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My bathroom is always the coldest room of the house. What can I do about this?

Answered by: John Hughes, DIY expert

When the overnight temperature dropped to -12 where I live recently, it reminded me of our first winter here.

Without a doubt the coldest place was the bathroom, and yet there wasn't really any obvious reason why. The suspected 'culprit' was the extractor fan in the ceiling, which I covered over with clingfilm after removing the fuse. No change at all, despite there being a heater.

Determined to find out why we needed overcoats to venture in there, I took the front panel off of the bath - and wow!! Now I've seen lots of examples of very sloppy workmanship in my life {and not just my own.....}, but what I found there was pretty incredible.

The downpipe for the bath drain disappeared into the floor where it connected to a waste pipe; however the gap around the downpipe was easily a foot in diameter, and the icy draught was enough to blow out a candle. No room in there to use a hammer, so I cut a piece of plywood and glued it over the hole using wood glue.

While I was there though I noticed there was still a cold draught coming from the quarter-inch gap between the floorboards and the walls. This is another source of draughts in just about every room in your house, and so before I ever lay a new carpet, I seal up the gaps below the skirting boards using string first, then flexible sealant. {The string simply helps to save the amount of sealant you need, as it tends to disappear into the gap}.

I couldn't actually reach very far with a sealant gun under our corner bath unit though, and so I decided that closing the gap with heavy plastic tape would be better than nothing.

A little tricky, this next bit.......

I attached one end of a long strip of sticky-backed-plastic tape {parcel tape} to a six-foot cane, and positioned and stuck it down using a second cane. Not easy or perfect by any means; however after a few attempts and the odd couple of swear words, I managed to achieve a fairly decent seal all the way round. Definitely a 100% improvement, and by the time I put the bath panel back on, the bathroom was actually noticeably warmer and has been ever since.

Not a job for the faint-hearted I have to say - it's dark & dirty in there, and you need to fiddle around trying to get a torch beam aimed at the bit you're working on.

Very, very worthwhile though, and there has also been another interesting spinoff 'benefit', depending on your arachnophobia/philia status.

We haven't had one single spider in the bathroom for three consecutive years now, and very few anywhere else in the house either - maybe two or three at most. Not much doubt about where they were coming from.......

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