How to Fit a Bath Panel
The purchase and installation of a new bath can prove an expensive process, so adopting a DIY approach to fitting your own bath panel can offer a simple and effective way to keep the cost down – removing the need to hire a professional. The type, size and position of your bath will determine the number of bath panels required, and you can be done and dusted within just 30 minutes by following our step-by-step guide on how to fit a bath panel.
The purchase and installation of a new bath can prove an expensive process, so adopting a DIY approach to fitting your own bath panel can offer a simple and effective way to keep the cost down – removing the need to hire a professional. The type, size and position of your bath will determine the number of panels required, and you can be done and dusted within just 30 minutes by following our step-by-step guide on how to fit a bath panel.
Available in a range of sizes and finishes, a bath panel is mainly used with a straight bath to disguise unsightly plumbing and pipework.
Bath panels are essential for providing an attractive overall appearance for your bath, in addition to splash resistance for beneath-the-bath flooring.
For the very best results, install bath panels that match or suit the surrounding décor of the bathroom, for example walnut bath panels to match a walnut vanity unit. Panels can be fitted to the side and end of the bath, and are relatively easy to fit.
Different baths require different size panels, the most common are 1500mm, 1600mm, 1700mm and 1800mm for front panels, and for 700mm, 750mm and 800mm for end panels. These sizes fit the majority of installations, and 1700mm is the most popular size in the UK.
Baths can usually be adjusted in height using the supplied bath legs, but if you are replacing a panel and unable to adjust the height of the bath due to tiles and pipework, then you will need to carefully check the height of the bath panel, as each manufacturer makes them at slightly different heights.
Most panels are supplied as a one-piece, meaning a fixed height and non-adjustable. Two-piece bath panels feature one panel at a fixed height and a separate plinth that’s fitted in front or behind the main panel to the required height; this option is also ideal for sloping floors.
Bath panels are available in two main materials including acrylic and MDF.
MDF bath panels are solid and do not bend like acrylic panels do when fitted correctly. When choosing an MDF bath panel you should take the thickness of the board into consideration (usually between 5mm – 18mm), the thicker this is the less likely it is to bow. Vinyl wrapped bath panels mean they have been wrapped in a plastic coating to ensure a consistent finish that’s water resistant.
Acrylic bath panels are easy to cut and generally cost less than MDF.
We recommend fitting your bath panel to a frame, which should ideally be made from 1.5″-2″ batons to help support the panel and strengthen the bath.
Required tools for fitting a bath panel:
The first section of our bath panel installation guide details instructions of how to fit a front panel only, so be wary of this before commencing with Step 1. For advice on fitting end bath panels, refer to the section entitled ‘Fitting your Front and End Bath Panels’ lower down the page.
Step 1 – Measure your bath panel
To begin with, use your tape measure to ensure the bath panel accurately fits your specific model of bath.
Step 2 – Fix your wooden batten
Securely fix your softwood batten (38 x 25mm for front panels) to the floor. The batten should occupy the full length of the bath, and include a 19mm inset from the bath edge.
Step 3 – Cut your bath panel to size
If necessary, cut your bath panel to the appropriate size needed to negate any potential flooring unevenness. The panel may also require adjustments to make sure it can be fitted around skirting boards or pipes.
Step 4 – Put your bath panel in place
After being trimmed to the correct size, put the panel in place, and alter the position of the batten accordingly, ensuring that the panel is secured precisely underneath the rim of the bath.
Step 5 – Drill time
Using your electric drill, drill three evenly spaced holes at a 12mm distance from the lower edge of the plinth. Make sure that the holes align with the batten.
Step 6 – Secure your bath panel
Secure your bath panel to the batten using wood screws (25mm in length for front panels), and cap the screws.
Should you need to fit both front and end bath panels, initially refer to the six previous steps to complete your front bath panel installation. From there, you will have the appropriate foundations in place to complete the fitting of your end bath panel.
Step 1 – Cut your wooden batten
After fitting your front bath panel, you’ll need to cut your wooden batten at its ‘open end’ to create the necessary space for the end panel floor batten to be put in place.
Step 2 – Secure your end panel batten
Secure your end panel batten to the floor; ensure it runs the full length of the end panel, and is inset at a 16mm distance from the edge of the bath.
Step 3 – Put your end bath panel in place
Put your end panel in place, and if required, adjust the position of the batten so that the panel is situated beneath the rim of the bath tub.
Step 4 – Drill and align your end bath panel
Use your electric drill to create three evenly spaced holes 12mm from the plinth’s lower edge, in alignment with your end panel batten.
Step 5 – Secure your end bath panel
Secure your end panel to the battens via the use of wood screws (25mm long), and cap the screws.
Fit a bath, change bath taps, install a bath screen, seal a bath, make soap…
If you have a traditional Victorian bath at your home, expect trouble when fitting bath panels. Its clawed feet are often left open, but there may be problems when filling the rounded sections or profiles. For this, build a simple frame between the bath and the floor, and install a pliable PVC cladding on it. Push it under the overhanging lip of the bath for a snug fit.
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DIY is a great way to save time and money, however to avoid disappointment, invalidating your warranty, and potential injury we recommend hiring a trained professional. This guide on how to fit a bath panel is for your information only and if you do decide to be bold and try it, we cannot be responsible for any outcome.
John has a background in sports journalism, and lists content writing amongst his primary passions. He provides expert bathroom trends commentary and analysis, as well as offering meticulously researched answers to the most frequently asked bathroom posers.