Do I need to get new toilets?

carecooksMarch 28, 2012

We are going to remodel both our master and guest bathrooms. We'll basically be gutting them and redoing baths, cabinets, showers, etc. We'd love to save money somewhere so my question is why should we replace the toilets? They're white. They look okay and they work just fine. After reading issues folks have had with their brand new toilets, I'm wondering whether it's worth the change.

Now I don't know how old my toilets are and they're probably not up-to-spec as far as water consumption so I may have to replace them for that reason. Not sure about the regulations in California. Just wondering if I'm missing something here.

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Sometimes, a toilet breaks in its removal. Then, you will need to replace.

Sometimes code requires that you replace. Then, you will need to replace.

Sometimes you want a toilet that will save you water in the long run (and water bills); then you will want to replace.

If those don't apply to you, you probably don't NEED to replace.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Talk with the building department where you are getting the permits. They will tel you whether an upgrade is required by regulation at the time the work is dome. Their input may shortcut your need to put a lot of thought into this.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:37PM
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carecooks: Now I don't know how old my toilets are"

The age of your toilets is an important factor. Toilets sold in North America in the first half of the 1990s were terrible, and you should welcome the opportunity to replace them, for multiple reasons.

Toilets from the 1980s and earlier will use too much water, but otherwise should perform well. Japanese designed (wherever manufactured) toilets from after the mid-1990s will be more water efficient and will perform well. Any current model toilet above "contractor grade" is likely to be both a good performer and efficient in its use of water; but if you can specify, then specify Inax or Toto.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I tried to save a fairly new toilet in one of my bathroom remodels. I was able to remove it carefully and not do any damage. But unfortunately at some point during its storage, the bowl broke, so I ended up replacing it anyway. In the end, it ended up being a good thing as I'm happier with my Toto. But it was a cheap toilet from the early 2000s with only mediocre performance. So keep in mind that if you try to save the toilets, you will have to figure out how to safely remove and store them during the remodel.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Avanti Tile & Stone (Stonetech)

I hate the new 1.6 gallon toilets. Yeah, they "save water," but if you have to flush them three times to get the job done...not much of an improvement. Put it out on the street and see how long it stays there! Those things are worth money!

You want a new one? try the Gerber "Avalanche." Reasonably priced and, with the "Two flush" capacity, not a bad item....

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:07PM
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My three 1.6 gallon toilets have no issue with working in 1 flush. I just installed a 1.28 gallon model to replace an old ~5 gallon one -- the model is reported to work well but I haven't really give it a good enough run to provide a review yet.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 5:03PM
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lazarususa: "I hate the new 1.6 gallon toilets. Yeah, they "save water," but if you have to flush them three times to get the job done."

The "new 1.6 gallon toilets" were the early 1990s American toilets that I referred to earlier in this thread. The new toilets in 2012 use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). The 1.6 gpf requirement came into effect in 1991 or 1992, and American toilet manufacturers attempted to comply with the requirement basically by reducing the size of the water tank of existing 3.5 gpf toilets. Yes, the early 1.6 gpf toilets were inadequate, and -- as a matter of historical interest -- they spurred the creation of Terry Love's toilet website, still the best source of information about toilets on the Internet.

The Japanese, with no prior history to speak of with water-tank style toilets (Japanese toilets at the time were mostly depressions in the floor, with no standing water, that one squatted above, facing forward), in the 1990s undertook a clean sheet of paper fresh look at total redesign of the toilet, and by the mid-1990s, the two leaders, Toto and Inax, had already gained world leadership in toilet design, a leadership that they have not relinquished. At any given moment the best toilet may be an Inax or it may be a Toto, but always it is one or the other.

The new toilets these days are not 1.6 gpf; they are 1.28 gpf, and the best 1.28 gpf toilets handily outperform not only the awful early 1.6 gpf toilets, but older 3.5 gpf and 5.0 gpf toilets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Not the last, but certainly the best, word on the subject

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 12:36AM
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In Cali. my local code was for a flush of 1.6 gal or less. My new American Standard Champion 4, ADA height, 1.6 gal flush, about $225 from Home Depot, hasn't failed me yet; one flush has ALWAYS gotten the job done. If one can love a toilet, I love this toilet.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 3:39PM
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I purchased two "new" 1.6 gpf Kohler Cimarron's one week ago and couldn't be happier. My husband texted me shortly after installation and couldn't wait to tell me it passed the meatloaf test, took me a while to figure out what the heck he was talking about. I wanted a Toto Drake, he wanted an AS champion (must be the golf ball advertisement) The Toto Drake was not sold locally where I reside and the AS Champion was too big for his bathroom. They also flush the first time with no leftovers.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Thanks all for your posts. We'll be meeting with our contractor soon and we'll find out if new toilets are required. Otherwise, I'll have to figure out which ones would be best for us.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Plumbing code requires you to replace a toilet? lol What code is that and what section are you talking about? I've been doing Plumbing & Heating over 25 years, and I never heard that one before.

Toilets pretty much last forever if taken care of, and as long as it doesn't crack or scale up. Even if it scales up, you can acid treat the toilet, but it must be done by a professional.

Kohler ruined the Wellsworth and others with their flush valve class...and today the only toilet I would buy besides a power assisted is a Gerber.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:48AM
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Some of us live in areas where you must get a permit when doing bathroom renovations. And, when you obtain the permit, and have your inspection, there are requirements that the toilet be low flow/watersense, etc.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:09PM
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