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Buying a Toilet Bowl: 4 Things You Really Need to Know

Yes, we know that the WC isn’t exactly the most glamourous bathroom fitting, but it’s hard to deny its importance. Just imagine not having access to one when nature calls and… ahem, you get the idea.

Putting that (nasty) thought aside, getting the right toilet for your home can be a daunting task, so here’s a nifty guide that summarises the four most important details you should think about before making a trip to the sanitaryware store.

1. Installation/trap type

When it comes to modern-day toilets, there are two main types that you can take your pick from: floor-mounted and wall-hung.

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An example of a wall-hung WC. View this project by Mr Shopper Studio

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An example of a floor-mounted WC. View this project by Ciseern

And while choosing between the two may seem like a matter of preference, which model you end up with mostly depends on the trap – a specialised drainage outlet/piping system which handles waste and prevents smelly gases from escaping – that your bathroom has.

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Now then, how do you tell which type of trap your bathroom has? Typically, if the drainage outlet is connected to the floor, it’s an S-trap, which works in conjunction with floor-mounted toilets. Otherwise, if it’s located on a wall, it’s a P-trap that’ll allow you to install a wall-hung toilet.

2. Water efficiency

Did you know that toilet flushes take up 16% of an average household’s water usage?

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View this project by The Interior Place

Well, if you didn’t, now you do. Accordingly, one way you can do your part for water conservation would be to choose your WC based on PUB’s water efficiency ratings, or MWELS (Mandatory Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme), which is a tick system that determines how eco-friendly a water fitting or appliance is.

1 Tick2 Ticks3 Ticks
Water used (full flush)4 - 4.5 L3.5 - 4 L3.5 L or less
Water used (reduced flush)2.5 - 3 L2.5 - 3 L2.5 L or less

By definition, a low-flush toilet uses approximately 4.8 litres of water per flush, but if you'd like to save more, you can always choose a model that consumes even less water.  

3. Size and position

Whether you’ve a bathroom that’s slightly larger than a cubicle, or one that’s closer in size to a public bathhouse, you’ll want to take note of how big your toilet is and where it’ll be placed.

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View this project by Inizio Atelier

In the case of floor-mounted toilets, this is especially important because of the projection or trap distance (how far the centre of the trap is from the toilet’s rear wall) as it may affect the options you can choose.

In addition, you’ll also want sufficient clearance on both the left and right of your toilet to accommodate other bathroom fixtures and fittings, such as cabinets, shower screens, and of course, the toilet paper holder.

4. Cistern design

Like waste traps, there are two types cisterns (tanks that store water for flushing) that you can pick from: concealed and exposed.

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An example of a concealed cistern. View this project by Krif Kristen Design

Concealed cisterns are installed behind a wall, which makes them useful for creating a minimalist look. That said, if you’re aren’t that into looks, models with exposed cisterns may well be a more practical option for you.

Both types of exposed cistern toilets, namely close-coupled and back-to-wall WCs, have their tanks visible, which makes them easier to install and troubleshoot should plumbing problems arise.

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