The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home. It is used by every member of the family multiple times a day.
Apart from the usual functionality, every family member wants something different from a bathroom. Whether it’s a relaxing candle lit bath haven, super shower to wake you up in the morning, great lighting for make-up application or an easy clean solution there is a lot to consider.
The choice of bathroom products is wide but so are the differences in prices. So why do the prices vary so much?
Pricing is often a reflection of the design, the quality of the materials and the standard of manufacture but what does that mean to you? Below is a guide to help you understand these differences so that you can pick the best product for your budget.
A lot of people don’t realise that often the main cost of a new bathroom is the installation and not the bathroom products. So it makes sense to buy the best quality products for your budget as these will last longer, meaning you can avoid more installation costs just a few years down the line.
A Guide to Picking the Best Products for Your Budget
At Clifton Trade Bathrooms we serve trade customers who buy from us time and time again. This means that the quality of our products has to be right. We demand no call-back quality from our suppliers on all our products but offer a wide range of products to suit all budgets.
What can make a difference to the price of what is essentially a white piece of pottery?
Firstly, the materials used can make a big difference, lower cost clays are darker than more expensive white clays. What this means to us is that darker clays require more glaze to cover them. Thicker glaze coverage can have a less streamlined finish and can look thicker and gloopier than a thinner glaze application.
Also, when it comes to glaze, only part glazing products is less expensive but does leave exposed parts which can have sharp edges and absorb moisture.
Design also plays a part in the manufacturing process. Slimmer, squarer pieces are more difficult to cast than rounder thicker pieces.
Toilet pricing can vary dramatically, this is because it is a very functional part of the bathroom. The design and casting of the pan determine how well the water flushes around the pan and how well it cleans. More intricate casting costs more to manufacture and hence the difference in pricing.
The “gubbins” inside the cistern that make the toilet flush are very important but there is a difference in cost between European and Chinese versions.
Bathroom furniture is really popular as it looks super stylish and provides practical storage.
Materials used vary greatly. As we all know water and wood or wood effect materials aren’t the best of friends. However, materials and the way they are manufactured can be treated to be water resistant, but these cost more. A lower priced piece of furniture is often not water resistant and can suffer water ingress quite quickly.
Fixings also make a difference – super smooth drawer runners, soft close doors, strong hinges and wall fixings make a difference to not only the life of the product but also the user experience.
The main thing to look for when selecting a shower enclosure or screen is the thickness of glass. This can range from 4mm to 10mm. 4mm will do the job but will not have the luxurious feel and strength of a 10mm product.
Height also matters, the higher the glass the less splash over you will have.
The amount of glass used is where the price differences come and 3 times more glass can be used on a higher specified product than a less costly option.
Let’s also not forget the bits we don’t really see, the fixings. These play an important part in as how many times will you open your shower door in its lifetime?
Handles – materials vary from plastic to zinc – both materials can have the same look, but they are very different in feel and durability.
Rollers – strong, smooth rollers with soft close buffers can be less rickety. You can also get quick release versions to make cleaning easy.
Like most items, differences in bath prices are a down to the materials and manufacture used.
Most baths start life as an acrylic sheet. This can vary in thickness and be as thin as 2mm. The thinner the acrylic the cheaper it is but the more see through it will be.
It is important that a sanitary grade acrylic is used as non-sanitary grades can react to heat and crack over time.
The acrylic sheet is moulded to shape and then sprayed with fibreglass to make it rigid and strong.
The more fibre glass the stronger it is and the more heat it will retain. Fibreglass is not cheap, so less expensive baths can have very little fibre glass reinforcement. This is not good particularly if you want to put a shower over the bath and will be standing in it, also if you like a good long soak in warm water rather than cold.
Taps and showers are one of the hardest areas to clearly see what you are getting for your money.
A good quality brass and chrome coverage will determine how long a tap will last but this is where the main costs are.
Less costly products will be smaller as they use less brass, however smaller taps can sometimes look lost on a basin.
Using a lower grade brass can also make a product less costly but this can have a tendency of “greening” over time. The best way to measure brass quality is by the weight – better brass weighs more.
Chroming makes the product look good but more importantly protects the product from water. The more chrome a product has means it is less susceptible to blistering from the elements found in the water we use but more chrome equals more cost.
The insides of the products are really important as these are what make the products work. The quality of these can vary.
Design also plays a large part, this can affect the way water flows through the product and ultimately your user experience.
How do you know if you are buying the right quality bathroom products?
Internet shopping can be quite tricky as one picture of a toilet can look very similar to another.
Always check the specifications if they are provided and the guarantees that are offered.
It is important when checking the guarantees to check the small print as some guarantees look great on the surface but require registration within a limited period or even payment and without which a much lower guarantee is offered.
Visiting a showroom will allow you to see the products for yourself and give you the peace of mind that you are buying the right product for you.
At Clifton we not only have showrooms, but our friendly depot staff will help you by giving you the information you need to make the right choice.
Find you local depot at www.ctb.co.uk and call in to see us.
We have depots across the North of England, and we all wear the same smiles :)