QUESTION: How do I pick the right toilet to install?


You have many different options to choose from when selecting a toilet. Each home and family are different, so you should take your individual needs into consideration.

One of the most important considerations is the “rough-in” measurement since this will be one of the first questions that the clerk at the hardware store will probably ask you. This is the distance from the wall to the drain where the toilet will be attached. This is normally 12 inches, but it can vary.

The next consideration is the shape of the bowl. An elongated bowl is the most common, but a round bowl may be a better option if you have a tight space. If you want to switch from a round to an elongated bowl, you need to double-check your measurements. You do not want to end up with a door or drawer that you cannot open all the way.

The height of the toilet can make a difference in safety and comfort, especially in a home with an elderly or disabled individual. The standard height is 14 to 15 inches, but a taller toilet can be easier for individuals with limited mobility.

Most toilets are two-piece with a separate bowl and tank. They are the least expensive and the easiest to repair. One piece toilets have a sleek, contemporary design, and are easier to clean; however, they are more expensive. Wall-mounted toilets save space and work well in homes where wheelchair accessibility is a concern. Wall-mounted toilets are more expensive and require a strong wall for mounting. They can also be more difficult to repair since the drain is inside the wall.

If you live in a humid climate, you probably have experienced the problem of a sweating or dripping toilet tank. Not only is this annoying, but it can also cause mold buildup and even damage your flooring. You can avoid tank sweat by choosing a pressure-assist toilet. These models hold the water in an inner tank, which means the external tank does not sweat. You should be aware, however, that pressure-assist toilets make a lot of noise when flushing.

If you have children who constantly slam the toilet seat or lid, you may want to consider a model with a soft-closing lid and seat. Toilets also come with a variety of different flushing mechanisms. Traditional models have the flushing levers on the side, but some new models have a button located on top of the tank. Some eco-friendly toilets even offer different flushing options for liquid and solid waste.

Do not skimp on the quality of your toilet. The $75 “contractor special” will likely be made from lower quality parts that can fail under heavy use. It is better to spend several hundred dollars for a toilet that will last your family for years to come. Bathroom and plumbing supply stores tend to offer the widest selection of models and price points. Finally, avoid trendy features and custom seats. These features add to the price tag and may be expensive or impossible to repair years down the road. It is also a good idea to avoid designer color toilet seats. While it may look nice with your existing décor, you may get tired of it down the road. A colored toilet seat may also make your house harder to sell.