Do It Yourself Plumbing: Installing A Toilet

Replacing or installing a new toilet is an easy one-afternoon project that you can do yourself with a minimal of tools or experience.

Regardless of your needs, installing a new toilet or replacing one that has seen better days is relatively easy. There are just a few steps and it can all be completed in one day.

Selecting a new toilet

In most states across the Untied States, new toilets must allow for only one and a half gallons of water to flush at one time. This not only saves the environment with every flush, it also saves you each month with your water bill. You will find that most community building codes also require these new toilets. It is always best to check with your local community before installing the new toilet. The only thing left is to choose a style or color that best suits your family, needs and interior design scheme of your bathroom.

Getting started

If you are installing a new toilet in a new location where one did not exist before you can skip this part. Replacing an old toilet has only a couple of extra steps from installing a toilet in a new location.

Before you try to remove the old toilet, you need to be sure the water has been shut off. Behind the toilet (and sometimes hidden in the base cabinet adjacent to the toilet) is the water shut off valve. If you remember the old phrase, "Lefty Lucy - Righty Tighty", you will be able to know which way to turn the valve to cut off the water supply. Turn to the right to close the valve. You will need to be sure the water is turned off and you will need to empty the tank, so flush the toilet twice. This helps to ensure you got most of the water out. There will be a bit of remaining water in the tank so have towels or news paper on the floor to help mop up the water when the tank is removed.

Removing the old tank

Follow the water supply cut off valve to the tank of the toilet. Take an adjustable wrench and clamp it onto the outside supply tubing on the coupling nut. With a pair of rib joint pliers, inside the tank, grab the other nut and turn left to loosen. You may need to hold the outside nut and adjustable wrench with your other hand to stabilize.

Once you have the water supply disconnected, it is time to remove the tank. With the same technique you just used to remove the supply line, you need to hold the mounting bolt nut under the tank, while inside the tank you unscrew the mounting bolt from the main body of the toilet. This will release the tank. Simply set the tank on the floor with some form of cushion to protect your flooring. Newspaper or old towels will do just fine.

Next you will need to remove the floor bolts that hold the main toilet body to the floor. Once you have these off, it is time to pull the toilet off the floor. The toilet is attached not only by the floor bolts, but also by adhesive. You will need to rock the toilet back and forth while leaning it forward to pry it loose.

Once the old toilet has been removed stuff a rag into the exposed pipe. This helps keep the sewer gasses from entering the room and keeps objects from falling into it. You can use a paint scraper or any flat tool to scrape the old adhesive remains from the floor and pipe gasket. Try to clean as well as possible as this will help with better adhesion for the new toilet.

Installing a new toilet

If you are installing a new fixture where there was no fixture before, supply line pipes will need to be installed. You will need to call a professional plumber to do this for you as it is very involved and dangerous. Once you have the pipes installed, installing the new fixture is a snap!

Lay some newspaper or old towels on the floor. Flip the new fixture over and lay down on the paper or towel to protect your flooring and to expose the underside. The underside of the toilet will have a hole, called a horn. This is where the water leaves the toilet to the sewer. You need to place a new wax gasket on this horn. Most new toilets come with this wax gasket.

Flip the bowl back over and place the horn of the toilet into the floor pipe. Rocking it back and forth will help insure of a good fit. Once you have the toilet bowl in place, you will need to level it while attaching the floor bolts at the same time. To do this, place the bolts through the holes into the floor loosely. With a level on top of the bowl, slowly tighten the floor bolts. You want the bowl to be tight to the floor, but not too tight as to crack the porcelain of the bowl. If you are unable to level the bowl and have the floor bolts tight at the same time, you may need small plastic shims to level the bow.

Attaching the tank

Some new toilets are one piece, meaning the tank and the bowl are not separated into two parts. However traditionally toilets do have a separate tank. Attaching the tank is even easier than the bowl.

Your new toilet will come with a flush valve, this is the mechanical contraption that fits inside your tank that attaches to the handle outside of the tank, and flushes the water. Assemble this according to the manufacturer instructions and attach inside your tank before installing the tank.

Your tank should come with a mounting cushion. This is a rubber piece that is laid under the tank to protect the tank from rubbing against the bowl, subsequently cracking either one. Lay the tank onto the bowl, being careful to position the two bolt holes over the matching holes underneath. Insert the mounting bolts and tighten. There may be gaps where your mounting bolts are, so you will need to fill any gaps with plumber's putty, available at any hardware store.

The only thing left is to hook up the water supply. Take the water supply line and screw to the bottom of the tank. Turn the water supply valve back on and flush! Congratulations! You have just installed your first toilet!

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