When you think about it, toilets are kind of weird. You spend a lot of time sitting on them. You occasionally have to use them. But, other than that, they just kind of hang out in the background, silently waiting for you to finish so you can flush them away again. So what exactly are toilets made of, anyway?
Every toilet is made up of five main parts: the bowl and tank, the lid, the chain, the flush flapper, and the flush valve. Let’s examine this further.
Materials used to make or manufacture a toilet
The toilet bowl
The bowl of a toilet is made from either vitreous china, plastic or metal or porcelain.
Most toilets are made out of porcelain as this material doesn’t react with urine and can therefore last a long time. It also looks nice and feels quite good.
In some high-traffic areas, metal bowls are used. These can be quite cold during winter and don’t look that nice but are quite cheap and easy to maintain.
The Lid and seat
One of the most important parts of a toilet is the lid. It’s what keeps your toilet clean and hygienic as they allow you to close the toilet. Lids and seats often come together.
Most lids are made out of plastic. They can also be made out of polyresin or wood. They come in different sizes to accommodate the needs of everyone. Lids and seats should be replaced regularly as they can start to stain after a few years.
There are several ways to connect the lid and seat to the bowl. Most of them use screws or metal parts to do this.
There are also seats that are higher to make them easier to sit on. This is great when you are less mobile.
The toilet tank
This part is connected with the water supply and holds water. The goal of having water in a tank is to add enough power to the water so that it flushes everything at once. Typically, a toilet can hold between 7 gallons for older toilets and 1.6 gallons of water for newer toilets.
It can be a great idea to clean a toilet tank from time to time to keep it clean.
Toilet tanks are typically made out of ceramic or plastic. Plastic tanks are more prone to leaking as they can get damaged when people bump into them. For this reason, it is important to check if your toilet tank is leaking or not every few months. It is possible to replace the toilet tank without having to replace the whole toilet.
The flapper holds the water in the tank. When you flush, it is lifted so that the water can flow from the tank to the toilet bowl. This part is often made out of rubber or plastic.
The flush valve can become clogged with calcium and other minerals from your water. If it’s clogged, you won’t be able to flush your toilet. That’s why it’s so important to clean your toilet tank from time to time.
If it’s time for a new flapper, you can replace it yourself. It’s a relatively straightforward process.
The flushing Chain
The chain is an essential part of any toilet. If the chain is broken or damaged, you won’t be able to use the toilet. This chain is connected to the flush handle and the flapper.
This chain is often made out of metal. Over time, the chain can rust and become loose. It can also break. That’s why it’s important to check the chain occasionally and tighten or replace it if necessary. When cleaning the chain, you can clean it with a mild soap and water solution. Replacing it is quite cheap and easy to do.
More modern toilets use plastic parts instead of chains.
The Flush Handle
The last part of the toilet you’ll want to pay attention to is the flush handle. It’s what allows you to flush your toilet.
If your flush handle isn’t working, you won’t be able to flush your toilet. You can tighten or replace the flush handle, but you should also check for any signs of leaks around the handle.
Flush handles are often made out of plastic or metal. These parts have to move a lot so it is possible that you have to replace them after a few years. This is quite easy to do.
If the flush handle is rusted or broken, you can replace it. For hanging toilets, this is quite easy to do as you just have to pull up the old panel and click the new one in place. For standing toilets, it can be harder to do as you might have to unscrew it to remove it.
The drain pipes
Once the water is flushed, it goes through the flange which is made out of plastic and wax. This part connects the toilet and the drain that runs under the floor. This drain is generally made out of PVC or PE. These are types of plastics. PVC is glued together, PE is welded together. These drains should last several decades if they are properly installed. As long as you don’t create clogs in them, they should work just fine if they are installed properly.
The problem is that a lot of plumbers don’t install them at the correct angle or don’t use the right process to connect the fittings. This can lead to clogs or leaks that are expensive to solve. The diameter of these drains is important as well. Plumbers have to make a drawing to make sure that their installation will work out.
Why are toilets made of porcelain or ceramic?
As discussed before, not every part of the toilet is made out of porcelain or ceramic. The toilet bowl (and sometimes the tank) are often made out of these materials. Sometimes steel is used for these parts as well.
Porcelain and ceramic are durable materials that are quite easy to clean. Toilets have to deal with a lot of acids. Other materials start to break down when they come in contact with this. Ceramic and porcelain toilets are quite easy to clean.
Porcelain and ceramic are also quite easy to produce. Heat is used to create the toilet bowls and this can be mass produced. This reduces the costs of this part of the toilet. Porcelain is made from a more refined clay and is also produced on higher temperatures. This results in a higher quality than ceramic.
Porcelain and ceramic can also hold a lot of weigth. This is important as they have to be used by a lot of people.
These materials have been used for a long time. We can expect that material science will develop new materials over time that are even easier to clean and install. Porcelain and ceramic can crack quite easily if you drop a sharp object on them. This can break the toilet.
To conclude, we can state that toilets are made out of different materials. These range from metal to ceramic and wood. Each material has its unique advantages and disadvantages and you have to see what fits your needs. Your plumber can help you with deciding what the best option is for you.