Shopping to replace a too tall toilet

Joan Fieldstone

November 5, 2015

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: PlumbingInterior Home Improvement

As we inch closer to painting the upstairs bath and adjoining jack-and-jill vanity areas, BFF mentioned that she would be removing the toilet tank to paint the wall behind it. That opened up a whole discussion about all the things I'd like to change about the tub and toilet room, like -- everything. But that's at least another blog.

Most of all, our discussion got me thinking about how much, for the more than four years I've lived here, I've hated the toilet the builder installed. First of all, its wonky flush mechanism invariably gets stuck just after I've slipped sleepily back into my warm bed post potty visit around 3 a.m. But that's a small grievance compared to the subject of its dimensions. Described as "comfort height" like all toilets with 15" or higher seats, this one has a seat that perches 17" high.

I'm sorry, but not everyone stands at least 5'7'' tall and when seated finds a toilet that's 17" - 19" from the floor an accommodating commode. Until I'm unable to stand up without assistance, I'd like my feet to at least have a place to rest when I'm balancing on the edge of my royal seat.

Game of Thrones?

Without getting too graphic about the anatomical rationale for lower toilets -- and no, I would not consider cramming a Squatty Potty in my already space-challenged bathroom -- I simply decided that it was time to go toilet shopping for one that was a comfortable height for the lone inhabitant of my house: me.

Having never purchased a toilet, I learned a lot from Kohler's website about how to shop for toilets. For example, I learned how to measure the rough-in size - the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the outlet pipe (from the wall, excluding the baseboard, to the bolt cap.) My toilet's rough-in size was 12", but some measure 10" and others 14". Important options include increased water conservation features such as dual-flush mechanisms and less water per flush. If you want to save additional floor space and you don't mind tearing out the wall, you can get a model that allows you to hide the tank altogether and hang the bowl from the wall. Wall-hung toilets make cleaning the bathroom easier, as do toilets with concealed and skirted trapways. Live and learn.

You can find toilets for under $100 and more than $2,000, depending on the features you want. My needs were simple. I just craved another white toilet under 15" tall at a price I could afford. I saw some that I liked in the $300-$400 range online and would have been willing to go that high, but on a trip to The Home Depot, I decided to see what they had available in the store. After spending considerable time searching their website and finding very few toilets in the height I wanted, I wasn't expecting to see much else on the sales floor. However, luck was on my side. They had the very toilet I'd been considering online that sold for $232 without a seat or a wax ring needed for installation. In the store, that same model was only $128 and came with both the seat and the ring. We only saw one and grabbed it, despite knowing it could be weeks before it gets installed. I still must decide on flooring and whether to replace the faux tub surround with real tile.

The toilet remains safely packed up until we figure out the rest of the bathroom remodel details. I'm confident, however, that everything is going to come out fine in…

The End.

kohler toilet

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