Designers – What’s Involved In Moving A Toilet

Why is it that the perfect bathroom remodel always seems to need the toilet in a different place?

What is involved in moving a toilet? How much does it usually cost? Can the toilet be moved?

These are the top 3 questions designers ask me about bathroom remodels. I thought I would take some time to shed light on this topic and hopefully make it easier to talk to your design clients about what is involved.

Before I can provide some general thoughts on moving a toilet, we have to answer 3 easy questions.

Is the bathroom in the basement?

Is the bathroom on one of the main floors?

Is the house more than 10 years old?

The answer to these three questions could have an impact on what is involved and what the costs might be.

If the bathroom is in the basement, the answer is fairly straight forward.

There are two issues at play when moving a toilet in a basement. There is the toilet waste pipe (that is the pipe that the toilet sits on that comes up through the floor) and there is the toilet vent (the pipe that goes up through the inside of the wall and pops through the roof).

If your client wants to move a toilet in a basement, the contractor can move it pretty much anywhere you like. If you keep the move within 48″ from the vent you will not have to re-vent the toilet.

Moving a toilet within 48″ from a vent requires removing the concrete, moving the waste pipe, reworking the water supply line, and patching the concrete.  Usually the cost for all this work is about $1800. It can cost more if a new floor needs to be installed after the concrete was taken up.


If the required move is more than 48″ from the vent, then the contractor will have to re-vent the toilet.  Be prepared to have to patch holes in the walls when this happens.  Moving the vent and patching the holes usually adds another $900 to the cost of moving a toilet. It may cost a few hundred dollars more if you are working with a second story house. Many times, there are additional holes that need to be cut in the second story walls just to get the plumbing through the roof. Don’t forget to mention to your client that there could be additional painting costs, too.

What happens if the bathroom is not in the basement, but on the first or second floor?

What is involved with moving a toilet on a main floor or second story bathroom? 

The same rule still applies to the location of the toilet and the location of the vent.  You can move a toilet anywhere within 48”of the vent and not have to rework the vent.

But now we have some other considerations to think about. Will the toilet be moving the same direction the floor joists are running or will the toilet be moving perpendicular to the floor joists?

If the toilet is moving in the same direction the floor joists are running, then the costs are usually limited to removing the floor covering, the sub floor, moving the toilet drain, moving the water supply, then patching the subfloor, and re-installing a new floor. The cost for moving the drain in this scenario on most homes is $2000. Sometimes the toilet can be moved by opening up the ceiling below and doing the work from below. This can save about $500 but it takes an experienced problem solver to know if this will work or not.

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Don’t forget to add another $900 to the cost of moving the toilet if you are moving it more than 48” from the vent to cover the additional cost for that work and the patching of the walls.

Since a toilet drain pipe needs to slope ¼” for every foot, moving a toilet more than 8 to 10 feet can sometimes require creative thinking on how to keep the pipes from sloping right out from the floor!

If you are looking at moving the toilet perpendicular to the floor joists, it can sometimes be necessary to cut a floor joist and create a header to support the floor joist.

Moving a toilet perpendicular to the floor joists can mean an extra $2500 in costs. You are also more limited in how many floor joists can be cut. If moving a toilet requires cutting more than three floor joists, you may need to find another option.

In short,when the toilet is moving less than 4 feet from the vent, this will generally cost about $1,800 to $2,500 . If it is moving more than 4 feet from the vent, add another $900 to $1,200 to that general cost.

For more articles about the costs of remodeling, read here.

Do you have an interesting design story to share?

Tell Us What You Think.


  1. Ammie Littke says

    This is very helpful information! I plan on remodeling my bathroom and this gives me an idea of what to expect when moving the toilet 3 feet.

  2. Linda says

    What are the concerns if the home is older than 10 years old? That was one of the questions, but no information. Thank you.

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