Adding Value to a Toilet

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One of the key features of old Queenslander type homes is that they have a toilet installed at the back of the house, usually located behind or next to the kitchen.

I visited such a house last week in Indooroopilly and the owner wanted to add a basin to the toilet so that guests wouldn’t have to walk through the house to the main bathroom to wash their hands. The key to this type of installation was finding a compact basin to fit into an existing toilet area.

Caroma manufactures a small wall basin called the Compact basin (pictured above) specifically for this type of installation, but they are pretty pricey for such a small fixture. I think it’s a niche market so Caroma price the basins accordingly. The basins are small enough to fit in a small room, yet big enough to just get your hands under the tap to wash them.

Installing the basin was a matter of working out where the waste and hot and cold water services were located so that a connection could be made and installing a studor vent to meet plumbing laws. We also had to make sure that there was enough space to hang the basin so that the toilet could be used comfortably and the door could swing both ways. Thankfully this toilet was in a long narrow room so there was enough space to hang the basin.

The existing toilet with the new compact wall basin being installed.
The existing toilet with the new compact wall basin being installed.

The most difficult parts of the job was coring through the tile floor for the waste and water to connect down below. When coring holes through tiles, there is the potential to crack the tile floor. The way to avoid this is to use Diamond Drill hole saw (cutting bit) and use a water spray when drilling the hole.

The other difficulty was finding an existing stud in the wall to hang the basin on. One side of the basin was able to be screwed into the stud, the other side was held into place using a toggle screw.

The job took half a day to install and was immediately adding value to a toilet that was previously an inconvenience to use.

On high set Queenslanders, this type of installation is fairly easy to do depending on how far away the water and waste points are because access can be made under the house for the connections.

On low set houses with no space underneath, built hard on the ground, sometimes the connections can be made by running the waste and water through the wall to outside if the services are readily accessible outside the house.

This is not an installation to be attempted by a handyman or the man of the household. It must be installed by a licensed plumber and in Queensland, a Form 4 must be submitted to the Plumbing Council because you are installing and adding a new fixture to your house.