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What’s The Difference Between A Lavatory And A Water Closet? (Find Out)

What’s The Difference Between A Lavatory And A Water Closet? (Find Out)

You can often find a lavatory and a water closet in the same room. In America, you call it the bathroom. However, in most English-speaking countries, it’s called the toilet.

Most people don’t get the difference between lavatories and water closets. Some even think toilets are water closets.

The main differences between a water closet and a lavatory are a water supply system and type of waste disposal.

In the lavatory, the water goes straight from the faucet into the bowl, and it disposes of wastewater used for brushing and washing hands. On the other hand, the water closet uses the water stored in a flush tank and disposes of excreted waste.

Let’s discuss both these things in detail.

What Is A Water Closet?

Water closets are flush toilets in a room. It’s a wholly built toilet.

An image of a water closet.
A simple water closet.

A water closet has three main parts: bowl, tank, and seat. In addition, the toilet bowl is usually 16 inches from the floor. The tank includes water for flushing too. Toilet seats come in various materials, but ceramic is the most affordable and durable.

Water closets are great because they’ve evolved to be cleaner and hygienic. People prefer them over combined bathrooms.

What Is A Lavatory?

The lavatory is a sink or basin where you can wash your hands. The public restrooms( like in-plane or school) are probably known as a lavatory.

An image of a lavatory's bowl and a faucet.
A lavatory with a basin and a faucet.

In a bathroom, lavatories are sinks and basins for people to wash their hands. It includes parts like a bowl and a faucet. Water flow is controlled by the lever in the basin.

Water gets into the bowl when you wash your hands and brush your teeth. You can get bowls made of ceramic, glass, and wood. The bowls include an overflow hole and drain.

There’s a hole under the bowl for the drain. You can fill it up with water with a stopper. The overflow trap lets water escape when it spills over which also prevents flooding.

What’s the Difference Between A Water Closet And A Lavatory?

A water closet and a lavatory are both a part of the bathroom. However, they are pretty different. Have a look at this table to understand these differences.

Water ClosetLavatory
The water closet is a wholly built toilet.Lavatory only consists of sinks and basins.
Its main parts are the bowl, tank, and seat.Its main parts consist of a bowl and faucet.
It’s used to respond to the call of nature and to ease yourself.It’s used to wash hands and brush teeth.
It gets rid of excreted waste.It gets rid of water used for washing purposes.
It uses stored water in a flush tank.It utilizes water straight from the faucet.
Water Closet VS Lavatory

Does Water Closet Include A Sink?

Water closets only had a toilet in the past, but nowadays, some come with a sink.  

It depends on the style of your home and your culture. In some cultures, building a sink and a toilet in the same room is considered unclean.

While in others, all the plumbing equipment like a sink and shower is made in a single place and a compact flush toilet.

What’s The Difference Between A Lavatory And A Sink?

A lavatory refers to the place where you can wash your hands or your body, while a sink refers to any basin where you can wash anything.

Both these terms, lavatory and sink, are often used interchangeably. However, you can only refer to the basin in the washroom or bathroom as a lavatory; all other washbasins, including your kitchen, are known as sinks.

Why Is It Called A Lavatory?

A lavatory comes from the Greek word meaning “to wash”. So, a lavatory is a place where you can wash your hands and body. That’s why it’s named so.

Here is a short clip telling you something about the lavatory.

Lavatory Explained!

Are Water Closets Popular?

Yes, the water closet is the most popular feature, either individually installed or in a full bathroom.

Some people prefer water closets to be a part of their home. However, many others don’t want to build separate water closets as they like to build a single room that includes all the features of a toilet and bathroom.

Do Water Closets Add Value To Home?

It all depends on your view of the aesthetic features of your home. Some consider it a necessary feature as it’s more hygienic and adds privacy to the bathroom.

Many architects recommend adding it, especially to the master bathrooms of your house.

What Type Of Water Closet Is Most Preferred?

A fully closed western-style plumbing system is the best type of water closet system.

This system is sealed with automated flush tanks. They flush out your waste excrement with a single push of a button. Moreover, they are more hygienic, and there are fewer chances for any insects to crawl through them into your home.

Final Takeaway

Many individuals often confuse a water closet and lavatory with each other. A lavatory is a pretty outdated word. Nowadays people consider both water closet and lavatory as same. However, they are two different things.

There are two main differences between a water closet and a lavatory: the water supply system and waste disposal.

When using the lavatory, you use water directly from the faucet into the bowl, where you dispose of waste from brushing and washing your hands.

On the other hand, the water closet uses water from the flush tank to flush away excreted waste.

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