Although an experienced handyman can replace an old toilet with a new one, most homeowners prefer to hire a professional plumber or a general contractor to complete the job. Replacing an old toilet is rarely a straightforward matter of pulling the old fixture and installing the new one. Nationwide, the average total cost for toilet installation ranges from $70 to $190, not including the cost of the toilet itself. Toilets typically cost $100 and up, depending on flushing options, style, type of toilet seat, additional amenities and the manufacturer.
Toilet replacements are a popular home improvement project. The steps to install a new toilet include shutting off the water supply to the toilet, removing the water that may still be left in the old bowl or tank, and physically disconnecting and moving the old toilet. The installer must then set anchor bolts and install a new wax ring to keep the new toilet secure and ensure that water won't leak from below. These may sound like simple tasks, but not every homeowner can easily accomplish them; however, any professional plumber can complete this job efficiently and with fewer risks to your plumbing and flooring. Most plumbers charge by the hour, starting on average at $100 to $200 per hour and requiring a one-hour minimum. Although some charge a flat fee for certain jobs, replacing a toilet is rarely one of them; removing an old fixture too often reveals surprise problems that result in costly additional work.
When shopping for a new toilet, Consumer Reports suggests looking for one that fits your budget, uses less than 1.5 gallons of water per flush, and is relatively quiet. Their top brands include St. Thomas Creations, Kohler, AquaSource and American Standard, ranging from $100 to $425 for basic, high-functioning fixtures. Other popular toilet brands include Toto, Delta and Glacier Bay.
Here are the factors that can affect the average toilet installation cost.
Standard toilets are usually made of two pieces: the bowl and pedestal combination and the tank, which sits on top of the bowl. Single-piece toilets are also available, in which the bowl, pedestal and tank are fused together. Single-piece toilets are often more expensive, but they are also more efficient and require less maintenance. They also tend to have a more modern style.
One-piece vs. two-piece toilets
One-piece toilets are newer, so are often more expensive than two-piece toilets. Despite the additional toilet cost, they offer some advantages. Single-piece toilets are usually smaller than a two-piece toilet, so they can be installed in bathrooms with less square footage than a standard bathroom. Because they're smaller and can sit closer to the ground, they may be more appropriate for people with disabilities or children. Two-piece toilets may be preferred by elderly people or healthy adults because they sit a bit farther from the floor.
One-piece toilets are also easier to clean because they have fewer nooks and crevices than two-piece toilets. They may be more durable, too, because they're a single piece of ceramic and fewer of the drain pipes and flushing elements are exposed. Single-piece toilets may be easier to install than two-piece toilets, especially in smaller bathrooms, but any plumbing professional should be able to easily handle either type.
Luxury toilet features
Luxury design features quickly drive up the price of a toilet, such as electronic bidets, wireless Bluetooth technology to play music, self-cleaning features, heated seats and even colored lights. Some toilets have built-in speakers that you can connect to a music player, while others, such as the Inax Satis, play classical music on command; such toilets start at about $4,000.
On the higher end are luxury toilets that also offer air purification systems, which are triggered by a sensor when the lid is lifted or a user is detected. Toto's Neorest purifies the air whenever the seat is lifted, for example. In general, this feature is part of a fully equipped luxury toilet, which may also have sensors that detect a person's imminent use and lift the lid for you, then automatically flushes and deploys the air purification system— for a cost of close to $10,000.
Toilet flushing system
Two standard types of flushing systems are most common in the United States:
- Gravity flush uses the pull of gravity combined with the swirling action of the water draining.
- Pressure assist uses pressurized air to force water into the bowl, which reduces clogs.
Pressure-assisted flush toilets cost more than gravity-assisted ones and may cost more to install.
The first step is measuring the space in your bathroom for the new toilet. You want to avoid cramming it in a space that's already crowded with a bathtub and sink or vanity. It's also important to make sure there's enough elbow room to comfortably sit on the toilet, reach the handle to flush, and have easy access to toilet paper.
Start by becoming familiar with your local building codes, which specify the minimum spaces between fixtures adjacent to the toilet and between the toilet and the walls. If you or a family member is physically disabled, you must comply with additional codes during installation. The usual minimum distance between the toilet and the finished wall is 15 inches on each side, as measured from the toilet's centerline (not the outside edge). The minimum distance between the front of the toilet and the wall is typically 21 inches, which may be easier to accommodate by choosing a toilet with a smaller, rounder bowl.
However, building codes indicate the very minimum allowances — not the ideal amount of space for comfort and convenience for people's use. It's best to increase the distance between the toilet and walls to the side to 18 or 19 inches, and the space between the front of the toilet and the wall to at least 30 inches. Some builders recommend 36 inches for comfort. It's a good idea to take these measurements before choosing a toilet with a long, ovoid bowl, for example, or a particularly wide base.
Many full-service plumbing services won't come to your location to install a fixture or repair a plumbing issue for less than $200. For customers who have already purchased a toilet, Do Right Rooter & Plumbing Experts typically charges $225. Pierce County Plumbing charges $250 on average. If customers purchase a toilet through their plumber, prices start around $300 or $400. Toilets with additional features, such as assisted flushing, cost more, depending on how much more complicated the fixture is and whether it contains more parts.
Removing an old toilet often reveals unexpected problems, which can lead to surprise costs. These problems may include:
- Unexpected leaks around the toilet or in the pipes
- A cracked flange, which causes a wobbly toilet
- An improper wax ring seal replacement or compression
- Poor caulking around the toilet base
- A leaky flush valve
Sometimes homeowners discover more expensive problems, such as plumbing lines that must be repaired or modified to fit the new fixture, or water damage to the floor underneath or around the toilet, or water damage to the wall behind the fixture.
Toilet disposal fees
Most plumbers also charge an extra fee for hauling a heavy toilet downstairs as well as taking it away for disposal. Depending on your location, toilet disposal costs anywhere from $50 to $200.
You can save money by purchasing the toilet yourself. However, find out how much more the plumber charges to supply the toilet, because picking out a toilet and other fixtures, plus transporting them to the installation site, takes time and may be frustrating. The extra charge may be worth it.
Also, look for a toilet with a WaterSense label, which indicates that it has been tested to meet EPA standards for performance and efficiency. Newer toilets can use less than one and half gallons per flush or less, which can save as much as 13,000 gallons of water every year. This can add up to more than $100 per year in water costs and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet. Look, too, to your local utility company for rebates or vouchers for installing low-flow toilets.
Taking the old toilet to a disposal facility yourself can save a significant amount of money. The facility may charge as little as $5 to dispose of an old toilet.
- Plumbers advise against using drop-in toilet bowl cleaning tablets because the chemicals they contain can wear out working parts inside the tank. Also, as the tablets disintegrate, they can get stuck in the flush valve and prevent the toilet from flushing.