Living arrangement

It could have been worse

11:52 AM

I mentioned on several occasions that bathrooms in India are generally ill planned and are pretty much just one big empty wet room that turns slippery after a shower. What I might not have mentioned is that after 8 years of living in India my current apartment is the first one ever to have bathrooms that have been designed with separate wet and dry areas and a shower cubicle that looks like this:


This is a standard structure in every flat in my colony it seems and it’s pretty neat to have glass doors that prevents the water from splashing everywhere. The designers even have thought of a way to conceal the water heater creating a false ceiling of Plexiglas supported by a wooden frame, all in all it is a pleasant looking bathroom and quite safe.

But that stops here, this morning DH went into the shower and opened the door to suddenly have the entire glass panel come on him: door hinges and glass side panel! Thankfully nothing broke, and DH was fine, but what happened should not have happened in the first place and this is due to several big building mistakes.

The door and side panel were anchored in the wall on just one side and held into place by one thin rail of aluminium screwed into the marble clad wall, the bottom part of the support glass panel was loose and resting on the marble divider at the bottom, and glued with silicon glue to the false ceiling’s frame…after said frame has been painted with a cheap substandard paint not designed to be used in a room exposed to steam and humidity.
The whole damn door was heavy, DH and I struggled to lift it and store it in the shower cubicle of the common bath so that Ishita would not get hurt with it while we wait on the carpenter to come fix the thing.   
Once the door removed I took a picture of the wooden frame gluing fiasco so you guys can better visualise the thing:


As you can see there is the aluminium railing on the left and the entire top part is wood, which probably has never been repainted since the flat was built. There is still some of the yellowing silicon glue attached to the frame, and you can see the paint has been chipping in many places, leading to the heavy door’s collapse. There is nothing wrong with using wood or plywood in a bathroom, but you need to use primers designed for wet usage, such as marine primers, and you need vinyl paints to cover it. Here it’s a cheap standard acrylic emulsion that has been used. It might look good and safe at first, but not a few years later, beside considering the weight of the door structure, an additional railing on top and bottom would not have hurt one bit, we are talking about 30 centimetres extra of railing here, or just a small bracket to hold the support panel, because it’s an absolute no brainer that when a door is opened and closed there is traction on the frame or support panel, so not anchoring said panel is plain sheer stupid!

Luckily no one was hurt, even more lucky was that it wasn’t happening when Ishita was in the shower of pulled on the door by herself!
Now the two big questions are 1) when will the carpenter come once we call him as DH is out of town for 2 days and 2) Will he actually understands the fact it has to be secured in better this time around? And bonus question number 3: Considering that the glass panel has been cut to exactly fit in the space, will there be enough space to put a bracket in to make it safer?
In situations like this what I miss the most is the type of big hardware supermarkets we have back home, were you can take your time to look for the things you need without having to explain to a sales person who has never seen your shower what you want, and get all the extra tools you will need. I am a do it yourself type of lady, as an interior decorator specialised in sofa making and wall covering I worked with all kind of power tools, and I pretty much feel disabled around here. Granted not everybody has a “Do it” bone in their body, but that freaking repair is a fairly simple one I wish I could take care of myself.


  1. Bathrooms of late are well planned though some of the small time builders miss out on key aspects

    1. Antiskid tiles for the floor
    2. Wall tiles from bottom to top (Most builders save by providing tiles only upto 6 feet)
    3. A seperate bath area with the floor level being slightly below the rest of the space (Dry area).

    I bought my home 5 years ago and it has all the above. Though very small (7 ft x 4.5 ft) it is very functional. There is a seperate service area for washing machine, so the bathroom space remains untouched.

    In a place like chennai, water is scrace and so most bathrooms are planned with no space for bathtubs.

    Though glass enclosures are quite popular, we went with a shower curtain and managed to install it without having to drill on the wall.

    I believe when they do such mass installations, they tend to miss out on the details. We have french window at our place and it used to allow water to flow in whenever there was heavy showers. It turned out that they had not sealed the corners right. And I can empathize with your need to find a carpenter. We had to follow up with the builder for atleast 2 weeks before it could be fixed :) Hope you are able to sort it out soon.

  2. Yeah our place has a completely separate area for the washing machine too which is a good thing because the bathrooms aren't that big.
    I have lived in a lot of apartment in India, not once did I ever see antiskid tiles on the floor, which is extremely dangerous, especially for kids and senior citizens.
    In Switzerland the shower cubicle is higher than the rest of the bathroom because the water collects into a shallow tub (3-4 inches high max)
    The bathroom we have right now has wall tiles all the way up, whcih makes cleaning far easier and limit the mildew to a minimum, it's really just the way they put that shower door in that is hazardous. We are renting the flat, it's not mine, and there is no space for a shower curtain the way it is designed. All the flats in the building have the same default glass door cubicle thing so it's not even a thing the landlord ordered, the developper might have tried to cut the cost of 30cm worth of extra framing, or the expenses of 2 brackets per door...this is sad :-(

  3. WOW!
    The only shower doors I've ever seen in India have been in 5 star hotels.
    The first flat we bought was in Kathmandu. It came with EVERYTHING- polished hardwood floors, black granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, a full size fridge, teak cabinetry, drapes, mattresses, -even bedding & linens!!
    But I must say, even though the flat is very well planned (for the most part) -the bathrooms are a rather dank, dismal affair.
    We did have to buy our own shower curtains, which I was glad of because at least it was a chance to put some color in the bathrooms! Still, I don't understand why anyone would design a bathroom with no window? A 7 inch exhaust fan isn't going to cut it at all!
    Our second flat in Gurgaon formerly belonged to a Finnish-Japanese couple who left lots of Beautifully designed Japanese mini-gadgets (including a Japanese bathtub), so I admit I was thoroughly spoiled.

    Now we've bought a new flat (as of yet not built) in some posh section of Noida & I dread to see what will actually be in it (or not).
    I picked out the floor plan & DH went & bought it. Nowhere in the paperwork does it say what exactly will be provided in the flat. There is a 'utility room' on the floor plan off the kitchen- but I'm not sure what a 'utility room' is in India? I wonder if there will be power hook ups & drains for the washing machine? Oh well, who knows?

  4. Generally utility room in India means the place to keep the washing machine, and possibly the fridge if the area is big enough and the kitchen lacks space, whcih is less likely to be the case in a more modern building. The utility room is also the maid's work area in some places and some of them are big enough to have a complete separate sink for the dirty dishes completely out of sight from the main kitchen area, I've seen a few of these in Bangalore.
    In a newly constructed building the kitchens are likely to be bare, with just the kitchen granite counter top but no cabinets, though some developpers do put basic cabinets in kitchen nowaday. In our society apparently the kitchen came equipped with cabinets below the counter as a default, our landlord added the cabinets above the counter for more storage space. The bathrooms came fully equipped with water heater and glass doors and fancy wash bassin area whcih is a standard in all flats too as my daughter's school is in the same colony and the bathroom in the flat that serves as playschool has the same amenities as mine with the same design for the bassins and shower cubicle, and they are also renting the space there.

  5. i dont remember how i stumbeled upon your blog , but you echo my thoughts posts like these ,am an indian and lived in usa for 5 years so i always wonder why the bathrooms here do not have the wet/dry separation.......
    hoping that you find a carpenter who will fixx it for you,as finding someone to fix things in time is a big thing here.

    btw the glass separator in your bathroom looks squeaky clean how are you maintaning it ?any tips please...

    back in usa as the water is not that hard it was easy to clean the bathroom myself,but not here....i get pissed off seeing the hard water stains on glass doors and tiles.

  6. The water in Geneva was super hard, so I actually find it easy in India :) my tip is to wash the glass often enough with a glass cleaner spray to prevent the build up, and if you have hard water stains to get off nothing works like pure vinegar. Back in Switzerland I had to remove my shower head to soak it overnight in vinegar to get it to work again, that was before they came up with these shower heads with rubber nozzles that you rub to unclog.


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