How Long Do Toilets Last: Signs A Toilet Needs To Be Replaced & Costs

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The maintenance of a toilet shouldn’t be taken lightly, primarily because of health factors. So. how often should toilets be replaced or sealed?

Key indicators that it’s time to replace your toilet include:

It would be best if you replaced a toilet every 20 to 25 years or so. There is no universally accepted time frame in which a toilet should last, and a toilet under average conditions will last 20 to 50 years. However, you should anticipate routine maintenance every 3 to 5 years or as needed for parts such as toilet seats, flappers, wax seals, etc.

  • It’s old and ugly
  • You have to routinely plunge your toilet
  • You have to flush your toilet multiple times time get solid waste to flush
  • There are hard water stains on the bowl that you can’t remove
  • The water level in your toilet gets very high when flushed

While the importance of a toilet cannot be overemphasized, its maintenance should be a top priority. A bathroom can collapse or break due to it expiring! In addition, it could result in fatal home injury for the person who was using it. 

But that’s not all there is to know about your toilet. In the course of this article, we shall be looking at critical issues and questions relating to the maintenance and replacement of a bathroom. Let’s delve in!

What is the Average Life Expectancy of a Toilet?

The average lifespan of a toilet seat is about 5 years. However, in homes where the toilets are cleaned daily or weekly, the life span of toilets could last more than 5 years unless in cases where the materials used in their manufacture are deemed inferior.

For instance, in commercial premises, a cinema, or any public place where toilets are used more often, you should change toilet seats every year or two (depending on the availability of funds).

Though the material used in manufacturing toilets for such use is of standard quality, still, they need to be changed every 3 years at the maximum. 

How to Know When Your Toilet Needs Replacing?

Every day, we use our toilets not thinking about the fact that something could go wrong. Just like your common home appliances, toilets need replacing when they get bad. But how do you know when it’s the right time to call a plumber to replace the toilets?

Well, we have come up with some of the most common signs that indicate that your toilet needs replacement. They’re listed below:

1. Cracks on the tank

If you constantly notice a puddle of water in your toilet, this could mean more than just a minor leak. There could be a chance that you have cracks in your tank, which would mean that the toilet needs to be replaced. First, however, contact a plumber to help you ascertain if it is an issue that you can fix by repairing or one that would require changing.

If the toilet seems to be working just fine (not clogged and flushes well), but there is still a puddle of water around the bottom, then it could mean that the toilet bowl has a crack, and that would require changing too.

2. You have an old toilet

Even if your toilet is working well, you should consider changing it immediately if you have been using it for up to 7-10 years. As a toilet age, so does its efficiency.

Old toilets tend to be driving up your water bill. However, in recent years, advances in the manufacturing of toilets have resulted in new generation toilets that use significantly less water.

If you are shopping for a new toilet, you should get one that has a dual-flush feature. You can use the partial flush feature for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.

3. You feel it rock or wobble

If you notice that your toilet is starting to rock or wobble, then that is not normal. You should contact a plumber immediately to take a look at the problem. Although it is possible that it could be a minor issue and would only require the plumber to tighten some bolts, it could also be possible that the floor beneath the toilet could be bad, and that means you will need to repair it immediately.

4. You’ve had to fix it often

If you have constantly had to call a plumber to repair your toilet in the past year or two, then you should consider getting a new one entirely because it will save you your money in the future. 

How Much Should it Cost to Replace a Toilet?

The cost of installing an average standard toilet ranges from $122 to about $228. However, most homeowners spend between $150 to about $180 on installation. This amount does not include the cost of the toilet, which falls between $99 to about $199. Therefore, for a complete toilet replacement, it costs about $221 to $427 approximately. 

How Does it Take a Plumber to Replace a Toilet?

It takes 1.5 hours for a plumber to replace a toilet. Although, the time taken by a plumber to replace a toilet is based on several factors ranging from the toilet type and the plumber’s expertise and accuracy.

The effect of these factors are explained below:

  • If the replacement of the toilet includes the opening or removal of the ceiling under the toilet, then the time it would take will be longer than the average of 1.5 hours. 
  • If it is a wall-mount toilet replacement where the bowl is to be removed, or the water tank inside the wall needs a little plumbing work and a drywall fix, the time required might be around 5 to 6 hours. 
  • The type of toilet determines how much time it will take to install. If you are replacing a two-piece toilet which is usually coupled before they are installed, it will take about 15 minutes. However, there are cases where the gasket might not hold water properly, resulting in leaking, which would then require more time than normal to finish.
  • The skill and experience of the plumber is another factor that determines how long it will take to complete an installation. A skilled plumber is much more likely to finish an installation faster than one that’s not so skilled.

In summary:

  • A one-piece floor mount takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to install. 
  • A two-piece floor mount takes about 2 – 2.5 hours to install.
  • Wall-mount toilets take 2 – 3 hours to install. 
  • Toilet and toilet flange replacement takes around 3 – 4 hours. 
  • Toilet flapper replacement takes about 30 – 40 minutes to install.
  • Toilet fill valve replacement takes about 35 – 40 minutes.

How Often Should Toilets Be Sealed?

Toilet seals are an essential component of the toilet itself, and making sure they stay intact ensures that your toilet is in the best shape. However, they also need to be sealed over time. 

How often toilets should be sealed is not exact. I’ve compared several experiences of people who have had to seal their toilets, and I can say it’s between 4 – 6 years. 

How to Know if Your Toilet Seal is Bad?

Signs to you need to have your toilet sealed include:

  • the toilet is loose and moves against the floor
  • you see discoloration around the base of the toilet
  • the bolts holding the base to the floor are rusted

One of the first signs to look out for is if your toilet seat is broken if a puddle of water is around the toilet’s base. To confirm this, use a towel and wipe away the water, then go on with your routine and check from time to time to see if the water keeps gathering.

You can also know if your toilet seal is bad if you keep noticing a bad smell coming from the base or seeing discolored water around the bottom of the toilet or the toilet moves against the floor.

If you have any of these conditions, you should call a plumber to have the toilet reset and sealed.

What Happens When a Toilet Seal Breaks?

When a toilet seal breaks, the toilet begins to leak, but most of the water will leak beneath the floor, and this will cause damage to the wood in your bathroom or the tiles that usually cover the floor. 

If this damage is left for a long time, you could severely damage the floor, and you might have to replace it entirely, which will be time-consuming and equally expensive.

How Long Do Wax Seals On Toilets Last?

Toilets are usually connected to the toilet flange with the use of two bolts. Between the toilet and this flange is the toilet wax seal, preventing water from leaking as it goes from the toilet to the pipe drain. 

Wax seals usually last through the whole lifespan of an averagely-used toilet which is about 15 or 20 years, provided it’s installed correctly. The main reasons wax seals fail are either age or incorrect installation. However, there might be times when the wax seal might require changing before that length of time.

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Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.