Your toilet is an essential part of your home or business. It needs to be durable, yet look good. Replacing your old toilet can give you a better looking bathroom. Plus, it can give you features you never thought possible.
When it comes time to replace your old toilet, you will find many shapes, styles, and sizes on the market. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Contemporary or traditional? Push button or lever? Water saving or not? Pressure assist flush or gravity feed?
Let’s delve into one of the choices you will face. Do you buy a one-piece or two-piece toilet?
A few decades ago, the only option on the market was the two-piece model. It’s the reliable, proven technology that many grew up with. Today, one-piece toilets have found their piece in many residential and commercial bathrooms.
Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at each side of the argument.
Let's Get the Terminology Down First
When taking toilet construction, there are a few terms you need to understand:
- Pedestal is the part that sits on the floor and holds up the rest of the toilet.
- Bowl is the part that catches waste and sends it into the sewer.
- Tank is the part that stores water for flushing.
In a two-piece toilet, a separate tank bolts onto the pedestal. In a one-piece toilet, all the components are a single unit. There are no fasteners holding them together.
The Differences Between a One-Piece and a Two-Piece Toilet
One of the most significant differences between one and two-piece toilets is the cost. A one-piece toilet costs more than a two-piece, even from the same manufacturer.
It costs more to manufacture a one-piece toilet. Putting together all the pieces and firing them simultaneously requires skill and precision. Plus, one-piece toilets are less common than the two-piece variety. For these reasons, manufacturers ask for a premium price.
The good news is that one-piece toilets are gaining more of the market. Manufacturer prices are going down every year.
Size and Weight
If you sit a one-piece toilet next to a similar two-piece model, the one-piece will be more compact. Often, the tank fits lower into the pedestal and doesn’t need as much space. Plus, the width of the tank is generally smaller than the tank on a two-piece.
When it comes to the weight of a toilet, the two-piece is lighter than the one-piece. Typically, a one-piece toilet weighs between 70 and 100 pounds. A two-piece weighs between 88 and 120 pounds. The structure required to hold the tank and pedestal together adds a lot of weight to the one-piece model.
The compact design of the one-piece toilet makes it popular for contemporary bathrooms. However, manufacturers offer both traditional and contemporary designs for both types.
You can find both styles of toilets in a number of colors as well.
Installing a one-piece toilet is simpler than installing a two-piece. All you have to do is fasten the base to the floor and hook up the water supply.
With a two-piece model, you have to install the pedestal to the floor. Then, you place the gasket between the tank and pedestal. You then lift the tank into place on top of the pedestal, behind the bowl. You install and tighten bolts that hold the two pieces together. Finally, you hook up the water supply.
Installing both types of toilets is usually within the skill set of a typical DIY property owner. The exceptions are for wall-mounted toilets. They require extra bracing and installation of the tank into the wall. It’s a job best left to the professionals.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The one-piece toilet is easier to keep clean than the two-piece. There are fewer places for bacteria to infiltrate and grow.
A major weak point on a two-piece toilet is the joint between the tank and the pedestal. If the gasket cracks, you could have water leaking everywhere. That’s not an issue with a one-piece, because there is no joint or gasket.
Finding replacement parts for a two-piece toilet is cheaper than for a one-piece unit. If the bowl or tank on a two-piece breaks, you can buy a replacement. If a one-piece toilet breaks, you have to replace the entire unit.
Both one and two-piece commodes have similar levels of quality and durability. These factors are often more to do with the manufacturing processes, not the style of the toilet.
A one-piece toilet works much the same as a two-piece model. Push the button or press the lever to flush. The water comes down out of the tank and into the bowl. It picks up the waste and takes it down the drain.
Shipping costs are something you need to consider when selecting a toilet. The heavier weight of a one-piece toilet usually translates to a higher shipping cost. Shippers tend to charge less for two lighter pieces than one heavy one.
When looking at toilets, look for a manufacturer or retailer who offers free shipping. This will make it easier to get the toilet you desire. You won’t have to settle for a cheaper one due to high shipping costs.
A one-piece toilet usually has a sleeker design perfect for contemporary bathrooms. They are easier to clean because there’s no joint between the tank and pedestal. One-piece toilets tend to be more compact than two-piece models. Installation is faster since you don’t need to attach the tank to the pedestal.
A two-piece toilet is often less expensive than one-piece models. This type of toilet has more options for height, style, and rough-in dimensions. The two parts of the toilet make it easier to maneuver during installation. It’s possible to mix and match the tank and pedestal. A two-piece toilet is easier to ship because it isn’t a monolithic piece.
Both styles of toilet are similar in durability, operation, and water efficiency. Manufacturers offer both in a variety of styles to fit your home.