I want a new bathroom suite, not too expensive, just one that is functional
and value for money, and so last for some years without the taps falling off
and shower going hot and cold!
Each showroom from B & Q to independents have their own brands and are
difficult to compare like for like. I have tried asking traders to quote me
but it is a small bathroom.job and they seem to insist on a total price and
very reluctant to breakdown into labour and parts so I might compare.
Are bathroom suites and fittings, and floor tiles, much of a muchness? I'm
guessing I need a branded shower though for running off the combi as the
present one? Do I choose a suite myself, if so how best to compare
quality/price, do brands matter, and then simply ask the tradesmen for the
price of labour?
Any advice would be much appreciated as I'm ready to have it done but both
tradesmen so far are reluctant to breakdown the materials or explain the
above issues. Maybe they see it as too much hassle for a small job? I just
want both to be clear from the off so that there is no dispute or arguments
at the end.
Any advice much appreciated.
PS. I know it is not DIY, I would not have the confidence myself, but no
ohter obvious place to ask? Thank you.
======================================Two recent bad experiences prompt me to reply.
1. Unless you have formed a trusting relationship with the plumber, do not
let him choose the fittings (i.e. the shower unit, the taps, etc) on your
behalf. I have learnt this the hard way. Some tradesmen, if allowed to do so
on your behalf, choose cheap and nasty fittings, so that they can keep their
quote at an attractively competitive price. You could be saddled with
fittings that you do not really like, and have to pay him again for the
labour of taking them out and replacing them with something that you do
Therefore, you must go to B&Q (or wherever else) and choose all the
fittings yourself. Then specify your chosen fittings to the plumber. The
salesman at B&Q should be able to tell you the part numbers to identify the
fitting you have chosen.
2. Even when you choose the fitting yourself, you can sometimes come
unstuck. This is what happened to me when I chose the very cheapest shower
unit at B&Q. It looked exactly the same as, but was half the cost of,
another shower unit of similar design. I paid my plumber to install it, and
it worked well for the first month or so. Then the temperature control
failed. Since then, I have had the choice of taking showers a bit hotter
than I would really like, or paying my plumber a second time to take the
shower out and replace it with the non-cheapjack version. I have chosen the
The plumber might be reluctant to quote labour and parts separately because
he gets trade discounts on all the parts he buys. If you do not allow him to
make this little profit he will probably increase his price accordingly, so
that he makes the required overall amount of money from the job. I don't
blame him for that, he has a wife and three children who want to eat. So it
is best, both for you and for him, if you choose the fittings but allow him
to buy them on your behalf and to quietly pocket the trade discount.
If you choose a gravity-fed shower, you need to know how high the
water-level in the water tank is above the position of the shower head.
Gravity-fed is the cheapest option, but you need to have sufficient pressure
(from the height of the water level) to make it work. The alternative of an
electrically pumped shower is more expensive. It gives a better shower with
a greater flow of water, but is less environmentally friendly. More CO2 per
shower. You need to talk both to your plumber and to the salesman at B&Q
when you make this decision.
Regards Richard Chambers, Leeds.