Whether you’ve had a plumbing disaster, or simply want to upgrade your commode, there’s no need to waste money hiring “one of the pros” to install a new toilet for you. If you’ve got a healthy back and a decent amount of arm strength, you should have no problems with replacing your toilet by using the following steps.
First, here’s what you’ll need:
- Ratchet wrench and sockets
- Adjustable wrenches
- Toilet seat
- Wax ring
- Floor bolts
- Mounting nuts
Whether you assemble your toilet bowl and tank before or after you attach the base is a matter of preference, but doing it beforehand can save some frustration and make it easier to align everything. Most manufacturers will include all of the required hardware, along with a basic assembly. Just remember, don’t over tighten nuts and screws, or you might crack the porcelain.
#2. Prepare or replace the flange
Once you remove your old toilet, you’ll see the circular flange. You’ll also notice the old wax ring. Scrape this off (you’ll replace it later), and check for any cracks. If not, then you’re good to go! Otherwise, pick up a flange repair kit from your local hardware store and follow the simple instructions.
#3. Position bolts
Self-adjusting bolts are best, because you won’t have to worry about using bolt cutters to trim away excess length. Slip one bolt into each side of the flange, and fit washers tightly to the base.
#4. Position the wax ring
Fit the wax ring over the flange, so it rests snugly between the two bolts. Make sure it’s completely even to avoid nasty leaks.
#5. Set the toilet
Lift the toilet over the flange, and set the holes in the base over the bolts. This will be the trickiest part and may take a bit of patience to line it up perfectly. Having an extra pair of eyes to spot for you might be helpful.
Once it’s in position, sit or even stand on the toilet seat to make sure it’s secured firmly.
#6. Cover the bolts
Place washers and nuts over the exposed bolts. Once again, make sure you don’t tighten them too much or you’ll crack the porcelain.
#7. Attach supply line
Find out what size of supply line your toilet needs (most use a 3/8” connector). Note: a connector with rubber gaskets is preferable. If you can’t find one, you’ll need to wrap threads with Teflon or electrical tape.
#8. Check the fill level
Open the supply valve to fill the tank, and adjust it until the water meets the fill line.
Optional: Some people prefer to add caulking around the toilet’s base, but it’s up to you. It will give the base a polished look, but it can also make leaks hard to detect. If you do opt for caulking, leave a gap at the back of the toilet so if you do experience leaks you’ll notice right away.
And there you have it, a brand-new toilet at a quarter of the cost of hiring a professional plumber!