Bathroom Remodeling: Is a Bidet Toilet Seat Right For You?

Ron Nanberg | Tue, Jun 11, 2019 | Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom Remodeling - Bidet Toilet SeatsBidet toilet seats have come a long way in the past hundred years or so. From a more cumbersome, second toilet that involves precarious positioning and extra towels to sleek, designer toilet installations that include warm seats, warm water rinses for front and rear and even your own song list – you have a tremendous range of options when choosing a toilet for your Chicago bathroom remodel.

Thinking About a Bidet Toilet Seat?

Historically, luxury toilets – like the ones Japanese luxury toilet designer TOTO is known for – cost thousands of dollars. That’s out of range for many homeowners, including homeowners with luxury budgets who find it silly to spend that much on a utilitarian fixture.

Fortunately, TOTO and other manufacturers have wised up, and are now capitalizing on a target market that is willing to spend extra – just not thousands extra – on luxury toilet features. To this end, they’ve designed bidet toilet seats – aka “toilet toppers” or "washlets" (a reference coined by TOTO) - that do a remarkable job of behaving just like a luxury toilet model - and cost far less than $1000+.

Luxury Toilet Toppers Offer a Fresh and Clean Toileting Experience

Bidet toilet seats are installed directly onto the bowl of your chosen toilet model after removing the existing lid and seat. In addition to requiring a GFCI outlet within close proximity of the toilet, homeowners must also ensure the bidet seat they select matches the shape of their toilet bowl – elliptical or round. Another benefit of bidet or washlet toilet seats? They don’t require the installation of a separate unit because it’s a two-in-one combo.

Basic units cost that simply spray water cost about $30 on Amazon, where mid-level and more desirable units cost around $200 or so, and prices go up from there - depending on various features and setting options.

Basic models come equipped with:

  • Adjustable-temp seat warmers
  • Front and rear wash wands with adjustable positions, intensity, and temperature
  • Steady stream or vacillating wash modes

Higher-end models offer even more adjustment settings, bowl pre-sprays, and self-cleaning modes, fans for deodorization, safety and ambient night-lighting, and more.

Pros of a bidet toilet seat

Here are some of the reasons many homeowners upgrade to bidet toilet seats:

Space conservation

As we mentioned above, traditional bidets are installed as a separate unit – the toilet and the bidet, rather than a toilet that offers bidet-style functions. This takes up extra room in the bathroom and isn’t ideal for smaller bathroom footprints. With a washlet, you only need a single toilet and all the benefits of a bidet are still yours.

Heated seats and water

Like heated flooring, there is something to be said about warm contact with a surface that’s notoriously cold, especially in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. The wash function is also nice since water temperature and pressure are adjustable to the user's preference. These units are also appreciated by those with mobility issues as they make the toilet and bathroom experience more accessible in multiple ways.

A cleaner, hygienic bathroom experience

Because your nether regions are gently flushed with water after you use the toilet, you benefit from a cleaner and more hygienic toileting experience.

Give up toilet paper altogether

For many, using a bidet seat becomes a more eco-friendly bathroom option because it means you can give up toilet paper altogether, opting for soft, reusable rags that can be stored in a sleek bucket with sanitizing water (even a splash of vinegar does the trick) until you add them to your laundry later.

Better for plumbing and septic systems

If you do opt to give up toilet paper, you minimize toilet and plumbing clogs, and you free up the septic system.

Cons to using a bidet or washlet type toilet seat

These toilet seats tend to be a bit bulkier and the operational buttons (or remote control, depending on the model) are often visible.

Also, the topper unit becomes one more thing to clean and maintain, so if there is a system malfunction, you'll need to deal with the manufacturer's customer service. You will also have to spend a little time each month cleaning the wands and various accessories. If "one more thing" doesn't appeal to you, a bidet toilet topper may not be a good accessory option for you.

The design team at Kitchens & Baths Unlimited is happy to review your toilet and bidet options, choosing the makes and models that work best for your budget, preferences and lifestyle. Contact us to schedule your Chicago bathroom remodeling consultation.

Photo credit: Toto USA

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