Is a Concealed Cistern Right for My Bathroom?

When it comes to designing your perfect bathroom, there's lots to consider; from whether you want a contemporary or classic style, a shower, or a bath (or maybe both), to what colour palette you will choose for your dream bathroom. On top of all these questions, you will also need to decide what sort of toilet you want and whether you wish to show or conceal your toilet cistern.

In this post we’ll discuss the positives and negatives of a concealed cistern, helping you to decide whether it’s the correct option for your bathroom. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a concealed cistern?

A concealed or hidden cistern works the same way as a standard cistern, storing the water needed to flush the toilet. However, a hidden cistern is tucked out of sight, either behind a wall or in a furniture unit.

Toilet compatibility

Before purchasing a concealed toilet cistern, also known as a concealed WC cistern, it’s essential to do your research into the compatibility of your current toilet or any toilet you might be considering purchasing. This is because not all toilets are compatible with a concealed cistern.

Generally, back-to-wall and wall-hung toilets are the best and only options for use with a hidden cistern. However, worry not as there are plenty of styles to choose from within these types of toilets, from traditional to contemporary.

Benefits of a concealed cistern

There are plenty of benefits to a concealed cistern toilet, from being more aesthetically pleasing than a standard close-coupled toilet to being a wonderful space-saving solution. Keep reading to find out more about these wonderful benefits.

If you’re looking for a toilet for a small bathroom then a back-to-wall or wall-hung toilet with a hidden cistern are great options. Whether you choose to conceal your cistern behind the wall or in a furniture unit, you can create a brilliant space-saving solution as well as improving the aesthetics of your bathroom.

With pipework hidden behind a wall or fixture, a concealed cistern also has the potential for less cleaning. Now we all know with a standard close coupled toilet it’s difficult to fully clean behind your toilet and clean the exposed pipes too. One of the great benefits of a concealed cistern is this pipework is hidden out of sight making it less likely to become dirty and dusty.

Concealed cistern furniture units, also known as back-to-wall toilet units, in some cases also include handy storage space, from fitted drawers to additional shelving. These handy storage solutions are perfect for smaller bathrooms where storage space comes at a premium. Some back-to-wall toilet units even have matching pieces of furniture such as vanity units and storage cabinets.

Negatives of a concealed cistern

A concealed WC cistern does, however, have some negatives that should be taken into consideration. Keep reading to find out more.

One of the main disadvantages is any repairs necessary may be more difficult to complete, especially if your cistern is concealed behind a wall rather than in a concealed cistern unit. It’s always best to keep an accessible point for future repairs and this should be considered before fitting a concealed cistern behind a wall.

Concealed cistern furniture units, however, tend to come with removable panels for easy access to the cistern when necessary. However, a concealed cistern unit is likely to take up more space than a standard close-coupled toilet, so this should also be considered.

While a concealed cistern unit may look more presentable than a standard close-coupled toilet, you also need to take visible floor and wall space into account too. It’s surprising how much more space a back-to-wall toilet unit can take up.

Toilet styles

While a concealed cistern may only be compatible with back-to-wall and wall-hung toilets, your style options aren't limited. From contemporary to traditional and somewhere in between there are plenty of options available, allowing you to choose the perfect toilet design for your space. You could even treat yourself to an ultra-modern black toilet.

How much does a toilet with concealed cistern cost?

Most options come complete with both a full toilet and cistern, and you can even get a full package that includes a back-to-wall toilet unit too. If you’re looking for a full toilet and unit, you can get these from around £180 - £400 depending on the style of toilet and style and material of the back-to-wall unit you choose.

You can, however, purchase a concealed cistern and toilet separately, with a toilet costing anything from £100 - £200 and around £50 - £300 for the cistern. It’s worth bearing in mind that this price includes concealed cisterns with a frame and flush button too.

How to install a concealed cistern?

Installing a back-to-wall toilet and a hidden cistern is slightly more complicated than fitting a close-coupled toilet. You will need to create a space for the cistern, which involves building a wall or box to house it if you do not have a suitable boxed-in area already. In many cases, a back-to-wall toilet unit can be purchased to put the cistern into. Of course, this needs to be built and installed as well.

The plumbing for a separate cistern can be a bit more complicated than a simple toilet. Essentially, when an extra connection is required between the cistern and the toilet, making it a slightly more difficult job.

Hidden cisterns also require a flush button, mounted somewhere other than on top of the cistern as normal. In most cases, the flush is fitted in the wall somewhere above the toilet or in the front of a back-to-wall toilet unit to keep the flush accessible for all. Most cisterns will come with the flush switch, but it can also be bought as a separate item.

It is important to ensure that there is easy access to a hidden cistern in case anything were to go wrong with the plumbing. If it is housed in a concealed cistern furniture unit, it is usually a simple case of lifting the top of the unit to take a look. However, if it has been boxed into the wall, it is important to have an access door or hatch put in place.

It is essential to check concealed cisterns regularly, for maintenance issues and potential leaks, as these issues are less likely to be spotted day to day than on a standard close coupled toilet.

If you're looking for more toilet inspiration and advice, take a look at the following posts - How to Change a Toilet Cistern - What is a Dual Flush Toilet? - What are the Types of Toilet? Toilet Buying Guide.

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