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Finding the Right Toilet for your New Bathroom

Choosing the right toilet for your bathroom involves more than just good looks.  Your toilet is the most important seat in the house (This about what happens if your toilet breaks or becomes clogged), and choosing one on your own before you call your plumber for installation can help save you money and time.

Never buy a toilet unless you’ve sat in it first.  Size, width, and height all play important roles in comfort, and should all be factors in your decision making process.  Find a store with plenty of bathroom fixtures to try out, and make a point in sitting on as many toilets as possible.  Don’t worry, you’re not the first, but hopefully the people before you have kept their pants on.  Remember, these are display models.

The distance between the finished wall and the center of the sewer drain is called the rough-in distance, and unless you’re doing a major bathroom renovation, this distance has already been chosen for you, and your toilet options are limited by it.  If you actually are doing a major bathroom remodeling, make sure you find a toilet before your plumbing contractor lays the sewer line.  The standard is about twelve inches, but rough-in distances can vary from anywhere between ten to fourteen inches.

You’ll also have to choose between round toilet bowls or elongated bowls.  An elongated toilet bowl can be more comfortable, especially if someone in your family is overweight, but round bowls save both money and space.  They’re usually markedly cheaper, and they don’t ever extend more than 28 inches from the wall.  Elongated bowls frequently reach 32 inches from the wall, which can be problematic in a small apartment.

Most toilets are about 14 inches off the floor, but there’s no need to feel limited.  Both higher and shorter are available, but keep in mind the comfort of your guests as well as your family.  Sure, a tall family might be slightly more comfortable with 20 inch toilets, but your guests may not appreciate their feet swinging off the ground while they relieve themselves.

Think of your toilet like a woman’s swimsuit.  They come in one piece or two piece, and less is always more.  One piece toilets come with integrated seats and tanks, and are much easier to clean, without a seam to collect errant sewage and general bathroom filth.  A two piece toilet means bolting the tank above the bowl, and is slightly cheaper.  Ask a licensed plumber about your options here, and find out what suits your needs best.

Don’t forget about the importance of flushing.  There are two types of toilets in the world; toilets that flush well, and toilets that don’t.  Everything else is just details.  In recent years, there has been a move towards low flow toilets, as a water conserving measure.  Unfortunately, the first models of these were simply terrible at actually disposing of waste.  These days, even low flow toilets are great at what they do, save you money, and even help you feel great about doing your part for the environment.

Consider toilets with a split plunger for even more water conservation.  Two flush handles gives you two options on every flush, usually 0.8 gallons or 1.6 gallons, for more heavy duty flushing power. 

Remember to keep your plumber involved in your purchase, especially if he’s going to be the one to install your toilet.  Keep your options open, and enjoy your new toilet!