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Replacing a Toilet
Replacing a toilet is not as difficult as it may seem. The toughest part is dealing with its weight. Also, the shape of the toilet makes it difficult to maneuver in what is usually a tight space. With a few tools and a little bit of muscle, this project will be wrapped up before lunch.
BEFORE You Start...
Skill Level & Time to Complete
Beginner - 5 to 6 hours
Intermediate - 4 to 5 hours
Advanced - 3 to 4 hours
- Be sure water supply to the unit is off.
- Inspect for water damage to the sub floor before installing the new unit.
- Do not attempt to tighten the toilet base flush to the floor. Due to the installation of the new wax ring it is common for there to be a gap between the base and the floor around an eighth of an inch, which you should caulk.
- Because toilet manufacturers vary, always install hardware supplied with the new unit.
- Use a second person to help install the base.
Toilet (necessary hardware should be included)
Flexible braided steel supply line (if it is not included with the toilet)
Rubber gloves (useful when replacing an old toilet)
Shut off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet holding the handle down to empty the tank of the remaining water. If there is any water left in the tank use a sponge to wipe it dry.
Disconnect the water supply line to the tank by reaching into the tank and unthreading the connector.
To remove the tank from the bowl, loosen the bolts on the inside of the tank with a screwdriver while holding the nut on the outside of the tank with pliers. Set the tank aside and then remove any water that is left in the bowl with a sponge.
Remove the bolts that are located at the base of the toilet. There are times when these bolts may be difficult to remove. If there is any old plumbers putty around the bolt use a scraper to remove it or apply some penetrating oil to release the bolts if they are corroded. If neither of these methods works, your only option is to use a hacksaw and cut the bolts off.
Now rock the toilet back and forth to break the seal between the toilet and the piping. Carefully remove the toilet and set it aside. With rubber gloves on, stuff a large rag into the drainpipe to keep the sewer gasses from escaping and polluting your bathroom air. Unscrew and remove the flange around the drain pipe and with the plastic scraper remove any old plumbers putty around the floor so that the new toilet makes a tight seal.
Turn the new toilet bowl on its side or upside down on a towel or soft cloth to prevent damage to the bowl. Run a bead of plumbers putty around the base of the toilet bowl, which will make a watertight seal with the piping that runs to the sewer.
Place the wax gasket on the base horn pressing hard enough to make it stick in place.
Use plumbers putty around the base of the bolts to hold them in place and fit the flange over the top of the bolts. Screw the new flange into the drainpipe & floor.
Now turn the toilet upright and lower it into position so that the bolts align into the base. Be sure that you remember to remove the rags from the drainpipe!
Level the bowl using a level. You can place shims into position if the toilet is not level.
Slip a metal washer over each bolt and tighten the nuts to secure the toilet. Alternately tighten the bolts very slowly or the bowl will crack.
Now you will need to install the tank on top of the toilet. Place the spud washer over the inlet opening. Lower the tank over the bowl lining up with the holes. Bolt the tank to the bowl; again tighten slowly so the tank does not crack.
Using Teflon tape around the threads when connecting the water supply line. Turn the water supply back on and allow the tank to fill. Flush the toilet a few times and check for leaks and finally attach the toilet seat.