Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Bathroom that Lasts a Long Time
  [vote for,

Bathrooms tend to require major remodeling at around 50 or 60 years, because wood rots. Flooring starts to leak. Paint starts to get mildew. The materials used are all wrong, usually. The design fits in with the house, rather than a design to perfect the bathroom.

The new bathroom should be it's own structure. In a two story house, the two bathrooms should be stacked. The structure should be built of steel and concrete, using concrete block walls with insulation. Floors can be wood, but should topped with concrete. The concrete surfaces can then be sealed, and topped with vinyl, tile, carpet, or wood. The floor covering is sacrificial and for comfort.

The floor should slope slightly to the outside, so any water weeping will go toward the outside and down the side of the house.

Gray water should be recovered and reused in the toilet. Sewage might be recovered and composted. The plumbing services should be on the outside, covered in a box, so repairs to sewage and water supply can be performed from the outside.

Venting can be along the wall, and vented directly outside.

Optionally, the room can jut out past the house, and have a corner skylight. If the shower is placed under the skylight, you could feel like you're showering outside.

The shower can be built into the concrete, or a one-piece fiberglass shower/tub, or other one-piece unit, can be used.

wildgift, Mar 12 2012

Dymaxion Bathroom http://www.weirduni...blog/comments/2824/
[FlyingToaster, Mar 12 2012]

Japanese one piece bathrooms... http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2002.html
.....no pun intended [not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2012]

British Earthquakes http://en.wikipedia...n_the_British_Isles
You can tell they are British because they are all thoroughly reasonable. Well, apart from the 1931 Dogger Bank 'quake which was verging on 'rowdy'. [DrBob, Mar 13 2012]


       Short of building your own, there's not *that* much improvement that can be done to a bathroom that's been built to modern code out of decent materials. If you make the room one continuous piece, like in the Dymaxion House <link>, then you've pretty well lost any chance of making it look nice or fitting in with the rest of the house's decor. Utilitarian yes, nice no.   

       But I think most of what you want could be accomodated by a competent architect, bearing in mind that it will be much higher maintenance than a bog standard :) design, since you want things like composting and gray water usage.
FlyingToaster, Mar 12 2012

       Simple things like tile floors (properly done, waterproof anti-mildew grout in the joints) with tile baseboard will accomplish much of the durability you're looking for. Use at least semi-gloss (better to use high gloss) paint to provide a water-proof, easily cleanable layer on the walls (make sure to use an indoor/outdoor paint for moisture resistance). A floor drain is not that difficult to install, but gives the room a decidely industrial/commercial feel that's usually considered undersirable.
MechE, Mar 12 2012

       There is no such thing as anti-mildew grout, in my experience. Mildew will find a way, regardless.
RayfordSteele, Mar 12 2012

       // 50 or 60 years //   

       Your species must build pretty high-quality bathrooms. Here in the wilder parts of Americaland, we're lucky if the whole house lasts that long without major overhaul. Of course, we experience at least 4-5 freeze-thaw cycles per winter (and sometime one or two in the summer). We've also had torrential downpours, searing heat waves, near- arctic cold snaps, and sauna-like humidity--and who knows what the weather's going to be like tomorrow. The indoor climate is the least of our worries.   

       It's a good idea. I expect a bathroom like this, with regular upkeep, would last 40 years in Maine before the concrete crumbled from near-constant deformation.   

       Another thing to remember is that stainless steel doesn't stay that way forever. Every bit of carbon-bearing material that gets ground into the surface makes it a little less stainless.
Alterother, Mar 12 2012

       //in the wilder parts of Americaland, we're lucky if the whole house lasts that long without major overhaul//   

       Well, to be fair on our American children, even proper English houses usually need modernising every 3-5 monarchs, and some of the less well-built ones are actually falling apart. For example, the windows fell out of Stonehenge several centuries ago, just as the patina was developing nicely.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2012

       [Rayford] Not for the tub/shower, but for floor tiles (that don't get as wet, as often) it can last pretty well. The original bathroom in my parents place is at least 60 years old with no sign of mildew in the floor tiles.   

       As far as the tub/shower, make the walls out of the same material as the tub, ideally porcelain, but fiberglass with a good coat will work as well.
MechE, Mar 12 2012

       [Max] et al., Jenny and I were very impressed (amazed, entranced, etc.) by the immaculately-kept homes and businesses in the UK that we saw during our visit. In Southwold, which we visited (much as my ancestors must have) purely by accident of geography, we saw a butcher shop proudly claiming to have been owned by the same family and in the same location for over 300 years. Over here the only things we have that date back that far are rocks, trees, and retired woodcutters that refuse to die.   

       The climate may be a bit more stable, but English homes must be very well-kept indeed.
Alterother, Mar 12 2012

       Well, thank you, [Alter]. I think it's not so much that they're well-kept, but well built. At least until recently, houses were built of brick or stone, and roofed with slate or (for cheaper homes) clay tiles. There's not a lot to go wrong.   

       The north-west wing of Buchanan Towers was recently re-roofed, because the tombstone-sized slates had, over the course of a mere hundred and fifty years, slowly worn away at the copper nails; 95% of the slates were in good enough shape to re- hang. Needless to say, I insisted on thicker nails.   

       And it's good to see that Southwold is trying to encourages newcomers to the trades.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2012

       Japanese bathrooms are, more or less, just the one piece of plastic. see not very good pic.   

       I have to say Buckminster Fuller would have made a natural HB member, if he hadn't let his ideas run to such hopelessly practical inventions.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2012

       Let's nominate him for our patron saint, then, for at least three miracles hath he performed.
Alterother, Mar 13 2012

       I can't find a thing wrong with this idea. Get to know your mold. Get to know it well. Grow old with your mold. Yeah. +
blissmiss, Mar 13 2012

       >Get to know your mold   

       Worst comes to the worst, it'd make a nourishing broth.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2012

       In the UK, we don't build very many houses every year. In fact we build so few houses that at the current rate it would take 1000 years to replace all the UK's housing. Hence, houses in the UK need to last for 1000 years.
hippo, Mar 13 2012

       Erm, in all fairness UK houses last because there are no earthquakes, all prolific wood-eating insects die of cold and the temperature gradient winter - summer is more or less flat.   

       I speak as someone who found a house in Osaka for 25,000 GBP and took a surprisingly long time to work out that's because everything tends to get demolished and rebuilt every forty years due to all of the above mentioned hazards. So, it looks cheap, but it ain't. Still might buy it.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2012

       //UK houses last because there are no earthquakes//

Pish & tish! We have many earthquakes in the UK and some are even strong enough to cause tidal waves in your early morning cup of Earl Grey or dislodge the moss from your guttering. The reason that UK houses last is because they were all designed by men in weskits and stove pipe hats.
DrBob, Mar 13 2012

       Earl Grey in the morning?! Assam, maybe, but not Earl Grey, oh no...
hippo, Mar 13 2012

       //We have many earthquakes in the UK//   

       I wondered why so many buildings got damaged in the Kobe quake and found out it was that in a lot of cases a significant amount of the building ended up 4 feet away from the rest of the building. Strangely, I don't remember anything quite like that in the UK...
not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2012

       //Strangely, I don't remember//

Must be due to the bump on the head that you got during that earthquake.
DrBob, Mar 13 2012

       I experienced a similar phenomenon in the UK when the door of a pub was several feet away from where it should have been. It was ultimately determined to have been caused by several pints of Blackthorn's.
Alterother, Mar 13 2012

       Aspects of this are baked, of course. For instance, the wet areas (bathroom, toilet, and laundry) in my 1950s house form a structural unit. They have concrete brick walls and masonry (terazzo/concrete) floors, and are partly structurally isolated from the rest of the house (which is timber framed). The bathroom floor has curved coving moulded in, so the join with the wall is raised an inch or so, and so does not rely on (failure-prone) seals or caulking. When I mentioned the possibility of demolishing the house, a friend even said I should try to save the bathroom and rebuild around it.   

       One thing I would add to your list is exposed plumbing, except for short join-free lengths through walls or floors. Pipes and fittings inevitably fail. When they are buried in walls, there is damage from leaking water (which can go unnoticed), and further damage during replacement or repair.   

       I wouldn't use timber topped with concrete; more complexity just means more to go wrong.
spidermother, Mar 14 2012

       I wouldn't use anything topped with concrete. Concrete goes on the bottom, flexy stuff on top of it. Otherwise you'll spend more time in the bathroom crawling around with a tube of crack cement than you spend... well, doing anything else in the bathroom.
Alterother, Mar 14 2012

       Unless the concrete is thick enough to be self supporting, in which case the timber is merely useless, rather than a liability.
spidermother, Mar 14 2012


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