Toilet Suites: Features, Benefits and How To Determine What Makes a Quality Toilet
Have you ever heard the old saying “you get what you pay for”? When it comes to toilet suites it really is true, not just a dated sales pitch cliché. We know that most toilets will do the job so what is the real difference that you’re paying for? Here are a few tips on things to look out for when choosing which toilet suite is best for you.
Type– The look and style of the toilet play a vital role in determining the price. As with most things when renovating or redecorating image plays a big part. The cheapest suites are Link or Connector Toilets where the pan and cistern come separately and are then joined by a pipe. Close Coupled suites, a middle of the road choice, have the cistern sitting on top of the pan giving an all-in-one look. The more desirable Wall Faced toilet suites are sleek and streamlined sitting flush against the wall. They have simple easy-clean lines and generally have a more stylish modern design.
Convenience– When looking for your next toilet you may want to consider the ease of cleaning. Wall Faced suites are easy to maintain with their smooth easy-clean lines. Wall Faced toilets also sit flush against the wall whereas Link and Close Coupled suites have a gap between the pan and the rear wall. As a result dust and dirt gathers in the space around the outlet pipe and the back of the pan making cleaning a repetitive chore. A further practical feature to consider is the water distribution around the pan when the toilet is flushed. To check this you can run your hand along the underside of the inside lip of the toilet pan (I strongly advise you to do this on the display model only!). If you can feel holes all around the rim, known as a ‘Boxed Rim’, this indicates that water will evenly be distributed around the pan giving a cleaner and more thorough flush. Other features include Quiet Flushing mechanism and a Teflon coated pan to prevent staining and allow for effortless cleaning. These are ‘luxury’ style features that aren’t necessarily a must have but they add to the quality of the toilet. You should weigh up the time saved over the period that you will have the toilet with the extra expense involved in their purchase.
Toilet Seats– Soft close seats are becoming more common in a variety of toilets. Soft-Close seats prevent slamming and the grating noise that comes with it. It also leaves the men of the house with no excuse for ‘forgetting’ to put the seat down, as with the slightest touch the seat slowly descends down. For those of you with young children the slow descent helps avoid any fingers being jammed. A parting word of advice on the soft-close seat – trust the soft-close will do its shutting job and don’t force the seat down! This can damage the hinges and the ‘soft’ is no more.
Most toilet suites have a plastic seat however the grade of plastic differs depending on the toilet suite. You will be able to feel the quality of the seat when you lift it. Lower quality seats weigh less and have a very flimsy – if not ‘floppy’ – look and feel. A more rigid and heavier seat mould will provide much greater comfort. The quality of the seat hinges also affect with price. The more luxurious suites come supplied with stainless steal hinges which are generally more durable than plastic hinges. The bathroom is a place you visit each and every day so a comfortable toilet and appropriate sanitaryware will help your routine become less monotonous and more relaxing.
Cistern Quality– Nowadays most toilet suites have ceramic cisterns. To check just tap the cistern and you will feel and hear the difference. Some cheaper models still come with a plastic cistern. Plastic cisterns are not as robust as ceramic cisterns. Ceramic cisterns may be more expensive but you won’t be replacing them as often and because the ceramic material is carried through the pan into the cistern they look fancier too.
Plumbing & Flexibility– Wall faced toilets are generally more able to adapt to varying plumbing options, most notably they usually come with the option of either a P-Trap or S-Trap connection. This can be useful when you are replacing an old suite as most wall faced toilets come with a flexible bend so that the pipe can fit into a number of different sizes and fittings. With a Link or Close-Coupled suite you often need to specify where the plumbing is as they are generally not as adaptable. Everybody wants to avoid renovation hiccups so I advise you to make sure you know the plumbing requirements you’ll need. The main things to look for are whether the outlet at the rear of the pan connects to the wall (P-Trap) or to the ground (S-Trap), the measurement from the wall to the centre of the pipe and whether you need a ‘back’ or ‘bottom’ inlet. Speak to your plumber about these technical aspects if you are unsure as it is important to ensure these details are correct
When people are designing their new bathroom they tend to be so preoccupied with the bath, shower, tiles, vanity and wall cabinet/mirror that toilets become an afterthought. Toilets are probably more important because they tend to be used more frequently than other bathroom facilities and, as they have functioning parts, they can ‘break’ if they are not good quality. In a time when the dollars in the hip-pocket are more valuable than ever it is easy to appreciate and understand that you may have reservations about parting with money unnecessarily on a toilet suite. I hope the features mentioned in this article help you understand that when it comes to toilet suites your money is well spent and you’ll save in the long run too!