Angie's List | Toilet choices for your bathroom

When it came time to remodel her bathroom, homeowner Carrie Tamminga did her homework. Carrie wanted a toilet that helped conserve water.

"It was really important for me to get the dual flush because of the less water and I knew it would save on bills," Carries says.

Flush after flush after flush, your toilet goes through gallons of water each day. That puts stress on rubber seals, copper pipes and the porcelain bowl. While toilets have a long lifespan, you'll eventually have to swap yours out for a new one.

The Energy Policy Act in 1992 required all new toilets to be low-flow or low-flush, restricting their water usage to 1.6 gallons per flush instead of what used to be the average of 3.5 gallons per flush.

Plumbing Showroom Manager Mary Wright says, "A low-flush toilet would be anything from 1.6 all the way to down to 1.28. You have dual flush toilets now that are .9 to 1.28. A dual flush toilet usually has two buttons or two types of levers on it that would be for your liquids and your waste. Those are becoming more and more popular."

Your options are really endless. Toilets have become very sophisticated over the years. You can find a very basic toilet for a few hundred dollars all the way up to thousands of dollars for the state of the art toilet.

Homeowners can choose between a one or two piece toilet…

A round or elongated bowl…

Different heights…

And many additional features.

Mary tells us, "A lot of people now want features such as a comfort height. Not because everyone is getting older, which we are, but it's just a more comfortable position. The engineering part of the toilet has changed going to low water consumption. The valves on the inside have gotten larger. The trap ways are also fully glazed now and they are much larger so the dynamics of how the toilet actually functions is actually much greater than even the old ones that took up a lot of water usage."

"Different toilets have heated seats or washlets or have open and shut lids that are automatic – all those features are very desirable, they are not necessary but at the end of the day they are quite a nice feature to have those because they can actually save a lot of time. They have dryers built onto them. They have deodorizers. So the dryer function alone saves on the toilet paper usage," Mary adds.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , asked highly rated plumbers and contractors about buying and installing a toilet.

Factors to consider when buying a toilet:

Homeowners can choose between a one-piece or two-piece toilet, in which the bowl and tank are separate from each other Experts say the solid construction of a one-piece model makes it easier to clean and less prone to leaks, but also makes it up to 50 percent more expensive.

· Height of toilet: The standard height ranges from 15 to 17 inches. What's known as "comfort height" ranges from 17 to 19 inches.

· Bowl size: Another design change to consider is the round versus the elongated bowl. Before buying, it's important to know how much space you have to work with. If you have a small bathroom, an elongated toilet may not work for you.

· Waterflow capacity?

o   Low-flow or low-flush: The Energy Policy Act in 1992 required all new toilets to be low-flow or low-flush, restricting their water usage to 1.6 gallons per flush instead of what used to be the average of 3.5 gallons per flush.

o   Dual-flush: Homeowners may also purchase a dual-flush toilet where you select either 1.6 gallons of water to flush solid waste or about half that for liquid waste removal.

As far as measuring for a new toilet Mary says, "They need to find out their rough end dimension of the toilet. And that's done by measuring from the back wall to the center line of the bolts in the floor. Because there are different dimensions. The most common is the twelve inch."

Although an experienced do-it-yourselfer may be able to install a new toilet, most homeowners should hire a licensed plumber. A botched installation can result in slow leakage under the flooring, which wastes water and eventually rots the subfloor. In addition, porcelain can be extremely heavy and easy to chip or crack.

Common DIY mistakes include:

· Resetting a toilet on a damaged flange.

· Inadequate or incorrect caulking.

· Improper compression of the wax seal.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a plumber

· Check requirements: Most states require plumbers to be licensed. Municipalities may also have their own plumbing license requirements. Do not confuse a plumbing license with a business license. All businesses must have a business license in the jurisdiction where they operate, but this does not certify that the contractor can legally work as a plumber so ask to see both the business license and plumbing license before making a decision.

· Comparison shop: Get at least three written estimates from three different plumbers.

· Installation costs: The average price to install a traditional, homeowner-supplied toilet ranges

from $125-$260. The price can fluctuate depending on several factors including whether you want the plumber to haul away the old toilet, whether the toilet has special features and if important plumbing components are in good condition.

· Installation process: A plumber usually requires an hour or two to install a toilet. The process generally includes:

o   Turning off and disconnecting the water

o   Repairing the shut-off valve if it's not working properly.

o   Draining the old toilet, removing it and inspecting the flange to see if repairs are needed.

o   Setting the new toilet, connecting the water and testing to make sure the toilet works properly.

Angie Hicks says, "Installing a toilet in of itself, is not a real complicated job, but you have to keep in mind that a toilet can be rather heavy, especially the porcelain, so you are going to need some extra hands to help you put it into place."

Angie's List says a plumber typically requires an hour or two to install a toilet. Expect to pay between $125 and $260 for the installation. That price can fluctuate depending on several factors including whether you want the plumber to haul away your old toilet and if your plumbing components are in good condition.

Print this article Back to Top