Does it save money to have toilets back to back?

lavender_lassJune 29, 2012

We're remodeling our farmhouse...and I'm wondering if it's less expensive if the toilets are installed back to back? Or is it about the same, if they're on the same wall, but maybe a few feet apart? Or is there really no cost savings, as long as they're in the same general area of the house?

Thank you in advance :)

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i'm going to ask dh, hold on a sec...

ok he says back to back requires a deeper thickness wall, so maybe not less expensive in the long run than having them off set from them.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:58PM
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I know my DH put our shower plumbing back to back with the plumbing for the powder room sink. Trying to keep the plumbing runs together...

I wonder why toilets back to back require a deeper wall? The drains go in the floor under each toilet?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Fallingwaters- Thank you! And thank your DH for me, too :)

Deedles- It's always good to have plumbing together (at least that's what I've always heard) but it's probably a code issue about the toilets.

I was told (by someone who is supposed to know) that it's better to have the plumbing over a basement than crawl space. It's supposed to be easier to do repairs and (I'm guessing) better insulation. Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 10:37PM
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If the two toilets are exactly opposite, the thicker wall would be due to a bigger diameter vent pipe.

There really is little savings in doing an exact opposite location plan. The wall difference will cost more than any plumbing savings, which will be minimal at best.

Off setting the two, running two vent pipes and combining those two into one larger pipe to go through the roof would save some money and reduce the holes through the roof.

The supply and drain lines would still be basically the same cost. Having the two close will eliminate having to run more supply/drain lines, however.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Two WC's can share the same 3" vent so you do not need a thicker wall. As long as they are no more than 5' apart they can share the same vent and not cost any more.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Here's my original plan...but the bathrooms are over what would be a crawl space. Also, the land is almost level with the front of the house, but slopes back to about 3' above ground, at the back of the house. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Here's my idea, with a hall bath (for the study/guest room) as well as serving as the bathroom closest to the mudroom. We live on a farm and it's nice if you don't have to walk through the house. The powder room is new, but I like the idea of having a bathroom close to the front door and the greenhouse area. The gardens are to the right of the house...the barns to the left.

The master bedroom area is larger (basically squared off the former bathroom area) and has the sink and tub separate from the toilet and shower. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Any suggestions/ideas/comments? This would keep all the bathrooms together and over the existing cellar/basement.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Well, it works...I think. I am not actually seeing where the stairs would maybe impeded on the powder room... Or, if you are going to have some dead space up by the mudroom (maybe you just get a larger closet in the deal?).

I am not crazy about seeing the toilet in the powder room upon entering the house (which I think you would) from the front door. Is there a way to change door swing there to obscure it? I'm not sure, since it should probably be where the stairs are.

I'm also not sure why you need a hall bath and a powder room.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Kirkhall- Thanks for the response! First, I want to change one thing on the plan...I think that should be a pocket door, between the sink and toilet/tub area, in the master bath.

The powder room takes up some space from the master bath, but I do like that there would be a bathroom closer to the front door, kitchen and greenhouse area. Since the gardens are on that side of the house, it's a long trek, to get from the greenhouse to the hall bath. It's handy to the mudroom, but not the other side of the house.

Also, we don't plan to put a bathroom in the basement or upstairs, since this is mainly unfinished space. We might convert the big bedroom to a bunk space for nieces/nephews and the little attic above the kitchen, to a sewing room. That being said, it's a long walk downstairs and around the staircase, past the living room, over to the hall bath. Easier to come downstairs, use the powder room and go right back up.

It doesn't bother me to see the toilet in the powder room...probably because I want a very cute, vintage look, with the pedestal sink and maybe an old fashioned-style toilet. I'd like to have sconces and a hanging mirror, too. I hadn't really thought about a powder room in this plan (had one in earlier versions) until we talked about moving the bathrooms. Now, I really like it :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Here's the bathrooms/bedroom, in relation to the rest of the plan. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 10:15PM
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This is an issue that is important in multi-level apartment buildings. In a home the quality of the bathroom layout is usually more important.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Here's another version. I think the powder room is better off the entry a bit...and the hall bath is now right off the hall. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

The master bath has an armoire across from the sink. I like this one, with the mirror on the doors...but less shabby chice/peeling paint. It would be great for storing linens :) From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

This is a very blue bathroom, but I like the tub in front of the window. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Handymac stated,
"If the two toilets are exactly opposite, the thicker wall would be due to a bigger diameter vent pipe."


Don92 stated
"Two WC's can share the same 3" vent so you do not need a thicker wall. As long as they are no more than 5' apart they can share the same vent and not cost any more."

Great guesses guys, but I am a Master Plumber and I can tell you that you are both wrong.

You do not need a separate vent for each WC (toilet), in fact, Under the UPC (Uniform Plumbing Code) up to 6 WC's could be vented with a single 2" vent and under the IRC it could be done with one 1-1/2" vent.

I have already worked out two DWV (dain, waste & vent) plans for this house. One with the house main drain & sewer coming out towards the front where it would connect to a municipal sewer at the street, and a second plan with the line going out the back as if it were connecting to a septic tank in the back yard.

Both plans would be rather easy to install and it would only require one vent line to each bathroom. If your under the IRC it would be an 1-1/2" vent and under the UPC it would have to be a 2" vent. Both of which can easily be put in a standard stud wall and once they are in the attic they could be combined into one vent so you only have one going through the roof. I generally like to put the vent through the roof behind the roof peak so it is not visible from the front of the house.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:32PM
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Lazypup- Thank you for the response.

Do you think it would be better to have the bathrooms over a basement or crawlspace? Do you have any issues with the hantavirus, in your area? That seems to be a problem here...and some of the subs have recommended that the basement is easier and safer, than a crawlspace.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Question"Do you think it would be better to have the bathrooms over a basement or crawlspace?"

Let me give you a little scenerio that will answer that question for you. Get a small 25lb tool box and stand in the middle of your living room, now carry that toolbox to the bathroom and come back and get a box of parts and some pipe. No big deal,right? Now, lay on your back at the front door and without turning over, crawl on your back to the bathroom while shoving the tool box along, keeping in mind that you only have 5" or 6" of overhead clearance. Now, while you are crawling on your back keep in mind that you might run into a snake, dangerous spider or even a ferral cat. (don't laugh, I was once bit by a ferral cat which ran away so I had to undergo 7 days of treatment for rabies), oh yes, and while your crawling across the living room floor, keep in mind your plumber is crawling through dirt and if they are repairing a leak it is mud on a 90 to 100degF day in summer and in winter the temperature will often be subzero.

Now if you did that little experiment I am sure you now understand why it requires more labor time over a crawlspace than what it would be over a basement and to be fair to my employees, I give them a 10% bonus for the time they are under the house in a crawlspace so the labor cost to the homeowner is obviously higher over a crawlspace. But then, when discussing the bid, I also explain it to the homeowner in the same manner as above, and most of them understand.

Now in regard to the Hantavirus. I have read numerous articles that were written by "Residential Plumbers" and "Plumber Wannabee's", but to tell the truth, most of those guys cry if they get dirt on their knees.

For those of us who are both "Residential & Commercial Plumbers" the Hantavirus is just another day paradise. Yes, we take the appropriate protective actions when working in a crawlspace where Hantivirus is suspected, but the next day we may be working on the drain lines under an autopsy table at the county morgue or an embalming table at your local Funeral home and who knows what we might encounter working on the drain lines in the hospital lab?

Next time you take your kid to school ask yourself this, were are the steam lines, electrical conduits, water lines and drain lines for the school? Answer, they are right there under your feet. Directly below those long hallwalls nearly all of those building have a service tunnel about the same size as that hallway, only the service tunnel is bare concrete block with a bare concrete floor and a 60watt lightbulb about every 100ft. You have to wear a hardhat to prevent bumping your head on the pipes and hangers and who knows what kind of spiders, rats & such might pop out at you.

All of our employees are issued an OHSA approved dust mask and an OSHA approved disposable bio-hazard suit, which they keep on the service truck, and the rule is, when in doubt-take it out. We also have complete HEPA suits for when we have to work with asbestos covered pipes or some bio-hazards.

Now don't get me wrong here. I am not crying about what I do in the least, in fact, I repeatedly try to convince young men and women to consider entering the apprenticeship.

To become a certified plumber you have to complete a four year apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship you have to work 40 hours a week 50 weeks a year under a Master Plumber at a good competitive wage and you also have to complete a state approved 4yr college or technical school class (paid for by the employer).

Now your kid could go to college and come out with a four year degree, a small fortune in student debts and absolutely no job experience, or they could complete an apprenticeship in the same time and have a trade license, four years work experience and absolutely no student debt.

But before everybody runs to join the apprenticeship let me warn you, it ain't as easy as everybody might think. You better have some good math skills and be ready to do some tough studying.

Seventy percent of the applicants fall out in the first year and less than 9% of those who enter the program actually go on to finish it.

On the other hand, for those who do complete the training and get their license, they can easily go on to make $85-$100k per yr and you can be sure noboby can outsource your job.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 12:10AM
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So, basement over crawlspace. Thank you.

As for the Hantavirus, I take this very seriously since I have a friend whose mother died from it. She lived in Idaho (about 100 miles away) and decided to vacuum out her car...three days later, she was gone.

College vs. apprenticeship...probably depends on what someone wants to do. With this economy, who knows what the future holds, but both are going to give you a much better earning potential.

As for student loans...not everyone needs them, but students are often encouraged to get them. It seems like a great way for the schools, to justify the ever increasing tuition costs. No reason for the state/government to lower the costs...just go get some more loans! Worry about paying it all back later. Seems like the government tends to do that a lot, lately.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Lazy pup---

Fascinating post. Thanks for such detail. I had no idea.

My nephew just finished electrician "training". Wonder if he had this type of training.

LL-- you are truly doing your homework.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Thanks, Red :)

I had to climb the back hill...working on the fences in the horse pasture yesterday...and the old farmhouse looks really charming from up there. Of course, distance helps hide the needed repairs (LOL) but it reminded me why I wanted to do this, in the first place.

This plan is getting too big and I think I'm losing the charm of the original house. I'm going to do some trimming and be back later with an updated layout. Similar, but more in keeping with the style of the farmhouse :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 2:31PM
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When building new, I don't pay the slightest attention to bathrooms backing on each other or not. I can save the few dollars of extra piping a million other ways. It's a bigger issues in renos where a new stack may have to be installed.


I kidded a plumber friend about his bald spot. Then he told me why he had it: crawling along a support and soldering pipe about 30 feet in the air, a plumber above him splashed a blob of solder on his head. (Yes, he should have been wearing a hard hat.)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Worthy- Yikes! That sounds painful. Good reason to wear a hard hat, though.

Sorry about the black 'holes' but I deleted some of my old plans. They're just too big and after climbing the back hill to work on the horse fence...I was taken with how charming the house looks, especially from a distance! LOL

So, I'm back to a slightly different version of an older, smaller plan...and I have a question about the powder room. Here's the plan. Can the powder room toilet be accessed from the basement/cellar (under the dining room) and would the powder room sink and laundry room sink be tied in with the kitchen sink? It's much easier to access any crawl space from the back of the house, due to the slight hill its built on. Thanks, again :) From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:38PM
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