The bath is arguably the most important feature of a bathroom. It is, after all, in the name. Getting a bath decorated and completed to the highest quality can be a tricky business but it’s not an impossible task.
One of the most important parts of the bath is the bath panel, a rectangle piece of material that is used to hide the underside of the tub and pipes. They come in all kinds of sizes and effects, such as wood and ceramics, depending on the style of the bathroom.
It’s important to know how to fit a wooden bath panel or how to fit a plastic bath panel, depending on the material you have chosen for your particular bath. Both materials are great for use as bath panels, but the choice really depends on the décor in the rest of the bathroom.
Before you consider how to fit bath panels, it’s important to ensure you have the correct tools for the job. The following are not inclusive of every fitting, but are generally needed when it comes to fitting bath panels:
- New chosen bath panel and plinth
- Drill and drill bits
- Wall fixings and screws
- Hand saw and screw driver
- Velcro hook and loop tape
- Silicone sealant and gun
- Measuring tape
Different types of bath panels are likely to have the odd variation when it comes to putting them together, so be sure to have the manufacturer’s assembly guide at hand before fitting your bath panel.
Fitting a bath panel
Fitting a wooden bath panel
First, you have to measure the space between the underside and the floor of the bath rim by using a measuring tape.
- Get a slab (preferably a wooden slab) and attach it to the bottom of the panel towards the back fit into the space you have measured earlier using a 12mm screw.
- You may need to trim the edge of your wooden slab with a saw to be able to place it properly on the (uneven) floor. If the need arises, you should also trim the surface of your panels to allow them to fit around on pipes and skirting board.
- Next thing to do is to fix a softwood batten (38mn by 25mm) to the floor to hold the bath. This batten should be inserted 19mm from the edge of the bath.
Note: The trimming of your panel should be done at the end closer to the wall, and it should be coated to protect it from moisture and decay.
- From both ends of the bath place a foot long batten vertically on the wall. Ensure that the batten is placed above the top of the wooden slab and it is 16mm from both edges of the bath.
- Properly place the panel on the batten and if it is necessary, adjust the positions of the batten to allow the panel to fit in its proper place.
- Drill three holes evenly (12mm from the edge), with the use of an electric drill, at the lower edge of the slab then two holes at each at the end of the panel to align well with the batten.
- Fasten the panel to the batten using your 25mm wood screws
Fitting front and end wooden bath panel(s)
- To fit a front panel follow the eight steps above with only a few adjustment. One of the changes you will have to make include securing a batten to the wall at the wall end of the panel while reducing floor batten and slab at the other end to allow proper fitting of the panel.
- With the use of 32mm screws, secure a batten uprightly on edge (towards the back) of the panel. Ensure that you insert the batten 16mm from the panel end.
- To the entire length of the panel, fit a batten inset by 16mm.
- Get a foot long batten and fix it vertically to the wall. Ensure that the batten is placed above the top of the wooden slab and that it is 16mm from the edge of the bath.
- Properly place the panel on the batten. If it becomes necessary, adjust the positions of the batten to allow the panel fit in its proper place.
- Drill three holes evenly (12mm from the edge), with the use of an electric drill, at the lower edge of the slab then two holes at each at the end of the panel, 12mm from the edge also, to align well with the batten.
- Fasten the panel to the batten by using your 25mm wood screws.
How to fit a corner bath panel
Fitting a corner bath panel isn’t much different, but be sure to secure it to the wall at one end only. Also, in order to allow for the end panel to be fitted, make sure you cut back the floor batten and plinth at the open end. Position in place, fitting a softwood batten to the floor and wall.
How to fit a bath panel with clips
Bath panel clips are installed by positioning a clip on one of the wooden pads found on the underside of thebath lip. The screw hole should be facing the inner side and the humped part facing downwards. This is repeated for all upper bath panel clips and reversed for clips on the bottom. Using a spirit level ensures an even finish.
There’s always the option of hiring a professional bathroom fitter to help with fitting bath panels. Professionals can be sourced online through websites such as mybuilder.com or bathroomfittersuk.com. Alternatively, directories such as the yellow pages are a good place to go, or ask friends, family and neighbours for recommendations. Always be sure to get a final written quote before the work commences.
Maintaining your bath panels
A quality bath panel can make a huge difference to the aesthetics of a bathroom. Therefore, good care
should be taken of your new bath panels, to ensure you get the most life out of them. Here are a few ideas of how to maintain your bath panels effectively.
- Firstly, it is important that path panels are installed properly by taking correct measurements in advance.
- You may find you need to cut down your bath panel, if it is too large for your bath. Any exposed areas (caused by cutting) should be completely sealed before fitting, to avoid water damage.
- Once it is installed, be sure to keep your bath panel clean. Exposure to moisture means that wooden bath panels are at risk of damage from mold and mildew. Always wipe down the bath panel after using the bathroom, if a lot of water is used.
- Keep away strong cleaning chemicals and everyday bathroom products to avoid weakening and discoloration.
- Take care when opening cupboards and draws in the bathroom, to avoid breaking or damaging parts of the bath panel.