Maris vs Eco Nexus & Toto tubs

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This site is awesome! I have learned more about toilet architecture than I ever thought I would want to know! Thanks in advance for all the thoughtful, experienced, & knowledgeable comments that I know will appear in response to my questions. I value your opinions & hope to avoid renovation regret, at all costs.

Background: My house is a 50+ yr old, 1400 sqft mid-century modern ranch & we are doing a total gut, including subfloor, in a 7.5ft x 7.5ft bath main bath which is off the public hallway. We will probably never be able to afford to do it again. We plan to age in place, & we are retired at 59 & 66. Hubby is the older one, w/2 knee replacements from working in the trades for many years. My renovation schedule is flexible, but I plan to start doing demo by April, while awaiting delivery lead time on anything I decide to purchase. We are doing the demo, but have friends: A liscensed general contractor & a liscensed plumber to help with the job. I don't care for colonial/traditional looks, and generally dislike products made of MDF, so I guess you could say my style is Transitional tending toward Modern. I have expensive taste & a Korbel budget, but I am an artist & I think outside the box (read: Hubby gets to fabricate everything custom for me...LOL!) For years I yearned for a wall hung Gerberit/Aquia or Scarabeo combo. However, someone here cleverly noted that if you ever do another reno, you have many more choices in floor model toilets than in wall-hungs, and so I have decided to be practical, save the cost of moving the plumbing into our 2x4 wall, & instead get a floor mount Toto toilet. The plumber prefers Kohler & gets a good discount on the whole line, but I am sold on Toto. I don't know if he has ever installed a Toto toilet. (Though he is very experienced, the suburban Midwest is pretty conservative & resists innovation.) I am looking at the Maris & Eco Nexus toilets. I previously considered & nixed, Drake & Ultramax due to the exposed trap. I also kicked out VespinII, Aquia, Carlyle, Guinevere & Connelly for either esthetic, functional details, or preference issues. ADA height, elongated bowl, & sleek, skirted design are a must. (I consider VespinII & Connelly "semi-skirted" & harder to clean due to awkward hump in the back.) Because of my research & all the favorable reviews here, I'm convinced that whichever Toto toilet model I pick, I'll be satisfied. A lot of it stacks up to personal preference.

I HATE my very old, textured fiberglass tub & surround kit. I have to keep reminding myself that the desire to replace it it is the reason for this remodel. Despite craving the therapeutic force of a heated, jetted tub, after a lot of tub research, I also ditched that idea. I have limited space; a non-drop-in, 3 wall alcove install limitation; my 3-yr-old, 40 gal. water tank would not handle hot water fill requirements in many tubs, jetted tubs require chemicals & monthly maintenance using up to 100 gal of wasted water to prevent mold, and reviewers on the Net described numerous problems after install. Our area gets no "Green/Water Saver" rebates & I am not ready to spend an addtl. $2000 on a good tankless water heater. This is the only tub (actually a tub/shower combo) in my house, & I like a bath in winter or after slaving in the gardens of my 1/2 acre lot. Because of personal preference (& poor resale on area homes without ANY tub) I opted away from a tub-to-deluxe shower conversion. Adding a tub to my 1/2 bath off the kitchen is not an option without MAJOR home remodeling & expense. I did not want an air tub & wanted something easy to clean & indestructible that held heat well. Walk-in tubs are out--too impractical & expensive + they limit resale. Like walkins, Japanese tubs would not allow me to soak my shoulders & neck, which are a source of pain. Therefore, we also plan to buy a Toto cast iron enamel tub (either FBY1515 or 1525.) They are one of the only brand/models that work with our 60 x30-32" alcove limits & our desire to get a good soak without exceeding a 17" tub side (for safety & ease of access/egress.) I am hoping to be able to afford a cultured or crushed marble, caulked 3 wall panel for a low maintenance surround. Barring that, I will use tile w/anti-microbial grout & caulk. My sink will be integrated with a ground-in or molded drip edge-- extending behind the faucet & pitched into the sink slightly for low maintenance. I am wary of the granite overhang on undermount sinks (a drip catch & mold nursery.) Vessel sinks rarely contain splashes, & the hard water buildup around the base makes them impractical for me--Miss Low Maintenance. Also, though mirror or wall hung faucets look great, you are using wet hands to turn them on & off at the wall (& dripping as you do so.) As much as I liked the wall-hung vanities, I lose too much space in this small bathroom & vanities with furniture legs (& without a backing toe kickplate) may be difficult to clean underneath, if they are less than 6" off the floor . I also suspect that, over time, wood legs will get damaged from the moisture contact of mopping the floor (unless you use expensive teak.) Did I think of everything, people??? Hope I am not so practical that it doesn't come out looking like I didn't do any update at all.... We conservative Midwesterners.... (sigh...)

I'm having a hard time finding display toilets & tubs from Toto. A lot of places can order Toto, but are taking down their Toto displays & converting to strictly Kohler. Even in a downtown Chicago Toto showroom, it is very difficult to find most of these toilet models on display and Toto tub displays are non-existent! Suburban showroom/distributors tend to only have Neorest toilets on display (probably due to the profit margin.)

**FYI** Per Toto on 3/25/14: Despite speculation on various threads of this forum, I was told yesterday that Maris CST484CEMFG is NOT being discontinued. They say demand has caused extended backorder (current dlvry estimates between late June/July but possibly up to 6 months.) This is supposedly why the spec sheet is missing from their site (hmmmm....) As some experienced plumbers here have alluded, given the missing spec sheet, this may, however, be "company speak" for "everything is fine with our product, pay no attention to the man furiously re-engineering our product behind the curtain..." Only Toto knows which line of thinking is true.... A sales associate at Toto also told me (or used the excuse) that this was an item with limited distribution. However, a reliable Toto Tech Dept. CSR checked for me & denied this. In any event, there is a current, lengthy backorder (subject to further extension) on the Maris CST484.

To begin:
I have been considering the Maris mainly because it has 1.28/.9 GPF Dual Cyclone, Sanigloss, sleek skirt, handle flush & ADA compliant height (important to us.) I can see why it is popular & back ordered--it has it all. I decided against Aquia due to the fact that the Aquia III (the only one with ADA height) is discontinued, & Aquia has a small waterspot, & therefore, streaking issues. If you are buying new technology (which should be an improvement all around & not just related to water use) then streaking was a major factor for us --Who wants to brush between cleanings??? The Maris 5.5 x 4 3/16 in. waterspot is smaller than both Aquia (single flush washdown, no Sanigloss option) & the Eco Nexus (single flush washdown, no Sanigloss option) but I figured the cylcone flush on the Maris would compensate for that & minimize streaking. The possibly endless back order on the Maris may be a problem though. This item is available online, but I have heard Toto will sell parts, but not provide any other service, for Toto products purchased online. Is this a concern if I buy online to avoid the Maris backorder?

My choice is between waiting for the Maris or purchasing the ADA height Eco Nexus (CST797EF) w/1.28 GPF Emax system which has the larger 10.25 x 8.25 inch water spot helpful to avoid streaking, especially in a washdown toilet. However, Eco Nexus does not offer SaniGloss (but I hear this is not a big concern.) This would be my first Toto product ever. I k now they are great, but am also concerned the bowl wash is not as good in a washdown system, as in a Cyclone system. Ten yrs ago, we got rid of our well/septic & put in Chicago water (which is very hard water.) I am not sure if it was the previous, nasty well water used, or just product age, but despite regular cleaning, I have hard to clear black gunk under the rim & near the washdown holes on the 30 yr old Kohler toilet being replaced. Therefore, the Cyclone system of the Maris could be an advantage. (If this issue was caused by well water use--or product age--once the toilet is replaced, this may not be a problem, as I now have Chicago water.) I can live without dual flush, as even the single flush 1.28GPF Emax on the Eco Nexus will be a significant water savings over the old toilet, but I want the handle flush, not the pressure assist buttons, which I dislike a lot. The button flush was one reason the Aquia is no longer being considered, despite being $200 less.

I can't find any info on the water DEPTH on either the Maris or the Eco Nexus, and I hear that if the waterspot is long & wide (one advantage of the Eco Nexus), it is also shallow, leading to "outhouse" odor. Does anyone have depth info on these 2 toilets? Is anyone aware of issues with splashback for females on either model? I am currently leaning toward the Eco Nexus due to the Maris delay & the need to be practical.

Do I need to be concerned about flush actuators that utilize cheap, Chinese chains to function? Or just plan to buy replacement Korky products, if the Chinese Voreto valve fails?

If anyone has a Toto enameled cast iron tub, I would welcome a review. They are about $1000 online, but all cast iron enameled tubs are expensive.. I guess I have to use non-abrasive cleanser due to the textured non-slip bottom. Tech support told me Toto will not make it without that feature due to safety/liability issues.

I am really cost conscious, but have also learned in life that you get what you pay for. I am going to do this once & do it right, so a few hundred extra invested into fixtures with worthy features is worth it. I can always spend less on tile or sink fixtures. I also hope to politely request a competitive package price on my tub, toilet, & whatever fixtures I choose through a local distributor. It may not be as cheap as online, but at least I will have someone to service me if there is a problem. I can also buy in classic, cotton white to save a few bucks (though I think Toto Sedona Beige will look cleaner longer & I prefer the warm color, which I now have in my Kohler toilet & the awful, textured, fiberglass tub kit I am replacing.)

Hope I did't bore you all with the details of my research, just wanted you to see where I am coming from so you could be specific with help.... All comments are welcome, as I am closing in on making these decisions & placing my orders.

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