly informative and I'm impressed by their ethos and would ask them about getting any similar resurfacing jobs done in the future.