Freestanding Baths – Considerations When Choosing and Fitting a Waste Kit

Plug and Chain, Click Clack or Pop Up Waste

There are three basic types of waste kit. The traditional plug and chain waste is well known to everyone. A retainer plug and chain waste is one where the plug fits into the overflow grill when not in use to keep it out of the way. Plug and chain wastes usually come with either a ball chain or a link chain. Most plug and chain wastes will fit most freestanding baths. A click clack waste is one with a sprung plug which operates like many contemporary basin wastes, you push the plug in and it clicks shut, push it again to click it open, with click clack wastes a chrome cover fits over the overflow hole but stands slightly proud of it so as to not block it. A pop up waste is one that is controlled by a chrome dial that fits over the overflow, a cable runs on the outside of the bath from the dial to the plug and turning the dial causes the cable to move and operate the plug. Most click clack and pop up waste sold in major chains will not fit most traditional freestanding roll top baths.

Concealed or Exposed Waste Kit

A concealed waste kit is one which is assumed to be fitted in circumstances where only those parts that are fitted inside the bath will be seen, so that all the pipe work on the outside of the bath – the overflow pipe, trap and outlet pipe can be plastic. An exposed waste kit is all metal/chrome with no plastic parts and is all designed to be seen. A traditional double ended freestanding bath if placed more or less against a wall can be fitted with a concealed waste kit because the pipework will be hidden between the bath and the wall. A single ended traditional freestanding bath will usually have all the pipework visible when viewed in profile wherever you install it so for these and for double ended baths that are away from the wall you would most likely fit an exposed waste kit with a chrome trap and outlet pipe.

Thickness of Freestanding Baths

Most traditional freestanding baths are much thicker than standard panel baths and this can cause a problem with many waste kits. All waste kits have a parts that sit on either side of the plug and overflow holes and connect together to form a sandwich structure with the wall of the bath being the sandwich filling and parts of the waste kit on either side. For plug and chain wastes the parts of the waste kits generally connect with a threaded bolt so as long as the bolts are long enough (which they usually are) then these kits will fit on any thickness of overflow or plug hole. However most click clack and pop up wastes use instead of a bolt a wide bore plastic threaded tube that may be only 7 to 12 mm thick, this is not hick enough for most traditional roll top baths.

Fitting a Trap to a Freestanding Bath

Freestanding baths either with or without feet often have reduced clearance under the bath and a standard size bath trap may not fit between the bath and the floor. If you are able to go into the floor under the bath then a hole can be made in the floor for the trap to fit into, if however your floor is concrete or of for aesthetic reasons you can’t go into the floor then you will need a shallow or ultra shallow bath trap which you may need to get from a specialist.

Waste Pipe and Overflow Pipe Conflicts

When fitting an ultra shallow bath trap you will find that the outlet pipe will run out at the same height as the overflow pipe comes in (or at least at overlapping heights). This means that you can point the outlet pipe in any direction (by spinning the trap) but you can’t point it back out directly the way that the overflow pipe is coming in because it will not fit underneath it. If you do need to take the waste out towards the end or side of the bath where the overflow is then you can use an outlet pipe with a right angle to run the outlet pipe out to left or right of the overflow pipe.

Extended Overflow

If the bath has a plug hole that is centered in the bath both length-ways and width-ways then you will need an extended overflow pipe. In addition if you are fitting a pop-up waste you will need one with an extended cable and if fitting a plug and chain waste you will need one with an extended chain. In the case of fitting an exposed waste kit with a metal overflow pipe you will need to fit a chrome overflow extension pipe, these are rather specialist items and only available from a small number of freestanding bath specialists. If the plug hole is in the middle length-ways but over to one side, the side where the overflow is, width-ways then you do not need the extended waste kits just described.

Freestanding Baths Without Feet

Many contemporary freestanding baths do not have feet but have in integral ‘skirt’ which goes right down to the floor. In these cases the waste kit usually fits up inside between the two ‘skins’ of the bath, so the overflow pipe is never seen. Also these style of bath are usually reinforced with board like a standard bath and so are thin (>10mm) and will fit most standard pop-up and click clack wastes. Some traditional baths, especially boat baths are similarly constructed, however most boat baths rest on a plinth and may have a tub more like a bath with feet having a visible overflow pipe and thick wall and base.

Best Advice When Buying a Waste Kit for Freestanding Baths

The best single piece of advice is to buy the waste kit at the same time and from the same people who you buy the bath from then you very clearly know that it’s the retailers’ responsibility to supply the right waste kit with the bath, but if you can’t do that then contact a specialist in freestanding baths.