Q: Dear Ed: My wife and I have been toilet shopping for our master bathroom, and we've noticed that some toilets have smooth sides and some toilets have wavy sides with curves. What's the difference, and why would you choose one style toilet over the other?
– Jerry and Gail, Massachusetts
A: When you talk smooth-sided toilet bowls, it usually refers to whether or not the toilet bowl is "skirted," or exposed.
Standard toilets have what is called an exposed trapway, and that basically means you can see the outline of the toilet trap on both sides of the toilet bowl.
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Some homeowners may find the exposed trap curves on a standard toilet a little less attractive and a little more time-consuming to clean. If that's the case, many toilet companies do offer concealed or skirted toilet bowls.
A skirted toilet is for the most part a cosmetic upgrade that conceals the trapway of the toilet. These toilet bowls have smooth sides and can be easily wiped down, since there are no nooks or crannies to worry about.
Bottom line: If you want an easy-to-clean fancy toilet, a skirted one can really help you dress up your bathroom.
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write email@example.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.