While most toilets in the United States are mounted on the floor, many European models are hung on the wall of the bathroom instead. According to Reeves Journal--a publication serving professional plumbers--the use of wall-hung units is growing throughout the U.S., particularly in the commercial market. Both wall-hung and floor-mounted toilets offer their own benefits and drawbacks that should be considered when choosing between the two.

Features

Floor-mounted toilets are the standard unit found in most North American homes. They feature a large water tank located against the wall, and a separate bowl that usually has a hinged lid. A large drain pipe with an "S" or "U" shape extends from the bottom of the bowl through the floor.

Wall-hung units have both a tank and a bowl as well, but the tank is hidden within the wall. Only the bowl portion of the toilet is visible, and all plumbing pipes are hidden behind the wall.

Installation

Floor-mounted toilets are bolted to the floor, and generally require that the floor be reinforced to support their weight. A gasket or sealing system sits between the toilet and floor to prevent leaks, and the tank of the toilet may be braced against the wall for added support.

Wall-hung toilets, on the other hand, feature tanks that sit within a carrier support system inside the wall cavity. The wall must be framed with at least 2 x 6 studs to support the carrier support and to allow enough room for the tank. The bowl is then fastened to the carrier system through the wall using bolts.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Floor-Mounted Toilets

Because floor-mounted toilets are the most widely used, buyers will often find a larger selection of designs than with wall-hung models. Floor-mounted toilets are also more affordable, and are usually easier to install because most homes are prepped for this model.

The main drawback to floor-mounted units is that they take up a fairly large amount of space, which can particularly affect users with small bathrooms. They are also considered less attractive than wall-hung toilets.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Wall-Mounted Toilets

Wall-hung units are known for their relatively attractive appearance compared to floor-mounted toilets. Because the tank is concealed in the wall, they also offer substantial space savings. According to Reeves Journal, wall units can save up to 9 inches of space over floor models. They can also be set at any height, while floor-mounted units can only be used at a single height or seat level.

A drawback to wall-mounted toilets is that they require thicker walls to support their tank and carrier system. Many homes may not be equipped with walls of this size, so remodeling is often required. They also cost more than floor-mounted models and offer fewer choices in terms of color and design.

Maintenance

Because all components of a floor-mounted toilet are visible, they are easy to access when repair or maintenance is required. In terms of day-to-day cleaning however, they are more difficult to clean around than wall-hung toilets since it is sometimes difficult to access floor areas around the base of a floor-mounted toilet.

Wall-hung units are known for their easy cleaning. Because the space below the toilet is clear, it is much easier to mop or sweep all floor areas. With the toilet tank concealed in the wall, however, it may be difficult to perform repairs when needed. Some models come with built-in access panels so users can reach hidden components for maintenance.