Bathroom SuitesThere are five types of toilets for bathroom suites currently available in the UK. These are Wall hung, Back-to-wall, Close-coupled, Low level and High level.
Wall hung WC
This type of toilet has the pan hanging on the wall and the cistern concealed in the wall behind it. More common in mainland Europe. These have become increasingly popular over recent years as more people travel abroad. You do however need to ensure that the pan is supported properly when fitted either by the use of special floor mounting brackets or the use of a framework.
This type of WC allows ease of cleaning and as the pan is the only visible piece of pot it minimises the impact of the WC on the design of the bathoom.
Back to wall WC
This type of toilet is used mainly with fitted furniture. As with the wall hung toilet the cistern is concealed inside the bathroom furniture but the pan is sat on the floor. It has the same advantages as the wall hung with the added benefit that people do not fear it falling off the wall.
Close coupled WC
This is the most common type of toilet in the UK. This type of toilet has the pan and cistern joined together. It is often confused with the low level toilet. The advantage of this type is that the pan has a splash back built onto it where it joins the cistern, so that when men and boys stand at the toilet and miss there is not so much mess in the bathroom. Toilets are meant to be sat on not stood against. If you want to stand up you should buy a urinal. This toilet is easily maintained and is therefore ideal for downstairs cloakrooms and en-suites where they are likely to get a lot of use.
Low level WC
This type has a freestanding pan and the cistern sits approx 900mm or 36inches up the wall with a short flush pipe in between the two pieces.
Before the advent of the close-coupled bathroom toilet this was the most common and is still what most people with older houses have. This is why they confuse them with the close coupled toilets. They are now most commonly sold with traditional bathrooms and have a chrome or gold flush pipe. The difficulty with this type is that if men or boys use them they are apt to miss and the pipe goes green. Once this happens there is nothing that can be done to repair it. They are generally priced at 50% to 60% higher in price than a close coupled and are bought more for their aesthetic value than practicality.
High Level WC
This type was popular in the Victorian era and is associated most closely with bathrooms of that period. The pan is free standing and the cistern sits on the wall approx 1800mm or 6 feet up the wall with a chrome or gold flush pipe and a chain pull flush. It has the same disadvantages as the Low level when use by men and boys.
In terms of price, this type is normally 50% to 60% more than the Low level. Sold mainly for the aesthetic value, all toilets in the UK now have to flush using 3 and 6 litres of water. It makes no difference which type you buy, they all use this amount and as a consequence the high level and low level flush no better than the close coupled.
Bathroom suites have a glaze which is the glass-like surface coating which is fired onto the pottery in the kiln when it is made. The glaze enables bathroom suites to be waterproof and protects them from chemicals, such as bleach The thicker the glaze generally the longer the life. Once bathroom suites glaze wears out, the pot becomes porous, absorbs water and eventually cracks. To make the glaze thicker you have to apply it a layer at a time and each time fire it in the kiln. This process results in breakages within the kiln.
For example if 100 pieces of pot are fired once 99 back will be in one piece, so the 99 pays for the 100. Fire the 99 again and 80 will be in one piece, so now 80 have to pay for 100. Then fire the 80 only 50 will be in one piece, so now 50 have to pay for 100. If you assume that each layer of glaze lasts approximately 5 to 7 years you can soon see how the system works. If you glaze bathroom suites once you get a less expensive cost to manufacture but the product does not last as long in a bathroom. The thicker the glaze the longer the pottery lasts in bathroom suites.
Quality of Bathroom Suites clay
The quality of the clay that is used to make bathroom suites is very important. The reason for this is that the finer the clay the smoother the finish will be on the bathroom suite being made. If you use a poorer grade of clay it will have more grit in it and the bathroom suite surface will have a more rippled appearance. You may also find that because of the increased grit content the bathroom suites pottery is heavier than an item of the same size made with a finer grade of clay. The finer the clay the more tonnes of rough clay you have to use to refine down to make it. It is therefore less expensive to produce pottery with a coarse grade of clay.
The overspray or colour
The white bathroom suites colour, or whatever colour it happens to be, is applied to the pottery before the glaze. Each manufacturer mixes their own colour to try to match it to the colour of the acrylic baths. The white colour of the acrylic bath is a worldwide standard set by the acrylic manufacturers. You need to be aware of this if you try to mix and match bathroom suites from different manufacturers.
Its usually acceptable to have bathroom suites toilet and basin from one supplier made to match the bath but if you put a basin from one supplier and a toilet from another and then the bath together it will stand out like a sore thumb. The thicker the colour is applied, the less fading on the bathroom suites edges takes place and the colour is even over the whole of the item.
The bathroom suites colour as with the glaze is applied in layers and then has to be left to set before the next coat can be applied. The fewer coats the quicker the product can be made and the less cost is involved.
Bathroom suites design
The more intricate the bathroom suites design the more expensive the mould is to make and the more chance there is that you will not always remove it from the mould without damage. Plainer bathroom suites shapes are usually less expensive. You should also note that bathroom suites basins, toilets and bidets are made as matched sets. You will often find that the foot of the pedestal on the basin matches the foot of the toilet pan and that the back of the basin matches the toilet cistern lid.
One general point to be made is that bathroom suites pottery is often sold in what is known in the trade as a four-piece suite. That is a basin, pedestal, pan and cistern.
TYPES OF FLUSHING MECHANISM
Bathroom suites have two main types of flushing mechanisms: the syphon and the dump valve.
Syphons have been used for many years in UK bathroom suites as the means of flushing the toilet. They work with the use of a lever or pull chain. When this is pushed a small amount of water is forced over the syphon in the cistern, which creates inertia that draws the rest of the water along with it and flushes the toilet. They are very effective with high levels of water in the cistern but become less efficient as the water level falls.
In the past toilet cisterns originally contained 12 litres of water, then 9 litres and now 6 litres for a full flush and 3 litres for a half flush. People who now have a 6 litre flushing syphon type toilet often complain that they have to flush the toilet twice to get it to work
In recent years dump valves were not allowed in the UK, but with the advent of new legislation they are now fitted in most new bathroom suites. The dump valve works by means of a push button, either a single or a double one. As you press the button it lifts a valve that instantly releases all the water down through the toilet. This makes this type of flushing mechanism very effective with low levels of water.
Most old types of toilet have an overflow which let the water flow outside the property if the ball valve mechanism fails. This is called a visible overflow.
Most new types of bathroom suite have an overflow which flows back into the toilet bowl if the ball valve fails. This makes them easier to install. This is called an internal overflow.