What You Need To Know When Swapping Out Or Selecting A Toilet

White bathroom with focus on toilet and feature wall


Here’s a joke for you…

Why couldn’t the police catch the toilet thief? They had nothing to go on!

Sounds like they could do with a replacement toilet, and at Tradelink we are just the people to help.

All jokes aside, we answer lots of questions from customers about toilets. One of the most common queries is about how to swap an old toilet with a new one.

So, let’s lift the lid on what you need to know when swapping out or selecting a toilet.

Bathrrom feaureing herringbone tile, a wood vanity with round countertop basin, chrome tapware and a toilet

Out with the old and in with the new: How to do the direct swap.

If your old toilet keeps leaking, is wearing out or just looking outdated, it’s probably best to get a new one. This can be a really simple process on one condition: you get the specs right. Your current toilet will have certain specs that will dictate what can go in its place.

Once you know those details, all the other decisions can follow.

5 key specs to take when you’re toilet shopping:

1. Trap type

The trap is the curved part that connects from the bottom of your toilet bowl to the drainpipe. There are two main types: S-traps, which connect to the floor, and P-traps, which connect to the wall. There are a few more that are less common, like traps that go to the side. If in doubt, take some pictures to show your favourite toilet salesperson, or ask your plumber. Your replacement toilet will need to have the same trap type or you’ll be up for some renovating.

2. Cistern height

This measurement is often overlooked. The cistern is the toilet tank that holds the water. There may be a window, shelf or anything at all that your toilet cistern needs to fit under. Measure the height of your current cistern and any space you have to fit your new cistern under.

3. Set out measurements

This is probably the trickiest spec. It’s the distance between the finished wall and the centre of the drainpipe. You can measure it while your existing toilet is still there by measuring to the bolts that secure your toilet to the floor. Get the distance from the wall – not the skirting board if you have one – to the centre of the bolt. In Australia, standard S-trap measurements are 140mm, but they can be more, or less. If your measurement is anything but 140mm, check again to be absolutely sure.

You’ll also need to measure where your water inlet is – the plumbing fitting that connects the toilet to the house water supply. It might connect into the back of the cistern, or via a flexi hose to the wall. Get the distance from the ground to the water supply, and from the toilet itself.

Your new toilet needs to fit the existing set out or you’ll be up for added plumbing costs.

4. Surrounding Space

Your toilet suite needs a bit of elbow room and you need room to open the door. Consider and measure the whole space to make sure your new toilet will fit and still allow you room to move.

5. Pan height and size/shape

This ties into the previous point. The pan is essentially the toilet bowl. A pan that’s even a few millimetres larger or higher might make a big difference in room to move around it.

A pan that’s smaller, might leave unsightly marks on the floor or gaps and holes in your tiles where your old toilet was fitted.

Graphic of toilet measurements required for replacing/updating your toilet

2 other important considerations for your toilet swap-out:

1. Know your budget

A toilet’s a toilet, right? Wrong. Once you start shopping, you will be pleasantly surprised by the choices you have. If you can use the word pleasant when discussing toilets.

Toilet trends and innovations have come a long way over the years. One of the big style differences is wall-hung and back-to-wall designs that look a lot nicer and are much easier to clean than old toilets with all their dust-collecting curves. Not to mention technologies such as rimless pans and seat warmers.

The toilets themselves come in a large range of prices depending on brand and technology. Once you start getting excited about new designs, it might affect your specs, which will then come with the cost of moving drain pipes and water inlets etc. That’s okay, we can help with all your plumbing supplies, it’s just a matter of how much you’re willing to change and spend all up.

2. Know what you like

The throne needs to be comfortable. Do you, your children, your parents and regular guests (excuse the pun) find it easy enough to sit down and stand up from the toilet? You may need to think about whether you want something a little taller or lower than what you already have. Perhaps a different shaped seat or bowl or a different look to suit the rest of your house.

White bathroom with feature floor and vanity

Changing where the toilet goes: How to select the right toilet for a new space.

If you’re designing a new bathroom or powder room, you may have a lot more flexibility for your new toilet than a direct swap-out. In this case, you may wish to choose your toilet first and then give the specs to your plumber and builder before works commence. Some styles might be cheaper or easier to install in your space than others, so ask about that before making your final decision.

One hot-tip from our Tradelink showroom consultants is to plan a bathroom design that keeps the toilet tucked away, so it’s not the first thing you see when you open the door.

For more hot tips, head over to our comprehensive buyers guide for toilets .

White toilet against grey tiled wall

Our range

We stock and supply a huge range of Tradelink toilets from Australian and imported brands. From basic to luxury, classic to contemporary, and even toilets with remote control features.

Our range of Tradelink plumbing supplies and accessories means you can also get any new parts and finishing touches required for your toilet installation and upgrade.

Find out more about the ins and outs and bends and trends of toilets from our comprehensive buying guide and then browse our range to explore your options.

Image featuring a rimless white toilet against a neutral coloured wall

Come in and try before you buy

That’s just a saying. Please don’t do that. But we do encourage you to visit one of our Tradelink showrooms and sit on the different toilets, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Our showroom consultants will be happy to help.