House and Leisure spoke to Marketing and Sales Director at Cobra, Ken Kearns, about what to bear in mind when updating this important room in your home…
Design and Planning
A successful bathroom design is crucial. A good starting point would be to clearly define the limitations of the space – what are the must-haves in your bathroom? Once you are aware of the requirements, you’ll need to do your space planning and determine whether you can fit all that you need into that space.
There are many ways to achieve the desired look in almost any size bathroom. Cobra has products available for both small spaces and for larger, more elaborate bathrooms. Popular options include the Victorian style (for example, the Auvergne Slipper bath, with Capstan or Tudor) or a contemporary look (choose between the designer or classic styles, depending on your budget). The important thing is that it is functional and satisfies your needs.
If you’re adding new sanitaryware or fittings to an existing bathroom and are going to re-use the existing supply pipes and drainage pipes, it’s a good idea to match the outlet positions and heights of the new sanitaryware to that of the old. On the other hand, if the piping is going to be redone the designer has total freedom. Make sure the sanitaryware draining is always on the outside wall, so that you don’t have pipes passing under the building. This is often ignored when alterations are done and the building is then extended over the drainage pipes, cutting off access to these pipes for future maintenance.
Working to a Budget
Basins and taps are two items that can be changed with relative ease and affordability to enhance the look of your bathroom. These small changes can help to upgrade a bathroom where a complete makeover is not always possible. The simple process of changing basins and taps will also aid your budget as you can re-use the existing plumbing and don’t need to replace the pipes.
Beware of buying cheap imports when renovating. There may be initial perceived savings but it will cost more in the long term. All Cobra products are supplied with SABS certification and excellent service back-up, with spares readily available throughout South Africa. As a part of their ongoing ‘Go Green’ mandate, Cobra products combine aesthetics, precision engineering and design with essentials such as energy saving, water conservation and safety. This is where good value for money comes into play.
Remember that in certain instances, sanitaryware doesn’t necessarily have to be replaced. For instance, it could simply be a matter of dirt from the main water supply that’s causing a toilet to run continually. Try and clean out the components before replacing. However, if porcelain sanitaryware is cracked it’s better to replace it completely as cracks pose a big hygiene risk.
When choosing bathroom fitting take care to find out what materials have been used. All Cobra basins and baths are manufactured using glazed brilliant white, non-porous porcelain which has stood the test of time and remained a favourite in terms of durability and aesthetics.
While faucets are available in an almost endless variety, the two most basic configurations are taps and mixers. Make sure that you choose these items very carefully, checking they’re from a reputable manufacturer or supplier, that spares are readily available and that their specs and ratings are up to standard. Spare head parts, handles and single lever cartridges for mixers are available for all Cobra ranges and unless the body or the seat of the body is damaged, the best option is to repair with spares.
Current issues influencing bathroom trends are ‘energy saving, ‘water saving’ and ‘Going Green’. These are going to be the major determining factors going forward with a focus on environmentally friendly, ‘green’ designs that save energy and conserve water.
Trends are also determined by the way people live, for example, the tendency to live in smaller spaces and the move toward increased efficiency. These factors also need to be considered when planning your renovation.
At the same time aesthetics can never be left out; it’s human nature to want to be surrounded by beauty. Still, functionality also dictates the look and feel you decide on, as beauty will soon be forgotten if something doesn’t work properly.
Shower areas have changed from small square cubicles where you simply wash, into an area where the mind and body are rejuvenated. This is achieved through the use of light and colour as well as various functions that deliver the spray in different ways, like a pulsating massage jet, champagne spray, power spray, etc. One great product is Cobra’s Aurora and Vivanno Chromotherapy shower roses that have an infra-red remote control panel mounted on the shower wall, allowing you to change the glow of the rain spray to nine colour effects, fading from one colour to another. These are very popular shower options and will give your bathroom that modern edge.
Do it Yourself?
It’s advisable to seek the advice of a qualified plumber for any household plumbing problems. Homeowners should also insist that the plumber balances the water pressure, so that the incoming water pressure to the geyser as well as to all other plumbing points is the same. This will ensure that there will be no fluctuations on the hot or cold water – preventing burns when another tap elsewhere in the house is turned on while you are in the shower. Cobra makes a comprehensive range of control valves which, when used with hot water systems, offer optimum flow and user comfort.
No matter what service or product you’re purchasing, always ensure it’s from a reputable and reliable company with excellent back-up service. Cobra’s ongoing drive for excellence means every component manufactured by Cobra Watertech meets rigorous quality and performance standards, that comply with both the company’s internal quality specifications as well as internationally-respected quality assurance standards.
In this month’s September Spring issue we offer a handy feature titled ‘Bathrooms for Every Budget’ – turn to page 143 for more great renovation tips and ideas!