How To Fit A Bath Panel – The Perfect Guide
While actual plumbing is generally best left to a professional, a competent DIYer can save themselves a bit of money by fitting their own acrylic bath panel. Acrylic bath panels are mostly cosmetic in that they are used to hide unsightly plumbing and to give a better finish to a bathroom. They do, however, also give the floor some protection against splashes. Panels may be fitted to a brand new bath or they may be switched out to update bathroom décor, such as by changing colour. This is likely to be substantially more affordable than switching out the bath itself. If your bath is wall to wall, you will only need a side panel, but if it has exposed short sides, these will need panels as well. The job is straightforward, but as always, it pays to be prepared and to read our instructions thoroughly before you start.
Before starting the installation
Step one – Buy your panel(s)
If you have a standard, straight bath then you have a wide choice of options available. Be aware, thought, that non-standard baths, e.g. curved ones will probably have their own special requirements. The basic process to fit them is much the same as we are going to describe here, but you would be well advise to check the manufacturer’s instructions and other internet sources to be sure that you are aware of any differences. When your panel(s) arrive(s), make sure to check it for damage straight away, since it is usually easier to sort out problems sooner rather than later. In particular, check that the panel actually fits your bath by using a tape measure to check the actual dimensions, rather than being guided purely by what you think are the dimensions or what it says on the packaging (mistakes are unusual but they can happen).
Step two – Buy your batten
You will need one or more lengths of 38 x 25mm wood batten.Check the measurements of your panel, but as a rule of thumb, you will need about 3.3m for a long-side panel and 2.3m for a short-side panel. You will also need wood screws.
Step three – Assemble your materials
If you’re into DIY, you’re very likely to have the necessary materials, which are: a drill, a saw, a screwdriver to fit the wood screws you bought, a tape measure and a pencil.asa
Step four – Turn off the water at the mains
Obviously only do this when you’re just about to begin, but always do it.
Your long-side panel
Attach your batten to the floor without fixing it permanently. It needs to be inset 19mm from the edge of the bath and run along the full length of the bath.
Double-check the dimensions of your panel to take into account any unevenness in the floor and any fixtures such as plumbing or skirting boards. If necessary trim it with your saw.
Place the panel in position and, if necessary, adjust the positioning of the batten. The panel needs to fit snugly and neatly under the rim of the bath.
Drill three holes in the bottom of the plinth. They need to be 12mm from the lower edge and aligned with the batten. They also need to be evenly spaced.
Use the wood screws to fix the panel to the battens and cap the screws.If you are fitting a short-side
Fit the front panel first and trim back the batten as required to create space for the battens for the short-side panel.
The actual fitting of the short-side panels follows the same process as for the long-side panel, except that the inset needs to be 16mm rather than 19mm.
Final step – Very important
Remember to turn your mains water back on!
If you are fitting just a long-side panel, you could have the job finished in about half an hour. Obviously adding short-side panels will mean more time.