Table of Contents
- Sanitary Ware
- Brands and Shops
- Walls and Niches
IntroductionBathrooms can be made really fancy with the materials available in the market - tiles, granite counter tops, fittings, rain showers, sanitary ware, accessories! But you have to keep in mind a couple of things:
That said, its best to spend a little bit more on the bathrooms. Its another item like flooring which just cannot be changed easily later on. So its better to get some good work done there at the cost of movable items such as furniture, in case you are on a tighter budget.
- How big is your bathroom? Most new flats have tiny bathrooms and there is just no place to accommodate some of these items.
- Do you get good municipality water? If you get bore well or hard water, the tiles and fittings will look terrible in no time due to residues. So then what's the point of spending so much money on them? You might as well as reasonable quality local Indian stuff and not go for fancy things.
PlumbingThis is one area where an interior designer can be useful. You need to figure out the exact locations of the fittings - e.g. heights for showers, bath spouts, usage of flush tanks versus flush valves, etc. The problem is that most designers may anyway just use a cookie-cutter approach and not design for your space. And they may be ill-equipped to decide back end choices such as use of a pressure pump to get adequate water pressure.
If you are changing the tiles in the bathroom, its best to change the piping as well to increase its life. The cost will not increase too much percentage-wise. As they break the floor tiles, you will need to redo the waterproofing as well. Generally the quotation for breaking and waterproofing will only cover taking the debris to the ground floor, and not disposing of it.
I distinguish between fittings as taps, showers, trims, health faucets, etc. and sanitary ware as WCs, flush systems, and basins. There are two different parts to fittings and sanitary ware: back-end-part such as concealed water diverters, flush tanks, etc, and the outer visible trims such as bath spouts, showers, flush plates, etc. At the time of civil work you need to make two choices:
Please keep details drawings of the piping layout for future drilling and maintenance. Also take photos of the piping layout after the pipes are laid out and before the tiles are laid out on top of the pipes. This is critical so that you do no drill over pipes and cause unnecessary leakages.
- Brand: Which brand of fittings and sanitary ware do you want to install. Most of the back-end parts are common and irrespective of the final trim you choose. You have to still decide some other things such as the use of a pressure pump because the exact back end pieces depend on the pressure of the water. Once that is done, the back end pieces get fixed, and you can peacefully choose the exact outer pieces based on aesthetics at a much later stage. We got very caught up in choosing the exact trim and wasted a lot of time on it when it was not required for installation for another six months.
- Configuration: What all pieces you finally want? In showers, whether you want hand held, overhead, rain, full-body jets, etc. Whether you want platform basins, wall-mounted basins, pedestal basins, etc. Whether you want flush tanks or flush valves. With this in mind, the plumbing diagrams can be made.
See more details of back-end plumbing and piping see this page.
FittingsMany different types of taps and fittings are required in different parts of the bathroom as given below. Mostly, you focus on choosing a series - e.g. July or Singulier or Toobi with Kohler, Fusion of Fonte or Opal with Jaquar, etc. based on how you like the look of the basin taps of that series. Once you choose a series, most fittings such as the bath spouts, bib taps, angle cocks just come within that series itself.
- Bath Spout: This is the spout used for bucket water in the bath area. Once you choose a series of fittings, you will find a matching spout. You usually end up choosing the taps and then picking the matching spout, rather than the other way around. Fairly brain-dead to choose this item.
- Showers: There are three types of showers: overhead, hand held, or rain. What worked for us was a combination of a hand-shower in each bathroom with a choice of overhead or rain showers in different bathrooms. Rain showers usually need more water pressure and are very expensive so make sure that they work and fit well in your bathroom. We got a rain shower in our master bathroom; its awesome but surely a bit over-rated. We ended up paying Rs. 14,000 for the shower itself, and the pressure pump was required mainly for this shower which another Rs. 35,000-40,000! Showers are usually independent of the series of the rest of the taps.
- Shower Trim: Once again, you choose the taps and pick the matching shower trim. Depending on the combination of showers, the shower trim will have diverter buttons for the spout and the showers. Try to get shower trims without sharp edges to avoid injuries.
- Health faucet and Two-way Bib Cock: Most brands usually only have one type of health faucet so no choice needs to be made. Two-way bib cocks which go to the health faucet and allow water to flow too will be a part of the series you choose.
- Basin Tap: This is really the most important fitting that you get to choose. There are different types of basin taps and they can get really expensive! Jaquar's Artize collection has taps in the range of Rs. 1 lakh each! You can get a basin-mounted or a wall-mounted tap. The taps can have a single control for hot and cold water, or separate controls. Kohler has some really pretty basin taps but they are hideously expensive as they get manufactured outside of India. They also have some nice ones made in India which are comparable in price to Jaquar.
- Basin fittings: A basin requires a waste coupling which is the steel trap that fits in the basin hole, a bottle trap that is the pipe that goes from the bottom of the basin to the water pipes, and two angle cocks which are taps below the basin to control hot and cold water flow to the main basin tap. All fairly standard items but some sizes and finishes may vary.
Sanitary WareThe flush system has be be installed at the time of other civil work, prior to tiling the bathroom. However the WC and basin can be installed right at the end. In fact, we installed them even after the painting was done so they remained in brand-new condition, and did not get marred any way due to the other work.
- Flush System: You can install a regular flush tank or a flush valve. Flush tanks can be visible or concealed. Visible flush tanks look unappealing but are easier to maintain. Concealed flush tanks are most common, get covered by tiles, and can be reasonably maintained through the opening of the flush plate. Flush valves look the best and occupy the least space, but can be clogged by minor dirt in the water. Also if the water pressure in your house is not too good, (if you stay on higher floors with the tank just overhead), flush valves do not work too well.
- WC: There is a wide choice of WCs in the market. They vary in size, colors, water technology, coatings to prevent stains, etc. But this is one area where the choice is limited compared to basins and fittings. Its best to just go the market and see what meets your needs.
- Basins: Basins are of many types, and you should really choose one that fits in your space. My preferred choice is to have a big counter top with a basin mounted on the top and a storage area below. The advantages with this choice are the best aesthetics (as the pipes and angle valves are hidden behind the storage), plenty of counter space for accessories and toiletries, storage below the basin to keep cleaning stuff, the floor remains clear to be cleaned properly, a nice-looking granite platform that can match the bathroom tiles, and no water spilling onto the floor - its reaches the counter top which can be cleaned leaving the floor dry. But this choice needs reasonable space in the bathroom. Also the platform may need to be installed very early on, when the tiles are laid out depending on the wall configurations.
The choices for basins are given in the table below. Some of them can be installed on the wall but some will need a counter top. If the basin setup does not touch the floor, its easier to keep the floor clean. Counter tops generally provide more space on the top for keeping toiletries. If there is a counter top and some space below it, a storage area can be made which can hide pipes and looks visibly pleasing. Also, with a counter top water from the basin falls on the counter top so it can be wiped easily and the floor remains dry.
Types of Basins Type Need counter top? Space required Touches floor? Counter space Storage below Water Spillage Wall-Mounted No Least No Minimal No Yes Pedestal No Small Yes Minimal No Yes Half-Pedestal No Small No Minimal No Yes Semi-recessed Yes (small) Medium No Medium Yes Yes Above Counter top Yes (full-size) Most No Most Yes No Below Counter top Yes (full-size) Most No Most Yes No Self-rimming Yes (full-size) Most No Most Yes No
Brands and ShopsMany domestic and international brands are available in the market for both fittings and sanitary ware. I have listed some of the brands that we came across, with pros and cons below. We finally chose to go with the base range of Kohler. We also chose Jaquar for one bathroom but I would advise against going with two brands. It got a bit messy keeping track of which fittings go with which bathroom, and what maintenance to call when there is a problem. So I would suggest to pick one brand and go with it. Also having used our Kohler fittings for a while, they are smoother to use and look marginally better than Jaquar so I would vote for Kohler.
Brands Name Country Fittings Sanitary Ware Availability Maintenance Cost Notes Jaquar Indian Yes Yes (recent) Maximum Easily available Highest in domestic Sanitary ware is recent and not yet that good. Fittings are excellent with good choice, and lots of experienced plumbers available for repair. Essco is a cheaper brand of Jaquar, and Artize is the higher end if you want to see the full range. Kohler USA Yes Yes Good Reasonably available Varies based on country of manufacture Kohler has different products manufactured in India and abroad; the latter are more expensive. Their base range is very comparable to Jaquar. Sanitary ware is definitely better-looking than Jaquar, and the fittings are also smoother to use. Geberit Switzerland Not sure Not sure Limited Not sure Reasonable We chose Geberit for one specific item - concealed flush tanks with flush plates. They were of very good quality and much cheaper compared to others such as Grohe, etc. Grohe/Hans-Grohe European Yes Yes Limited Limited Expensive Pretty exclusive range. Looks very nice but not clear about availability of maintenance. Availability may also be as issue if you have time line to meet. American Standard USA Not sure Yes Limited Limited Expensive Reasonable sanitary ware, especially WCs. Same problems with availability and maintenance just like other foreign brands. Toto Japan Not sure Yes Limited Limited Very Expensive Very high-end WCs with a lot of automated water technology, heated seating, etc. The WCs are also very compact and can be ideal for smaller bathrooms. Same problems with availability and maintenance just like other foreign brands. Villeroy Boch Germany Not sure Yes Very Limited Very Limited Most Expensive Very high-end sanitary-ware. Plumbers apparently have to give a guarantee that they will pay for the item if they break it during installation :).
I am listing some of the shops we looked at to make our decisions. We finally bought Kohler stuff from The Bath Studio, and Jaquar stuff from Rathsons and Sanjaq.
Shops Jaquar In general, Jaquar is very easily available and can be found in many local shops. Their website is also excellent and will give you MRPs if you sign in. You can expect any where from 10-20% discount from vendors.
Company Showroom: Ganeshkhind road, immediately to the left after turning right on Ganeshkhind Road from Fergusson College Road. They do not sell products but have the best display and can quote MRPs. Contact: Ms. Rituja Uttekar.
Rathsons: Good display of products and the best discount. Right next to Congress Bhavan near Bal Gandharv Theater. Contact: Mr. Chetan Rathani.
Sanjaq: Largest Jaquar distributor in Pune. They don't have a big display but will show you a lot of items based on your requirements. Decent discount too. Contact: Mr. Bhagwat.
Sathe Tile Company: Located in Camp near the Jewish Synagogue. They have a display of Jaquar and other high-end European brands. We did not pursue it much as we saw the products online and at the showroom, and shopped from Rathsons and Sanjaq.
Sanghar Bath and Tile: Located on the right as soon as you turn on to Bibwewadi Road from Satara Road (near Market Yard), opposite Pushpa Mangal Karyalaya. Excellent display of many products, especially a wide range for Jaquar and Kohler. They also keep other high-end European brands so you can get a good idea of all brands in the market in one shop. Contact: Mr. Ashraf Khan.
Kohler Kohler has also become popular but no where close to Jaquar in terms of availability and servicing. Another excellent website with details of prices and dimensions of all products. Discounts will be in the 25-30% range.
Sanghar Bath and Tile: See under Jaquar.
The Bath Studio: They have two shops - one high-end display on Bhandarkar Road close to KNP, and one in Aundh near the Bhimsen Joshi Theater. The latter displays the regular range of products but is not as extensive as Sanghar. We had a good experience with them meeting our needs, and they were very co-operative and responsive. Contact: Mr. Akshay Patil.
Geberit Sanghar Bath and Tile: See under Jaquar. Grohe
Impulse: Located on Bhandarkar Road right at the intersection of the Canal Road. A good high-end display. Pretty helpful. Contact: Ms. Madhuri.
Sathe Tile Company: See under Jaquar.
Sanghar Bath and Tile: See under Jaquar.
American Standard-Toto Impulse: See under Grohe/Hans-Grohe. Villeroy and Boch Sanghar Bath and Tile: See under Jaquar.
Walls and NichesBathroom walls also need tiles. Glossy tiles work best as they do not retain any water, and look good. Some small part of one wall e.g. the shower wall or the WC wall can be highlighted by using special colored tiles called highlighter tiles. These can be very expensive in the range of Rs. 5,000-10,000/sq.ft. and more. There is a wide range available and lots of good choice. The basin counter tops, door and window frames, shower curtains, rugs, etc. can be color-coded with the highlighter tiles. The regular wall tiles can be taken right up to the ceiling for better maintenance at a slightly higher cost. Or they can be laid only up to the false ceiling height above which the walls are painted.
Its pretty common to have recessed niches in the bathroom walls to store toiletries in the bath area, and decor items in other places. These niches need to be made as a part of the civil changes so they have to be planned ahead of time, compared to accessories that can serve a similar purpose (e.g. soap dishes, glass shelves, etc.) but can be installed at the very end without much prior thought.
Granite: Frames, shelves, platformGranite can be put in multiple places in the bathroom: door frame, window frame, basin counter top, ledge walls, shower partitions, shelves, etc. You can get the basic black-colored granite which will be cheap and easily available in all sizes. Other options are Jaisalmer (orangish yellow), white marble, and other colors of granite. You can also use artificial marble or marbonite, which we also used for our staircase tiling. Granite door frames (instead of wooden ones) will last forever no matter how much eater exposure they get, and they look outstanding. Remember that if you choose the standard black granite, you only pay for what you order. For other colors and artificial marble, you will have to pay for the entire slab. The vendors will try to give you the smalles slab that meets your requirements but you still end up paying for more than what you need.
Shelves to store bathroom accessories can also be made from granite. They will match the rest of the bathroom decor and color, and are much easier to keep clean compared to glass shelves. One caveat is that all this granite work needs to be done upfront along with the other civil work in the bathroom such as tiling. In some case, the granite shelves and counter top can be installed towards the end but better to get it done before. Suppose you have less support for the counter top, for example a single wall instead of two or three for installation, then the granite platform needs to be installed by making a groove in the wall. (In this case, you may also need to make some wooden cabinet below the counter top that can sustain the weight of the counter top.) This cannot be done after tiling. Also make sure to use some waterproofing material such as silicon to seal the counter top edges using a caulking gun.
Glass: False Ceiling and PartitionBathroom false ceilings are usually just acrylic sheets that are installed about 1-2 feet from the ceiling. Tiles can be laid only up to the false ceiling to avoid extra cost of tiling above it as those tiles cannot be seen in any case. Walls above the false ceiling are just painted. The false ceiling helps to hide electrical items such as lights and geysers, inlet and outlet pipes, etc. But the sheets are a bit flimsy and are not fixed so that they can be removed for maintenance. We did not like the look much so we did not get it done. The other option is to take tiles right up to the ceiling which is much easier to maintain and looks good. But the geyser and lights are still visible.
You also get very fancy shower enclosures and partitions to keep the non-shower area dry. Jaquar and AKDanum are two companies that we looked at. The cost was some where around Rs. 30K-40K for a single partition. We did not install them so I do not know much. But its good to have a bigger bathroom to avoid a claustrophobic feeling by adding a partition to a small bath area. We just went with a 4-inch high granite wall between the shower area and the basin area, and installed regular shower curtains. Shower partitions surely look classy but may be more difficult to keep clean with the glass. Shower curtains can be changed easily for a new look.
AccessoriesHere's a list of different types of accessories that can be installed in a bathroom:
There is a very wide range of quality available in the market for bathroom accessories. Local hardware stores will keep low-end as well as imported China-made accessories which can easily cost 4-5 times as much. Jaquar has a reasonable set of accessories but with Kohler the choice is limited and expensive. AKDanum is a local company that also keeps a nice range of imported China-made accessories which are comparable to Jaquar. They have a company showroom located near Babajan chowk in Camp, and the products are sold via local vendors that they will tell you about. I bought a few AKDanum items from Sonal Ceramics on Shankarseth Road.
- Basin Area: Tumbler holder, brush holder, mirror, soap dish, napkin ring
- Door Area: Towel holder, robe hooks
- WC Area: Toilet roll holder
- Bath Area: Soap dish, Clothes drier, Exhaust fan
CostsHere's a rough idea of what things cost; if you need more details feel free to email me. The overall costs may be more or less depending on the quality of the different products you choose, and the rates for your labor. I have omitted items that we did not install such as glass shower partitions. YMMV.
Bathroom Costs Item Cost Breaking and waterproofing of bathroom floor Rs. 7,000/bathroom Plumbing and installation of pipes Per running foot, depends on the type and thickness of pipes.
GI pipes: Rs. 30-70/ft. About Rs. 3000/bathroom.
CPVC pipes: Rs. 20-50/ft. About Rs. 2000/bathroom.
PEX system: Rs. 14,000/bathrooms (material and labor)
Piping material GI pipes: Rs. 7,000-8000
CPVC pipes: Rs. 8,000-9,000 PEX system: Rs. 14,000/bathroom (material and labor)
Tiling of walls and floors, putting granite frames Look at flooring costs for details. Installation of counter top and making basin hole Rs. 3000-4000/counter top Granite for counter top Rs. 2000-3000 Granite for door/window frames Rs. 150/sq.ft. Around Rs. 2000/door frame Fittings Medium range: Rs. 20,000-25,000/bathroom Sanitary ware Medium range: Rs. 10,000-15,000/bathroom Installation of all fittings Rs. 12,000/bathroom Accessories Rs. 3,000-6,000/bathroom Installation of accessories Depends on the carpenter. Perhaps about Rs. 500/bathroom Glass shower partitions Rs. 30,000-40,000/partition