Regular Bi-monthly Trouble Shooting Column

30/03/2011 | Question 1 I am installing a new bathroom for an elderly couple and have made it really user friendly for them. But I am concerned about the grab rails and their fixings. Any tips? A A modern bathroom complete with products which have been specifically designed for use by elderly or disabled people can make a real difference to their quality of life and sense of well-being. Their ‘wellness.’ Grab rails play a major part in helping people who are infirm. There are many different types to suit the many different obstacles of life. They also come in different sizes, shapes, and finishes to suit the needs and preferences of the user. Key to them all is that they must be installed correctly. People rely on them a lot for support so they must be secure. When the choice has been made and the products purchased the first thing to do is, like all good installers, read the instructions! Installation methods do vary. Their weight-bearing capabilities are based on the surface upon which they are mounted, and the types of fixings used. Most rails come packed with their own specific fixings but suffice to say all must be fixed to a rigid supporting wall. If plasterboard walls are present bear in mind that plasterboard will not bear much load so it is important to secure the rail into the wooden uprights behind the plaster. Question 2 My clients are keen to have a wall hung WC with hidden cistern in their new bathroom. But, the thing is, it’s a very very old property and the walls, which are actually wattle and daub, just won’t take the weight. I’m not sure what the answer is. Can you help? A Using a modern, fabricated steel, ‘wall frame’ to install a wall hung WC is the perfect answer for your clients. These are becoming extremely popular because they give a sleek, modern and minimalist look which are both fashionable and practical. Wall hung sanitaryware has been around for a long time but it is only comparatively recently that it has been seen as a preferred design option, using wall frames, in the type of house you describe. Wall frames are now very technically advanced and can make the installers’ job very quick and simple. All plumbing and pipework is neatly concealed behind the frame. Some come pre-fitted with cistern and connection pipework incorporated into the frame. This eliminates the need for the difficult installation of brackets to support the sanitaryware. All that is needed are secure floor fixing points for stability and rigidity. Narrow frame assemblies allow wall hung sanitaryware to be used even in very compact bathrooms where space is at a premium. There are a number of manufacturers in the market so there is plenty of choice. Question 3 What’s all the fuss about water efficiency? A Good question and, yes, there is a big fuss about water efficiency! It’s all to do with the fact that although there seems to be lots of water sloshing around us it’s mainly in the wrong place and it’s mainly of the wrong sort. We can’t drink it. Water is life, as they say, and in the UK some areas are very ‘water stressed’ since there is simply not enough to go round. So there is growing pressure on us all to start thinking about water like we think about energy. We have got to be more efficient and sustainable so that we can balance the demand with the supply. In bathrooms, great strides have been made in recent years by manufacturers who have introduced products which are water efficient by default. Some have the added bonus of being energy efficient, too, since if they save water they automatically save the cost of heating the water. WCs, baths, taps and showers have been re-engineered to use much less water than in the good old days. And those from well-known brands are guaranteed to perform even at the lower volumes. So there is a fuss about water – and quite rightly so. You can find out more from the BMA’s website at www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk/

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