What is a Concealed Cistern And Is It Right For You?

in-wall cistern 2

What is a Concealed Cistern and is it right for you?

With their space saving, cleaning and aesthetic benefits concealed cisterns are becoming more popular every day.

In this article we’ll cover off everything you need to know about in wall cisterns, including the terminology, pros and cons, installation and maintenance considerations

Decoding the Terminology

If you ever hear terms like - 'In-Wall cistern', 'Concealed Cistern', 'Concealed Toilet' or 'Wall Hung Toilet', we are talking about an installation where the flushing components (the cistern) are hidden inside the wall, with just a pan (either wall mounted or wall faced) and push plate (also called 'Actuators') exposed.

Here's an example of a typical installation:

in-wall cistern example 3

In-wall cisterns also come in two different actuation types.


The push plate uses small air pumps (billows), connected with hoses, to flush the cistern. The advantage of a pneumatic cistern is that it allows you to place the cistern up to 3 meters away from the push plate.

pneumatic cistern example


The push plate uses rods to directly flush the cistern. Mechanical actuation is generally considered to be slightly more reliable than pneumatic because in rare cases the air hoses in a pneumatic installation can come loose (which is easily fixed however)

mechanical cistern example

In-wall cisterns are available in two different variations - Standard or Wall-Hung

Cistern only without frame. Suitable for use with a wall faced (floor mounted) pan.

standard cistern example

Wall Hung

In addition to the plastic cistern tank a solid frame will be installed. These frames are incredibly sturdy and weight tested to 400kg! Wall hung cisterns are designed for use with a wall hung pan, which will give you a fantastic floating look.

wall-hung cistern example

Pros of Using an In Wall Cistern

Space Saving
A wall faced toilet suite (like our Manhattan) typically has a projection from the wall of between 650 and 700mm. A concealed suite hides the cistern in the wall, which reduces the projection to between 500 and 550mm. Which means you can return around 100-150mm to you bathroom. Awesome right?

space saving cistern diagram example

Great Modern Look
There’s no doubt about it, concealed suites look incredible!

Less surfaces for dust and grime to settle.. awesome!

Increase Your Resale Value
House hunters and renovators increasingly look to Instagram (See Here), Pinterest (See Here) and other online sources for inspiration and to learn about the latest modern architectural trends. It is much more common now to see great looking projects featuring in-wall cisterns. They are also seen as a higher end or more premium option so including this in your next project is a great way to boost perceived value.

With such a massive range of different push plates available you have the ability to add a whole new world of personality to your bathroom. Check out Some of our beautiful options below!

customise your bathroom with push plates

Cons of Using an In Wall Cistern

Product Cost
The upfront cost of a concealed suite is typically higher than it’s back-to-wall suite counterpart. At Studio Bagno we offer value packages starting at $925 inc GST for our Q in-wall suite, whereas the BTW option is $749, so typically you’re looking at around a $200 plus premium

Also typically more expensive, around double that of a back to wall suite. You should also speak to your plumber & builder before setting your heart on an in-wall suite just in case there are any major structural/building constraints that will stop you.

is slightly more complicated than a BTW suite, however we believe our cisterns are incredible easy to maintain or service, particularly with a range of videos, guides and a legendary customer service team on call!

Selecting A Push Plate
Push plates come in hundreds of different shapes, colours and finishes. To make selecting a push plate easy try using one of these methods:

Match your tiles/wall finish
Having your push plate fade into the overall colour scheme creates a refined & stylish aesthetic.

Match your Tapware
Select a finish that ties in with your tapware selection. Matte black is a very popular tapware finish and consequently so are our matte black push plates. Custom finishes are also becoming increasingly popular (like aged brass, rose gold, gunmetal grey etc…) and luckily we have you covered. Our Blink push plate (LINK) is ideal for custom plating and we can take care of this for you a small additional charge. Here’s an example in brushed copper:

match your tapware with your push plates

Choose a material that you like the feel of or that is ultra-durable. Our push plates come in a number of different materials, from ABS (plastic) to super sturdy stainless steel and toughened glass. If fingerprints bother you, also consider using one of our rubberised finishes (like matte black, grey or white) or a brushed/satin finish as these don’t tend to mark as easily.

matte black push plates

Pick a push plate that ties in with the other dominant shapes in your bathroom, like your basin, bath tub and tapware handles.

Installation Considerations
Installation is typically pretty straight forward and most plumbers these days are familiar with the product. However before you proceed there are some considerations that will come into play:

What Type of Wall Are you Installing Into?
Stud, brick or metal frame. Each of these wall types can work, however slightly different installation methods will apply to each. Don’t worry, we have instructions to walk you through them.

Installation Height
If you’re planning to install under a bench top or window be sure to check the minimum installation height with the manufacturer of both the cistern and pan. Our low level Expert Evo (see here) can be installed as low as 900mm for example.

Wall Thickness
Most standard height in-wall cisterns are designed to fit into a 90mm wall cavity (like our Oli 74 LINK), so be sure to check with your builder before selecting your cistern what your wall thickness is. Also be sure to check the wall sheet thickness, as some push plates required a minimum thickness (up to 25mm) to work properly. You can view our Wall Thickness Guide (Here).

Our cisterns are all designed to be accessed through the push plate, however you also have the option with a pneumatic cistern to place the cistern up to 3m away, whether it be in the ceiling, adjoining wall or closet. If installing remotely, make sure you are able to access the cistern for maintenance.

During installation plumbers should test the product thoroughly for any leaks prior to sheeting over the product. Lines should be cleared of debris before connecting the inlet valve to ensure debris doesn’t get stuck under the seals, which is the most common cause of water running continuously, as outlined below. Installation instructions for our cisterns can be found HERE.

Modern in-wall cisterns are typically very easy to maintain and service with the right instruction.

The components that most commonly need replacing are as follows:

Inlet & Outlet Valve Seals
These are small rubber seals that prevent water from running into your cistern (inlet valve) and into your pan (outlet valve).

If you find you have water constantly running into your pan this is typically due to an issue with one of your seals. If it is directly after installation this is almost always related to debris stuck under the seal that has entered the cistern during the installation process. To fix this issue you simply need to remove the inlet and outlet valves, remove the seals and clean away any debris. You should also run water through the cistern tank to clean away any extra debris.

If water starts running months or years after installation you should follow the same process as above, however you should also check to see if the seals have eroded or broken down, which may require you to purchase and install new ones. Don’t stress, seals are cheap and readily available. As an added bonus our Oli74 cistern comes with a free set of replacement seals in the box!

Inlet & Outlet Valves
these are the workhorses of the cistern. The inlet valve is connected to the external water supply and regulates how much water is allowed into the cistern. The outlet valve regulates how much water is allowed into your pan. Both valves are easily replaced (in much the same way as you would replace a seal) and readily available.
Click the image below to see a quick video showing just how easy maintenance of an in-wall cistern can be:

video of valve seal replacement

A quick note – in Australia you are required by law to engage a licensed plumber to carry out any work related to connecting or disconnecting a product from the water supply.

If you need help figuring out if an in-wall cistern is right for you, give us a call or send us an email.


02 9601 1948

Check out our full range HERE

All the best!

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