Factors to consider when choosing a toilet

  • Article by: ED DEL GRANDE , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: September 29, 2012 - 1:39 PM

Whether you're interested in a bidet model or more traditional toilet, there are plenty of options.

Having a toilet/bidet combo unit can save room, but consult a licensed plumber before you start.

Q I recently looked into getting a new toilet and was confused by all the choices I needed to make. Can you help guide me through the process?

A When it comes to choosing a new toilet, you need to consider available options and features that will work best for your home and family. I have made a "toilet checklist" that may help you.

Style: "One-piece" toilets can look trendy and be easier to clean, but "two-piece" toilets may fit your budget a little better.

Bowl shape: "Elongated" bowls give you a longer bowl, but for small bathrooms a "round front" bowl may fit the space.

Toilet height: If you need a taller toilet, "comfort height" toilets are about 2 inches higher than standard toilets.

Gallons per flush (gpf): Most standard toilets flush with 1.6 gpf, "high-efficiency" toilets flush with 1.3 gpf or less.

Flushing options: Gravity flush toilets can be available in single or "dual-flush" models. Dual flush gives the option of a full flush or a half-flush. Also available are "assisted-flush" toilets where air pressure can add flushing power.

If you make a list of all your choices, your plumber or salesperson can help you choose a toilet that will work best for you.

Separate bidet fixture

Q I have read some of your articles on bidet-style personal washing toilet seats. While these seats did get me interested in adding a bidet to my new bathroom, I'm looking for a bidet that is separate from the toilet. Can you give me information on choosing a bidet plumbing fixture?

A Bidet-toilet seats have become very popular in recent years. A big reason for this is that bathroom space is usually a concern, and having a toilet-bidet combo unit can save you some room since you're installing only one plumbing fixture. But, if you have the space and you're looking to add a more traditional look to your bathroom, a separate bidet fixture can be a good option.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about adding a bidet fixture to your bathroom:

First, consult a licensed plumber to see if a bidet can be installed in your present or proposed bathroom. Location, water connections, drain lines and code issues need to be addressed.

Then, decide if you would like a bidet with a "vertical" or "horizontal" spray. Also, choose a coordinating bidet faucet style that can match your sink, tub and shower faucets.

Finally, add up the material prices and the labor estimate to make sure your new bidet project will stay in your budget.

Master contractor/plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call."

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