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Budget Bathroom Renovation in France

Budget Bathroom Renovation

Building a budget bathroom in France can be a real challenge. Compared with the UK, plumbers seem really expensive, ceramics somewhat extortionate and some materials rather scarce. If you want a budget bathroom you need to hit the auction sites and go full DIY.

Many French baths can be quite short and ours was no exception. The bathroom was only 1.5 meters across with a sink and a radiator almost blocking access to the tiny bath.

There was no option but to knock down the wall and extend sideways. That would enable us to add a sensible sized bath, a shower, a full sized sink and a toilet. We could also add such luxuries as heated towel rails and bathroom cabinets.

We’d bought all the bathroom ceramics in the UK on auction sites for the grand total of £40. The heated brass towel rail and light brought the total to an eye watering £100!

The floor of this bathroom had 6 inches of concrete on it. We managed to smash it off, but the boards underneath weren’t it great condition. Luckily the supporting Oak beams underneath were in excellent condition.

Stud Walls

Mandy has been moving the left wall sideways 1.8 meters. It turns out she really loves DIY and get stuck right in! We brought most of the wood with us in the shape of a shelving unit. Most wood in France is cheap, however it is not kiln dried and finding straight sections is not easy. Ideally, you need to buy your wood 2 years ahead and store it in dry conditions under heavy weights for it to be use-able. For stud work however, it is more or less acceptable.

First Fix Wiring

When we moved into the house all electrics had been cut off many years previous. However, previously each floor had 1 light per room. There were two mains sockets on the ground floor and 1 in a front bedroom. The old electrics all showed signs of heat damage and were probably installed in the 1920’s.

Just to do part of the first fix wiring for the first floor took 1 kilometer of cable. Mark’s sparky City & Guilds course is finally getting used! – Only 35 years late and in the wrong country. So much re-learning has been required.

Woodworm in the Floorboards

Previously the wiring and plumbing was all mounted on top of the skirting board in plain sight. We have replaced the floorboards as they were riddled with woodworm. Luckily, the Oak beams were fine. The wiring and plumbing have all been hidden under the 22mm OSB chipboard flooring.

Shower and Bath

We are fitting a large 1.8m long multi-jet shower cubicle, plus we have a Victorian style roll top slipper bath with chrome shower attachment.

Chiseling the Render off the Walls

Under the horrid wallpaper and tiles was some lovely stone walls. Our intention is to re-render between all the stones and have an exposed stone feature wall. We also want an exposed oak beam on the ceiling. The right hand wall’s plaster is currently in terrible condition; so we aren’t quite sure what to do with that yet. The ceiling will need attention as animals have been nesting. The window will need to wait to a new year when we find a wood yard that stocks oak and we can find a suitable cremone lock.

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