Another cost factor lies in the condition of your plumbing fixtures. If you are building, this is no problem as you are more or less committed to the purchase of new fixtures. But if you are remodelling, you must decide whether to re-use what you already have or to replace it with more modern contrivances. In some cases, such as with the old-fashioned type of bathtub, this problem can be solved by modernizing.
Another basic problem in bathroom planning is the strength of the house. Ordinarily the frame of a house is strong enough to support most of the weight put on it, but the bathroom offers a different problem. Bathroom fixtures are heavy items by themselves. In addition, they are required to hold varying quantities of water, a circumstance which also adds considerable weight. When you add the weight of a person to a full bathtub, for example, the strain on the floor bracing may be excessive.
For this reason, make a thorough survey of the joists under a proposed bathroom installation. Do not try to make it yourself, but have a competent carpenter do the job. if you contemplate the installation of a wallbung lavatory, the studding and the wall should be examined also to assure that they will not sag under this added strain.
Select fixtures that are easy to clean and keep in working order. Prices vary according to size, style, fittings, and material. Colored fixtures are usually more expensive than white ones. Small fixtures may be inconvenient, while the largest ones cost more, occupy more space, and consume more water.
Faucets that permit you to mix hot and cold water, lavatories with wide rims for holding toilet articles, flatbottomed tubs, and toilet seats made of plastic or covered with plastic are all recommended. Whenever weight is a factor in your choice of fixtures, consider those made of light-weight enameled steel.
All water closets and some of the more expensive lavatories are made of vitreous china, which is highly resistant to acid and alkaline solutions. Most bathroom fixtures are made by coating iron or steel with porcelain enamel. Porcelain is glass, and it will crack or chip from a blow or the impact of a falling object. If acids are present, ordinary porcelain coatings will cloud. High-silica-content coatings are not affected, and since it is impossible to distinguish between the two, buy your fixtures from a reputable dealer.
The three conventional types of tub-built-in, standing on legs, and set on a base, are available in sizes varying in length from 4 to 6 feet, in width from 26" to 36", and in height from 16" to 22". Square tubs that range from 43" to 48" can also be purchased.
Built-in tubs may be of the recessed or corner type. Although they are somewhat more expensive and should be used with a moisture-resistant wall bordering the tub, they are easy to clean, adaptable to shower installations, and can be installed in limited spaces.
Although least expensive, the tub on legs is less attractive than other tubs. Because it stands several inches off the floor, stepping in and out of it is difficult. The piping is generally exposed; it is not well adapted to shower installations; and its outer surface is difficult to clean and maintain. On the other hand, the inside surface is comparatively clean because of its elevation.
The chief difference between a tub set on a base and one on legs is the solid base on which the former is mounted. Its outside surface is more easily cleaned, and the floor beneath the tub is not exposed.
Showers are comparatively inexpensive to install, occupy a small area, and use less water than a tub.
A shower head mounted over a builtin tub is a very satisfactory arrangement. Walls adjoining the tub should be waterproof to a height of about 6 feet. A shower curtain on a rod placed about 6 1/2 feet from the floor, will confine the spray.
A less satisfactory arrangement is where a pipe or rubber hose connects the shower head to the bathtub spout. Such a shower can be used with a tub on legs, but the quarters are cramped and the shower rather unattractive.
Stall shower. A stall shower consists of a compartment usually 32" to 42" square and 6 to 7 feet high. By locating it in a room other than the bathroom, you can double your bathing facilities. Commercial or home-made stalls should be watertight and easy to clean. If you want to cut costs, install a shower head in the basement and use shower curtains to form a stall. This, of course, requires a basement drain.
Set the shower head at an angle so that the stream will be directed from the side rather than above. This arrangement avoids unnecessary wetting of the hair and permits the shower head to drain after use. The three types of shower bead are:
Lavatories fall into three classes: wall-hung, pedestal, and cabinet. Lavatories with large basins and rims wide enough to hold toilet supplies are desirable. Standard lavatory height is 31". However, 34" is better for a tall family.
The common wall-hung lavatory without legs is relatively inexpensive, requires no floor space, and can be solidly mounted. The same is true of bracket-mounted fixtures, but they are usually more costly. These two types in a standard size measure 18" to 26" from side to side and 14" to 21" from front to back.
The wall-hung lavatory with logs is more expensive but provides added support to the front of the lavatory. Sometimes the legs are added merely for appearance. Sizes range between 20" to 27" from side to side and 14" to 22" from front to back.
The pedestal lavatory is impressive in appearance and has a wide ledge around the bowl, but is difficult to clean and service. It measures 24" to 30" from side to side and 20" to 24" from front to back.
Smaller than the pedestal type, cabinet lavatories are available in widths of 19" to 24" and depths of 17" to 20". Their chief advantage is in the additional storage space they afford.
As mentioned previously, water closets, including tanks and bowls, are made of vitreous china. They are available in a wide variety of plain and modern designs. There are variations in the design to secure certain desirable features.
Closet bowls for residential use can be classified as washdown bowls, reverse-trap bowls, and siphon-jet bowls.
The washdown bowl is simple, efficient within its limitations, and least costly. The trapway is at the front and is somewhat smaller than in other bowls, since proper functioning of the bowl is dependent on siphonic action only. Some types of washdown bowl are provided with a jet which aids in making the flush action more positive. When the bowl is flushed, a small stream of water spurts from the jet into the upper arm of the trap and starts the siphonic action.
The reverse-trap bowl is similar to the, washdown bowl, except that the trapway is placed at the rear, making it suitable for elongated rim construction. It is available with or without a jet. The water surface is larger, the water seal deeper, and the action of the bowl is more quiet and efficient.
The siphon-jet bowl is similar in appearance to the reverse trap bowl. However, the trapway is larger and the water seal deeper. A jet is provided in the bottom. The design permits a minimum amount of foulding surface and makes the bowl quiet and postieve in operation, but costlier.
To save on the cost of piping, locate the water closet and close to the soil stack as possible.
The water closet should be so placed that the large soil pipe runs between and parallel to existing floor joists. This measure eliminates cutting the joists and may save costly floor framing. Additional money can also be saved on the cost of piping by placing fixtures along one wall.
The use of poor piping is costly economy. A good grade of piping, properly installed, will give you trouble-free service for many years.
Water closet tanks
Tanks are located very close to the bowls on modern closets, varying from those hung a few inches above the bowl to those sitting directly on the rear of the bowl. The close arrangement aids quiet operation.
Operation is relatively simple. When the tank is flushed a series of levers raise the rubber-ball valve on the discharge. The ball is buoyant and floats until the water level recedes to a point where the rubber ball is drawn back in position by suction and held in place by the water pressure above it.
As the water level recedes, the metal float drops, opening the supply valve, which allows water to enter through pipe supply A to fill the tank. A small amount enters through pipe B into the overflow pipe to reestablish the seal in the closet trap, As the water level rises to the proper position, the metal float closes the supply valve.