A look at the basics of bathroom designing by SATHYA PRAKASH VARANASHI
The statement “More the expensive, more the efficiency” is a myth. While it is true that research towards efficiency will cost time and energy, hence may push up the product cost, mere hiking up the cost with few cosmetic touch-ups will not enhance the efficiency. This false image is a creation of our times, where products have to be marketed and consumed; as such the prestige associated with cost comes handy. Needless to say, toilets are among the common grounds where expense gets associated with an image and often suffer from the lack of basics.
Fresh air is among the basics of all toilets, so the idea of an exhaust fan is advocated. The fan consumes only a small quantity of power but the fact that it creates forced ventilation only when switched on needs to be analysed.
We enter the bathroom, put on the fan and while returning put it off and close the door. All the required air change cannot happen with in the time we are inside; hence many toilets retain stale air despite fans.
Traditionally, small vents were provided below the seven ft. lintel level, ignoring the stale air stacked above that height with no escape at all. Ventilators with operable shutters are worse, for once closed, they rarely get opened.
A single solution to all this is a large ventilator placed just below the roof. It is more than sufficient to keep the air fresh, since such an opening at the highest part of wall works day and night.
Providing short windows adds more benefits. Let there be windows with high sill that can be opened when required, for a quicker air change. Skylights help in faster drying up of the bath room after a shower, but this good idea can be applied mainly in top floor. Incidentally tall windows with ventilator tops and skylights make the toilets appear attractive, even if they are fitted with normal, white, inexpensive fittings. The magic lies with the sense of bright light within.
The bathroom floor having anti-skid surface is a major criteria, for safety during the normal course of the day and especially after an oil bath. Tiles available in the market work well, but the cheaper ones need regular cleaning, lest they appear spotted with dirt.
In many areas stone slabs could be purchased, which have excellent anti-skid properties if we avoid polishing them to the finest levels. Compared to the costlier anti-skid ceramic tiles with expensive price tags, the local stones with basic polish and simple looks can do better.
The real killer in finishing the bathrooms is the fixtures – wash basin, taps, shower and the commode, each one pricier than the other. In this race between the choices, picking up the product with value for money has become difficult even for the experts.
We may have to rely upon our instincts to stay judicious. Incidentally, despite all data on consumption, it is our instinct that can finally take us to sustainability.
(The writer is an architect working for eco-friendly designs and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)