24 Unit Toilet Purchase - Need Some Input (Toto/American Standard/Duravit/Caroma/Stealth)

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Sean W.

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Hello All and Terry,

I am in the midst of replacing toilets for a hotel property and have a rather big decision to make as there are 24 units that have to get changed out, so I don't want to make a hasty decision. Looking for any and all comments. Especially for those who have experience with any of the models listed below.

Here are the parameters:
-Requirement for 1.28 GPF by city code
- I am allowed to use 1.6/.9 dual flush as it averages to 1.28 GPF
- Would like to limit or eliminate clogs and streaking which seems to be a flaw in all dual flush toilets given the smaller water spot/surface area - any dual flush toilets with a large water spot?
- Seems like 1.28 toilets provide for a bigger water spot and dual flush
- Requirement to have a skirted or concealed base - need a modern, clean contemporary feel
- 1 or 2 piece is fine
- Which option below is the best blend of ease of maintenance, quality, cleaning (water spot) and limited clogability? Any small water spot toilets excellent at ridding streaking after a flush?

Toilets we are considering:

Our budget is $375 or less per toilet so any of these work. I am leaning towards the Caroma option because it has a larger trapway (4") and a rep told me they have the only dual flush toilet in the market that can remove solids with the .8 flush as well. I am concerned that it will streak all the time and be a mess for the housekeepers and "nasty" for guests. Supposedly the bowl is coated with some 3M product as well to help with the streaking issue. I found a distributor who would provide the Caroma for $250 each.
 
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WJcandee

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You also want something that isn't going to cause your maintenance people to hunt you down and kill you.

(There was a member of this forum who worked maintenance at a 500-room hotel that had installed the dreaded Zurn/WTI pressure-assist dual-flush toilets years ago, and suffered while they broke and broke and broke, even after their guts were replaced. If I were he, I would have seriously-considered an anonymous act of serial vandalism with a sledgehammer that would have resulted in a total replacement of each one. As it was, I think he watched that scene with the printer in Office Space over and over and imagined he was doing that to his hotel's toilets.)

And you don't want your accountants to kill you because you bought something that requires a $50 part to be replaced when you could have bought something that can be fixed with a $9 part, or because your toilet choice has caused a disproportionate number of out-of-service rooms.

The skirted requirement seems to me to be something that is going to inflate the cost and eliminate good workhorse toilets that otherwise you could put in a commercial environment, as well as a couple of fancier ones like I've seen in schwankier hotels. If you want something that looks decent and is simple, reliable, defect-free and well made, that doesn't clog, but can still stand up to commercial volume, and has parts that cause nickels (and just a couple of moments) for the most-incompetent of maintenance people to replace when the time comes, you go out and buy 24 Toto Original Drakes (CST744E), and don't look back. But they're not skirted.

Some high-end hotels that I have stayed in have also used the Toto Ultramax II. One-piece, clean modern look, simple replacement parts, great flush. Maybe still within your budget if you buy in the right place and know what price you can negotiate. But also not skirted. There is a skirted version, the Carlyle II, but that's probably outside your budget.

The Aquia is something that Terry's customers have loved. He has some crazy-low return rate on them, and customers buy one and come back for more. However, his customers are intentionally buying a dual-flush. A dual-flush is a more-complicated mechanism, and it's going to be more expensive to fix/replace than just a simple flapper or rubber seal that you're going to find on one of the above toilets.

Also, you're not buying for your home. You're buying something that is going to go in a place where the general public is going to use it. How many calls do you want the front desk to receive asking how to flush the toilet? Yes, dual-flushes are making their way into more and more places, but you can't underestimate the cluelessness of a good portion of the population. In Texas, we used to call that "borrowing trouble".

The larger trapway on the Caroma doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to clog less in normal use. If its trapway size was some kind of panacea, it would have more market penetration than it does in the US. It solves a very specific problem with hard BMs where someone is on specific medications. Otherwise, it's no better than anything else in practical use, IMHO. Unless you're a medical-recovery hotel with people with a specific stool condition due to medication, etc., no advantage. Also, as a practical matter, if you're passing a large wad of something like toilet paper down the trapway of the toilet, and the trapway size is the same size as the pipe, my own thinking is that you are just setting yourself up for clogs in the piping behind the walls, rather than in the toilet, which is definitely something for which the maintenance folks will hunt you down with flaming torches. Sometimes, it's better that something has to be plunged through the smaller toilet trapway rather than snaked out of a pipe when it hits that bend down the line that never was a problem before. Just sayin'.

The .8 flush on the Niagara is just begging for trouble. From guests, the front desk, housekeeping and see above about the maintenance people. If I installed 24 in a hotel, I would expect to awaken in the middle of the night to a pile of flaming porcelain in my front yard.

If we're limited to your choices, I'd pick the Aquia, with which I have good personal experience. But if you can persuade someone to look at the Ultramax II or the Original Drake, I would go with those. If you can get the Carlyle II (skirted Ultramax II) within your budget, I think you're in business, but it's a more-complicated installation than the non-skirted version.

On the AS stuff, I have to think that on an order that large, you're going to get some defective ones, which your contractor will either ignore and install, leading to issues down the road, or charge you extra to replace. As your only single-flush option, however, I would consider it for that reason alone.

One final thought about skirted toilets: nobody gets down on their knees to look at a toilet, which is what the photographers have to do when taking those photographs. You typically look at a toilet for a few seconds from above before you park your butt on it, or a little longer while aiming into it. The bowl typically obscures what's underneath while you look at it from above. Because it typically isn't installed in the center of a room, the other things in the bathroom often preclude much of a side view. I would wager that 90-plus percent of guests could stay in the hotel a week and not be able to answer the question as to whether the toilet was skirted. But they sure could tell you if it clogged, was hard to figure out how to flush, screeched while refilling, or was running or ghost-flushing at night. These, I think, are the practical concerns that should be behind this purchase.
 
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jadnashua

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Buying 24 toilets should give you some bargaining clout, so you might expand your horizon a bit. A 2-piece, skirted toilet from Toto you might look at is the Vespin II. Note, while I like the slow-closing seat, some people think it is broken and push it down. Eventually, if they do that a lot, it can weaken the seals on the hinge, the damping fluid leaks out, and then it slams down. Not necessarily a major issue since a 'normal' toilet seat does that.
 

Reach4

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Note, while I like the slow-closing seat, some people think it is broken and push it down.
I have the slow-close seats. The last time I stayed at a hotel, I absentmindedly flipped the seat lightly, and let it bang down. A slow-closing seat could keep things quieter if there are other absentminded customers.
 

WJcandee

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Good call, Jim! Still a more complicated install due to the Unifit.

And Sean, you want the 1.28gpf, not the 1.0. The 1.0 works remarkably well for 1.0 gpf, but in a commercial setting you want the extra water for bowl rinse and better flush.
 

jadnashua

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I have the slow-close seats. The last time I stayed at a hotel, I absentmindedly flipped the seat lightly, and let it bang down. A slow-closing seat could keep things quieter if there are other absentminded customers.
No argument it is a nice feature, but, my point was, most people would think the thing is broken, push it down, and that DOES shorten the life of the hydraulically damped hinge mechanism, and it will fail sooner.

A friend of mine bought a similar Bemis seat with the same feature, and after 6-months, we were mentioning it, comparing it to the Toto seat, and his wife was there...she said she thought the seat was just tight and always pushed it down! Went in, and just tipped it enough for gravity to do its thing and came back to exclaim that, yes, it does go down nicely! No push necessary. Most hotels don't expect to educate people on how to put a toilet seat down.
 

Sean W.

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Ok, a lot of what has been said makes sense. Anyone have a feel for the Duravit Durastyle 1.28 single flush vs the Toto Carlyle II or Vespin or Toto Ultramax? I think I am leaning towards a single flush. Would like to keep the skirted mainly for easier cleaning for the houskeepers.

Which of the Toto models in 1.28 flush skirted or non-skirted is easier to install? I hear that some Toto's have some extra adaptors and labor costs.
 

Sylvan

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Two months ago I replaced 57 toilets in a school and I opted for Gerber Avalanche elongated with open seats . Over past year I have installed well over 600 of these toilets and not one single call back

They cost under $250.00 each and the installed price is @ $1,200 each (replacing lead bend, floor flange extra) There are cheaper ones available with round front .
 

jadnashua

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The Toto Carlyle and Vespin both use the UniFit adapter which will require four holes to be drilled to anchor the rear of the adapter to the floor. The front of the adapter just bolts onto the flange. Given the right drill bit, after the first one trying to figure out how to do it, it shouldn't add more than about 20-minutes to the install verses a toilet without that adapter. Some tile is easier to drill than others, but a diamond bit will work with any. Needing to drill 100 or so holes, I'd invest in a commercial one.

Note that on any skirted toilet, you need to verify that the skirt won't interfere with the shutoff valve. If it does, often, you can replace the valve with a right-angle one. Dahl makes a quality one, but there are others.
 

Sean W.

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I'm pretty set on going with a Toto and even open to a non skirted model. Is there a 1.28 single flush/ADA height Toto that does not require the Unifit adapter? Is there one that is skirted that doesn't need an adapter?

If the budget is $375 which Toto's should I be looking at?
 

jadnashua

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The Drake is a quality, workhorse toilet. Like most, there are two wear parts...the seal in the fill valve (about $3) and the flapper valve (about $10) and neither one takes any tools to replace and only a short time. IMHO, their optional glaze is worth the cost. Just don't ever use an abrasive cleaner on it. Well, glazed stuff like that doesn't like abrasive cleaners, but it's probably more critical with the special glaze - to work, it must remain smooth, and an abrasive cleaner is both not needed, and will damage the finish.
 

WJcandee

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Toto Drake CST744EL -- elongated, universal height, 1.28gpf

Since you want the Universal Height, look at the Drake II as well. Toto Drake II CST454CEFG

The Entrada would also foot the bill, and is a Best Buy. Toto Entrada CST244EF.
 

Highlander

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On a large scale project I'd be tempted to narrow down to 2 or 3 models and install one of each (in similar rooms), let them be used for a month and get regular feedback from the maintenance and housekeeping depts.
 
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