How Much To Install a Toilet?

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Anyone involved with remodeling and home maintenance will have to install or replace a toilet at some point. I’ve had that opportunity many times.

Most recently, I replaced an inefficient 1950s-era Kohler toilet with a contemporary American Standard dual-flush, low-flow model. I did the job for a friend so I charged only the cost of the toilet, which was about $160. Hiring a plumber would have been much more expensive.

To get an idea of how much it costs to install a toilet, I asked Roy Barnes of Maryland-based Service Force Plumbing. Barnes and his team have been serving their community for more than 30 years, and he says he has “seen it all.”

Assuming the average cost of a toilet to be $250 (which suggests I got a bargain!), his company charges a flat rate of $400 for simple installation. That assumes no changes to the plumbing pipes, the flange (which holds down the toilet) or the subfloor. Not all jobs are problem-free, however, and the bill can easily be more than that.

Factors That Affect Toilet Installation Cost

Here’s what’s involved in a simple toilet replacement procedure, according to Barnes:

  • Removing the old toilet;
  • Scraping off and disposing of the old wax ring;
  • Assembling the new toilet;
  • Installing a new wax ring and toilet bolts;
  • Dropping in the new toilet;
  • Hooking up the water and adjusting the flush.

The following factors can make a simple job more complicated:

Damaged toilet flange

The flange is the waste fitting for a toilet. It’s bolted to the floor and permanently connected to the waste line. These days, most flanges are plastic, but older toilets may have cast-iron flanges vulnerable to corrosion.

“Sometimes, after we pull the toilet, we find that the flange needs to be repaired or replaced,” says Barnes. “Reasons for this can be broken flange ears where the bolts connect to secure the toilet, or a new floor was installed and the flange height was not adjusted.

“Cost for a flange replacement because of corrosion or changes in the floor height will vary, but could range from $250 to $500.”

Rotten subfloor repair

When it’s correctly installed, the flange sits level with the surface of the floor covering. Sometimes it’s too high or too low. In either case, the toilet can rock and cause the wax ring — which seals the waste opening — to rupture and leak water onto the subfloor.

Barnes says most times, you won’t know this happened until you pull the toilet. “This repair can cost thousands,” he says, “depending on the extent of the rot and whether the rot is limited only to the plywood or if it extends to the floor joist below.”

New toilet rough-in

When you’re installing a toilet where there hasn’t been one before, you have to “rough in” (plumber-speak for “install”) new waste and water pipes.

“The average new toilet rough in is around $2,000 in our market in the D.C. metro area, which is a fairly high-cost area,” Barnes says. “The cost in other locations could be significantly lower. Things that can increase or decrease this price are the distance of the toilet from the main stack and if the location is in concrete.”

Internet research confirms Barnes’ figure to be consistent nationwide.

How Much Does a Toilet Cost?

“A good average toilet runs about $250,” Barnes says. As someone who has installed quite a few in the San Francisco Bay Area, I consider that expensive. For that price, you can expect a top-shelf fixture with a stylish, ergonomic design. But most bathrooms don’t need that kind of quality.

At the low end of the scale, you can purchase an off-brand two-piece toilet for less than $100. A good mid-range one- or two-piece model from a name brand manufacturer like Kohler or American Standard costs $150 to $230. If you want to splurge, you can find models with sleek designs or built-in bidets that run $500 to $800 or more.

Pro vs. DIY Installation

Assuming no repairs to the flange or subfloor, it isn’t difficult to remove an old toilet and install a new one, and you’ll save a few hundred dollars by doing it yourself. Toilets are heavy, so you may need someone to help you lift out the old one and drop in the new one.

Some flange repairs are also relatively easy. You can often repair a flange that sits below floor level by installing a flange extender, a plastic ring held in place by the same screws that secure the flange to the floor.

Replacing a flange is more complex because you have to cut it away from the waste pipe. That’s a job you might want to leave to the pros. The same goes for any subfloor repairs after removing a toilet that leaked for a long time.

About the Expert

  • Roy Barnes is the co-owner of Service Force Plumbing, which serves the metro D.C. area. With more than 30 years in the trade, he and partner Hendrik Vanderpool are skilled at plumbing, conventional and trenchless sewer and water line repairs and gas fitting.





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