Brownstone Boys: The Pros and Cons of Wall-Mounted Toilets

We opted to not go with a wall mounted toilet but we did get a streamlined floor mounted toilet. Photo by David Sauerhoff

Editor’s note: Welcome to the 59th installment of Brownstone Boys Reno, a reader renovation diary about renovating a brownstone in Bed Stuy. See the first one here. They also blog at www.thebrownstoneboys.com.

As you scroll through beautiful bathroom-design inspiration photos you might notice a recurring theme. What is it that makes these pictures of bathrooms of your dreams so clean, modern and sleek? As you look closer you might notice that rather than the sometimes bulky, space-eating floor-mounted toilets there is a space-saving modern beauty mounted to the wall. Popular in Europe for their space-saving qualities, the wall-mounted toilet first made its way to restaurants, bars and public bathrooms in the U.S. and has recently become more popular if not the latest trend in bathroom design for homes. We considered it for our renovation and have spoken to many other renovators who are doing the same. So what are the pros and cons? And how do you go about getting one of your own?

toilets

Left: An in-wall tank system. Photo via Toto Right: Shape comparison between traditional and wall mounted toilet. Image via Kohler

Let’s start with the pros.

Modern and Space-Saving
As we mentioned, wall-hung toilets have a very streamlined, modern look. The main reason is that the large and bulky tank of a floor-mounted toilet is hidden in the wall. The gives you the ability to eliminate the space required for the tank and even the several inches of space behind the toilet, resulting in up to 10 to 12 inches of additional floor space in the bathroom.

Custom Heights
There is not much you can do to customize the height of a floor-mounted toilet. They do come in a couple of different options: standard height and comfort height (which is a few inches higher). A wall-mounted toilet can provide greater flexibility since it can be mounted at whatever height you would like.

Easy to Clean
Since a wall-mounted toilet sits above the floor, clean-up is a breeze. With no difficult or impossible to reach spaces, you can more quickly and thoroughly clean.

bathroom

Since our toilet has a concealed trap, it gives it a more modern look and feel

Let’s consider the cons.

More Expensive
The biggest con to a wall-mounted toilet is the cost and effort they take to buy and install. Many times the tank and wall mounting assembly are sold separately from the actual toilet, which will also run more than a floor-mounted toilet. Steel is usually used to mount and provide the strength necessary to support the weight. This might not be as big of a concern when you are building the entire bathroom but when you’re retrofitting, it can be a very intrusive renovation. The water and waste lines will have to be relocated, the wall will need to be opened up considerably, the studs might even need to be moved (especially in older homes), and the floor where the old toilet sat will need to be repaired. You’ll also need to know if you have 2 by 4 or 2 by 6 studs before ordering the equipment since the sizing will be different.

Harder to Fix
There‘s no opening the lid to jiggle the mechanicals or easily replace a part. The tank is sealed up in the wall. If something goes wrong, the trouble and expense to fix a wall-mounted toilet can be considerable.

Fewer Options
Since wall-mounted toilets are still gaining in popularity in the U.S. there are fewer options. Only a handful of companies are selling them and the ones that do only have one or a few models. We checked out the Kohler, Duravit, and Toto versions.

Ultimately we decided to go with a more streamlined version of floor-mounted toilets. We fell in love with the simple, clean and streamlined Miseno high-efficiency two-piece elongated chair-height toilet with the slow-close seat. We weren’t going for too much of a modern sleek aesthetic in our place, and as you might know we were on a pretty tight budget. Our floor-mounted toilets fit in well with our design. But our research will not be wasted as we’re pretty sure one day when we are designing and renovating a future space we have the opportunity to sleek it up with a wall-mounted toilet. Are you in the market for one now? Have you installed one and have feedback?

[Photos by Brownstone Boys unless noted otherwise]

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