patp

To en suite or not to en suite?

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During a refurb of our existing house an architect commented that he was "not a fan" of en suite bathrooms. We followed his thinking (though did not engage his, very expensive, services) and put the new upstairs shower room between the main bedroom and another bedroom. It works very well. Before the refurb we had to negotiate steep stairs for night time bathroom visits.

 

This set me thinking about our new build. I am a very, very light sleeper and "bathroom noises" not to mention steam and smells (!) are not very welcome in my bedroom. The trouble is that they seem de rigeur nowadays. Will I regret it if I decide to leave out the en suite? At the moment the design, at our request, has a bathroom between the master bedroom and the second bedroom. This means just leaving the master bedroom to, immediately, turn into the bathroom. People we have shown the plans to are aghast that we are not planning in an en suite. Will this design affect any re sale value?

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Ensuite does not equate to bathroom noises steam and smells. Keeping the door shut and having a MVHR extract in the bathroom will take care of both aspects. Having a humidity sensor in the bathroom to boost the fan speed helps too.

 

Other factors for ensuite are probably more important, e.g. number of bedrooms, occupants and number of bathrooms and toilets they will have access to.

Edited by ragg987
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Depends on your price point. Many buyers with a family insist on s en-suite. 

 

A small dressing room between the bedroom and en-suite would solve the issues you mention. 

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We get zero smells, steam etc from our en suite, and very little noise (flushing the loo in the middle of the night is barely audible in the bedroom). 

 

The key to making this work was as @ragg987 mentions above, having the MVHR boost controlled with a humidity sensor, plus having ventilation directly to the loo itself (as discussed in this thread: https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/11115-loo-odour-extraction-system-update/).  It also helps to fit a heavy door between the bedroom and en suite, I think.  I'm sure that much of the noise reduction comes from having a fairly hefty door (ours weighs around 40kg).

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Put a dressing room at 90 degrees to the entrance to the en-suite and enter the en-suite through that - it will create a sound break and a decent wall build up will stop any residual flanking sound.  

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We have our ES coming off the dressing room. So two doors between ES and bed.

first.JPG

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1 hour ago, ragg987 said:

Ensuite does not equate to bathroom noises steam and smells. Keeping the door shut and having a MVHR extract in the bathroom will take care of both aspects. Having a humidity sensor in the bathroom to boost the fan speed helps too.

 

Other factors for ensuite are probably more important, e.g. number of bedrooms, occupants and number of bathrooms and toilets they will have access to.

Extractor fan?! I missed that out in the list of noises that I did not want to disturb my sleep! :( At the moment we do not close doors between bedroom and bathroom to keep noise to a minimum.

Edited by patp
another thought!

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9 minutes ago, patp said:

Extractor fan?! I missed that out in the list of noises that I did not want to disturb my sleep! :(

 

 

If you have MVHR then it's nowhere near the noise of an extractor fan.  Ours is barely audible in boost mode (i.e. when the shower is on) and completely silent normally.  Some have found that there's no need to boost the MVHR, as even without boost the bathroom will dry out pretty quickly.

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Hmmm. Dressing room? We had not planned one in. It is designed to be a modest sized, easily maintained, bungalow but architects being architects he did give us a larger bedroom than we are used to so we could find space, I would think, to put one in.

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Even relatively modest houses often have a master en suite nowadays. If there is space for one then you really should fit one.

 

I made the doors to en suite fire rated doors which are heavier to reduce noise transfer.

 

The funny thing is our master en suite doesn't have a door at all and TBH if my wife is running a bath the noise is annoying but I don't notice anything else.

 

All our WCs use in wall cisterns, they are vastly quieter than open cisterns and you basically cannot hear them.

 

Similarly with MVHR you do not have annoying noisy extractor fans.

 

Other things you can do are to make sure that anything noisy doesn't share a wall with the bedroom and try and put the door round a corner so it doesn't face the bed. But it is unlikely someone will be having a bath or s shower when you are sleeping unless you and your partner keep very different hours.

 

I have never had steam or smells from an en suite as an issue ever in a house.

Edited by AliG
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I've a normal, "quiet" light switch in the bedroom so we can turn the en suite light on with using the click-clack pull cord. SWMBO is a pita though for getting up in the middle of the night, using the loo then coming back and LEAVING THE F***ING DOOR OPEN!

 

Not that it annoys me in the least.

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I am always awake first (as well as in the middle of the night). It would be me showering early.

Because of my insomnia, I am very conscious of making a noise that will disturb himself knowing how much I would really, really hate to be woken from any precious sleep I might be indulging in. I should be more selfish really because he once slept through a car crashing into a telegraph pole outside our house, and me leaning out of the window and shouting to find out if our neighbour was able to deal with the incident, and the police, on their own.

 

Yes, heavy doors + dressing room + double thickness walls + thick carpet + no flushing allowed before 6am might just persuade me.

 

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Oooh yes - and a quiet light switch. We have been fumbling in the dark, making do with a tiny glimmer from a bedroom night light to stop us falling down the stairs. HWMBO is forced to a sitting position for his nocturnal pee in order to not miss his aim in the dark :) :) 

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27 minutes ago, patp said:

I am always awake first (as well as in the middle of the night). It would be me showering early.

 

Thinking laterally like Dr de Bono from the other end.

 

So no problem then. :ph34r:

 

You will have already left the house and will not be disturb by the swearing.

 

40 pairs of earplugs for 4.86.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laser-Lite-Ear-Plugs-Honeywell/dp/B018RIA44S/ref=asc_df_B018RIA44S

 

(So you have something to use even if you are still in the house.)

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand
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53 minutes ago, patp said:

Extractor fan

Nope - MVHR. Every modern low energy build should have one. Though if you are very sensitive to noise you may wish to add an inline noise attenuator in the ducting.

25 minutes ago, patp said:

Oooh yes - and a quiet light switch. We have been fumbling in the dark

Whatever takes your fancy :)

Movement sensor activated lighting in circulation areas and bathrooms, together with low-level dim lights will take care of these and improve your safety.

 

We used fire doors on all internal doors. Just be aware you will require a gap under the door for MVHR so some noise leakage is inevitable, in our house the only obtrusive noise is the shower. Cistern is in-wall and quiet, bath fills down the bath wall so no splashing noise. If you woke early and wanted a shower you could always use another one?

 

I guess I am suggesting that an ensuite is a bonus, especially if you are moving away from the traditional 3-bed-semi approach. Modern buyers tend to expect this, so it may have an impact when you come to sell.

 

2 hours ago, patp said:

an architect commented that he was "not a fan" of en suite bathrooms

I have seen this mentioned somewhere before, and I guess if you are tight on space or money and need to make choices then reducing number of bathrooms is one way to increase space in bedrooms or cut the build cost. But if you have the space and money then why not - don't get it.

Edited by ragg987
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24 minutes ago, patp said:

HWMBO is forced to a sitting position for his nocturnal pee in order to not miss his aim in the dark :) :) 

 

Luminous, semaphore version of Bernie the Bolt.

 

And a shattaf for fun.

Edited by Ferdinand
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2 hours ago, patp said:

This set me thinking about our new build. I am a very, very light sleeper and "bathroom noises" not to mention steam and smells (!) are not very welcome in my bedroom.

 

2 hours ago, patp said:

Will this design affect any re sale value?

We have an ensuite but I could quite happily live without one. I think buyers would expect an ensuite these days but just because you have one doesn't mean you have to use it.

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We have an en-suite with a corridor past built in wardrobes/dressing area and would not be without it, I am yet to wire it but when staying in a hotel last year the bathroom had a movement sensor which switched a low level light on for nocturnal use without trying to find the light or having a bright light come on, it’s on my extensive “to do list”.

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Good point @PeterStarck about not using it. There will be another one just down the hall.

 

Funnily enough, the en suite hating architect designed a small estate of high-end houses nearby. I went to look at them and he had put a dressing room between the bedroom and the en suite. He must be an insomniac like me :(

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Our house layout is square and on the 1st floor there is an equally sized bedroom in each corner, stairs/atrium in centre of floor.

 

Architect had originally suggested back to back ensuites for all 4 bedrooms, however we changed this to give ourselves a dressing / wardrobe area and then the ensuite - stealing the ensuite space from the guest bedroom. We made the kids bathrooms open to the hall, not their rooms, so they are available to guests (one has a shower, one has a bath).

 

Pocket sliding doors to all bathrooms which maximises the space in each. 

 

image.png.49cae379728f407d87681c7e2f226ae2.png

 

Works really well - we have a PIR proximity sensor in each bathroom which triggers the MVHR boost and DHW return loop pump - could have triggered the light also but we have low level LED lighting in the hall so felt unnecessary.

 

The MVHR boost fan noise is only barely perceptible and goes off after 10 mins anyway.

 

Didn't I read that the German building regs insist on a corridor (i.e. two doors) between any habitable space and a toilet? We seem to have achieved that by accident rather than intent.

 

Anyway, bottom line is build what you want but probably give some thought to resell - if it's too quirky then you may struggle.

 

One compromise is to terminate some first fix services (fouls and water supply) to an area that could be converted in future, such as a dressing room or corner of a bedroom and decide later. We did this to our rooms in roof, potential to have a shower room up there if we wanted.

 

Also, we put the downstairs WC next to our study, with a view to converting this area to a bedroom / shower room should mobility ever become an issue for an occupant.

 

 

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Our bungalow is an L shape. Apart from liking the design it is also practical as we can add on space at three points if necessary. Having lived in a square bungalow, in the past, it seemed a very limited design for any future extensions as the middle becomes very dark. Main bedroom is at top of L so that a wet room could be added if failing health decided it.

 

If we put the dressing room and en suite in, as suggested on here, then this would also convert. The shower room next to the main bedroom was always going to be a walk in shower so may never need converting as long as the dressing room is wheelchair friendly?

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2 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

Didn't I read that the German building regs insist on a corridor (i.e. two doors) between any habitable space and a toilet?

 

Didn't UK regulations use to require that? Or was it just between toilets and kitchens?

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The NO1 noise you have to consider is the noise of the lavatory cistern re filling after you have flushed it.

 

In out previous house we built back to back en-suite rooms without regard to that fact, and it created an issue that when the next door bedroom used their loo at night, the WC backed onto our bedroom wall so we heard the noise of the water flow to re fill the cistern after use.

 

Keep the WC cistern away from any wall directly adjoining your bedroom and you will avoid that issue.  Our en-suite design takes this into account.

 

Re "smells"  We must just have more control of our functions than some others because we never normally have need to do "that" function in the middle of a night, only ever a visit for a pee.  So as long as the flush and refill is inaudible in the bedroom, there is no problem.

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I've found that our built-in cisterns are surprisingly quiet, so quiet that when you're in the bathroom it's hard to hear when the thing has stopped filling (slight nuisance when cleaning the thing as you have to listen carefully to hear when it's ready to flush again).  I've no idea of the make; they came with the Vitra WCs as a kit.  TBH I had half a mind to change them for something else, as, although the WCs and basins were really quite good, I wasn't 100% convinced that Turkish-made cisterns etc would be that well made.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that they were so quiet and we've had no problems with any of them so far.

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Can you design the house so that the ES is, initially, separate from the bedroom. But in the future a new doorway can could be fitted to connect the two.

Or do what I do, work before bedtime, then I am a little dehydrated for the night, and tired. I sleep quite well because of this.

Mornings I get up early, tea and fags for an hour or two, then shower/bath. No one is disturbed.

Living alone is the real answer.

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