06 April A porcelain toilet with dramatic lighting

How Long Does a Porcelain Toilet Last?

Posted by PlumbWize

Nowadays, most toilets are made of porcelain, a ceramic material processed through high levels of heat. Porcelain is the material of choice because of its durability, low porosity, and density. It is also preferred because of its smooth feel and sleek look. 

Though porcelain is endowed with qualities that make it last, there comes a point when you need to replace your porcelain toilet

But how long does a porcelain toilet last? And what are the factors that shorten or prolong its lifespan

Read on to find out! 

 A close-up of someone inspecting a porcelain toilet 

Sturdy Composition and Lifespan: How Long Does a Porcelain Toilet Last?

Essentially, porcelain is made from different types of clay. However, once shaped, heated, and processed, this mixture of clay becomes sturdy, durable, and long-lasting. 

During the process, an enamel coating called “vitreous china” is applied to the porcelain. This coating endows the porcelain with added shine, durability, and density. In some cases, “vitreous china” is also the term used for the entire finished product. 

Aside from durability, the low porosity of toilet porcelain or vitreous china makes it perfect for bathroom fixtures. This allows the toilet to hold water effectively. Low porosity also makes porcelain toilets highly resistant to moisture infiltration and subsequent damage

Considering all of the above characteristics, it’s no surprise that porcelain toilets can last an average of 15 to 30 years. With added care, porcelain toilets can last even longer — with some claiming that they could last indefinitely

How Do I Make My Toilet Bowl Last Longer? 

Another common question property owners have is, “how do I make a porcelain toilet last?” In this section, we’ll cover a few essential tips to help you extend the lifespan of your porcelain toilet. 

1. Avoid Sudden Physical Impact

As sturdy as porcelain may seem, an incident of sudden physical impact can lead to hairline cracks or larger cracks that make the toilet tank leak. Physical impact can come from accidental hits or heavy falling objects. 

Though a toilet may not seem like it was phased by an incident of sudden impact, it may have actually developed small hairline cracks that become worse gradually.

2. Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Compounds

Over time, porcelain toilets can develop stains. It may be tempting to use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and the like, but it’s best to avoid these cleaning agents as much as possible. 

It’s not likely that the chemical compounds above will crack your porcelain toilet, but they can damage the finish of the porcelain. While this may sound like a cosmetic problem, it actually affects the integrity of the porcelain because the coating is supposed to reinforce the material with added durability and give it lower porosity. 

3. Avoid Pouring Hot/Boiling Water

Some homeowners think of using boiling water to unclog their toilets. However, this should be avoided at all costs. 

As unassuming as hot or boiling water may seem, it can cause even more damage to your porcelain toilet than the harsh chemicals we talked about in the previous section. Hot water is likely to cause small cracks because of the sudden temperature change. These cracks can worsen over time. Depending on the temperature change, larger cracks on the porcelain can also form. 

Furthermore, boiling hot water may damage PVC pipes connected to the toilet or even melt the wax ring that seals your toilet. 

A toilet tank being checked by a contractor

4. Address Hairline Cracks Immediately

As we’ve mentioned earlier, hairline cracks on porcelain can get worse over time. This is why it’s important to properly address hairline cracks as soon as they form, especially the ones that are causing water to leak. Porcelain epoxy is recommended for repairing small hairline cracks. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when doing this repair by yourself. 

5. Be Careful With DIY Fixes

If you ever need to fasten anything to your toilet, be careful with tightening bolts. If you tighten bolts too much, this can lead to irreparable cracks on your porcelain toilet. 

Signs That You Need to Replace Your Porcelain Toilet

The two major signs that you need to replace your porcelain toilet include the following:

  • Constant clogging; and
  • The presence of cracks and leaks. 

These issues usually arise when the porcelain toilet has reached its lifespan. However, misusing the toilet or sudden physical impact can cause the early onset of the above two issues.   

Expert Toilet Installation & Replacement That You Can Count On 

If you’re looking for professional toilet installation or replacement, we’re here to help. PlumbWize is one of the most trusted providers of plumbing and drain services for the areas of Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Milton, Ancaster, and Stoney Creek

We can help you select the perfect toilet(s) for your residential or commercial property. With our meticulous installation methods, you will have a properly functioning toilet with zero issues and a sturdy base. 

If you have any questions or if you need emergency plumbing services, please feel free to reach out to our team!


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