Did you know?
The average person spends around 3 months of their lives on the toilet?!
Well, if you want to spend 3 months of your life in comfort, then you might want to think about investing in a decent toilet so you can get comfy. Newer models are coming out every year, and if you want something that will not only fit into your bathroom but also keep you comfortable, then you might be in luck.
There are many different models to suit you, whether it’s an elongated toilet bowl or a comfort height. We have compiled some information here that we think will be of use to you when picking a toilet. Let’s look at the different design options now.
Table of Contents
When Did Toilet Innovation Start?
Over 25 years ago, in 1994, scientists began to start redesigning the humble toilet. These new toilets saved homes a small fortune, including low-flow toilets, a water-saving sized cistern, and a much more conservative 1.6 gallon flush (compared to the previous 3 to 5-gallon flush) on their water bill.
But while the water-saving element was installed into these toilets, the rest of the design was left pretty much intact. This started to create new problems such as blockages and waste not being removed. The toilet needed a complete rethink in order for these low flow flushes to become a success.
Once scientists started working on a newer style flush as well as the cistern, toilets became much more successful. A smooth siphon trap was introduced, which meant that the low levels of water pressure combined with this technology could easily remove any waste or blockage.
Since their reimagining in the 90s, these toilets are now ultra-efficient, using only 0.8-1.28 gallons of water per flush. The technology is such that these ultra-low flushes can push away up to 1.5lbs of waste, but it won’t stop there. Work is still continuing to make toilets even more water conservative, especially with the new addition of super wide waste outlet holes which make an even larger “escape hatch” for the waste.
Toilet Design Explained
Here we are going to go through three different types of toilet design and discuss which might be the most suitable for you. Most people opt for a two-piece toilet, but we will discuss the benefits of a one-piece toilet as well so that you can compare the two.
There is the main difference between a one-piece and a two-piece toilet. A one-piece is a single molded form that has no separate parts. A two-piece is a toilet that is made separately from a cistern and a toilet bowl.
A one-piece toilet is likely to set you back more than a two-piece toilet as these are usually cheaper. However, a one-piece toilet is more comfortable to install, making it worth the extra cost!
A one-piece toilet saves a lot of space compared to the two-piece. However, the two-piece is easier to fix and replace should something go wrong; all you need to do is to replace either the cistern or the bowl. If a one-piece toilet breaks, then you end up having to replace the whole thing, which can be expensive.
The best part about a one-piece toilet is that they are straightforward to clean! And you are less likely to find a leak too.
If you are looking for a luxury feel, then a wall hung toilet will look fabulous in your bathroom. The crisp, clean lines and hidden cistern will look much better than a cumbersome toilet. However, it will come with a hefty investment price in comparison.
With wall-hung units, you have to hide the cistern behind the wall, which can occasionally mean you need to create a new wall or some additional building work in order to accommodate this. Once the cistern is hidden, you will need an additional faceplate for the flush. Don’t worry. This will come with the kit. But above all, when installing, remember to leave an access door for any maintenance you might need to do.
If you are installing a wall-mounted toilet into a place where there was previously a one or two-piece toilet, then you might need to relocate the drains. This will probably be a job for a plumber, so ask around for recommendations.
Keeping your toilet clean
As we have said before, a one-piece toilet is easier to keep clean, simply because it is free from hidden crevices and corners where bacteria or dust could gather. This is why so many people install one-piece toilets into their homes.
Two-piece toilets can be trickier to keep clean, often with joints and corners that can not only build up with dirt, but that can also become pressure points for leaks. More commonly, if a cistern isn’t installed properly on top of a toilet bowl. If the seal isn’t tightly fastened, it can become a hiding ground for bacteria and increase the likelihood of a leak.
One thing that you will find consistent with both a one-piece and a two-piece toilet is the functionality of both. They will both use the same amount of water and have the same level of flushing power to remove any waste. In fact, manufacturers tend to share technical components for their toilets, meaning that you’ll find that almost all have the same mechanisms installed in the cistern.
The new low flow cisterns are designed specifically to be water-saving, although, in some areas, you can only install toilets with a specific flush capacity. You should check this in your area before installing a new toilet. You might also want to see how much waste your new toilet can flush away. To find this out, click here.
For reference, toilets that can move 1kg in a single flush is thought to be a great performer.
Installing your new toilet
While a one-piece and a two-piece toilet may be easy to install, a one-piece is slightly more straightforward. With a two-piece, you simply install the toilet bowl first, making sure to line the drill holes with the pre-existing ones. Then, attach the cistern onto the top of the bowl and plumb in the water inlet. With a one-piece toilet, it is easier to install with only one unit, but this does make it heavier and bulkier.
As always, you must remember to use the wax ring when attaching the waste pipe. Not all two-piece systems come with wax rings or toilet seats, so be sure to check before you buy them.
You should always refer to the installation guide as per the manufacturer’s instructions when you fit your new toilet. You should also take great care not to knock or disturb your porcelain toilets otherwise. You might create a pressure point that will lead to a leak in the future.
Because of the way a one-piece toilet is molded, it has fewer pressure points in it and is, therefore, less likely to crack or leak. A two-piece toilet is at much more risk of leaking, especially as the seal between the toilet bowl and the cistern needs to be so precise.
Another thing to think about is the perishing of the seals and wax rings. Over time these rings will perish and wear away, meaning that the seal won’t be as effective. You need to change these seals every few years, so make sure you hold on to your installation guide in case you need it again in the future.
Pressure-Assisted Toilets vs. Gravity Assisted Toilets
Traditionally toilets use gravity-fed systems to flush their toilets. They help remove the waste by simply relying on gravity to force it down. There are, however, some pressure-assisted toilet mechanisms that are very useful for some situations.
Gravity fed systems don’t have as many parts inside them to go wrong, so they are ideal for residential homes and are easy to maintain. As you push the handle, water travels through the toilet bowl and pushes the waste into the waste pipe.
However, if you need a bit more pressure than the gravity-fed systems, then you should consider a pressure-assisted system. They are more expensive, but they are worth investing in the extra expense.
Pressure assisted systems work by using pressurized air to push into the water and increase the pressure of the flush. This means you can use less water and still be able to get rid of any waste in your system. Of course, there are downsides to this system, which are that it is more expensive to purchase in the first place and that they are quite noisy. They are also more difficult to install, so bear that in mind.
Bowl Shape – Elongated, Round or Compact
There are three different types of toilet seats: elongated, round, and compact. You need to consider what style of the seat will suit you AND your family so that you will be comfortable.
A round toilet will be smaller than an elongated seat and will provide you with more space, around 2 inches in fact. They are ideal for small bathrooms.
Be sure to measure your space carefully when considering the shape of your bowl, as this will make the difference between being able to access your small bathroom properly and having a bathroom that doesn’t fit.
Compact toilets are specifically designed to fit snugly into small spaces. The seats are smaller, and the tanks are smaller as well, but this doesn’t mean that the functionality is flawed, they still work just as well.
Of course, no toilet would be complete without a toilet seat. But did you know that not every toilet comes with one? Some are fitted with short term toilet seats, which are made from cheaper plastic materials and should be replaced after a while.
There are several different designs and styles for toilet seats. This includes soft closing seats, wooden seats, and different shaped seats (that tie in nicely with the bowl shape). In fact, the only thing that makes every toilet seat the same is the mounting holes.
The most crucial thing to factor in when you buy a new toilet seat is the size. Make sure you buy one that is the right shape for your bowl, such as elongated, compact, or round.
If you aren’t sure which type of toilet you have already, then use a tape measure to gauge it. Also, measure the mounting holes to ensure that your seat is a perfect fit. 16.5 inches between your mounting holes means your seat is round, 18.5 inches, and you’ll want to buy an elongated seat.
Don’t forget you can also buy a soft close toilet seat, which uses buffers to close the seat when you shut the lid. This solves any slamming or loud banging when you close your seat and will help you to go to the toilet peacefully at night. There are also other toilet gadgets you can buy, such as bidet style toilet seats and heated seat functions. The choices are endless!
When buying a toilet, you also need to think about the height of your seating position. There are two different height options when it comes to seats, a standard height that sits at 14-15 inches and chair height, which sits at 16-17 inches. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, it can make a real difference in the comfort of your positioning and should be tested out before you buy. Of course, if you’d rather have a custom height toilet, then you can choose to use a wall hung toilet. That way, you can install it to whatever height you like.
If you are replacing an existing toilet, then you should measure your existing toilet rough-in. It will give you the measurement between the wall and the bolts, which will help you to buy the right replacement.
When measuring your flange, don’t take the measurement from the back trim, take it from the finished back wall. If you have stud walls, you should factor in that additional width, similarly, if you have half-inch drywalls, then the center of the flange should be 12.5 inches from the back of your stud wall.
Don’t forget that you can get different size rough in’s, which include 12 inches, 10 inches, and 14 inches. If you are concerned about fitting the right one, then seek professional help or take a look in the instruction manual. In a case where you need to move a flange, we recommend you research your job beforehand. This can be done online easily.
Always remember to add in the measurements of your drywall when installing your toilet, and if your plumbing code falls under IPC, then you will need at least 21 inches of clearance from the bowl to any other item in your bathroom. For full details, search IPC codes online.
If you live in an area where the plumbing codes are controlled by UPC, you will need a larger 24 inches of clearance from your bowl and any other obstruction from the toilet. There are also regulations on the flange positioning, so be sure to check those too.
It is important to factor in moldings and their measurements when positioning your toilet. Ranging from 3.25 to 5.25 inches, they can make a big difference between the toilet position if you forget this measurement.
Picking a Water Saving Toilet
It’s clear that we need to conserve more water as a nation. In fact, toilets are one of the biggest consumers of toilets in our homes, using up around 30% of our daily water usage. However, it’s not just enough to simply use less water in a toilet because your toilet still has 3 key functions to perform.
The first is to remove the waste from the bowl without causing a stain. It needs to move it from the bowl to the central drain system using only 1.6 gallons of water.
Dual flush toilets are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they use less water when only flushing away liquid waste. They then use twice as much water to flush away solid waste, which means you use less water overall.
Most manufacturers have their toilets certified by Water Sense, a voluntary program that tests and monitors toilets for their low water efficiency. They only give out these certificates to a small amount of water-efficient products, so you know you are getting high quality by buying one of these.
In fact, unless your toilet uses 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less, then it will not receive a Water Sense Certification. Traditionally the EPA only allowed toilets with 1 gallon of water per flush to become certified but now allows the higher 1.28 gallons of water per flush to be certified as well.
For more information on the Water Sense Certification and how to get a rebate, follow this link.
You’ll see by looking at different styles of toilets that the trapway isn’t always visible. In fact, some are concealed completely, making them more attractive and making them easier to clean. It is down to personal preference as to whether you prefer a visible or concealed trapway but do think about the space-saving element of a visible one and consider a skirted option.
You should be able to make a much more informed decision so that you are fully informed about the different elements of a toilet and how to choose a toilet. By considering all of these points, thinking about how they apply to your bathroom and deciding on a design that accounts for this, will mean that you have chosen the perfect toilet.