Bidets and toilets go hand in hand, and when you are building or renovating a house, it’s easy to plan to install both. But many people would like the comfort and convenience of a bidet without a complete bathroom overhaul. Thankfully, this is possible with bidet conversion kits that you can fit on a toilet. But what kind of toilet do you need for such a bidet? Let’s find out.
Any kind of toilet can be converted into a bidet using a bidet converter kit. The installation may be difficult or easy, depending on the type of kit, and only some toilets can support certain bidet converter kits. Permanent alterations may be necessary if you don’t have access to the water source.
There are almost as many possibilities as there are toilet types. Even though most toilets can be converted into bidets, that doesn’t make it easy. Some can be a real challenge to convert, and you must ensure that you get a suitable kit for your toilet. Let’s look at the different kinds of toilets to see if and how they can be converted into bidets.
What Makes A Toilet Perfect For A Bidet?
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Four fundamental factors determine if a toilet can easily be used as a bidet or not. It is always possible to convert a toilet into a bidet, but it ranges in difficulty. Before setting out to buy a bidet kit, you should ask yourself four questions to prepare:
What Kind Of Bidet Do You Need?
There are three kinds of bidet kits that you can buy:
- A simple hand-held bidet hose. These simple sprayers hook up to a water supply, and you hold them in your hand to activate the spray function. This is the simplest installation option and eliminates one of the other factors you must consider.
- An under-seat bidet attachment. They are placed under the toilet seat. Most are simply cold-water bidets, though you can find some that can connect a warm water hose or electric units that can warm up the water as you spray it.
- A seat replacement bidet. These replace the toilet seat completely. Again, you can get cold water or hot water options for the toilet seat models.
Choosing which one you want is crucial before asking yourself the last three questions.
Can You Easily Remove Your Toilet Seat?
If you want to use the under-seat or seat-replacement models, you will need easy access to your toilet seat’s screws. Some toilet seats are fixed using top-mount bolts, making it even easier. This factor is not essential if you prefer only to use the hand-held bidet hose.
What Shape Is Your Toilet Bowl?
Some under-seat and seat-replacement bidet models fit only specific toilet bowl shapes. This is not a deal-breaker but an essential factor to consider in choosing a suitable bidet kit.
Do You Have An Easily-Accessible Water Supply?
This is arguably the most crucial point. Bidets need a substantial water supply, so connecting them directly to a water inlet pipe, like the one running to your toilet’s cistern, is ideal. You should be all set for the conversion if you have easy access to the water inlet pipe.
Toilets That Can Easily Work As Bidets: Two-Piece Toilets
Only one type of toilet can really be labeled as “easy to convert.” Luckily it is also the most common toilet type, which is the traditional two-piece toilet.
A two-piece toilet is a toilet that has the bowl and the cistern as two separate entities. Usually, the cistern is mounted against the wall, with a pipe that allows the water to flow down into the bowl, which in turn is mounted on the floor and not directly against the wall (that last part is quite crucial, as you will soon see).
The size and shape of your two-piece toilet don’t matter too much. What matters is that a two-piece toilet gives you access to the toilet’s water source, which is the cistern. Since these toilets use gravity instead of some kind of pump, a bidet can easily be fitted on the toilet.
To install a bidet in a two-piece toilet, all you need to do is to locate the water supply valve. This is the valve that water flows through to refill the cistern of your toilet. If you connect your bidet conversion kit’s hose to this valve, the bidet will draw water directly from the water inlet, making for a straightforward installation and an easy-to-use bidet solution.
It doesn’t really matter much where on the water inlet you attach the hose, but it’s usually best to connect it as close as possible to the toilet bowl, which makes the point where the inlet connects to the cistern the ideal location. The water inlet is usually located somewhere near the cistern, with a tap that you can open or close. This is also a great place to connect your water hose.
You may also require a t-valve to connect the cistern and the bidet hose simultaneously, but bidet kits often include these t-valves, so just check your kit.
The Size And Shape Of A Two-Piece Toilet
Most two-piece toilets are built similarly in terms of size and shape, but there are some exceptions. You should probably take your toilet’s measurements before you buy a bidet kit. The kits are meant to be as close to universal as possible, but if you have a bit of an awkward size or shape, compare the measurements with the bidet to confirm that it will fit.
This also depends on the type of kit you get. Simple hand-held sprayers will work regardless of your toilet’s shape or size. But most of the high-end kits mount underneath your toilet seat, so the size, shape, and diameter of your toilet bowl, including the location of the seat mounting screws, will matter if you buy one of these.
Can You Use A One-Piece Toilet For A Bidet?
One-piece toilets are becoming more and more popular and common. They are called one-piece toilets because the cistern and the bowl are combined into one unit with no discernable areas that separate them. This makes them easy to install, and designers can get creative with their look and function.
That fact is also a weakness of these toilets. Because there are so many different designs, shapes, and sizes, it’s often impossible to accurately predict if a particular bidet kit will work with a specific toilet. With that being said, there’s a wide range of bidet kits available for one-piece toilets, so you should be able to find one that will work.
The other downside is that your water inlet valve may not be as accessible as on a two-piece toilet. You may have difficulty accessing the inlet pipe; if you can, it could be a struggle to work with it or fit the required t-piece in the space. It becomes even more of a problem if you have a flat-back toilet since it leaves very little open space between the toilet and the wall if any.
The last thing that could potentially complicate matters is if you have a skirted toilet. It means that there is skirting between the toilet bowl and the cistern to make it look more modern. This could make the inlet valve even harder to locate and make it more challenging to fit an under-seat bidet.
Manufacturers are aware of these difficulties and the increasing demand for bidet-friendly toilets. With this in mind, many manufacturers specialize in producing workarounds for the problem of installing a bidet in a one-piece toilet. There are extension pipes and pipes with t-pieces pre-fitted to make connecting the hose a lot easier. It’s possible that your toilet already has one of these fitted.
There are also bidet kits that are designed explicitly for skirted toilets. Some replace the toilet seat entirely, or they come with top-mounting bolts to eliminate the need to access the seat mounting screws underneath the toilet. In most cases, the bidet hose can still be connected to the inlet valve at the wall instead of the cistern, which should be more easily accessible.
Toilets That Are Difficult To Use As Bidets
Any toilet that either doesn’t have a cistern or conceals the cistern behind a wall will be difficult to convert to a bidet. Since you don’t have an easily-accessible water source directly next to your toilet, these are not the easiest ones to work with.
Tankless toilets are commonly found in shopping malls, public restrooms, and some apartment buildings. They don’t have a cistern at all but use a strong supply of water that gets pumped directly into the toilet bowl.
A concealed-cistern toilet is a regular two-piece toilet, but the cistern is concealed behind a wall or even built into it directly, often making it inaccessible without tearing down masonry or drywall.
Note that we said these toilets are difficult to convert, not impossible. The number one problem is that you don’t have an easily-accessible water source, so you will just have to work around this. One option, if you have a sink that’s right next to your toilet, is to connect the bidet with the sink’s water inlet instead, but this will only work if the toilet and the sink are very close to one another.
If that is not the case, things can get more complicated. It all depends on your particular plumbing setup. Look around for water inlets close to the toilet; maybe you can make that work. The worst thing that could happen is that you may have to get a plumber to help you get a water inlet up to the toilet bowl. From there, you can quickly convert your toilet into a bidet.
Any toilet can be converted into a bidet. Classic two-piece toilets will be the easiest to use since they have a more-or-less standard size and shape and an easily-accessible water supply. If you don’t have one of these, don’t worry. You may have to get a bit more creative, but you can still get your bidet. Don’t be afraid to ask your local plumber for some tips and advice.