Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sanitary & Plumbing

The bathrooms are important spaces in modern households. Creative designers and the easy availability of a wide choice of finishes and fixtures have converted the modern bathrooms as spenderous as olden day ballrooms. For planning a bathroom, the crucial factors are the civil engineering aspects, the plumbing aspects, the amenities and maintenance issues. Many make the mistake of choosing the plumbing and sanitary fixtures after the pipes are laid and concealed in the walls. Pipes are planned and laid based on the kind of fixtures you choose. Even before approaching plumbers and grooves are made into the walls, you should be sure of the kind of fixtures you are going to opt. This will avoid the problems of breaking open the walls and changing the position of the pipes. Otherwise, one may choose chic plumbing fixtures for a great look and the inability to fix them properly might take away the elegant look you planned to have for your toilets . Planning Tips:-(1)Plan such that some baths can be shared which reduces cost of additional fittings&fixture and maintanance. For example, the bathroom on the ground floor bedroom can be made the common one for use. Similarly, the children's bedroom can have a common bath with a single door access from outside the rooms.

(2)The toilet designed could be made unique according to the age of the user and the cultural setting. Some additional facilities could be planned in a toilet to suit the Indian style of livingsuch as a small resting platform to enable one have a healthy oil massage before a bath.

(3)The flooring also can be suitably planned as non-slip surfaces with the latest range of granite slabs. Natural stones like granite, kota, Shahabad, though not non-slippery, have a very long life.

(4)The choice of fittings depends on the water usage, the financial flexibility and also the water quality. For salty water conditions, PVC pipes are most suitable but the fittings have to be stainless steel. For long life, showerheads and knobs have to be wiped dry after use. The problem with PVC would be the joints and the bends. The linking joints have to be very carefully sealed and fixed in place.

(5)For wall finishes, many options are available like ceramic tiles (6' x 6' to large 12' x 24' slabs); the normal ceramic tiles cost about Rs.35 per sq. ft and the Chinese vitrified tiles cost around Rs.50 to Rs. 75 /sq.ft. The Indian vitrified tiles cost as much as Rs.100/ sq. ft. The concept of providing borders has given way for abstract wall tile arrangement now-a days. For the more affluent and the rich, toilets could be planned for a bathtub or a `partial bath tub'. The minimum breadth of the toilet has to be 6 feet to accommodate the same. The tubs are readily available but it could be custom-made with natural stones or even wood. Decide on plumbing and sanitary fixtures before you lay plumbing pipes.

(6)Always get health faucet along with the western commode. Prefer wall-mounted commode. It makes cleaning the area under it easier.

(7)Concealed flush valves save a lot of space and give an elegant look to your bathroom. Overhead showers can rain water, give massaging effect and jet out the water forcefully.

(8)Getting a glass cubicle in your bathroom for bathing area is stylish. All-glass basin makes a lot of difference to your living area.

(9)Basins are available in 16 colours. Match and mix the floor tiles that suit them.
Fixtures:-The least people should go for these days is the simple wall-mixer, that costs about Rs. 1,600. Architects no longer advice you to have separate taps for hot and cold water flow. The wall mixer comes with two knobs for the control of hot and cold water. The tiny knob in between, called the divider, makes it easier to enhance or decrease the level of heat of water flowing out.

The device also lets you choose the flow of water from the overhead shower or a hand-held shower. You may consider the single-lever mixers which are more stylish.

A better and a little costlier option is to go for the quarter-turn powder coated fixtures which have ceramic cartridges inside. They replace the regular cylindrical valves and are nearly maintenance-free. The ones with metallic finish and those with crystal knobs are costlier.

But you have a great option in concealed mixers. The mixing mechanism is hidden in the walls and you see the stylish knobs and the livers out. Then you have single lever concealed mixers too. They come with spouts that project out of a wall and dispense water. You may choose a spout with or without hand-held shower unit attached.

The mixer units are getting tinier by the day. Acquel has introduced flush valve mixers that are small and elegant.

The overhead showers have been revolutionised. By turning the showerhead, you can change your shower experience from normal to rain to gentle massage to jet. Jet option ensures that water hits you pretty hard. There are ones which can ensure that water hits you from many directions. It may be a good idea to get into one such after a hectic day and emerge out revitalised.

While there is not much to explore so far as Indian water closet (IWC), there are quite a few options in European water closets (EWS), popularly called as western-style commodes. The floor-mounted ones are the simplest while a better option is the wall-mounted one, which makes cleaning the area under it easier.

EWS today come without the flush tank. Concealed flush valves do the job of flush tanks. They are connected directly to overhead tanks. Such EWSs save a lot of space. A further innovation is a push-button valve that saves space further.

The commodes come in 16 colours. Darker shades such as black and burgundy are costliest while those in basic white are cheapest. Bidet is another option. But never forget the health faucet for EWS. It is a water jet with a flexible pipe connected to the source of water.

Basins can be mounted on pedestals or on counters (a rectangular panel). They can be mounted from the bottom or from the top. The edges of the basin sit on counters when mounted from the top. The edges of those mounted from bottom are at same level as the surface of counters.

Thus the water splashed around the basin can be pushed into the basin. Many of the latest fixtures come with foam flow which ensure that water does not splash out of the basins and spoil your clothes.

But it is chic to place glass basins on counters these days. Then there are the ones which have integrated the basin bowl and the counter — all in glass, though they are costly.

The basic taps for basins have also changed a lot. You can get them in a wide variety of shapes. You get hot water mixers for basins.

You may choose the ones with concealed mixers and push-button mixers or single-lever mixers.
Plumbing:-APART FROM the array of fittings, recent entrants in the residential segment such as chlorinated poly vinyl chloride (CPVC) pipes, do provide added advantages over the poly vinyl chloride and galvanised iron. The GI appears to be losing out, as it corrodes, especially when water is saline.

Widely used in the industry, copper pipes are slowly picking up in the residential segment, There is general agreement on its lasting capabilities and minimal maintenance.

There is no doubt that copper pipes are non-corrosive, durable, hygienic, permit free flow and are maintenance-free.

While CPVC matches the price line of GI, there have been reports that the prices of copper are being made comparable. Generally, copper pipe prices are 15 per cent more, according to market sources.

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