We are really exploring as many options and possibilities as we can while we build our Container House. It is most enjoyable setting ourselves challenges and working out solutions. How do you make something designed for a brick house work for a metal box? What can you do with the materials available? This post answers the question on how we went about installing a concealed cistern toilet in our container house.
Pros And Cons on Concealed Cistern Toilets
On a previous post mentioning some items we had bought for the next phase of the project (North wing), a reader rightly commented that it is difficult to use grey water in a toilet with a concealed cistern. Our reader is 100% correct. Unlike a traditional toilet, you cannot just lift the lid of the cistern and fill with a bucket. However, in this case, we do not think it is much of a concern. You can still flush this type of toilet with grey water. How? By pouring the bucket of grey water directly into the pan (something we have done before). The flushing water does not have to go through the cistern first.
One could also plumb a grey water system so that it automatically pumps water to your toilet cistern. Our future plans include using rain water which will lighten our load on municipal supply.
Nevertheless, this type of toilet does actually have some pros on the list as well. If aesthetics are your thing, they’re much prettier as the majority of the ugly plumbing work is hidden away. They take up less space than a traditional toilet. This makes them useful in small bathrooms or for bathrooms for people with limited mobility. They are also easier to keep clean as more of it is tucked away behind the tiles.
Let’s not forget that the design of a concealed cistern toilet also means that they have to be more efficient. More efficient means that they can use up to 30% less water than with a standard toilet. I’m guessing this percentage is probably more when comparing to older designs . If filling up cisterns with buckets of your dirty shower water isn’t for you, but you still want to save water, perhaps this is the option you’re looking for.
And Maintenance Issues To Be Aware Of
If you do decide to purchase a concealed cistern toilet, be prepared to pay more than a standard toilet. This type of toilet is also more difficult to repair as the important bits will be neatly tucked away behind your wall tiles. (Most repairs can be made by accessing the workings by removing the flush buttons.)
Buying a Concealed Cistern Toilet
Most concealed cistern toilets sold in South Africa are designed to be built into a brick wall. The frame work holding the plastic cistern is flimsy. You can buy systems designed to go into dry-walls, which would have worked well, but these are even more expensive than the standard brick wall type. We bought the standard brick wall type.
On top of all that, we gave ourselves the additional challenge of buying a concealed cistern toilet with a wall hung pan. This means that we had to figure out how to mount a toilet, designed for a brick wall, to the side of a container so that it could support itself, the weight of the pan and the weight of people using it.
An impossible challenge?
A Welding Challenge
Kevin’s plan to mount the toilet, in the end, was quite simple. He made a steel frame to which he bolted to the side of the container wall. This gave the flimsy wall bracket somewhere solid to sit, and also gave the whole unit the structural stability to take the surprisingly heavy weight of the pan.
The whole installation would have been simpler if we had bought a floor mounted toilet. But in the long term, it is so much easier to keep the floor around a toilet clean if the pan is lifted off the floor!
Once the concealed cistern is clad with fibre cement boards, and tiled, we’ll be able to hang the pan.
Would you choose this option and the make the effort in installing a concealed cistern toilet in your container home?