Sarah Hillsdon, Category Manager Geberit Bathroom Products & Installation Systems, looks at how installers can take advantage of the current demand for home renovations to create a design-led and hygienic space in any size of bathroom.
Homeowners today are contending with ever-shrinking spaces, with today’s new build properties, according to LABC Warranty, typically smaller than 30 years ago and the average size of a bathroom now standing at just 4.4 square metres. In fact, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) estimates that the average size of a one-bedroom new build home is just 46 square metres – that’s the same size as a tube carriage.
Meanwhile, a recent survey from Checkatrade of 2,000 found that homeowners plan to spend £11.3bn from June’s stamp duty holiday on home renovations, with the bathroom coming in second in planned projects at 30%.
There is clearly, then, a real opportunity for installers to take the opportunity to look at the all-too common issue of space as homeowners embark on their renovations.
As homeowners increasingly seek out design-led solutions, installers are tasked with coming up with ‘instagrammable’ bathrooms that are stylish, yet overcome this space challenge. As a result, manufacturers are developing a number of bathroom solutions that maximise space without compromising on style and we’re predicting real growth in particular for wall-hung toilets and sanitaryware in the UK market. Providing a space-saving alternative to traditional close coupled toilets, these systems are now more affordable than ever.
There’s no arguing that the bathroom is a valuable space, yet more often than not is the one room that requires the most versatile solutions – commonly the smallest room and the one more likely to throw up any awkward spaces. Yet, by incorporating a wall-hung system in a bathroom design, the ability to conceal the cistern and lift the toilet’s footprint off the floor can make even the smallest of bathrooms instantly appear bigger. Opting for a wall-hung system can also enable toilets to be easily installed in those tricky spots on a project, such as under a window, in a narrow wall duct or under a sloping ceiling.
Installers may have in the past associated these systems with difficult installation processes but product development from manufacturers such as Geberit now means that quick and affordable pre-wall frame systems, such as Geberit Duofix, have been designed with installation in mind. Cleverly concealed fixings and the inclusion and position of water inlets, for example, make life easier for installers and the cistern is concealed inside a drywall, so there is no need for additional studding. Servicing and access to the cistern is also made easy via the flush plate.
But it’s not just the obvious space benefits that wall-hung sanitaryware can bring. It goes without saying that ease of cleaning is now a huge consideration for homeowners with hygiene now well and truly under the spotlight – and lifting the toilet off the floor is an effective way to make cleaning easier in the home.
Indeed, when it comes to hygiene there are also other product developments installers can consider that can maximise hygiene in the bathroom. Surface coatings and glazes, for instance, can make cleaning easier. Products such as Geberit’s KeraTect Glaze benefit from a non-porous and smoother surface, helping prevent staining of the ceramics and creating a high-gloss effect. Solutions like this not only help maintain high levels of hygiene but also, importantly, really help to enhance the look and feel of the bathroom as a ‘clean’ space.
Similarly, there are affordable solutions now on the market such as Twyford’s Rimfree ceramic appliances and Geberit’s TurboFlush technology which can eliminate tricky corners and hard-to-reach areas around the pan, helping eradicate any hidden areas where dust and bacteria may thrive. The flushing system also clears away residue effectively, making regular cleaning much simpler.
Staying on trend
When you consider how the innovative design of these systems overcomes the ever-present issue of space in the home, the opportunity to sell affordable and innovative bathroom wall-hung systems is a win-win for the installer and end-user. And, as the trend for home renovations ramps up in the UK, there is now a very real opportunity to boost your reputation by acting as an advisor to your customers on how they should be incorporating new innovations into projects, as well as a chance to boost your bottom line by upselling hygienically-optimised, space-saving solutions.