Kitchen Costs – Sinks

SinksOne of the most expensive rooms in your new house will be the kitchen.

For the purposes of research I spent an hour looking through my local Bunnings.

Just concentrating on stainless steel double drainer sinks I found they stock over 20 different types.

Prices range from $118 right through to $1,553.

That’s 1300% increase.

Want a ceramic sink and you could double the cost again. . . . and that is just one small part of the kitchen.

You have got to select taps, counter tops, cupboards, cook tops, ovens, range hoods.

I’m not saying select the cheapest of everything . . . just remember the more you spend on the kitchen the less you will have to spend on the rest of the house, or you may finish up with an horrendous mortgage.



Six Thoughts On Basin Choice

Last week was ‘Bathroom Week’ on ‘The Block’ and all the contestants were out shopping for basins with the WOW factor.

Fine for the judges. . . . . but some of these design concepts don’t think about the splashing of soapy water that can mean constant cleaning is needed.

Here are some of the practical things I have learned about wash basins.

  • Basins with a flat internal base, or that have a mixer that directs flow at the drain tend to cause more splashes than a bowl shaped basin.
  • For basins on the vanity a straight back that can be sealed against the wall avoids having a hard to clean area behind the basin.
  • A mixer set to the side, rather than centrally, allows you to lean lower over the basin minimising splashing outside the basin.
  • Having a medicine cabinet in front of the basin can prevent you leaning lower over the basin, thus increasing splashing outside the basin.
  • Square mixers result in water drying on the top surface of the mixer rather than running off, so they need cleaning every day.
  • Splashes really show on mirrors so have at least a couple of rows of tiles between the top of the basin and the bottom of the mirror.

The Best Brands for Your Bathroom

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

The bathroom is no longer just another room in your home.

Neither is it a place just to take a shower nor a place to stock your towels.

The modern bathroom is a place of rejuvenation, relaxation and meditation; the ultimate me-only place and a real pampering zone at its best.

Whether you are after an energized shower before going to work, or you want to relax your mind while in a warm Jacuzzi, or you desire a long candle-lit soak in the bath before going to bed, the bathroom is arguably one of the best rooms in your home.

However this is only the case if it is well structured, using some of the best and most exotic brands that can be found on the internet..

If you are living in Australia and are interested in a technologically advanced bathroom that is classically and elegantly designed, then you are bound to look through an assortment of brands.

You want brands that offer you convenience, simplicity, enjoyment and innovation within the confines of your beautifully made bathroom.

Below are some of the best brands that will offer the best in bathrooms.


Caroma is without a doubt the best bathroom brand that can be found in Australia, but also compares well around the world.

The brand’s commitment to top-notch excellence in design and water conservation is unrivaled in the bathroom market.

Structured around the philosophy of high efficiency, beauty, excellence and innovation, Caroma is the undoubted industry leader in terms of high efficiency toilet suites,  as well as technologically advanced bathroom basins, bidets, and showers.

As a company, Caroma employs highly educated, advanced, experienced and creative engineers to ensure that your bathroom is structured not only to suit your needs, but also to offer ultimate style that can only be dreamed of by others.

Whether you are in need of a simple and traditional bathroom or an ultra modern bathroom that comes with 21st century technology, Caroma is, without a doubt, your only solution. Their flexibility ensures that their design suits both residential and commercial bathrooms.


As one of the best bathroom tap ware and mixer brands in Australia, Grohe has an extensive portfolio of bathroom products.

From showering solutions to bathroom accessories, Grohe has an extensive selection of the best products for you to choose from.

They are among the best when it comes to creating consistent and stylish bathroom designs that revolve around crisp and chamfered detailing that is ideal for modern bathrooms.

Even though there are a whole lot of bathroom brands available in Australia, Caroma and Grohe and JustLuxe are among the best brands that cannot be ignored. Whether you are after luxury, modern advancement, simplicity or elegance, these are definitely your options for the best brands in bathroom matters.

You should, however consider the most widely available brand first, as there is a better chance of being able to get hold of these products, rather than having to wait for a long time until such time as stock has landed in Australian outlets. Choosing Caroma is a great choice for this reason, as you won’t have to wait long for delivery.

Instantaneous Electric Water Heater

No Gas Supply? . . . . .No room to put a heat pump

Well an Instantaneous Electric Water Heater may be an option.

This is a unit in apartment we used to rent

As you can see its very compact and is tucked away in a wardrobe.

The unit provided all our hot water for washing and showers.

It only heating the water when we need it, and we never ran out of hot water.

The unit is quite cool to the touch even when someone is running a hot shower.

Probably the only downside is that due to the high power consumption when the hot tap is running it needs  3 Phase Power.

If you are looking for reviews of home improvement products like this why not visit


For more posts see Plumbing

Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV)

I have previously talked about Noises in Pipes and Dealing with Water Hammer, but neglected to mention PRV’s.

Frequently people think high water pressure to be a good. In fact it can be a big problem. Too much water pressure in a domestic system can:

  • Result in toilet systems leaking,
  • Put extra stress on plumbing joints, taps and water heaters,
  • Increase the risk of washing machine/dishwasher hoses bursting,
  • Cause water hammer issues.
Caleffi PRV

Installing a PRV can be a  simple way of dealing with these problems.

PRVs automatically control the water pressure so effectively reducing a high incoming pressure to a lower, more acceptable pressure. Used in the home it can help to save water and increase the longevity of household appliances.

A valve for a domestic system will cost around $60 plus installation.

Valves are typically set by the manufacturer at a pressure of 500kPa normally suitable for most household. If necessary the pressure can be further reduced.


See Plumbing for more posts

Missed The Bath – Fail

But when was this stuffed up?

  • When the bath was selected
  • When the tapware was selected?
  • When the bath was installed?
  • When the tapware was installed?

It does show how carefully you need to thick about things at Selection/Pre-Start.

Thanks again to Herman Fong for submitting this photo. (If you see something funny on a house send it in and give us all a laugh)


For more Unusual House Photos, and Fails, check out: What the………………….?


Bathroom Fashion 2

There are a lot of expensive bathroom fittings on the home shows and showrooms, but are they really practical?

I saw this wash basin the other day. . . . . .But how do you clean under and behind it?

Perhaps all the people who design these fittings employ cleaners so they don’t care about how practical it is!

As well as making cleaning difficult this free standing bath provides a great hiding space for spiders.

How would you feel relaxing in the bath if a big huntsman came walking up the wall!

I wouldn’t have a freestanding bath unless I could have 1m of clear space all round the bath. At current house building costs the extra space needed would be adding an extra $3-$4,000 to your build on top of the cost of the bath.

Here is a wash basin in our current rental property which has two issues:

  • The dirt trap between the basin and the wall.
  • Square section taps (The issue is water doesn’t run off the horizontal surfaces so there are always stains on the chrome)

For lots more about choosing what goes in your new house see : anewhouse Guide to Selection/Pre-Start


Plumbing Acronyms

There are a lot of acronyms used on plumbing drawings so here are a few definitions:

AGAgricultural (Drains)
B – Basin
Bth – Bath
BT – Boundary Trap
DP – Down Pipe
FW – Floor Waste
HWS – Hot Water Service
IC – Inspection Chamber
IS – Inspection Shaft (also IO -Inspection Opening)
ORGOverflow Relief Gully
PRV – Pressure Reducing Valve
RRJ – Rubber Ring Joints
RWH – Rain Water Head
SHR – Shower
ST – Stop Tap
SW – Storm Water Pipe (or SWD – Storm Water Drain)
SWJ – Solvent Welded Joints
TR – Laundry Trough
VC – Vitrified Clay
VP – Vent Pipe (sometimes UVP – Upstream Vent Pipe)
WC – Water Closet (Toilet)
S –  Kitchen Sink
SV – Stop Valve

If you have seen an acronym you don’t understand, then let me know, and I will try to give you an answer.

See Jargon for more posts


Is Grey Water Re-Use Worthwhile?

What is Grey Water?

Grey Water includes all the waste water from the house with the exception of toilet waste. (Black Water)

It can includes water from; Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Sink, Wash Basin, and Shower.

A basic grey water reuse scheme sending washing machine water using a two way diverter valve to a perforated hose will cost less than $100.  A top-of-the-range system, taking all the grey water, with treatment and pumps can cost $2-4,000.


  • It’s available all year round whether it rains or not.
  • A basic system is inexpensive.


  • You are not supposed to use grey water on root crop plants in your veggie plots because of bacterial contamination.
  • You shouldn’t store grey water as it is likely to go Septic and smell.
  • A lot of grey water contains too many nutrients for native plants.
  • Many common domestic soaps are high in sodium which can cause soil problems with long term use.


Because of its disadvantages I really regard grey water as a last resort rather than a main garden watering system.

If you have a veggie plot, or a lawn, one of the more basic systems will help you in times of drought, so I wouldn’t go for one of the top of the range systems.

If you are intending to use grey water make sure you use an eco friendly laundry liquid such as Earth Choice.


A better alternative is to make sure you get the right size of rainwater tank so follow this link: Rainwater Tank Size



Overflow Relief Gulley

Have you ever wondered what this is in your garden?

Perhaps you have seen ‘ORG’ on a drawing.

Well the answer is it’s called an Overflow Relief Gully. It needs to between the house and the connection to the main sewer.

An ORG is a vital part of protecting your house against Sewage blockages in the main causing an overflow inside your house.

The grate is set 150mm below the level of the lowest waste water fitting in your house. Normally the shower drain or Floor Drain. ( In cases where the 150mm minimum height cannot be achieved, a reflux valve should be installed in addition to the ORG)

In the event of a sewer blockage the sewage can flow out of the ORG. Not very nice!…….. but much better than flowing out across your floor.

To make sure it works when you need it:

  • DON’T landscape over it!
  • DON’T put a plant pot …… or anything else, on top of it!
  • DON’T fasten the grate down! 
  • DON’T allow storm water to flow into it!