How Long Do Toilets Last? (And How to Increase Their Lifespan)

A toilet is one of the rare items in your home that you approach with a “set it and forget it” mindset. Toilets are famous for their durability, and you probably expect them to last forever.

But is it really the case? How long do toilets last?

Toilets can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years, but their lifespan depends on multiple factors like cleaning and maintenance. If you take care of your closet, rest assured it won’t betray you for decades.

On the other hand, you should know what harms the toilet and identify the right moment to replace it. You can learn it all in this post.

The Average Lifespan of a Toilet: What Makes Toilets So Durable?

The simple fact about toilets is that you can live in the same home for decades without changing the bathroom throne. With proper care, your toilet will keep working for 50 years or more.

However, sometimes it’s necessary to install a new model after 10 or 15 years. It is mainly the case with toilets in busy public places — more users suggest faster wear and tear.

The first question to answer is: What makes toilets so durable? Let’s see three important factors:

Toilets Are Simple Devices

The design of the toilet hasn’t changed for decades. It tells us that toilets are simple enough to remain highly functional in the long run. Even though the closet structure may seem complex, it is only a scheme of pipes and water outlets.

As such, toilets are simple enough to keep working uninterruptedly for decades. The flushing technology stays the same, too. There are no changes or continuous upgrades because gravity is still the driving force behind your toilet.

In such circumstances, replacing your toilet is not necessary.

Spare Parts Are Always Available

Your toilet doesn’t need spare parts too often, but they are available around the clock. You can find the same components to replace broken parts in your toilet from online shops to local hardware stores.

In other words, you don’t need to replace the whole toilet. 

Elements that you’ll change from time to time include broken flappers, overflow tubes, tank bolts, fill valves, and tank floats. All items are easy to find and cheap, which means you can repair the current toilet instead of buying the new model.

Quality Materials

Toilets are made of porcelain, white clay-based ceramic material. Porcelain has high mechanical strength, but it doesn’t give off any smell or resonance frequency when struck. It has a very smooth finish and white color under the glaze.

This makes porcelain non-absorbent, meaning liquids can’t soak in through the pores. All of these features make porcelain extremely durable and capable of prolonging the average lifespan of a toilet.

Things That Reduce the Average Life Expectancy of a Toilet

Now you know what makes toilets so durable, but it’s critical to learn what can reduce the life expectancy of your closet. Three things stand out once again:

Poor Maintenance

Using your toilet without care is the surest way to reduce its lifespan. Most time, this means not cleaning your toilet often enough. If you fail to clean the closet at least once a month, it will form clogs that your toilet can’t unclog on its own.

Another problem is inappropriate maintenance. For example, you can use chemical cleaning products that don’t serve the right purpose. Remember that substances like bleach or Drano damage a toilet with strong chemical reactions.

Some chemicals damage porcelain and corrode metal parts, which reduces reliability and shortens the life expectancy of a toilet.

Physical Impact

Porcelain is both tough and fragile at the same time. It is not shock-resistant, so you need to avoid physical impacts. There are two types of physical impairments to prevent here:

  • External impact: Don’t accidentally kick the bowl or hit it with a hard object
  • Internal impact: It happens when cleaning bowls with sharp tools like toilet augers

Both types of physical impacts can damage the toilet bowl and tear it into pieces, so make sure to act with caution while in the bathroom.

Hard Water Deposits

Another factor that can reduce the average lifespan of a toilet is hard water deposits. If your area struggles with extremely hard water, clean your bathroom often to prevent the accumulation of sediments.

Hard water has high levels of calcium and magnesium ions — they can accumulate to harm the porcelain glaze and the pipes. With time, you’ll notice water spots and stains on your toilet.

You can clean them off with vinegar or another cleaning product, but the damage is sometimes too big to handle properly.

9 Reasons to Install a New Toilet

Sooner or later, you will have to remove the older toilet and install the new model. But do you know when to do that? One of these nine signs proves that it’s time to replace your toilet.

Frequent Repairs

Repairing a toilet is usually easy and cheap, but it can quickly become boring and expensive if you keep doing it regularly. If you constantly replace the same parts (or face problems with other components), perhaps it’s time to replace your closet.

The tip doesn’t apply to small issues like accidentally flushing an object down the drain pipe. But if the same problems keep reoccurring, it is time to change something in your bathroom.

Constant Clogging Issues

Facing toilet clogs is one of the most annoying experiences in life, so it’s important to deal with the problem quickly. It shouldn’t happen more than once in a few years, but multiple clogs in a short timespan indicate a bigger problem.

If you have to unclog your toilet frequently, there must be something wrong with its design or structure. It’s a signal telling you that it’s time to replace your old model with one of the newer toilets that prevents clogging.

Poor Flush System

Another sign that it’s time to purchase one of those modern toilets is a poor flush system. If the poop sticks to the toilet bowl after flushing, don’t hesitate to buy a better toilet with a powerful flush mechanism.

Water Efficiency

Is your toilet eco-friendly, or is it wasting too much water per flush? That’s a crucial question to know the answer to. Your toilet compromises water efficiency when it consumes more than 1.6 gallons per flush.

This is mainly the case with older toilets because their design requires excess water consumption, even for liquid waste. For instance, all toilets older than 20 need at least three gallons per flush, drastically increasing your water bill. 

It’s a serious water consumption level that should convince you to install a new toilet as soon as possible.

Aesthetics

Let’s be honest — sometimes it’s good to make a change, especially if old toilets look ugly. It’s not the primary reason why you should replace your toilet, but it’s valid.

You don’t have to do it right away, so try and wait for the next bathroom remodeling project. Consider installing a sleek and modern toilet — it requires less space and looks aesthetically pleasing.

Water Leakages

Another reason to replace toilets is to prevent constant water leakages. Your toilet may leak at its base or somewhere around rusted tank bolts. In each case, the only reasonable solution is to buy a new item.

A new toilet will help you get rid of moisture, reduce water consumption, and refresh the bathroom’s overall appearance. It will also save the time you’d take to deal with continuous leaks. 

Your Toilet Is Wobbling

One of the obvious signs that you need a change is a wobbly toilet. The bowl shakes when you sit on it, and the tremors increase over time. If adjusting the bolts doesn’t help, the toilet probably demands too much attention.

Sometimes you’ll fix a wobbly toilet, but it starts moving again after a while. In this case, the finest option is to install a new toilet and prevent future issues.

Rust and Corrosion

Rust and corrosion are your toilet’s archenemies. They can harm metal elements in the plumbing system, creating dirt and causing hairline cracks on some occasions.

If they pile up to make your toilet water brown, you can invest in a newer system that removes the debris and looks crystal clear.

High-Tech Innovations and Upgrades

Finally, you can replace the old toilet with a modern version that offers multiple upgrades. Smart bathroom gadgets penetrated the toilet market, so you can find smart toilets with heating systems, electronic displays, and sensors.

For instance, Kohler’s dual-flush intelligent toilet comes with many additional features. These include heated toilet seats, night light, hands-free opening/closing, automatic flush, and a touchscreen remote.

How Long Does a Toilet Seat Last?

Another component of your toilet is the seat, but its lifespan can’t compete with the closet’s life expectancy. If you clean it properly, the toilet seat will serve you well for at least five years. However, it also depends on factors like:

  • Toilet seat materials such as plastic or wood
  • The way you use it — are you sitting still or moving while using the toilet 
  • Closing the toilet seat with too much force

The Bottom Line

So how long do toilets last?

It can go anywhere between 10 and 50 years. The bottom line is that you should keep your closet clean, maintain it properly, and replace worn-out parts. That way, you will surely enjoy a comfortable toilet for decades.

FAQ

How often should you replace the toilet?

If it works well, you don’t need to replace the entire toilet for decades. That means your toilet can serve you at least 20 or 30 years — even more if you take care of it. The only reason to change it sooner is to refresh your bathroom.  

How do you know when a toilet needs replacing? 

Several things indicate an urgent toilet replacement. These include continuous water leakages, weak flushing, slow refilling, rust, and other signs of malfunctioning. This is what usually causes toilet replacement.

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