A little technical knowledge can help you make value for money purchases of bathroom ceramics. To the untrained eye most bathroom suites appear similar except for the colour and design. However there are a multitude of global products on display at your local DIY shed. Although colour and design are normally the primary requirements, other technical factors should also be considered. Cleanability, resistance to chipping, gloss and ease of installation are all important factors if you want quality functional items. Consider each of these in turn:
- Cleanability: Sanitaryware ceramics are exposed to physical and chemical damage when being cleaned. Bleach and abrasive cleaners change the surface of the glaze over time. This makes them less smooth and more liable to limescale and dirt retention. Sometimes for sanitary ware to be used in commercial premises the ability to remove cigarette burn marks is also important. Leading brands such as Twyfords and American Standard confirm their resistance to chemical and physical damage by Dubai sanitaryware testing to BS3402, or ASTM standards C373. (For plastics BS4305).
- Resistance to chipping: The design and inherent strength are 2 major factors which affect ceramic pieces such as a basins or toilet bowls. Sharp edged designs and poorly fired ceramics are the most likely combination of factors which give problems of chipping or breakage. The leading brands design out this issue during the development of new products and confirm the uniformity of firing by process control and testing to a standard covered by BS EN ISO 9002. You should look out for these labels when purchasing your ceramics.
- Gloss: Gloss is a very subjective element but even the untrained eye can make an adequate appraisal. Look out for pinholes and patchy dullness, and feel the surface for smoothness. Remember any surface roughness will affect cleanability!
- Ease of installation: There is now such a variety of designs that it it necessary to match design to installation. For example plastic baths without pre-drilled tap holes are now available allowing for flexibility in tap location. Similarly basins can have one or two holes depending on the tap fixtures to be used. Basins come with easy fixings to attach to walls or as sit on pedestal or built in units. Ceramics for smaller bathrooms or toilet spaces are available and make sense if space is at a premium.
In summary,shopping for your DIY sanitaryware can be a more rewarding experience! Armed with a little technical knowledge the process can be so much easier! Give at least equal weighting to the technical performance as to the fashionable design in choosing your bathroom ceramics.