The majority of modern baths are made from enamelled pressed steel, acrylic or glass-reinforced plastic. One advantage of these baths over the cast-iron variety, popular in Victorian houses, is that it takes at least two people to lift a steel bath while one person can manage a plastic one alone. An added bonus is that you do not need to make sure that the floor is strong enough to support the total weight of a heavy cast-iron bath, the water and its occupant.
Modern baths generally possess levelling devices so they ‘sit’ correctly on the floor, while old cast-iron baths frequently require wedges under their feet to make them level if the floor is uneven. There are plenty of shapes, styles, sizes and colours available in modern baths: round, oval, corner-fitting, square and of course, the traditional rectangular shape – and you also choose where to position the taps. They don’t need to be at the foot of the bath but can go anywhere you like. Avoid dark-coloured baths, as they tend to show dirt and limescale stains more easily so will require more frequent cleaning. If you want a whirlpool bath, it should be fitted by a qualified electrician.
1 Fit the adjustable feet
Turn off the hot and cold water supply, drain the system and remove the old bath. Run new 22mm (3/4in) supply pipes, or attach spurs to the existing ones. Turn the new bath on its rim and fit the adjustable feet (or the cradle for a plastic bath). Cut two boards to support the feet of the bath and spread the load evenly across the floor.
2 Fit the taps
Fit individual hot and cold taps by slipping the plastic washer supplied onto its tail and pass the tail through the hole in the bath. Slip a second washer on the tail and hand tighten the back nut to clamp it to the bath. Make sure that the spout faces in the right direction, then tighten with a cranked spanner.
3 Fit overflow
A flexible plastic hose takes water from the overflow outlet in the end of the bath to the waste outlet or trap. Pass the threaded boss through the hole, slip a washer seal over the boss and screw the grille onto the overflow outlet. For a ‘banjo unit’, fit the overflow before the trap. The flexible pipe of a compression unit fits to the cleaning eye on the trap.
4 Fit copper pipes to taps
Fit a flexible 22mm (3/4in) copper pipe onto each tap tail – or attach short lengths of standard 22mm (3/4in) copper or plastic pipe with tap connectors ready for joining to the pipe runs of the hot and cold water supply pipes.
5 Fit waste outlet
Spread a layer of plumber’s putty under the rim of the waste outlet, or fit a circular rubber seal. Before you insert the tail into the hole in the bottom of the bath, seal the thread with PTFE tape. Under the bath, add the plastic washer and tighten the large back nut bedding the outlet down onto the putty or seal.
6 Connect the bath trap
Fit the trap and connect the cleaning eye of the trap to the hose of the overflow with the compression nut. If you are fitting a banjo unit, slip it over the tail of the waste outlet so it lies between it and the trap.
7 Connect to supply pipes
Push the new bath into position and check that it is level with a spirit level. Connect the pipes to the taps with the supply pipes with a compression joint. If space is tight, a soldered capillary joint may be preferable.
Tips & Tricks
- Plastic baths are quite flexible so they are supplied in a metal frame to cradle them.Turn the bath on its rim to fit the cradle before fitting the taps.
- Make sure your new bath will fit into your bathroom: rectangular baths can vary in size from 1.5-1.8m long (5-6ft) and from 700-800mm (2ft 4in-2ft 8in) wide.
- While a corner bath will take up less wall space, it will take up more floor space than a rectangular bath of the same capacity.
- PTFE tape (Polytetraflourethylene)
Threaded connections leak unless they are made watertight.Traditionally, plumbers used strands of hemp but more often today PTFE tape is wrapped three times clockwise around threads instead.
- Adaptor couplings
These may be necessary if you have to connect plastic pipes to copper plumbing.
- Cranked spanner.