Need 2 New Toilets

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Ratero, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Ratero

    Ratero New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Alabama
    I looked on Consumers Reports and read up on their reviews and discussions on what to look for in a toilet so I have some idea as to what I'm looking for. However, knowing what you want and finding a good product that actually works as intended is something else. I thought I would join these forums and seek a bit of advice on which route to go.

    This is my basic criteria:
    • Comfort Height
    • Rough In = 12"
    • Elongated Bowl
    • 2 Piece Unit (Not sure if I can install a single piece by myself)
    • 3"+ Flush Valve
    • Pretty easy installation
    • Easy to find replacement parts 5 years down the road.

    My Mother is 85 and had a knee replacement done (4 times on the same knee... not a pretty story) so it is a bit hard for her to get around the house. She mentioned wanting a comfort height toilet and I thought it would be a great idea. I had thought about putting them in awhile back but did not really think she would go for it. Now that she's mentioned it, I'm going to install them soon as I can find what would be a good fit for us.

    I've currently looked at several brands namely: American Standard, Toto, Gerber and Kohler. Of those I've been looking at I've pretty much crossed everything off that was on the Consumers Reports site due to bad reviews or not being a toilet with comfort height. I'm not locked into any specific brand name but I do want something American Made if at all possible and it being built to last.

    Any suggestions on some brands and model numbers I can look at would be helpful in my search.

    Thank you in advance.

    Richard
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,813
    Location:
    New York, NY
    The obvious one that fits your bill is the Toto Drake II. It is a good value given all its bells and whistles: Universal Height (comfort height), Sanagloss stain resistant finish, Double Cyclone Flush, and qualifies for a "Watersense" rebate in jurisdictions that offer them given that it is 1.28 gpf.

    It's a 12" rough-in toilet, it has a 3" flush valve (TOTO being an originator of this), it's a two-piece, installation is straightforward, and they give you the hardware to do a double-nut mounting of the tank to the bowl (one nut to secure the washers and bolt head to the bowl, then another nut to secure that assembly to the base, which makes for a more secure install then just one nut holding the bolt through the tank and base). It uses a standard flush valve, easily-replaceable with the Korky Large 3" Flush Valve kit (made in USA) and the fill valve can be replaced with any modern fill valve that has an adjustable refill ratio. Toto has an excellent parts store as well. However, on the fill valve Terry recommends that you just go to Lowe's and pick up a Korky 528MaxPerformance (528MP) fill valve, which is basically-identical to the fill valve that Toto would sell you as a replacement part (Toto TSU99A.X). Both of those are made by Korky in the US (Wisconsin).

    The key with Toto is QUALITY. It's well-made no matter where it's made. Many of the Drake IIs are made in Georgia USA.

    The Toto Drake II is going to be CST454CEFG. There's also a 1-gallon-per-flush version that they make that is becoming very popular and looks a little different on the tank (CST454CUFG). U instead of E in the model number. Basically-same-price.

    Another option is an original Drake. A real workhorse toilet for a little less money. It comes in Universal Height (CST744EL) about $100-ish cheaper than the Drake II. It doesn't come in Sanagloss at Universal Height and doesn't have the Double-Cyclone Flush, which uses a swirling action, without little holes in the rim, to give you a better bowl wash. It has the same other benefits as the Drake II: quality, easy install, easy part availability, 3" flush valve, etc. It also comes in a 1.6gpf, rather than 1.28gpf, version (CST744SL) if you don't want the more-water-saving flush. Both flushes dispatch waste very well.

    If you go with Toto and look locally, shop around. Call a number of plumbing supply places in the yellow pages and ask for a quote on the exact model and color you want. Prices vary wildly at these places and with plumbers. If you call 4 or 5 places, you should be able to get a price close enough to the online vendors (30 percent or more off list). Use Terry's prices in the red box link above as a guide, although that link doesn't have all the models he or Toto sells.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  3. Ratero

    Ratero New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Alabama
    I just printed out the spec sheet for the Toto Drake II and have a few questions:

    1) It looks like I would need to order two items: The Bowl using #C454CEFG Elongated bowl with SanaGloss, The Tank and cover using #ST454E. I think the SanaGloss is for easier cleaning of the bowl or at least that is what it sounds like. I will do some research on "SanaGloss". I think the Tank and cover #ST454E has the handle on left side of the tank as you would normally find it.

    2) I did not realize they had different seat selections so I'll have to look at each one and find out the differences in them.

    Thanks for the response and I may order two of these here in a few minutes once I do a bit more digging.

    Richard.
  4. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,813
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Don't let the Drake II spec sheet confuse you. Yes there is an internal number for the tank and the bowl, but the toilet's model number is CST454CEFG (combining, sort of, the model numbers for the tank and for the bowl). No, you don't order them separately.

    Sanagloss is nice, and keeps the bowl a little cleaner. Just don't use Comet in the toilet or you will mess up that finish.

    Yes, the handle is in the normal spot. There is a right-handle version (because the ADA requires in a public setting that the handle face the entrance to the stall). You don't need it.

    You do buy the seat separately on the Toto two-piece models. The one-pieces come with a seat.

    The SS114 is a great Toto seat, and probably the one most purchased with that toilet. You can also use a standard elongated seat from any quality manufacturer, which will bolt right on, but the Toto slow-close seat is a little nicer and is made of really-nice, sturdy, heavy-gauge plastic. We have a bunch of toilets with Mayfair slow-close wood seats which we like, but once we got a Toto with the SS114, that will likely be our next seat on our toilets when we need them.

    I added some info in my response above which you may find helpful.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  5. Ratero

    Ratero New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Alabama
    I looked at the seats and was not crazy about what people mentioned about any of them. However, I think I will go with the one you mentioned in your previous post since you recommended it and at this point, if nothing else it is a starting point to go from if I don't care for the seat once it is installed.

    I will pick up 2 of the CST454CEFG's with 2 of the SS114 seats soon as I decide on a color. The color selection between the Cotton, Bone and Colonial White is pretty much a wash since they only vary by a shade or two. I'll most likely just stick with Cotton since from what I can tell it's the "whitest" of the three.

    Time to break out the plastic and get this on order.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Richard.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  6. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,813
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Excellent choices. The Cotton is indeed the whitest of the three, and that's what we have and like.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
  7. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,813
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Regular wax seal is totally fine.
  8. Ratero

    Ratero New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Alabama
    Well... I got one of the toilets partially installed yesterday but I'm not very happy with the results so far. The old toilet was flush to the floor and easy enough to remove but when I put the bowl of the Toto over the closet flange it would not sit flush to the floor. I bought a pack of shims and stabilized the toilet pretty good but I'm not certain if the horn is not exactly over the closet flange as it should be. I mounted the tank easy enough and attempted to do the final tie in with the water line but apparently my inlet faucet is 3/8" not 1/2" so I need to pick up 2 more of those this afternoon. Due to my uncertainty that the horn is over the closet flange I really want to pull the whole thing back up and start over. I'm a programmer, not a plumber and my body is telling me that today hah. I think I'm going to wimp out and call in a plumber to take a look at what I did and have them done correctly.

    Thanks for the advice.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the flange is too high, then a single wax ring without the horn may be the answer.
    Set the bowl down without wax first to see if it drops to the floor.
    Then pull it back up and set the wax on the flange.
    If the bowl doesn't squish it down, it's because the plastic funnel is preventing it.

    On the other hand, if the flange is low, then we sometimes use two wax rings.
  10. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,813
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Well, the horn is at least 7/8" narrower than your flange opening, so as long as it's sort-of centered, you should be fine. Terry's post above covers what to do if it's riding on the flange, and how to fix that if it is. Generally, Totos are good and level on the bottom, so if the floor is level, it should make a good fit. For some reason, one side of the country likes 3/8 and the other likes 1/2 on the nipple. Dunno why, and there are a lot of exceptions, but that kind of "what do you have in your specific home" stuff is why I always try to do these kind of projects while the hardware store is still open...just in case.

    I remember my first toilet installation. It took a lot longer than the second, because I was paranoid about getting it right -- a good impulse. The second took longer than the third. Pretty soon, once you get the hang of it, you're looking for toilets to change!

    I know you can do this and do it well, and I'm confident that after the first one is in and working, you will find this install and the next one very satisfying.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, the toilet flange is designed to be installed sitting tight and on top of the FINISHED floor. If yours isn't there, you can usually still get them in without leaks, but whether it is high or low makes a difference on what you need to do. Also, if it is 'normal', don't use the wax ring with the plastic horn - it can make things messy, and if not aligned well, cause the silly toilet to not flush at all. Millions of toilets work just fine with just a standard wax ring - the horn is not that useful. Having that plastic horn in there also means the wax can't compress to account for when the flange may be a little high where just a simple wax ring would work wonderfully.
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