Toilet Selection Guide : How to Choose a Toilet
In the past, selecting a toilet was simple because there were usually a limited number of toilets to choose from and they all functioned in basically the same way. Nowadays, however, there are tons of different toilet models and styles of toilets, in various heights and sizes - each of which may provide different performance levels and use varying amounts of water. This toilet selection guide will help you separate the different choices you have when it comes to installing a new toilet in your home and help you get ready for installation.
Two Piece or One Piece Toilets?
All toilets fall under two categories: the one piece toilet or two piece toilet. The one piece toilet has the toilet housed in one complete unit to allow for easy cleaning. With a one piece toilet, you usually get the tank, bowl, lid, seat, wax ring, bolts, and bolt caps in one package. One major advantage of the one piece toilet is that you eliminate the possibility of leaks between the tank and the bowl. Two piece toilet features a separate bowl and tank that can be purchased together or individually, and the seat is typically sold separate as well. Two piece toilets are the most common type of toilets in most homes.
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Basically, toilet bowls can be purchased in two shapes, either round (most common) or elongated (increasingly popular). Round bowls are great for bathrooms that have limited amounts of space. Elongated bowls have an oval shape and are generally considered more comfortable than round bowls, perhaps because they are typically around 2" longer, providing a bigger seating area.
Other considerations that you should make when selecting the best type of bowl are whether or not it is has a sanitary bar. This bar keeps liquids from collecting beneath the bank at the back of the bowl, making your bowl more sanitary. Look for a bowl that has a larger trapway, which is the tubing on the sides of the toilet that water flows through. Larger traps ways allow lessen the chances of clogs developing in that area, which is a common trouble spot for blockages and clogs. For those with limited mobility, handicaps, or for the elderly, choose a bowl that meets the standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA compliant). These bowls are designed to be taller to allow for easier accessibility to take care of personal hygiene needs. Bowls that are ADA compliant will typically be indicated as such with an official ADA sticker, or you can ask your dealer if the model meets the requirements of the ADA.
Toilet Flushing Systems
Nearly all toilets have the same or nearly the same tank capacity, and today's toilets must be manufactured according to government guidelines that state that no toilet can use more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush. When purchasing a new toilet, you must also consider the flushing system of the toilet, including the flush valve size and flush lever position. The flush valve is the part of the toilet that releases the water in the tank into the toilet; as a general rule, the larger the flush valve, the higher the rate of water that flows from the tank into the toilet, thus the best performance. The position of the flush lever may be important to you and while most toilet levers are found on the right side of the toilet, there are toilets that feature a left side or even top of the tank flush lever. The flushing system for your new toilet can be either pressure assisted (pressurized air is forced into the bowl) or gravity flushed (which uses the force of the water's weight to flush the toilet). Most toilets are gravity flushed, as pressure assisted flush systems can be quite expensive.
Rough In Standards to Consider When Installing a New Toilet
Before you remove your old toilet, you will need to measure the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the center of the closest bolt that is holding the toilet into place. Taking this measurement before you purchase your toilet will allow you to make sure that you purchase the correct size. For toilets with four bolts, measure to the center of one of the bolts in the back. Next, measure from the center of the mounting holes to the back of the new toilet. These two measurements should be equal or nearly so in order to fit properly. For tighter, more enclosed bathrooms that have very little space, measure from the side walls to the flange bolts to make sure that there is enough room to accommodate the new toilet.