How to Choose a Toilet for Your Bathroom Remodel

When you begin to remodel your bathroom, you may decide it is time to replace your toilet for a newer, more modern version. While choosing a toilet may seem to be a no-brainer, the fact is there is an incredible array of toilets to choose from, and you need to consider several factors such as size, height, comfort, style and functionality when making your decision. Toilets have been around for literally thousands of years, although the earlier versions might not be one you would recognize or appreciate as they ranged from a hole in the ground to a chamber pot, and finally to the outhouse. Our present plumbing system likely originated from the Greeks and Romans who designed a system to remove solid waste. King Henry VIII designated a "Lord of the Privy Chamber," which was somewhat of a dubious honor, since the person designated was responsible for wiping the royal bottom.

Toilet Patents

The 19th century saw a rush to the patent offices to register the best flush toilet, and by 1932 there were around 350 patents for the honor requested. Although today's inventors still look for a better flush, there have been no major changes to the toilet since the early 1900's other than the 1994 change made to water-saving toilets after Congress mandated the toilet would use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. While the first round of water-saving toilets was not exactly a success, the technology has been improved since that time, and you can feel pretty safe buying a modern, water-saving toilet.

Types of Toilets

There are literally thousands of current varieties of toilets you can choose from, so have some idea of the features you want before you head down to the local home improvement store. First of all, you can choose an elongated bowl or a standard round bow. While some people feel that an elongated bowl is more comfortable, you must remember that this style of toilet will also take up extra space, so if you are dealing with an especially small bathroom, it may be better to stick with the standard size. Once you decide on this feature, you must choose between a gravity flush toilet, the pressure assist toilet or the vacuum assist toilet. The gravity flush is your standard everyday toilet. They work through a flush valve which opens, allowing water to flow through the bowl. The average cost of a gravity flush toilet is from $75-$150, and will likely be the least expensive type.

The pressure-assist toilet is commonly seen in public bathrooms. The pressure assist toilet has a pressure tank inside; when water fills the tank, it is held under pressure until the flush valve opens. When that happens, watch out, as gravity and pressure combine for what can only be described as a fairly explosive flush. The negative aspects of the pressure assist toilet are that it can be loud, require expensive repairs, and be difficult to diagnose when things go awry. The pressure-assist toilet is more expensive, starting at around $250. The very latest innovation is the vacuum assist toilet which contains an inner vacuum tank connected to the tube which carries water out of the bowl. Once the toilet is flushed, flowing water creates a suction to suck the waste from the bowl. The vacuum assist toilet is easy to repair, however it is not quite as effective as the pressure assist model, and your choices will be more limited. The price for this latecomer is around $180.

Toilets will come in a seamless style, or two-piece with a separate tank and bowl. The seamless toilets are more expensive, but easier to clean. While toilets do come in a variety of colors these days, think a bit ahead and ask yourself if you will still be happy with a black toilet a year or so down the road. In most cases it is smarter to stick with a fairly neutral color which allows you to change your accessories while not having to change out the toilet. If you must have the very latest in technology, then you will be happy to know that there are currently toilets on the market which can give your backside a nice warm shower then dry you off with warm air, while others contain a heating unit in the seat so you can avoid that first cold shock on frigid mornings. Some toilets flush when you close the seat, eliminating the need for a handle, and you can also purchase a self-closing toilet seat so you never again have to nag family members to put the seat down. All in all, your toilet purchasing options are pretty much wide open, dependent only on your bank account and your individual taste.