Most baths come with plastic bath panels which can be a real pain to fix in position. We are always looking for the simple way to do things and fitting a bath panel does not always need to have complicated frames built to accommodate them. There are many types of bath and an enormous number of bath panels. A one size fits all solution would make the inventor a fortune! Take a look at our types of bath page to see more options.
Steel baths (left)come in all shapes and sizes from the super steel small baths with enormous strength, to freestanding classic baths. Acrylic baths (right) usually have great thermal properties, they retain heat and are usually warm to the touch. Acrylic baths are usually fiberglass reinforced for strength.
Fitting a bath panel to most makes of bath can be made relatively simple by spending a little time planning what you need to do. Don't be mislead by the many instruction sheets which will have you making up frames which cost more in timber than the bath itself. In this example we have simply cut the bath panel to size using an ordinary hacksaw (Fig1). Where the handle of the hack saw restricts the cut you can simply use the blade on its own but make sure you use gloves when you do this (Fig 2). The easiest method is to use the mini hacksaw. Remember to let the saw do the work and push and pull gently and slowly to avoid splitting the plastic.
Once the bath panel has been trimmed down, use a router to cut a rebate in a strip of timber. We have used 3 inch x 2 inch timber in the picture above (Fig 3) as the larger sizes gives stability and plenty of timber to work with when screwing down to the bathroom floor. Of course not everyone has a router and if you do not have one, simply go and ask your local joiners shop (there is usually one on most Industrial Estates) to run a one eighth saw blade through the timber for you. The rebate should be about 25mm deep.
Use a spirit level to plumb down from the side of the bath to mark where the batten or timber should go (Fig 4) and screw to the floor. Slot the top of the panel up under the bath and push the bottom of the panel into the rebate. Because we intend to tile the floor in this picture, later in the year, our bath panel sits a good 15mm off the floor (can be seen in Fig 5), but depending on the height the bath is set to, this distance can vary. Remember, make a plan first and draw it out. If it works on paper, it should work in practice.
Shower baths (above) and freestanding or traditional Victorian baths (above top) present different difficulties with regard to fitting bath panels. The Victorian, many with clawed feet, are usually left open but baths with rounded sections or profiles can cause problems when it comes to bath panel fitting. A good way round this problem is to make up a simple frame between the bath and the floor and fit PVCu cladding to it. Cut the cladding to length and fit together as you push it under the overhanging lip of the bath. The joint between floor and cladding can be covered by one of the many PVCu moldings available. They are all very pliable.