buying a toilet myself vs getting one from plumber

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by wjd, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. wjd

    wjd New Member

    Sep 26, 2004
    New York
    I need to replace my toilet and I am going to get one from Toto (Dartmouth) and was wondering what the difference was in me buying one instead of the plumber getting one for me i can get one for $320.00 and when I talked to the plumber he mention to me that he should pick it up for me at the price of $575.00 plus to installed it for the same toilet I was worried about the warranty on it if i get it vs them in picking one up for me any advise that you can give me if I should get it or have the plumber get it is this what the plumbers markup is?

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2011
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The difference is if you get it from a plumber that installs it, if something goes wrong (rare), he is on the hook to fix it. If you get it, and something goes wrong, any labor to fix it is on you (unless Toto will pick it up).

    On another aspect, it is really pretty easy to install a toilet (and remove an old one). The hardest thing is that sometimes the nuts on the toilet flange may be rusted. Since you are going to remove it, a hack saw will cut them off - don't worry about any damage to the toilet. New bolts may come with the toilet, and even if they don't, they're cheap and readily available.

    If you need/want to replace the shutoff, depending on how it is installed, that may be easy to replace as well, but this assumes that the house shutoff works! If it still leaves a little water running, open a valve before that one in the scheme of things, the water will go out there (usually), rather than the toilet.

    The messiest part of this is cleaning up the wax ring under the toilet prior to installing a new one (don't try to reuse the existing one).

    Don't overtighten the bolts holding the tank to the base, and the base to the floor. Tighten them up evenly, on both sides. Get the bolts hand tight, then turn them a turn or two on one side, then the other until it is snug. It doesn't have to be as tight as you can get it, only snug. The ones on the base should be tightened until the whole base is flat on the floor and it doesn't move if you sit on it. If the floor is not flat, you may need to shim under it. Some people use a penny or something like that. You may get an idea if the floor is uneven when you take the old one out - did they have to use shims to make it sit without rocking.

    Getting rid of the old one is sometimes problematic. I just break them up. A pair of safety glasses and a small sledge will make short work of one - the smaller pieces are easier to carry (although can be sharp - be careful).

    Some plumbers don't like to install stuff they don't supply. Same with electricians. Most will do the job on a time basis, but if the product fails and it is not their fault, it is up to you to fix it (i.e., get a replacement).

    As noted, toilets rarely arrive defective (broken sometimes, yes).

    A non-professional's view.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    This is a professional view. Most of my plumber associates would rather have the customer buy the toilet. That way, once it is installed it is usually no longer their problem. Even if the plumber buys it for the same price you can, he will not sell it to your for that price. He will add a factor to it to cover the eventuality that he might have to return to repair, adjust, or at the very worst, replace it. If you buy it, all those concerns are yours.
  5. wjd

    wjd New Member

    Sep 26, 2004
    New York
    I live in illinois about 40 miles west of chicago and most of the plumbers that I have talked to here are pushing me for them to by the toilet for me. is there a good web site that I can go to to find a good plumber?
    so i guess i cant go wrong in buying the toilet myself.

  6. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Sep 6, 2004
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney
    Wichita, Kansas

    I think the plumber supplied toilet is the better buy for you if only because we are in an era of so many toilet problems. Although you should have none from Toto. If your flange needs repair then the plumber is there to do it. Although if you have plastic drain piping this is not as likely as the cast iron and lead systems.
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Here's from a Toto Dartmouth user. I bought it from Terry and installed it myself. Unless you have some physical problems that would stand in the way of DIY, that's the way to go. It's so simple a caveman could do. I opted to install the tank after the bowl was in place because the weight of the whole unit was more than I wanted to wrestle, but the pros will assemble the tank to the bowl outside and carry the whole unit in at once. 50 years ago, I would have done that too. As far as problems with a Dartmouth or any Toto for that matter, they are so rare it is really not worth considering. Eventually the flapper will have to be replaced, and perhaps the fill valve serviced or replaced, but these are very simple DIY jobs. Sure the plumbers would like you to buy from them. They jack the price up for the possibility of future "free" service calls that are highly unlikely so that's just extra profit for them. I really not faulting them for this, if they do have to come out for a service call, that costs them plenty.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Whereas hj likes the customer to supply the toilet, I prefer to supply the toilet instead.
    We sell all brands, but most of the time, it's going to be a Toto, and they have less then 1% returns.
    If I were selling what hj sells, then maybe I would want the customer to supply the toilet.

    We sell to the public, and we install. Whatever the customer wants.
    If the customer is doing the installation, then they can read Jamie's instructions and do a very good job on their own.
    If we do the installation, it's new bolts, new wax and new supply tube, and we dispose of the old bowl. It's a pretty complete package we offer.

    Pricing from plumbers can vary greatly.
    Many of the full page ads in the phone book, well.......they take my shopping cart pricing and double it.
    And yet they come to this web site for advice too, just like the homeowners.

    We're pretty efficient at what we do.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011
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