Despite their longevity, even toilets get broken. After some time, everyone should replace them with a new one. Many homeowners choose to install them by themselves rather than calling a professional. Despite it sounding like hard and dirty work, the process itself isn’t too hard. You don’t require a certain set of skills to be able to complete the task. Here’s what you need to know on how to install a toilet.
Reasons to Replace Your Toilet
If you’re having trouble with your toilet for a while, you’re probably thinking you should replace it. This is true only on several occasions, as it’s better to let the professional find the source of the problem. Before learning how to install a toilet, try researching common problems you might encounter. Here are some of the usual reasons why you might think you should replace your old toilet.
Too Many Repairs
When your toilet breaks, several things might need replacing. For example, the handle, the fill valve, or the flapper. You can find most of these things for fairly cheap, but when the damage happens often, expenses pile up. Calculate the expenses and see what is more affordable.
Sometimes learning how to install a toilet yourself is cheaper than to constantly pay your local plumber for visits.
If your toilet requires weekly plunging, it’s fit for a replacement. Not only that, but many old toilets require more than one flushing after a while. Plunging a toilet regularly isn’t a pleasant task. If you are bothered by having these kinds of problems, you should install a new toilet.
Despite having a long life span, even toilets can develop cracks. These cracks look like hair on porcelain and they won’t pose a problem for a while. However, after some time these small damages can cause water leaks. If there are many cracks on the porcelain, it’s time for a replacement.
After a long time, you might notice brown or greenish stains on the bottom of your toilet bowl. This brown stain is a consequence of minerals in your water and not a result of bad cleaning. No matter, it looks disgusting. In most cases, there is nothing you can do to prevent it – even if you use filtered water.
Cleaning that brown stain is possible, but it requires a lot of work and elbow grease. It isn’t an easy process and you are risking damaging your toilet bowl in the process. It is okay to try to clean it the first time it becomes noticeable. You can use a strong acid for it, and sometimes even drinks such as Coca Cola can help! However, once the brown stain starts reappearing, it might be a good time to replace your bowl.
How to Install a Toilet
Now that you have learned about some of the most common toilet problems you should make a decision. If you have decided that you should replace your bowl, it’s time to learn how to install a toilet yourself.
Tools you’ll need:
- A measuring tape
- Slip-joint pliers
- Wax Seal
- Putty knife
- Adjustable Wrench
- A new toilet bowl
1. Toilet Rough In
Before installing a new toilet, you should find a new one. Before you decide to remove the old one and go shopping, measure everything for the toilet rough in. What does this mean?
There are certain dimensions that you need to know in order to learn how to install a toilet by yourself. These dimensions are:
- The distance of the toilet to the back wall.
- The distance from left to right.
- Space in front of the bowl.
- A place to put the cold water supply line.
The center of the water closet flange should be around 12ins from the back wall. Be sure to measure from the finished wall and not from the base molding. Only after calculating the wall’s thickness, which is usually half an inch of drywall. Keep in mind that some toilets come with 10 and 14 inches rough in! Be sure to check the toilet specifications beforehand.
The second dimension serves as a clearance from the center of the toilet to any sidewall or fixture. You don’t want anything to hit your new toilet. This is why the minimum measurement should be 15 inches. Once again, don’t forget to add a thickness of your wall into the calculation.
The third measurement is the distance from the front of the toilet to any obstruction in front of it. You don’t want your knees to be hitting the wall while sitting on it. If your jurisdiction is under the International Plumbing Code, that distance is 21 inches minimum. On the other hand, the Uniform Plumbing Code requires 24 inches.
As for the cold water supply line, it goes like this: Put it 6ins on the left of the center of the water closet flange, and 7ins above the floor. This is the recommended measurement. Some plumbers put it 6ins above the floor, but it might be required to cut the trim later on.
Now that you have measured everything for the toilet rough in, it’s time to go to the next step.
2. Find a New Toilet Bowl
Finding a new toilet bowl can be a difficult task. Luckily, the measurements from before should be enough to help you. There are specifications for every toilet, and you should carefully study them before spending any money. Today, many people even go online to buy products for their bathroom. We can recommend the Saniflo Sanibest Pro Elongated Bowl Toilet Kit. It’s easy to install and according to the reviews, it’s worth every penny. It’s mostly adjustable, so it should fit your bathroom without any problems. Just be sure to check every specification before making any purchase.
3. Turn off the Water Supply
This is an important step that you should take, so that there is no water rushing into the toilet basin. If the water supply is on, you might have a nasty situation rather quickly. Then, you’d want to flush the toilet so that the water tank is empty.
4. Remove the Old Toilet
If you are removing the old toilet alone, the first thing you should do is to disconnect the tank from the bowl. It’ll be a lot easier to remove the tank separately from the bowl. Then, pop off the trip caps that can be found at the base of the toilet. Loosen and remove the washers and nuts on the closet bowls. These are those small parts that are holding the bowl onto the floor. Use a saw if the nuts are rusted, as they often can be.
Gently rock the toilet on each side until you can lift it without any problems. This will show you the open line leading to the sewer system. Cover it up with some old rags to prevent fumes from going back into your home. This will also secure your tools from falling down.
5. Install a Wax Seal
With a putty knife, remove the old wax seal. Be sure that the flange below isn’t cracked, and then remove the rag from the hole. Keep in mind that if the flange is damaged, you have no choice but to call a professional for help. Now, place a new wax seal and hook the closet bolts on their place on the flange.
6. Attach the Tank and the Bowl
Now that the bolts and seal are in place, attach the bowl and the tank. You can do this by sliding the tank bolts through the opening which can be found at the tank’s bottom. The shanks of the bolts should be lined up with the holes on the bowl. This will make the toilet be put in its place. Tighten a nut onto every tank bolt to further secure everything. Make sure everything is evenly tightened so that everything can rest firmly.
If you are working alone, you might want to go to the next step before doing this one. However, asking someone to help you will make the process way easier and faster.
7. Secure the Toilet
The last thing you should do is put the toilet on the flange assembly. Make sure that the bolts are sticking out from the holes on the floor base! Now, you want to settle the toilet firmly on the floor. You shouldn’t force the toilet down by tightening the toilet bolts, as this might break the porcelain. Instead, try sitting on it and wiggle a bit until the toilet reaches the floor. Just make sure that you don’t go overboard! Everything has to be gentle. If the bolts are peeking out of the washers and nuts for too much, cut off the excess. Of course, you should also secure the lid to the new seat with bolts.
The last thing you want to do is to reconnect the supply line. Do that with slip-joint pliers. Turn the water back on and make sure that everything works.
Learning how to install a toilet isn’t an overly complicated process. However, it takes a lot of time and it’s better to do if you have a friend that can lend you a hand. Keep in mind that even a small leak on the toilet can cost you tens of gallons of water! This is why you must always be sure that the toilet bowl is in good condition. And if you don’t think you can do this by yourself – it isn’t a shame to call a professional for help.