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How to Replace a Toilet

Removing and replacing a toilet is easy with this step-by-step DIY guide

Posted in Toilets over 15 years ago, 0 replies

It is not at all a difficult process to replace a toilet. If the proper steps are followed, changing your toilet should take no longer than half a day. Most toilets are constructed with a separate tank mounted on the top of the bowl. The instructions in this procedure are intended specifically for the standard toilet. Other types of toilets will have a somewhat different set of instructions. The instructions given by the manufacturers of your replacement toilet should be followed at all times.

Preparation for the Toilet Replacement

• Before you chose what type of toilet you want to use as your replacement, you measure your toilet's rough-in. You can measure your toilet's rough-in by finding the distance from the bolts that hold down the toilet's rearmost bowl to the wall behind the toilet. Typical toilets have a 12 inch rough-in. If your rough-in is a different measure, see your retailer for assistance in choosing your replacement.
• To begin with, shut off the water supply of your toilet. To empty the tank of your toilet, flush the toilet while holding down the lever as the water runs out. After flushing, any remaining water in your tank and bowl should be wiped up completely with a sponge.

Removing Your Old Toilet

• First, detach the toilet tank from its water supply. Do this by using a large, flexible wrench to remove the coupling nut that connects the water supply and tank. It may be necessary to hold the fill valve with pliers to keep it from moving.
• You can now remove the original tank. The tank is held by two long bolts below the flange behind the toilet bowl. This should be carefully done with a screwdriver while holding the tank so that it doesn't fall or become damaged
• After you have removed the bolts, you can remove the tank from the bowl.
• On the other hand, if your tank is not standard and mounts to the wall, feeding the bowl with a large elbow, you must get rid of the elbow before you can remove the tank. You can remove the elbow by using a trap wrench to take out the slip jam nuts. You can also remove the elbow with the use of a hacksaw.
• After the elbow is removed, your tank can be carefully unscrewed from the wall. Support the tank while unscrewing to protect it from falling.
• The next step is removing your toilet bowl. Your toilet bowl will either be fastened to the floor with two or four hold-down bolts and nuts beneath the trim caps.
• Expose the hold-down bolts and nuts by first prying off each trim cap.
• Use a screwdriver to remove the nuts. If you cannot unscrew the nuts, use a min-hacksaw or a regular hacksaw to saw the nuts off. If you are going to saw, use masking tape to cover the toilet bowl's finish and protect it from the damage from the hacksaw.
• To loosen the toilet bowl, rock it back and forth. This will break the bowl's seal with the floor and flange. After you have loosened the bowl, you can pick it up and carry outside the house. Carry the bowl upright and level to avoid spilling any excess water. When lifting, keep your back straight and place the weight on your legs. It might be necessary to carry the bowl and tank out at the same time, depending on your toilet.
• While you work, keep sewer gases out of the house and debris out of the soil pipe by stuffing rags in the toilet flange opening.

Preparing To Install Your New Toilet

• Before installing your new toilet, your area should be completely cleaned. Using a screwdriver or putty knife, get rid of old putty and wax left on your floor and toilet flange. Clean the floor thoroughly to prepare for the new toilet. The hold-down bolts from your old toilet can not be reused in your new toilet. If you want to paint or clean the wall behind the toilet, you can do this now.
• Any new water supply plumbing needed for your new toilet should be installed now. Installing a new fixture supply valve and riser tube can offer shutoff convenience later. The fixture supply valve attaches to a short length of water supply pipe from with either the wall or floor. It is also good to have the riser tube around, but away from the new tank.
• Make sure your toilet flange is in condition and does not need to be replaced. The flange should be about half an inch above the bathroom floor.
• Sit the toilet upright on the floor over the flange to check its levelness. Examine the toilet all over, on the side, the front, and the back. Wipe under the new toilet bowl using non-rusting metal washers.
• Add the new hold-down bolts for your new toilet. If the toilet flange has holes or slots for the bolts, they should be inserted in the openings. If you are using a cast-iron piping system, screw the hold-down bolts directly into the wood floor. Your local department store should have the proper bolts for this. Ordinary bolts cannot be used for this. The bolts should be installed with the same rough-in from before.

Installing the New Bowl

• Installing your toilet is almost the exact reverse of removing your old toilet. Be sure to handle the bowl and tank carefully to prevent cracking or breaking them.
• To begin, invert your new toilet bowl onto a thick pile of newspapers or some other type of padding on the floor.
• Use a ready-made wax toilet ring gasket, applying it over the toilet bowl's outlet horn to seal the toilet flange to the toilet. Be sure to use a new gasket, don't reuse an old one. When installing, the face should be added with the flat face against the bowl. The gasket should face the other way if the toilet has a sleeve. Your gasket should be at room temperature.
• There are two gaskets that can be used for this, they are either with plastic sleeves or without plastic sleeves.
• The joint that connects the bowl to the floor should be sealed around the edge of the base of the bowl. Apply a drop of plumber's putty to squeeze between the toilet and floor. If you don't use putty, use about 2lbs of plaster in its place. The easiest way to seal would be to use bathroom caulk or sealant. You can ask your retailer which caulk is good for this type of sealing.
• You can now take out the rag that you were using to block the flange opening. You are now ready to install the bowl.
• Hold up the toilet above the floor so that the outlet horn of the toilet is directly above toilet flange. Lower the toilet gently as the hold-down bolts pass through the openings of the bowl base. The wax gasket and the toilet flange should make contact.
• Rock the toilet back and forth, pressing down hard, to set it on both the floor and gasket at the same time. If needed, rotate the toilet a few degrees to fit correctly. This pressure will force out excess wax. Make sure the bowl is both level and squarely fits with the wall. Keep the bowl against the floor while moving it to fit, otherwise you will have to repeat the process and remove and replace more wax.
• Put washers on the hold-down bolts and tighten the nuts onto the bolts. Only tighten the bowl with your fingers, wrench-tight is not necessary. Re-check and tighten the bolts after several days. The bowl may break if you tighten the nuts with a wrench.
• Install two toilet studs with washers and nuts into the floor for the front two mounting holes.

Installing the Tank

• If your tank is separate from your bowl, you can install it now. Your trip lever nut may have left-hand threads.
• Use the rubber spud washer to place it into the flush valve opening in the bottom of the toilet tank. The washer fits between the tank and the bowl and should be placed beveled side out. If you have one, place a rubber tank cushion on the bowl. Carefully pick up the toilet bowl and lightly place it on the back of the bowl.
• From inside the tank, install the two long brass-tank mounting bolts, through the aligned holes. Place the rubber washers against the tank and the bowl. Make sure the washers and nuts are snug by drawing them up gently and evenly. After this, you have completed your bowl installation.

The final stages

• Attach the toilet's water supply to the toilet's inlet valve on the bottom left-hand side (assuming you are facing it) of the tank. Most likely, your toilet came with the coupling nut that you will need for this. The coupling nut will fit perfectly onto the inlet and works well with a flat-ended riser tube. Pipe dope should not be used with the coupling nut.
• After this, the water supply can be turned back on. Watch for any leaks as the toilet tank fills up. If there are any, they should be taken care of with further tightening. The tank should fill to about x of an inch below the top of the overflow tube.
• Now, tighten the hold-down bolts of your bowl with one turn of the screwdriver to secure it. You can now install the trim caps over the nuts and fill the recesses with plumber's putty and press it down over the bolts. Clean up any mess that is made from material oozing out.
• Finally, smooth and clean up any excess sealant around the bowl's base.
• It is now time to flush your toilet to test for any water leaks on the floor.
• Complete installation of your new toilet by adding the new toilet seat and tanks over.

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