Are Toilets Ceramic? (We Find Out)

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With the wide variety of amazingly unique toilets, it can be hard to tell what they are made of just by looking at them. Knowing which materials are needed to create a good toilet and a bathroom experience like no other, can be a challenge, especially considering just how vast a selection you have to choose from when it comes to toilet-making materials.

On average, toilets tend to be made of porcelain, which is a type of ceramic created using a mix of different ingredients. But, the porcelain ceramic mix is not as simple as one may think.

Read on because in this article we discuss, the toilet-making process, as well as how we can go from a thick bunch of clay to a beautifully crafted, everyday essential.

Keep reading to find out what it takes to create a good porcelain mixture and just how much work goes into making a great-looking and sanitary toilet.

What Are Most Toilets Made Of?

The usual mixture includes silicate minerals, powdered feldspar, and kaolin. Some companies use additional ingredients to create a specialized mix for their brand or product. These mixes turn into a thick clay-like substance.

We’ll get deeper into the porcelain and toilet-making process in another section.

Porcelain is the most commonly used material to make toilets. Porcelain is any type of ceramic material, and while many people consider it to be a raw material it is actually a man-made mix of different ingredients.

Why Are Toilets Made of Porcelain?

For a lot of reasons, porcelain is the go to. Most importantly toilets need a material that is resilient, and when porcelain is produced properly it is smooth, waterproof, and easy to clean. These features allow the porcelain to create a sanitary disposal system like no other. According to Surface Art (Link), porcelain has an absorption rate of .5%, and the lower the absorption rate the stronger the material.

As a general rule, porcelain is the best choice for making a toilet because it’s

  • Resilient
  • Smooth
  • Easy to clean
  • Sanitary and
  • Waterproof

To go the extra mile and make the material completely waterproof, manufacturers do something called Vitreous china. A lot of toilets are labeled as such instead of porcelain. (Link)

This treatment is a coating, not a material, and it’s an enamel that creates the glossy finish we are used to. It creates a non-porous surface that’s smooth and easy to clean.

There are materials besides porcelain available for the production of a good toilet, both portable and composting toilets use plastic, but not residential toilets.

This is because plastic is not as strong as porcelain, you would have to do significantly more of it to get the same resilience as a porcelain commode, additionally plastic has a far more expensive production process.

Plastic’s biodegradability also creates problems in terms of your toilet’s longevity, overtime waste and moisture will seep into the plastic creating highly unsanitary disposal of waste.

So, why not steel?

While steel is a smooth and stronger material than plastic, it doesn’t create the most pleasant bathroom experience.

While they do use steel in places like airplanes and prisons, because of its thermal heat transfer and weight, it’s’ great for kitchen appliances and surfaces but gets way too cold for one to enjoy, on the go.

According to Make It From Metal (Link), because metal conducts heat, it absorbs the heat from your body making you feel cold.

Now that we’ve covered why porcelain is the best option, we finally get to learn the toilet manufacturing process in the next section.

How Are These Toilets Made?

The process of manufacturing a toilet is not at all easy. It requires attention to detail and takes multiple days to complete. To ensure both the durability and safety of the toilet several days have to go by in between steps before there is a finished product.

On average toilets are made using a 4 step process including,

  • Creating a toilet mold
  • Filling the mold with the porcelain mixture
  • Glazing the finished toilet and
  • Firing

Obviously, the process varies, and will look different depending on the manufacturer, but, there are core steps that must be included in any production process that we will talk about here.

Creating The Mold

First on the list for toilet makers is creating the mold. The mold can be made into many different designs, shapes and sizes. This means designers can create fixtures that meet anyone’s needs, no matter how unique.

Filling The Mold

After the mold is made, it’s filled with the porcelain mix we talked about earlier. Because the mix is free-flowing, it’s able to make its way through even the smallest and hardest to reach parts of the mold with no problem.

The molds then need to solidify, so they are left to air dry. Because this drying process takes so long, it’s common for manufacturers to put the molds in a low-0 degree heat drying chamber, to lower the drying time.

Ultimately you want to get rid of as much moisture as possible during the drying process. The moisture content is entirely dependent on the porcelain’s formula, but most formulas have roughly 20% moisture content. The reduction of the moisture content prepares the components of the toilet for the next steps of the process.

Glazing the Toilet

After the different sections have dried, they are removed from the mold. Now, it’s time to get rid of any imperfections that may have come up. Any sections that are bumpy or uneven will be sanded down. The toilet will then be assembled.

Once things look good, it’s time to apply the glaze.

It’s time for the vitreous china, the enamel is applied in a thick and even coat, ensuring that the toilet is waterproof.

Firing

Now is the final stage, the firing!

The toilets are brought into a massive kiln. Kiln temperatures rise to a scorching 1,220 degrees Centigrade, almost 2400 Fahrenheit. The kiln’s fire gets rid of all the leftover moisture. It also creates a glossy finish with the enamel, by hardening it.

Some manufacturers have a red dye that they apply to the toilet before firing. The dye burns off and ensures that the toilet is baked evenly throughout. There is no exact time because it varies by the toilet. The usual firing time is 18 plus hours.

Conclusion

Toilet making can be a long complicated process, and its commonly used ceramic mix is more intricate than it looks at first. But, with highly dedicated manufactures and their close attention to both detail and style the end product is a safe and functioning place to do your business.

Sources:

www.makeitfrommetal.com / www.surfaceartinc.com / www.wikipedia.org