Whether you’re remodelling your bathroom or installing a downstairs cloakroom, you may think that picking out a toilet is all about good looks and nothing else. Making mistakes when buying a WC, however, can prove costly and inconvenient. These top tips will help you get the right one first time.
Tip 1 – Check the Fit
Not all toilet fittings are the same. The standard measurement for a toilet waste “rough-in” – that is the distance from the finished wall in the bathroom to the centre of the sewer downpipe outside is around 12 inches in new houses. However, if you’re replacing a loo in an older house, you may find the distance is around 14 or even 16 inches. This will depend on whether you are re-using existing soil pipes and on the thickness of the wall itself. Check these measurements out before buying.
Tip 2 – Looks are not everything
If your super-stylish loo has an unusual flush mechanism, an odd shaped seat or other unique design factor, it may well cost you more to replace failed parts in the long term. As well as those uber-cool models designed for the bathroom toilets made for compact cloakroom use may not come with standard parts. Features that aren’t standard can prove to be expensive to replace in the future.
Tip 3 – Saving water
A toilet accounts for over a third of your total household water usage. Most WC manufacturers now provide models with water saving features and it is worth spending a little bit of time on research before you buy. Dual flush models are pretty much the industry standard these days, but look at high efficiency flush models or those with pressure assisted flushing for extra cleanliness.
Tip 4 – Choose your loo type carefully
If you are sticking to a budget, then the standard two piece toilet, with a separate bowl and tank, is relatively cheap to buy and easy to install. For a sleeker and cleaner look, close coupled or single piece WCs have a neater appearance and are easier to keep clean, as there are fewer nooks and crannies. Wall hung models make cleaning the floor underneath much less of a chore, but they can be tricky to fit and may require extensive wall alterations to take their weight. This can prove expensive and inconvenient for future maintenance, too.
Tip 5 – Think Comfort
Low level toilet bowls has the advantage of allowing younger children to use the loo with ease. For households with older people, or those with back or joint problems, a slightly higher bowl will provide more comfort when using the loo, however. In addition to low level models designed for use in the bathroom toilets designed for cloakrooms are also often lower level and more compact, which can make them uncomfortable to use for older or less able-bodied people. Consider who will use the toilets in your home and look at fitting a full size loo in your cloakroom if you have the space.
Della is a plumbing design engineer for a large UK housebuilding company. She contributes to a range of publications on the subject of installing bathroom toilets and kitchen plumbing design and maintenance.