Waterproofing the Walls and Floors in your Apartment.

When renovating your home one of the most confusing aspects to plan for is the waterproofing. It’s something that doesn’t seem to add much to the aesthetics of the room, but can actually have the biggest impact on a space by protecting it from seepage and preventing structural and health damages caused by dampness and mold. The worst thing about damage caused by seepage is that you won’t realize anything is wrong till it’s too late.

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There are several reasons that cause damp walls, some of the more relevant ones are listed below:

  • Cracks on the exterior wall that allow rainwater to seep in.
  • Gaps in the floor tiles allow water from bathrooms to seep through and damage adjoining walls.
  • Water collects in the balcony due to improper drainage and seeps into interior walls.
  • Cracks in plumbing pipes.
  • Insufficient air circulation in bathrooms cause buildup of moisture.

rising-damp

Remember as a thumb rule that water needs to be guided out, which means wet surfaces need to be properly sloped and sealed.

Waterproofing requires a lot of demolition of walls and floors, so combine it with a larger home renovation project. Use a reputed company, like Dr. Fixit, Fosroc or Asian paints, for waterproofing and get a warranty even if it’s a bit more expensive. Ideally your waterproofing should last up to 10 years without damage if applied correctly.

Types of waterproofing commonly used in India

Floor Waterproofing

For floor waterproofing one suggests using URP chemical above the cement concrete along with a waterproof membrane under your floor tiles and turn the membrane up around 4″ up onto the skirting on the walls. Make sure you re-grout your tiles every 18 months or so, this will avoid any moisture going through to the substructure.

 Installing_shower_grates_on_concrete_floor

Wall Waterproofing

In order to waterproof your walls, remove the existing plastering, add a layer of tapecrete chemical (approx. 2-3 mm thick) followed by the wall plastering and paint.

Hope you found these tips useful, do share your renovation experiences with us in the comments below.

 

Maximize your bathroom storage

While bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, they tend to have a lot of stuff in them and usually this leads to clutter, everyone would love a little more space in the bathroom, but most of us don’t have the luxury of a large apartments with ample square feet available. Here are some ideas on how to maximize storage space in smaller bathrooms and make them feel more functional and spacious.

Use narrow cabinets to fit into wasted spaces, maximize every square inch.

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Add a shelf above your sink, this can be used for placing items that are needed often.

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Use spice racks for makeup and toiletries.

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Hang your towels behind the door, why waste wall space when you can use the door.

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Increase the hanging rod space.

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Stick shelving above your door, another space that is usually wasted.

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Maximize the area above your toilet, don’t neglect this space.

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Medicine cabinets are a classic space saving item, there are quite a few designs available in the market.

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Add a long cabinet to your bathroom vanity, if you have a little space after your sink dont waste it.

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We hope these tips will help make your bathroom experience more pleasant! Let us know if you have some innovative ideas to maximise bathroom storage in the comments section.

Bathroom standards to keep in mind

Bathrooms are important to get right, a badly designed bathroom can get you off on the wrong foot each and every day. Keeping this in mind here are a few things you must incorporate into your next bathroom remodelling project.
Bathroom Colors

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Pick the right colors to reflect your personality. Weather you go for a contemporary charcoal and white palette or a Mediterranean blue theme take the time out to research your color choice and if possible find the right reference image to start with.
Bathroom Clearances
Make sure basic standards are met. Here is a list of things that you must make sure of:
WC location – Minimum 20 inches is recommended from the center of the toilet to the nearest wall or obstruction.  This means a span of 40 inches is recommended for the toilet.  The recommended clearance in front of the toilet is 30 inches.
Toilet paper holder – The standard placement is 8-12 inches from the front of the toilet seat to the center line of the toilet paper holder, at a height of 26 – 30 inches.
Standard washbasin height – Standard vanity height or washbasin height starts at about 30 inches high and goes up to say 43 inches.  At the lower heights most people will have to stoop to use the sink. Standard vanity cabinet depth is 2 ft.
Standard Shower dimensions – The minimum recommended size is 32 x 32 inches. If you can fit in a rectangular shower of 36 inches by 48 inches or larger you’ll be more comfortable.
Note: Shower enclosure door should open outwards (for unobstructed entry and exit into the wet area)
Bathroom Lighting

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Good bathroom lighting needs to be a combination of overhead and task lighting. Use a mounted or recessed light overhead for general illumination. You’ll also want to light the vanity area with some excellent task lighting, which can be a fixture above the mirror or sconces on either side. Additionally, you need to light the shower area with a dedicated overhead light.
You also should avoid light pointing directly down on your head because it will be harsh and unflattering. Instead, position your ceiling light over the walkway area so you’re lit from behind rather than directly in front of the vanity.

We hope these tips will help you with your next project. If you have any suggestions or opinions on this please do share your comments with us, we would love to hear your renovation stories.

What goes into a Bathroom Renovation

If you’re tearing down and renovating a bathroom, you may not know what exactly it involves. All you may have seen are bathroom designs you’ve found online and shared with your contractor. Here’s a brief checklist to educate yourself.

 

Bathroom Demolition
The first step is tearing down the existing bathroom. It could be entirely internal if the walls don’t need to be moved. Specifically you may need to remove the wall tiles, floor tiles, fittings, and woodwork. Demolition always goes hand in hand with debris removal, so make sure you have someone to manage it for you (contractor or 3rd party).

Lighting & Electricals
A well-lit bathroom makes your daily experience a lot more pleasant. Given that false ceilings are becoming common practice in the bathrooms nowadays, ceiling lighting can be considered. As for the rest of the electricals make sure to provision for a water heater, at least 1-2 open points for things like an electric razor or hair dryer, a pressure pump if needed, and an AC if you feel like splurging.

Bathroom Plumbing
Plumbing is fairly typical in a bathroom. Check your water pressure before the walls are plastered up and the fixtures are installed, so that if pipe routing needs to be adjusted, or provisions for a pump need to be made it’s a LOT easier.

Waterproofing your Bathroom
It is extremely critical to get waterproofing right. We recommend that you waterproof the floor and about half the height of the walls in the bathroom for extra protection. This is done before any tiles or flooring is installed.

Bathroom Tiles
There are plenty of options out there for bathroom wall tiles. It all comes down to your choice and budget. From multiple Indian and imported wall tile brands, to unbranded ‘Gujarat’ tiles, you’ll find a lot out there. If you have storage space, buy an extra box for later (years to come). Sometimes you need to break a small section of the walls to resolve plumbing problems and matching tiles come in handy.

Flooring
You can use tiles, marble, or granite for your bathroom flooring.

False Ceiling 

It’s not uncommon nowadays to have a false ceiling in your bathroom. Keep it simple would be our suggestion. One downside of false ceiling is that if there is some kind of water seepage from the floor above, the false ceiling will need to be replaced. Regular ceilings on the other hand are cheaper to fix.

Woodwork
You may choose to get some storage constructed under your sink (vanity), or elsewhere in the bathroom if you have space. This comes in handy to store things like bathroom cleaners, towels, soaps, shampoos etc. Using waterproof board is a good idea to give your cabinets extra protection against moisture.

Counter Top
You may want to put in a granite/marble counter top around your washbasin based on the type of look you’re going for.

Doors & Windows
More and more people today are choosing UPVC doors and windows. While UPVC doors may not quite work out in the bathroom, windows are a good idea given UPVC is more resistant to moisture than wood and last longer.

Shower Enclosure

A modern bathroom today isn’t complete without a shower enclosure. It adds character and utility to your bathroom. Toughened glass is pricy, so an enclosure adds a significant expense to your bathroom renovation.

Bathroom Fittings
Last but not the least is the bathroom fixtures, which includes your washbasin, WC, and plumbing fixtures like your shower fittings, sink faucet, and WC faucet. The pricing of these vary vastly depending on the brand you choose. Some of the brands in the market include Hindware, Jaquar, Kohler, Grohe.

 

 

6 Home Renovations to Plan When Getting Married

Home Renovation when getting married

 

Weddings are a good time to plan your home renovations. You may want to add an extra room or storage space to accommodate a new person’s belongings, and make a few more additions to make your spouse comfortable. Here are some changes we recommend while you plan your renovation.

Start Pinterest board together (e.g. http://ow.ly/YswK4) This way you can get a sense of each others design sensibilities and go through the tough task of shortlisting designs for your home before getting started on site.

  • Extra storage units:  You may want to add an extra cupboard or cabinets to store clothes and other belongings when you get married. You may want to mount a full length mirror on the cupboard or on a swivel, with the swivel revealing shelves and hooks- ideal for your belts, bags and scarves. Position a low chest of drawers at the foot of your bed and use it to store your bed linen. Think vertically, adding shelving to walls and possibly extending them to the ceiling.
  • The master Bedroom:  Look for Bedroom design ideas to help you put together the perfect bedroom to welcome your life partner home. Apart from adding storage, you may want to shift to a bigger bed and add a dresser or walk-in closet to it. Ensure you have a dedicated bathroom attached to the room. You should also look at adding more plug points to the room as the number of chargeable devices would increase once you get married.
  • The Bathroom: Bathroom designs can be tricky to implement. If you have the space, you could go in for his and her sinks. You could also add a tub or a Jacuzzi. If you don’t feel the need to include a bathtub; you can use that extra space for a large storage cabinet instead. Walk-in showers are also popular but bathtub with shower combos offer the best of both worlds. If space is a constraint, wall-mounted cabinets and medicine cabinets are helpful too.
  • The Kitchen: You should look for modular kitchen ideas to add style to the belly of your home.  Opt for open shelves instead of upper cabinets to provide display space and make a small kitchen feel larger. The most popular kitchen upgrade one can do before getting married is installing new state of the art energy-efficient appliances, such as a dual-fuel range with double convection ovens, a high-tech range hood, an energy star certified refrigerator and a water-saving paneled dishwasher.
  • Living Room: If at least one of you is a movie buffs, you may want a separate living room with a TV installed, to snuggle in and watch a late night flick. This space should ideally be separate from a formal drawing room that isn’t prim and proper all the time.
  • Another Bedroom: A spare bedroom is always good to have since guests visiting tend to increase after you’re married. Additionally, it could come in handy down the road when you start planning your own family. More so you can always benefit from the extra storage in this room, since there will almost certainly not be enough.

5 Storage Ideas Using Spaces You Never Realised Existed in Your House

Every house has pockets which you never realised existed, but could be used to organise and store many things. This blog post talks of such pockets and how they could be used.

1) The Area under the steps: This area, often ignored, can be used for utility drawers, a small washroom, a showcase, or a small utility room for the washing machine/ ironing table. Much depends on the space available though.

Under stair shelf

Under stair shelf

 

Under stair shelf

 

2) Wardrobe doors: These are usually unused, but hooks in the wardrobe doors could help you organise ties, belts, shoes and even clothes.

Wardrobe Door Storage

Wardrobe Door Storage

Wardrobe Door Storage

Wardrobe Door Storage

3) Bathroom Storage: Even if you have a small bathroom, some storage area can be squeezed out to store cleaning material, towels, and other utility items.

  • The area under the sink is perfect for storing cleaning products and detergents.

Under Sink Storage

  • A ‘behind the mirror cabinet’ for extra shampoo and soap.

Bathroom Storage

  • To stock Towels and Toilet Paper.

Bathroom Storage

4) Capitalizing on ceiling height using hydraulic garment lifts: We are most often limited by height, and don’t prefer ceiling high cupboards for obvious reasons. However, these hydraulic hangers really help in using that space for hanging suits and other important clothes which you want to keep away from the clutter. You can find these hangers at Hettich.

Garment Storage

5) Innovative Furniture: Furniture with storage can be a big plus point especially if you live in a rented accommodation wherein you really can’t build in storage space

  • Beds with storage

Bed with storage

  • Sofa with storage

Sofa with storage

  • Coffee table Bookshelf

Coffee Table book shelf

  • Coffee table with storage

Coffeetabe storage

Bathroom Designs: Your Basic Product Buying Guide

Gone are the days when bathrooms were the most neglected spots in the house. Now days, one can notice a paradigm shift in the way most basic utility items are being designed and offered within a reasonable budget. Bathrooms are a place for relaxation and rejuvenation; they are zones where people spend much needed ‘me’ time. If you are planning to renovate your bathroom, here’s a quick primer on some of the major bathroom fittings out there today. It’ll help you start to figure out what kinds of products you like.

Sinks or Washbasins

  • Bowl or Vessel Sink: These stylish sink bowls are placed on the counter, and give a simplistic uncluttered look to the bathroom.

Bowl or Vessel Sink

  • Corner Sink: These sinks help maximize space in small bathrooms, and bring corners to good use.

Corner Sink

  • Vanity Top Sinks: These sinks have a sunken bowl and are available in different shapes eg: Circle, Oval and Rectangle etc.

Vanity Top Sink Circle

Vanity Top Sink Oval

Vanity Top Sink Rectangle

 

Toilet / WC / Commode

While you can certainly find some fancy WCs in our earlier blog post, here are some neat and simple ones you wouldn’t have to hunt for.

  • Wall Mounted WC: The biggest advantage of having a wall-mounted WC is that you can adjust and install it basis your height and comfort. Plus, water and dirt doesn’t stagnate in the crevices.Wall Mounted WC
  • Concealed Cistern WC: Most of the latest WC designs involve a concealed cistern, housed in the wall behind.

Concealed Cistern WC

  • Conventional WC: Even the conventional WCs come in sleek and modern designs to add to the simplicity of the bathroom.

Regular WC

Bath Area

  • Bathtub: Soak in luxury today with the perfect tub for your bathroom. A decorative bathtub can be the centerpiece for any bathroom. A tub shower combo also offers the luxury of both together, if you do not have the space for a separate shower area in the bathroom.

Bathtub

  • Jacuzzi: Jacuzzis are wonderful stress relievers and they take relaxation to a whole new level. You can easily soak in your worries in the Jacuzzi, feeling fresh physically and mentally.

Jacuzzi

 

  • Shower Enclosures: They are quite beautiful and can even be custom made to meet your requirements. The best part of shower enclosure is, it keeps the rest of the bathroom floor dry as the water and steam stay inside.

Shower Enclosures

  • Open Bath Area within the Bathroom: Open Bath Areas are best for small bathrooms, as they make the bathroom look spacious and add versatility and visual aesthetics to it.

Open Bath Area

Shower Fittings

  • Shower head: Most of these have water adjustment options. If you want a hard jet or a soft drizzle, just turn the shower head and get it going.

Shower Head

  • Hand Shower: Most shower panels have an option for hand showers too, for a comfortable bath.

Hand Shower

  • Rain Shower: Experience the Sensation of Soothing Rain with a rainfall shower head. You can make every shower a luxurious spa-like experience with these.

Rain Shower

  • Ceiling Shower: This is the next generation showerhead that literally looks like a chandelier for your bathroom.

Ceiling Shower

There are a lot more options available for bathrooms these days. While we will keep updating this list, do share any others that come to your mind.

 

Set the Mood: Tips on Bathroom Lighting

    Lighting a Bathroom can be tricky and interesting at the same time. However, here are some aspects one needs to be particular about:

1) Ensuring the vanity area has focused lighting

2) Ensuring that the mix of lights used, cut out shadows.

Here are the kinds of lights that can be used in the Vanity area:  

Bathroom Strip Lights

  • Strip lights:These fixtures are great for vanity lighting as they reduce shadows and help you shave or apply makeup with precision. You get them in the form of globes, and focused cup lights. These can be placed on top of, or to the left or the right of the mirror.

Wall lighting

  • Wall lights:These come in the form of decorative brackets and sconces, and are great for accenting and complementing overhead lights. These can also be installed beside mirrors to further reduce shadows.

Where should I place my vanity lighting?

    Since vanity lights are important for reducing facial shadows, they should be mounted on the sides of the mirror, roughly 30-40 inches apart with the center of each bulb at eye level, or approximately 66 inches above the floor.

Bathroom Controlled Lighting

What type of light bulb should I install in the lights on my bathroom wall?

    If you’re looking for crisp, white light, you should go for a halogen bulb. These last longer and provide better lighting than their incandescent counterparts.

You could also consider a fluorescent bulb with dimmers to conserve energy and set a mood.

Shower Lights

 

What kind of lights should I go for, in the shower area?

    If you are looking at lighting the shower area, you should consider recessed lighting, with a water resistant trim. Else, if your shower panel is separated by a smoked glass wall, you could also look at installing a flat light fixture overhead, in the water cabinet area. This would let diffused light pass and set the mood while lazing in the tub or taking a quick shower.

Check out our latest bathroom lighting products at BuildingBlox.in.

Bathrooms: The Relaxation Zones for ‘Me’ Time.

Bathrooms have long ceased to serve a mere utilitarian purpose. They are one of the most important aspects of the house in terms of design and identity.

One of the most important aspects of designing a bathroom is, segregating the wet and dry areas well. If you have a long, rectangular bathroom, you should follow the linear pattern wherein the sink area is right at the entrance, the water closet next, and the bath area in the end. It’s generally a good idea to stick to the classics, while designing a bathroom.
Here are some of the basics to keep in mind while designing your bathroom:

Bathroom Accessories

Accessories

Like the showers, it is best to use steel for basic accessories like towel rods and toilet roll holders.

Fancy mirrors, vanity area and the lighting could set the tone. If space is not an issue, put in his-and-hers double vanity, which is the combination of the basin, cabinets and mirror. This increases the luxury quotient by many notches. While upping the style quotient, it is imperative to use water-proof material for cabinets below the basin.

You could go for a dual tone on the floor and the wall tile, to add class, and introduce recessed lighting behind the mirror.

While working on the style quotient, you should not compromise on the storage below the basin. You could also add shelves beside the mirror, in a stylish manner, to add to the look and utility.

Bathroom Tones and Surfaces

Tones & Surfaces

The colour scheme should always be based on whether you want  a luxurious look or a cool relaxing look . White, beige and black-and-white are classics. You could also opt for shades of blue, green or yellow.  Avoid dark tones in bathrooms, as they aren’t conducive to relaxation.

While setting the tone, ensure you use a rough finish tile for the flooring, to avoid slipping when there is water.

For the wall, you could opt for large glossy tiles in marble or granite and use decorative tiles to create a highlight section. Gold chip tiles are great if you want an ornate look. You could also opt for a beige and chocolate dual tone bathroom to add to the luxurious feel.

Bathroom Fitting

Fittings

To complement your tiles and tones you could choose glass/ceramic/ stone basins. For showers and faucets, the sleek steel look is the best. For the toilet tanks and showers and taps, we suggest you choose fittings that come with water-save options.

Wall-mounted shower panels look great, but if you plan to install rain showers or pressure jets, ensure you install a pressure pump and and the plumbing is able to withstand the pressure

A Jacuzzi is great if you have a large bathroom, however, it is vital to ensure that the area between the tub and the floor is waterproofed well, and there are no leakages. Also the water draining path is an important factor to look at while planning the drainage of a jacuzzi and a shower panel.

While a bathroom offers various design opportunities, it is also one of the most challenging parts to build. The trick to get it right is to ensure that the water and ventilation is managed well.

When you are designing your bathroom leave provisions in the plumbing for future upgrades. Another important point to ensure is, that your water heaters match the capacity of your shower fixtures. So, don’t buy products without seeing them in person.

Ensure that the ‘U’ bend trap is placed properly underneath every sink or toilet. Here’s what a U-Bend trap actually is. Underneath every sink or bath there is a U-bend trap, which always retains a certain amount of water, preventing unpleasant sewer smells drifting back up the pipe – the water acts as an impenetrable barrier for such smells. The same principle is used for the toilet –each time it is flushed, everything is forced round the bend in the bottom of the toilet, leaving enough clean water to act as a barrier that prevents smells.

Most modern style washrooms have a concealed cistern these days. Here are the advantages and dis-advantages of the same:

– Style

– Space

– Hygene

Disadvantages:

– Cost

– Maintenance is perceived to be a problem but can be overcome with a well designed access panel or concealing it within a bathroom vanity… well designed concealed cisterns can be hassle free In maintenance.

With these pointers, we really hope your bathroom planning is eased.

You could refer to the links below for more inputs:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/03/bathroom-remodeling-guide-dos-and-don-ts/index.htm

http://www.victoriaplumb.com/lovebathrooms/bathroom-diy/plumbing/

http://www.build.com.au/concealed-cisterns

Do let us know if you face any issues with the same, in the comments below, so that we can help you.