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Bathroom toilets and bidets - What to choose

Bathroom toilets and bidets - What to choose

Freshness, cleanliness, and hygiene in bathrooms are of paramount importance, as is the need for high-performance, ergonomically designed fixtures to meet our demands. Manufacturers have striven to make toilets more design-oriented, with modern shapes and special features developed for greater efficiency.

Vitreous china is the most suitable and most widely used material since it is durable, easy to clean, and resists dirt and bacterial build-up. Stainless steel is hygienic and virtually indestructible but, until recently, was usually associated with public washrooms. With the obvious advantages of stainless steel, toilets for domestic use are now more widely available to complement contemporary glass and steel sinks.

Modern toilet styles are compact and discreet, with a one-piece, two- piece, and low-level designs the most popular in the US. In Europe standard two-piece toilets are popular as are wall-mounted and back-to-wall designs where space is limited since the cistern is concealed behind panelling for a neat and unobtrusive finish.

For a bathroom with period character, you can do no better than finding an original high-level cistern with pull-flush mechanism; but, to avoid the clanking, noisy flush associated with antique toilets, opt for a quieter, reproduction model.

Performance & innovation

In addition to choosing a toilet's colour and style, you will need to consider how it flushes, its water consumption and how easy it is to clean. The simplest flush system is the gravity flush, utilising the weight of the water to wash the waste away. Pressure-assisted systems rely on a pressurised air tank to boost the flush action. They tend to be noisy when operated, making them unsuitable for bathrooms close to bedrooms or living areas. Syphonic action bowls work by creating a suction that, combined with water, removes the waste. They require less water than conventional washdown systems and are quiet to operate. Sophisticated one-piece toilets combine a range of features, including large diameter flush valves in the cistern for a quick, powerful flush that is also quiet. Integral air- intake systems either extract toilet odours or filter and return the air.

Benefits of bidets

No one questions the importance of good toilet facilities, yet it has taken a long time for bidets to become accepted. For many, however, the benefits of using fresh water to wash after using the toilet is beyond doubt. Bidets are usually situated next to the toilet so they can be used in sequence, making a trip to the bathroom a refreshing experience. Most bidet styles are designed to be sat astride and should have a wide, rounded rim to support your weight evenly. Bidets also make excellent foot baths to soothe aching feet and wash chi|dren's dirty knees. For compact bathrooms without space for a separate bidet, some top-of-the-range toilets offer water- cleansing bidet features, complete with deodorising air filters.

Plumbing

The latest appliance for modern bathrooms is the urinal. Men find them easier to use and they are popular for "his and her" bathrooms. They should, of course, always be installed in addition to a traditional "sit-down" toilet.

Planning:

To give a fresh look to the bathroom, update an existing toilet by replacing the old seat and lid with a modem design in a bright colour. Toilet seats and lids can slam shut and trap young children's fingers. Look for one with an anti-slam mechanism to protect children from such accidents. Toilets and bidets in the bathroom should be kept scrupulously clean so that they are always pleasant to use. Choose smooth lines and seats with well-spaced hinges so that it is easy to clean. Keep a toilet brush where it can be easily found, to encourage those who use the toilet to leave it as they wish to find it.