Modern baths come complete with moulded panels that clip into place to hide the underside of the bath, and the supply and waste pipes. They are convenient and easy to fit, but may not fit in with your decor. ln older homes, there may be problems, Flimsy hard – board panels around the sides of the bath may have deteriorated, or perhaps you want to change an existing panel.
You can buy matching shaped plastic or glass fibre side and end panels for almost every modern bath these days. And there are even curved panels to cope with corner baths. However, if you want to decorate the sides of your bath enclosure in some other way, you can achieve dramatic effects by boxing on the side yourself. The principle is the same, whatever material you choose to use for the cladding and decoration.
You start by building a simple framework of soft – wood posts and rails along the sides and end of the bath and then attach the cladding material to this.
CHOOSING A FINISH
The cladding material can either be a finish in itself or a surface to which you can add your chosen finish. For example, a purpose – designed mahogany panel or an old pine door can be fitted round the sides of a bath for a traditional look. For a more rustic effect, tongued-and-grooved boards, either varnished or painted, are a suitable choice. lf your bathroom has a carpeted floor, you can even run the carpet up the side of the bath, though a better choice might be sheet vinyl to match existing flooring or ceramic tiles to match the bath surround. You could use hardboard if you plan to paper the panels, but the best bet (and the only choice if you want to tile the panels) is plywood. Don’t use chipboard in a bathroom because it swells and bursts if it gets wet. For the same reason, any hardboard you use should be the oil – tempered variety, and plywood should be at least moisture- resistant (MR) grade. Ideally, water and boil proof (\/\/BP) board should be chosen.
ALLOWING FOR ACCESS
A vital point to bear in mind when boxing anything in is that you might need access to it at some time in the future. For example, you may need to get at the waste trap of a bath if you have a blockage. lf you think about this point at the planning stage, it’s generally a simple matter either to make the panelling easy to remove, or to incorporate some sort of access hatch.
This bath has been boxed in with a plywood panel which has then been tiled over. Similar panels are built in at the end and side of the room.