Low Level Shower Conversion With Waste Pump in Romsey
This project was for an elderly lady living in a bungalow with solid concrete floors in Romsey. The brief was to convert a rather high step in shower into a low level shower, removing the trip hazard and making it safer. Being ground floor there would possibly be the need to fit a shower waste pump if connection into the soil pipe for gravity to take waste was not found to be possible.
High ‘Step In’ And Too Many Boxings!
This customer’s existing shower room had not be done that long ago but had a rather large step up in to the shower cubical. The step was a good 5″ to 6″ (125mm to 150mm) step up to gain access in to the shower. There were also all kinds of boxings around the room, behind the toilet (for no apparent reason), from the basin to the shower along the floor and from the shower back towards the toilet also at floor level.
Solid Concrete Floor.
The property was a bungalow with solid concrete floor, so work would have to be done chasing the waste pipes etc into this concrete floor and possibly some of the water pipes to the floor and wall for the shower. The reason for boxings everywhere is to save having to do the dirty work for chasing out walls for pipework when fitting a shower or bathroom out. It makes for a quicker and cleaner installation but at the expenses of multiple boxings. As the shower is being lowered, and chasing out waste pipes underfloor level is required, you might as well go the whole hog and remove all the boxings and chase all pipe work into walls and floors. So this is exactly what was done.
The boxing behind the toilet was simply to get around a tiny left over piece of pipe coming through the wall from a previous basin waste, where it used to connect to the soil pipe the other side. As access to the soil pipe was required anyway, a large hole was made in the wall, and this tiny piece of pipe was simply removed allowing the toilet to go right back to the wall. First boxing gone.
To Waste Pump Or Not To Waste Pump!
The combination of ground floor and low level / level access showers, means the waste water pipes WILL need to be below floor level. For gravity to take the water away, the waste water pipe needs to connect to the soil pipe even lower than the bottom of the shower tray (shower trap). The only possible way to assess this is once work has started and the concrete around the soil pipe has been broken up and dug down deep enough to find out if connection is even possible. This is a complete 50/50 chance in most cases, as one property on the same terrace of houses can be completely different to the neighbouring property.
The dig out of the soil pipe was done and the answer was confirmed. Just after floor left it started to turn and bend away under the next property giving no method of connecting in below floor level.
The plan B was to install a waste pump. This is pretty simple, it simply means the water is pumped out of the shower trap and the pushed up and into the soil pipe above ground level, removing the need to have gravity drain the water away. Simply solution, more expensive obviously, but in this case there was no other way to fit a low level shower tray. The shower waste pump means a low level or level access shower is possible in ANY situation regardless of gravity, floor types or the state of the soil pipe does once it goes under ground!
To Reuse Or Not Reuse Old Items!
The brief was also to keep the shower screen, keep as much of the tiling as possible, keep the toilet but raise the height of it, keep the taps but fit a new basin and pedestal. This is intended to keep the cost down and can be done, but does present a few problems of its own…which can be false economy!
When taking out old items with the intention of refitting them, extra care needs to be taken not to bend frames on shower screens etc, or break fixings. Frames can easily get irreparably bent no matter how much care is taken, due to being glued in with lots of silicone or stronger stuff. This can result in a new item needing to be purchased anyway. If the screen and frame and other items DO come out in good condition, they will all need to be painstakingly scraped clean of grout, lime scale and silicone sealant, all of which takes extra time, all of which would not need to be dine if it was a new item being fitted. The saving in money can be out weighed in time taken removing and cleaning up the old items. Plus you could have had a nice new one for the same cost. For this reason don’t be surprised if some installer refuse to attempt the refitting of old items or just charge the same amount regardless of new over saving old. In this case the customer requested it to save money, we agreed to take on the job and it came out successfully.
Tanking, Tiling, Fitting.
Areas that had tiles removed could be tanked with water proofing solution to make sure no water gets any further than beneath the tiles but the other tiles had to be left as previously install. Low level tray was fitted directly to the floor and the rest of the floor was tiled to bring the height up a little closer to the level of the new tray. The toilet was raised on a plinth by 50mm or 2″ to ease the getting on and off the toilet for this elderly customer, the shower screen was refitted and the rest of the wall area tiled up with new tiles sourced to match as best as possible for size and style of the originals.
The pump itself was installed in the back of the kitchen cupboard, which was just the other side of the wall by the toilet, so the shower room itself could be left uncluttered by it. The pump was wired up with a fuse spur and officially signed off by our qualified electrician. The pump was then calibrated to make sure it ran at the same speed as the shower and cleared the water effectively. Everything was fitted as per manufactures guidelines and with easy access for future servicing if needed.
The rather large hole was repaired in the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen cupboard, plastered, filled and painted.
Lastly the usual clean up of tiling and silicone sealing of all the joints around the whole shower room and shower screen to finish the job.
The result was a nice clean shower room with more space than previously due to removing boxings and fitting the toilet back to wall. The shower now nice and easy to access without any trip hazard of a large step up into it. Everything else left the same to keep the cost down to a minimum.
Check out the ‘before’ and ‘after’ 360 panorama image of the project below.
Click and drag around the pictures to view floor, ceiling and stop rotation.
Check out large versions of all the images below…
For more information on having a low level shower fitted into a ground floor property by use of a waste pump please give us a call or use the form below.