Replacing an old, worn out toilet with a newer, efficient model can have a transformative effect on your bathroom. Unless you’re very comfortable with your home improvement skills, this is definitely a job better left for a professional plumber or an experienced handyman. A DIY toilet replacement gone wrong can lead to damaged floors, leaky pipes, and steep repair costs.
Understand Your Needs
Before beginning your replacement, take a moment to examine the many factors that will affect the install price tag. Who will be using this toilet, and how will that affect its functionality?
There are innumerable models out there, each with their own specifications to meet the needs of children, the elderly, and the disabled. Are you interested in any add-ons, such as a bidet?
Become familiar with your space and take note of the minimum space required to put in new fixtures and maintain comfort. Not only will these decisions impact the general price of the toilet, but they can also add to installation costs.
Choosing Who to Hire
The decision to hire a licensed plumber versus a handyman depends on budget and any preexisting building codes. A licensed plumber is surely more expensive than the alternative, but some apartment buildings and co-ops require one to ensure quality of work.
An installation without any issues normally takes between one and two hours. Plumbers charge an hourly rate of anywhere between $100-$200, though their fee greatly depends on the regional average cost of labor. The most basic installs can cost around $115, though the nationwide average for the job is $370 according to Home Advisor.
Removal of the old toilet can reveal a host of unforeseen problems and can increase installation costs to as much as $800. Common problems include water damage to the back wall, water damage to the floor underneath and around the base, poor caulking, a leaky flush valve, a cracked flange, and an improper wax ring seal. If plumbing lines are required to be repaired or modified to fit the new fixture, costs can increase greatly.
Be prepared to factor these costs in if you’re replacing an especially old toilet. If there’s a good chance you’re going to encounter problems, it may make sense to plan other work simultaneously, like replacing other fixtures or tile.
The Install Process
If all goes as planned, the installation process for a new toilet is fairly simple. First, the builder shuts off the water and removes any remaining water from the bowl or tank. Then, they disconnect the old toilet and assemble the new one by installing anchor bolts and a new wax ring to keep it secure and leak-proof. The worker should then inspect the finished product and the flange to ensure against any problems.
Saving Money Without Cutting Corners
There are a few tricks to save some money throughout this process without cutting corners. For example, you can source the toilet yourself instead of buying directly from the plumber/contractor. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of this decision before ensuing, as transporting a toilet and purchasing all of its additional fixtures can prove challenging. Similarly, workers may charge an additional fee for transporting the toilets and disposing of the old one, especially if there is limited accessibility. If possible, you can save some money by taking care of this step yourself.
It’s also possible to save money down the line by purchasing a more efficient toilet that conserves water. Look for the Watersense label as an indicator of such efficiency.
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