Is it expensive to move a toilet/shower in a basement?

Interior, modern bathroom

Putting a bathroom in the basement isn’t a simple task. It’s easy if you live on a hill and you can arrange for the basement plumbing to gravity flow into the sewer. Then, you will want enough dollars for more pumping plumbing to move the wastewater up, and you will have power-outage vulnerability you don’t want a septic pump to go out.

The other problem is that the basement has a concrete slab floor. Cutting through concrete is a possible thing to do, but if the drainage under the concrete floor isn’t right, the hole you make can become a way for water to work its way into the basement. It is possible that you will involve a sump pump system, and if you get to that point, you can dig up a big area to assure drainage by putting down crushed rocks, and replace the floor, and hopefully, all that digging does not reveal that a load-bearing point is not up-to-code, and the inspector needs you to fix that as well.

If the basement is on a concrete slab, and the plumbing fixtures drain into floor drains, then there will be enough labor to relocate the drains. If you have a system that pumps your drain water up from the fixtures to above-foundation floor drains, there can be less labor.

You should get some bids from different contractors to relocate the drains. We said contractors instead of plumbers because if the work includes drain lines embedded in the floor slab, you’ll need flooring professionals to repair and redo the flooring.

Obviously, it will cost for moving or installing new water supply lines, plus repairing the damage to walls and ceilings that can result from that. You should use licensed and insured professionals to do this work, to avoid issues both primarily and later.

How a Toilet Is Moved

Moving a toilet isn’t so much about moving the usual fixture. Actually, installing a toilet is a simple job that takes less than an hour as it’s about moving the drainage and the water supply plumbing to the new location. Once all of the plumbing is in place, installing the toilet is a relatively simple task.

Moving the Toilet Drain

The toilet drainage pipes that are below the floor are wide in diameter 3 inches and it can be difficult to route around and through flooring joists. Other services running underneath floors more complicate matters: recessed lights, water supply pipes, electrical cables, insulation, cross-bracing for the joists, and more.

Toilet drainage pipes are gravity-fed, which means that they must drop at a vertical rate of 1/4-inch for each horizontal foot. While you can manage this, still it can limit the distance of the new toilet, since the toilet must be close enough to the vent stack or main drain to accommodate the slope.

If possible, then, attempt to plan the new toilet location so that the new drain can run in the spaces between joists, and try to avoid notching out joists to run the pipes. Doing so can need adding structural reinforcement if the changes are substantial enough to compromise the strength of the floor framing.

Moving the Toilet Water Supply

The 2nd part of the project is less difficult: running a water supply line to the toilet. Toilets require a supply of fresh water to fill the tank after the flush. Because these pipes are small, they can easily be routed via joists or even inside wall systems. A relocated supply line can even tap into the existing toilet supply line and send it to the new location. Bendable plastic PEX pipes make this job easy for do-it-yourselfers when compared to the old classic method of running copper pipes and sweat-soldering the connections.

Cost of Moving Plumbing Fixtures

The price to move a toilet or sinks can be $2,500 to $3,500 per fixture. Plumbing can be an important price factor in a remodel when a bathroom floor plan is changed. The toilet is the costliest to move. Connecting the toilet to the existing sewer line is difficult for the plumber. The sewer line depends on a slope. The sewer line pipes keep a certain slope to drain well. Another complexity layer exists if the home is built on a concrete slab versus a raised foundation. Homes with a concrete slab foundation need concrete cutting to relocate new pipes. This can be more time-consuming than a home with a raised foundation.

The 2nd consideration is the vent line that lets the sewer line displace air with water. This vent line must be relocated to run within a wall, no more than 5’ from the toilet drain and vent via the roof. The price of re-framing walls and repairing drywall can add to this price. This can range between $1,500 and $2,500 depending on the extent of the work essential.

Tile Work

Bathroom remodeling needs tile installation. This’s a leading factor in bathroom remodeling costs. Tile prices are heavy on labor; it takes around 2 weeks to tile a bathroom appropriately. The preparation work is usually 4 days, and the tile installation is usually 5 days. Some people opt to have tile installed on all the bathroom walls; 48 inches tall. Other Customers elect to have walls totally covered in tile. These kinds of tile designs can add an important cost to the bathroom remodel. The price of such designs can range from $5,500-$7,500 depending on the tile and quantity of tile to be added. 

Moving Walls

Moving walls can be needed in order to increase the bathroom’s footprint. The added function to space can trump the expense. The price of moving a wall can be $2,000 or $8,500 depending on what requirements to be relocated with the wall. If the wall is structural, add the price of engineering, specialty hardware, and labor to retrofit foundations. The cost can elevate from $13,000 to $15,000 depending on how much work is specified in the construction strategies.

We can say the same about the installation of a pocket door. For pocket door installation, the affected wall should be changed so that a void is created to house the pocket door. This means that existing electrical or venting that’s within the required footprint will have to be relocated to make a void for the pocket door to be installed. You can expect to pay $1,800 to $2,500 for a pocket door involving the price of framing, drywall, labor, and the door.