How to maintain that trendy bathroom

So you want an up-to-the-minute bathroom with those designer fixtures. But did you know that maintaining and sometimes even installing trendy features can take a bit of work?

Here’s what you might need to know before you order that concealed cistern or install those wood panels.

Freestanding baths

Freestanding baths are a design favorite, but they do take up more room than built-ins and require a little more work to install and maintain.

Bathtub in modern bathroom

Common issues:

  • Freestanding tubs are heavier than built-ins. Is your floor strong enough? Or do you need to look into reinforcing the floor?
  • Where will the pipework go? You will need to figure out how to hide the plumbing (hot and cold supply and drainage pipes) so it doesn’t detract from the designer look. In both cases, this may compromise a plumber’s access to the pipes to conduct maintenance checks or to do any repairs.


  • For footed baths:
    • Keep the pipes discreet, but easy to access. This might require some design tricks to hide them, but it’s worth thinking about where you place the bath.
  • For baths with a solid base:
    • Run the pipes under the floor, but make sure a plumber can access them easily without having to move the heavy bath or redo the floor.
    • Another option would be to construct a plinth for the bath to sit on – this can really make the bath the centrepiece of the room and include a handy hidden hatch.
    • Alternatively, run the pipes beside the bath. Although this would be your best option, it may be tricky to achieve an effortless look.

Concealed cistern

A toilet with a concealed cistern gives a bathroom a clean look and can save a little space, which makes it the darling of a modern bathroom.

Common issues:

  • Concealed cisterns can be difficult and sometimes expensive to access. If you have even minor issues, you will need to call in a plumber.
  • The wall behind a concealed cistern may need reinforcement or could require special treatment upon installation.
  • The button and wall plates for a concealed cistern can be pricey.


  • Include an access panel: A reputable plumber will know to include an access panel for future maintenance. Have the plumber show you how to access the cistern to make diagnostic checks and minor repairs.
  • Store a box of spare tiles: If the worst happens and there is no access panel, at least have some replacements if the walls have to be opened up.
  • Consider a close-coupled toilet: If your walls are unsuitable for concealed cistern loos, consider a close-coupled toilet, where the cistern hugs the wall rather than lives in it. They are streamlined and often cost less.

Smart bathroom

Designed for convenience and to save water and energy, smart bathrooms include everything from temperature-controlled showers to self-cleaning toilets.

Common issues:

  • If the technology fails, the fixture or appliance also fails and you’re left with a bathroom you can’t use.


  • Select items that work without the gadgetry: For instance, your toilet might no longer operate as a self-cleaning one, but you should still be able to flush it.
  • Follow the care instructions: If the maintenance booklet says to wipe down the control panel after each use to prevent moisture build-up, you should do it.

Wood features

Just like the living wall, wood features in the bathroom have become trendy, due to our desire to get back to nature.

Common issues:

  • A wooden feature wall will rapidly deteriorate if it’s not taken care of. If you don’t maintain the correct moisture level in the wood, it could dry out or become mouldy.


  • Select the right timber: Consider moisture, heat, light and ventilation. You may want to beef up your exhaust fan and/or ensure that it works well and is positioned correctly.
  • Seal the wood properly: Lacquer, wax and oil are three popular sealants and your preference may vary according to what you’re trying to achieve. If you have a Japanese bath, for example, oil is the way to go, whereas a wooden vanity unit might be better off with a few coats of lacquer. Get professional advice from a timber merchant, not from the aisle of a big box hardware store.
  • Dealing with mould: You can use a spray bottle of white vinegar to cover the wood, leave for 15-30 minutes, then wipe down with a damp cloth and leave in a well-ventilated area to dry. You can also include this routine in your weekly clean to prevent mould.

Article repurposed from How to maintain that trendy bathroom by Darren Clancy. Author at