Buyer's guides:

10 bathroom jobs you shouldn’t do yourself

Thinking of installing a new bathroom? There are lots of jobs you can tackle yourself – from tiling to hanging mirrors – but there are just as many DIY jobs you shouldn’t even think about…


1 Major plumbing

You might well have replaced a tap in your last bathroom or swapped an old shower head for a new one, but installing a toilet, altering pipework or fitting a new shower isn’t something you can pick up from a Youtube video. Check your household insurance, too – you might find that any water damage you’ve caused yourself might mean you won’t even get a payout to put the mess right.

2 Electrical work

Change a lightbulb? Check. Fit a new socket front? Maybe – if the power is switched off at the mains. Run some (not yet live) wiring? Possibly, if you’ve got some experience behind you and have taken professional advice. Anything much more adventurous than that? We really wouldn’t. DIY-ing your electrics might just be illegal and poorly done work won’t just be inconvenient, it can kill, so get a fully qualified professional in to do it instead. ‘The simplest way to ensure any electrical work is carried out safely and to a high standard is to use a government-registered electrician,’ says the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). They will notify building control on your behalf and issue you with a building regulations compliance certificate to prove it meets the required safety standards.’

3 Demolition

Considering knocking through to a small bedroom to create an en suite? Despite what you might think, you can’t just knock down any old wall without potentially compromising the stability of the whole house. So, unless you want to bring the roof down, check first with the building control department of your local council or, better still, get a pro in.

4 Blindly banging in nails

We can understand you want your bathroom to look nice, but don’t bang in a nail for that mirror/picture/skirting board/picture rail if you don’t know where your bathroom’s pipework is hidden in the walls behind – you might end up with a hefty bill for water damage if you do.

5 Plastering

You might be an expert wallpaper hanger. Perhaps your tiling skills are second to none – but plastering a wall or ceiling perfectly takes experience and not a little training – so set aside some cash for a plasterer in your bathroom makeover budget.

6 Fiddling with the boiler

Don’t even think about it! It’s illegal to tamper with a gas boiler; doing so could cause a deadly leak or even an explosion. Do we need to say more?

7 Replacing a window

New windows should be double-glazed and properly fitted to comply with building regulations. Fit yours badly and you might as well have left the draughty old one in.

8 Tiling a large area

We’re not saying you really mustn’t – it’s more that a large expanse of wall tiled badly screams botch job (and it’s not one you can right easily). So unless you’re absolutely sure you can do a seamlessly smart job, leave it to a professional tiler, who will get the work done in a fraction of the time.

9 Installing a wet room

We kid you not when we say that even a small leak can create extreme amounts of damage to rooms surrounding and below your bathroom – so if you’re installing anything as potentially risky as a wet room, get someone who knows what they’re doing in to install it.

10 Fitting a bathroom without asking

Considering turning a box room into a shower room? Adding an en suite to your bedroom? Oh no you’re not! Until, that is, you’ve had your work approved by the building regs department of your local council. And if you haven’t, don’t worry – you should be able to get it approved in retrospect.


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