Toilet Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Could Make

I HAVE TO wonder if my career has hit an all-time low, to be writing about toilets… it’s not exactly glamorous, is it?

The internet is bursting at the seams with free information about baths, showers, taps, sinks & every other fixture in between … but get to the subject of the humble dunny & information definitely thins out. While no-one gets excited to talk about toilets, I’ll think you’ll agree, life would be pretty crappy without one.

Now, I already know what you’re thinking … “how hard can it be to buy a toilet, Cherie?”. Well guess what? There’s actually a lot you need to know BEFORE you go shopping. Watch this quick little video that’s super informative … as you’ve never seen me before 😊.

  1. GETTING TRAPPED

I know … now you’ve seen the video, you’re wetting your pants with excitement to go toilet shopping at Cook’s Plumbing Supplies, aren’t you? But before you do, you must check this first … what type of trap you already have. This dictates what type of toilet you’re able to buy. Most homeowners renovating their bathroom or laundry, often stuff this part up!

What’s a trap I hear you ask? It’s the plastic bend that traps smells & sits towards the back of your toilet that pushes your dirty water out of your toilet into the external sewer lines. Your “stuff” just doesn’t magically disappear into thin air, right? That’s the purpose of your trap with 4 main ones:

caroma toliet

Image Credit: Caroma

  • S-traps push waste through your floor;
  • P-traps push waste through your wall;
  • Skew traps push waste out the left or right side of your toilet;
  • Uni-trap pushes waste through your floor or wall but has some limitations.

In other words, if you go out & buy that nice looking S trap toilet when your plumbing lines are through your wall (P trap), you’ll soon realise you’re up sh*t creek!

The only caveat to this is … if you’re demolishing your whole bathroom & changing all your plumbing lines around, you can buy any god dam toilet you like. But if you’re not changing your plumbing lines, then you’ll need to identify your existing trap. A quick look at your existing toilet trap is all that’s needed. Pretty simple, huh?

  1. TRAP SET-OUT LOCATION

Ok, we’re taking it up a notch now but stay with me ….

Once you know what type of trap you have (S, P, Skew or Uni-trap), you need to measure the distance from the centre of your trap to the floor or wall. This is called your “plumbing set-out” & is one of the first things that licensed plumbers look at when they inspect your toilet.

caroma toliet

Image Credit: Caroma

Most new homes have a standard set-out of about 140-165mm from your wall or floor, which is suited to most toilet suites. However, if the centre of your existing toilet trap is less than 100mm or greater than 200mm from the centre of your floor trap back to your wall or from your floor height to the centre of your wall trap, your toilet choices become a lot more limited. You need to know this before you go shopping, otherwise your new toilet won’t fit properly. Don’t assume all stores will give you a refund for an incorrectly selected new thunderbox!

  1. WATER INLET TYPE

Soooooooo many people forget to check this. Your toilet has a water line where clean water enters your toilet called a “water inlet”. There are 2 types:

  • Bottom Inlet– Where the water connection has a hose & tap in your wall, with the water inlet attached on the side of your toilet pan.
  • Back Inlet– This is where the water inlet is fully concealed inside the top of your cistern, so no external hose is visible.

caroma toliet

Again, if you’re not demolishing your bathroom & changing your plumbing lines around, you’ll need to check this BEFORE you go toilet shopping! It will dictate what toilet you must buy.

  1. TOILET STYLES

Now you’re standing in the loo shop & you’re getting slightly “bogged” down with so many toilets to choose from. Which one do you buy? Besides one that suits your existing trap type, plumbing set-out location & water inlet type (which you now know how to identify yourself), you’ll then be left with a range of options, purely focussed on looks. There are 6 main styles of toilets:

different toliet

  • Connector or “linked” toilets – the cheapest type of toilet which comes in 2 pieces. Perfect if you can’t change your plumbing lines around however not as good looking as other styles.
  • Close-coupled toilet – the most traditional style of toilet that’s still modern, affordable & easiest to install. Everything is fully integrated with less ugly bits on display.
  • Back-to-wall (or wall-faced) toilet – very similar to close-coupled toilets with everything fully integrated. This style of toilet sits flush against your wall so you don’t need to clean behind your toilet & is the most common in new builds & renovations today.
  • In-wall (concealed) toilet – now we’re bring sexy back. The cistern is hidden in your wall with only your pan on display. Great for looks & creating the illusion of space. Downsides: more expensive & slightly more complex to fix future plumbing issues.
  • Wall-hung toilet – now we’re at supermodel status, the Rolls Royce of dunnies so to speak. The cistern is fully concealed but the pan is suspended off your floor. It looks sleek, is more hygienic & easier to clean but more expensive again.
  • Bidets – they squirt water up, you know where, to keep your private parts squeaky clean. Downsides are they’re not the most attractive & pricey to buy but definitely growing in popularity.

LUXURY EXTRAS

The average cost of a toilet these days is typically anywhere between $150 to $750, with some fancy-schmancy ones running into the thousands!

The more expensive ones are really fit for a king thus your royal “throne” can come with:

  • Soft-close seats & lids – avoiding arguments – seat up or down?
  • Rimless toilets – for easier cleaning;
  • Self-cleaning toilets – for literally no cleaning;
  • UV illuminated bowls – automatically kills germs & the illuminated bowl means you can er, see where you’re going when nature calls at 2am!
  • Heated seats – nothing better than a warm toush, eh?
  • Antibacterial Seats – for a germ-free butt which is highly important, right?

WATER EFFICIENCY

Last but not least, consider the WELS scheme (Water Efficiency Labelling & Standards). Just like most electrical appliances, the more stars your toilet has, the more water efficient it is.

water rating

The most water-efficient toilets today have at least 4 stars. Here’s a fun fact: If a typical family of 4 replaces an old single-flush toilet, which used 12 litres of water for every flush, with a modern toilet that has an average flush volume of 3.5 litres, they’d save a mega 50,000 litres of water a year! So be sure to give this some serious thought when you’re purchasing your new crapper!

KEEP IT OUT OF SIGHT

Even though we’ve evolved as humans from a stinky hole in the ground, people still don’t want toilets in their face. No matter how luxurious your new bathroom is, never make your toilet the feature of your bathroom. It should never be the first thing you see & ideally, out of the direct line of sight, behind a door, wall or concealed by your vanity.

corret bathroom

CORRECT! This toilet is discreetly positioned in this bathroom so your eye is not automatically drawn to it, when you enter the room.

failed bathroom

FAIL – this toilet is in the direct line of sight & should be avoided in any bathroom renovation.

We’re on the home stretch folks & if your eyes haven’t glazed over & you’re still with me at this point, you honestly deserve a medal! I can’t give you that but how about a 20% discount off any Caroma toilet during the month of August, 2021?

As the new brand ambassador for Cook’s Plumbing Supplies, I sweet-talked the marketing team into giving everyone this discount for this month only. Simply visit Cook’s Plumbing Supplies, select any Caroma toilet you want to buy, (sale price listed already has the discount applied) – better than what your plumber can buy!!! Hop to it because once this month ends, this offer goes down the toilet!

Chereis august offer 20% off all caroma toliets

Much love as always,

Cherie x

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36 Comments

  1. One of the question people ask is about Rimless. Some people say that they splatter water. What is your view on it?

    1. Hi Zunaeed, we’ve put this query to Cook’s Plumbing Supplies & they have recommended a variety of rimless toilet suits from Caroma, due to their Cleanflush technology feature. The Cleanflush system is a patented flow balancing technology which has a powerful flush, however it has controlled water flow channels which eliminate splashback. There’s a range of Caroma Cleanflush toilets on sale at the moment as part of Cherie’s August Offer with Cook’s Plumbing Supplies, Cherie Crew x – https://cooksplumbing.com.au/?s=Cleanflush

  2. Hi Cherie,
    Wow u go girl. You are so smart, know so much about renovating, wish I had your knowledge. Wish u all the very best Cherie, love your reno tips.
    Rgds
    Lolly

  3. Two items.
    What do you think about the new vacuum toilets, such as used in aircraft, and the alternative where the hand basin is over the cistern and that water fills the cistern?

    1. Hi Ian, we’ve spoken to Cook’s Plumbing Supplies who have mentioned they don’t have any history in dealing or supplying vacuum toilets. Apparently definitely not a common product in Australia when it comes to residential, more from a commercial point of view. There is a website Cook’s have suggested though if you want to find out more – https://vacuumtoiletsaustralia.com.au/

      In relation to the hand basin over the cistern, Cook’s have advised they are aware of a Caroma product – the Profile 5 – which has been in the market for over 10 years. The hand wash basin is very small. But useful in separate WCs where space is tight, or there is no plumbing for a separate hand basin. More information can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buOrbD2ZNoM . It’s not something that Cook’s stocks, but if you did want to purchase they can get it in for you. Cherie Crew x

  4. Hi Cherie
    Really useful stuff! What are your thoughts on vacuum toilets as a viable option? Particularly for full bathroom reno. I’ve heard they only use 0.7 – 1.3l a flush and have a higher WELS rating. Have you come across them? I’m interested to find out more about them.

    1. Hi Sophie, we’ve spoken to Cook’s Plumbing Supplies who have mentioned they don’t have any history in dealing or supplying vacuum toilets. Apparently definitely not a common product in Australia when it comes to residential, more from a commercial point of view. There is a website Cook’s have suggested though if you want to find out more – https://vacuumtoiletsaustralia.com.au/

  5. Fantastic Cherie and Crew,
    Great information on navigating through the complexities of toilets, your helpful tips will keep us above water and out of the traps. LOL Thanks

  6. Congratulations! This is an excellent article! Very informative and so logically organised. I enjoyed reading right to the end!!
    From…. Someone who doesn’t even need to replace a toilet!!

  7. Hi Cherie,
    Such a brilliant, and entertaining :), run through of all that is needed to know to confidently purchase my next toily. And topped off with a generous sale offer 🙂 Thank you so very much. Cheers, Jorja

  8. Great info Cherie, thank you. Recently I bought a rimless toilet from Reece and I find the water that sits in the bowl after flushing is not very high and doesn’t seem to fill up enough so I have to use the toilet brush to clean all the time, which I didn’t need to with my old toilet. Is this because it’s rimless and water needs to be lower to avoid splashes or should the water line in bowl be higher to fill the gap?

    1. Hi Maz, I checked with Cook’s Plumbing Supplies & generally speaking if water level is low, it could be due to a partial clog or blockage that is slowly siphoning water from the bowl. Cook’s supply a number of rimless toilet suites by Caroma that have patented technology called ‘Cleanflush’. It has a flow splitter which ensures a powerful flush for an entire bowl clean regardless of the water level, as well as a controlled water flow which eliminates any possibility of splashback given the toilets are rimless.” Cherie Crew x

  9. Hi Cherie & Team, when sitting on the toliet, how much room do you need to do the most important stuff? Some say from the middle of the toliet 450mm each way! Is this the ball park figure.

  10. We have installed a new toilet and I absolutely detest it, yes we went for the most stars to do our bit for water usage, unfortunately we now have to flush twice to empty the bowl, which negates the effectiveness of saving water. I am going to get someone in to test the lines to the sewerage in case is the issue. We bought this 35 year old house (read money-pit) 2 years ago and there is a lot that needs rectifying, love your inspirational hints.

    1. Hi Sandra, we feel your pain! It’s disappointing when something is purchased that doesn’t live up to the expected standards, especially when you’re trying to do the right thing for the environment. Good idea to get the lines tested first, if all is well with that and you find it is the toilet itself, Cook’s Plumbing Supplies have a great range of WELS 4 star rated Caroma toilets on sale at the moment. In particular, to assist with the problem you face, these toilet suits have a patented Cleanflush technology included. One of the many features is that the technology includes a flow splitter, which means a more powerful and precise flush stream. The range is here if you want to take a look – https://cooksplumbing.com.au/?s=Cleanflush Hope this info helps. Cherie Crew x

  11. This is a word in season, thank you Cherie! I have been happily looking and ‘selecting’ which toilet I want through a range of characteristics, however not these important ones relating to plumbing location and type. Thanks a million! God bless! Judith

  12. We chose an in wall toilet. plumber said he could do it, then kept trying to talk us ot of it.. then came and started removing all the (asbestos!) cladding from the outside of our bathroom (unnessecary!) and then tried to charge us an extra 10 K to reclad the bathroom! Turns out he didnt actually know how to install an in wall toilet… he walk

  13. continued… plumber walked out, we have had stripped bathroom with toilet only (outside shower with hose!) for 7 months! going to small claims tribrunial soon to get our $ back 🙁

    1. Hi Roxanne – what a nightmare experience, sounds like he wasn’t licenced or at the minimum, didn’t know what he was doing. The tribunal will get it sorted for you so at least there will be some light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your chin up, it will get sorted. C x

  14. Great advice Cherie, always good to do the research before spending the money. I will check out Caromo’s Toilets when we do up two bathrooms soon!!

    1. Hi Suzanne, head over to Cook’s Plumbing when you are ready, the friendly team will be more than happy to help you. Cherie Crew x

  15. Hi Cherie,

    If I may be so bold, may I suggest that there is another mistake which I did not know that I could make but did! I bought a dud toilet.

    About 5 years ago I bought a Olympia concealed style toilet suite. It had a good water economy rating. I now realize that part of the way of conserving water was to have as small a ‘reservoir’ at the bottom of the bowl as possible. Now, we are talking about toilets so it is going to be hard not to talk about poo. The pool of water at the bottom of the bowl is so small that every time one sits down for a ‘number two’ it is impossible not to get some poo on the sides of the bowl. Consequently EVERY time one uses the toilet it then has to be cleaned and flushed twice. This not only negates the water saving but drives the person who has just used the toilet to despair. Perhaps you put my discontent to a quirk of mine but buy at your own peril and don’t say that you were not warned. Cherie, is there a way of seeing how other people have reviewed their choice of toilet?

    BTW the soft close lid has broken also.

    1. Hi Stephen, a bit of a dilemma to say the least! It seems you may have drawn the short straw with your purchase 5 years ago. In fact it was 5 years ago that Caroma launched their Cleanflush technology system, had you known about it we’re guessing your product choice may have resulted in a far better outcome. Cleanflush technology is now available in a range of Caroma toilet suites – it has all the requirements you were seeking. Read more about it via this link from Cook’s Plumbing Supplies https://www.cooksplumbing.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Caroma_Clean_Flush_Brochure.pdf . If you’re as impressed about it as we were, you can purchase Cleanflush toilets through the Cook’s website (& they’ve got 20% off RRP until the end of this month!) https://www.cooksplumbing.com.au/page/1/?s=Cleanflush. Cherie Crew x

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