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Plumbing Tips: Toilets
Everything Your Need To Know To Choose The Perfect Toilet

While there may seem to be a wide variety of toilets on the market, the choice of which one to buy is mostly one of personal preference. All of them work much the same way; and there's little difference in their mechanical design.

You'll have to choose whether you want a round or elongated model, a one or two piece, what height you want, and whether you want a gravity feed or pressure-assisted. Beyond that you will have a choice of colors and ornamental trim, and several style options. Always sit down on a toilet before buying it to make sure the height and size are comfortable. Toilet Styles and Types One-piece or two-piece Most toilets have separate tanks and bowls, making them two-piece, but some higher-priced toilets are one-piece, and they are generally more stylish. This is more a style preference, but with the one piece, you don't have leaks between the bowl and tank, or opportunity for seepage, for that matter. They often tend to be quieter. Many one-piece toilets also include a seat; those are usually sold separately.

Round bowl or elongated bowl

The most common residential toilet bowl used to be round, especially when space was tight, but the trend is now to elongated bowls. Most commercial bowls are elongated. Round bowls take up less space and are easier to clean around, but men tend to prefer elongated bowls because of this extra space in front. An elongated bowl is approximately two inches longer than a round bowl. This results in a larger target area and less drip on the bowl, thus improving sanitary conditions.

While these units were designed to allow easier access to the facility for disabled people, those without disabilities often prefer them to traditional units because they are easier on the knees. In fact, they're starting to become commonplace in the master bath.

Taller units are not always comfortable for shorter people or for children however. Gravity or Pressure These are the two primary means by which the toilet flushes. In standard gravity-fed toilets, the weight of the water forces everything from the tank into the bowl and through the S-shaped trapway, where a siphoning action finishes the flush. Pressure-assisted toilets came about when the government passed a law that restricted toilets to no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, as opposed to the old 3.5 gallons.

Pressure-assist tanks are completely sealed and rest inside what looks like a conventional ceramic toilet housing. When the tanks fill with water, the trapped air is compressed into an ever-smaller pocket. When you flush, the pressurized air forces the water into the bowl. The pressure-assist results in a more efficient flush. This means that the water surface in the bowl can be larger, which requires less frequent cleaning. The disadvantage is that they can be noisy and sometimes tougher to repair than conventional gravity models. They are also more expensive to buy. Materials Toilets are predominately made of vitreous china, which is clay fired at high temperature to form a high gloss, stain-resistant surface. They are durable but can be chipped, cracked, or broken if abused. Under normal use, however, they can last a lifetime. Some commercial units, particularly those used in prisons and in some public buildings, are made of stainless steel, but these are almost never found in the home.

Toilets are available in a variety of styles and colors, and in a wide price range. Most homeowners will install basic units in guest baths and in children's bathrooms, but will upgrade for the powder room that will be used by company, and will go all out for their master bath. White or biscuit are the colors most often chosen but bold colors are available.

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