DIY Plumbing: How to Replace a Toilet

It’s quite simple to replace your old or malfunctioning toilet. The latest technology in plumbing has made it possible to design water-efficient toilets. Modern toilets are overcoming the performance issues that came with earlier models.

old toilet replaced with new modern toilet

It’s actually possible to spend below $250 to replace an inefficient toilet unit with a top quality and high-efficiency toilet. All you need to do is making your choice wisely.

For instance, toilets made from 1996 and beyond use around 1.6 gallons of water per flush, something that has been quite challenging for property owners.

Today, toilets that consume 1.6 gallons of water have evolved such that they come with a wider passage section behind the toilet bowl and wider openings in the flush valve.

The wideness allows for short and powerful flushes. The result is reduced toilet clogging and fewer, short flushes.

Problems of toilet clogging are common with older toilets. Our Sydney plumbers say that these problems still exist with modern but inferior toilets. It’s advisable to check the toilet models you find from your local hardware store, including their pricing.

Simply check them online to find out what other users say about them. New toilets tend to undergo a “debugging” mode where issues such as malfunctioning parts and leaks are most common.

When choosing a toilet, make your choice based on flush performance, reliability, and ease of installing.

You’ll only do some little research and stand a better chance of finding a high-performance and efficient toilet to serve you for many years to come.

TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

TOOLS & SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED

  • A sponge and bucket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Towels
  • Supply tube
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Adjustable wrench
  • A channel-type of pliers
  • Regular pliers
  • Toilet seat
  • Bolts for the toilet seat
  • Screwdriver
  • Penetrating oil
  • Wax ring that has a flange
  • Wax ring that doesn’t have a flange
  • Teflon tape
  • Hacksaw

Required Skills: Using hand tools / lifting at least 20-25 kgs / making some compression joints

Difficulty Level: Moderate  (You’ll need to spare at least an hour to complete this project)

Make sure you buy a toilet that fits the space. You should rather measure the existing space to ensure it’ll fit perfectly.

To do this, take the measurement of the distance between the toilet bolts on the floor and the wall behind.

In case your toilet is fitted with two sets of bolts, take measurements from the rear set of bolts. You’ll get a distance of approximately 10 to 12 inches for a standard toilet space.

Also, note whether the shape of the toilet bowl is oval (long) or round. Oval toilet bowls are also known as elongated bowls.

They’re a bit longer than round ones and offer greater comfort. However, an oval bowl might be bigger than the existing space if it’s meant for a round bowl.

The best option is buying a replacement bowl of the same shape as the existing one.

Steps To Follow When Replacing a Toilet

stop valve and coupling nut

Step 1:

First, remove the existing toilet. Before detaching anything, ensure the water supply to the toilet is turned off at the stop valve.

Empty the toilet by flushing it while holding the toilet handle for some time to ensure it flushes longer than normal. Use a sponge to empty any water left in the tank.

Next, start unthreading the toilet coupling nut. This is the nut connecting the toilet tank with its water supply. Use a channel-type of pliers to unthread it. In case you own a wet vacuum, use it to dry any water left in the bowl and tank.

Step 2:

Use a pair of pliers or box wrench to grip each toilet tank bolt. You can stabilize each bolt using a slotted screwdriver while removing them.

In case the nuts feel stuck, apply some penetrating oil on them. Allow for the oil to sit before attempting to unthread them.

If the nuts are still stuck, you can cut them off using a hacksaw. Then remove the old tank and discard it.

plumber removing nut and bolts from toilet tank
nuts that hold toilet bowl to floor

Step 3:

Next, unthread the nuts holding the toilet bowl on the floor. Start with prying off any bolt covers using a screwdriver.

Use a channel-type of pliers or locking pliers or socket wrench to loosen each nut on the toilet tank bolts. If the nuts feel stuck, apply some penetrating oil on them and allow it to sit before trying to unthread them.

If you’re still unable to unthread them, cut them off using a hacksaw. Then tilt the bowl and detach it.

Extra Tip:

It can be quite disgusting to remove old wax rings. It’s actually one of the most disgusting jobs in plumbing. remove wax ring with putty knifeIn this case, you’ll need to use a putty knife to remove the wax ring.

Place the putty knife below the wax ring flange and scrape it. In most cases, the ring will detach in chunks. Remember to discard each and every chunk as soon as it comes off since they easily stick on anything.

In case some residue is left, scrub them off using a mineral spirit. Once the area is clean, take a rag and stuff it into the drain to block any sewer gas. It’s actually the wax ring that makes a major difference between smelly water closets and pleasant ones.

Step 4:

You can now do away with the rag by removing it from the opening of the drain and insert new toilet bolts (made of brass) into the flange slots at 9 and 3 o’clock.

Rotate each bolt at a ¼ turn to ensure the heads won’t be withdrawn. Next, put the washers or plastic keepers on the new bolts.

Then put the nuts and secure them onto the flange. Next, unwrap the new wax ring. Then position it ring on the flange.

wax ring with flange, floor nuts and bolts
plumber placing new toilet over wax ring

Step 5:

Lower your new toilet over the ring such that the toilet bolts enter the bolt holes on the stool. This may be tricky to do, thus be patient when doing it or get assistance. Next, press the toilet downwards to seat securely in the ring. Remember to check whether it’s level.

In case it’s not level, use some pennies beneath it to level it. Thread the washers and toilet nuts on the toilet floor bolts. Tighten the nuts a little bit one by one while alternating from one nut to the other. Avoid over tightening the nuts.

Use a hacksaw to cut off the exposed bolt section above the nuts. Then cap the bolts. Next, apply tile caulk all around the toilet base while leaving the back area open to allow water to escape. This will allow you to detect a leak.

Step 6:

You can now attach the water tank. Some toilet tanks usually come with preinstalled fill and flush valves.

However, if your toilet doesn’t come with preinstalled valves, you’ll need to install them yourself through the water tank opening.

Tighten the spud nut on the threaded side of the flush valve. Next, insert a spud washer over the valve spud nut.

spud nut and washer
fill valve flush tank

Step 7:

You can adjust the toilet fill valve if necessary.

Step 8:

Next, position the toilet valve inside the toilet tank.

Then push the new valve shank downwards from the bottom while tightening its locknut with your hand.

Don’t use any tools to tighten the nut. Strictly use your hands.

threaded fill valve shank
plumber placing nut between tank and bowl

Step 9:

Lay the tank on its backside. Thread a washer (rubber one) on each bolt. Insert each bolt from within the water tank.

Next, thread another washer (brass one) on the tank from below. After that, thread a hex nut on the bolt from below.

Next, tighten them a ¼ turn. Avoid over tightening them.

Step 10:

Lift the water tank and position it over the toilet bowl.

Position the spud washer over the opening and insert the bolts through the bolt holes.

Next, put washers on each and every bolt. Start by inserting a rubber-based washer. Then insert a brass-based washer.

Next, insert a wing type of nut on every bolt. Tighten them all evenly.

plumber placing tank over toilet bowl
plumber tightening the tank with nuts and bolts

Step 11:

You can use a slotted screwdriver to stabilize the toilet bolts from the interior part of the toilet tank. However, only tighten the toilet nuts and not the toilet bolts.

You can press the tank a little bit on the rear, front, or side to make it level while tightening the nuts with your hand.

Avoid over tightening the nuts as this may damage the tank. Ensure the tank is stable and level upon tightening.

Step 12:

You can now fix the main water supply to the toilet tank.

Do this by connecting a new water tubing to the fill valve. Use the coupling nut that came with the tube.

Allow water to flow by turning on the main water supply to test for any leaks.

plumber connecting water supply to the toilet tank
plumber attaching toilet seat to the bowl

Step 13:

Finally, attach the new toilet seat.

Thread the brass or plastic bolts that came with the new toilet seat into the holes on the rim.

Attach the nuts from below and tighten it firmly in place.

By |2019-11-22T06:08:02+10:30April 23rd, 2019|DIY Plumbing, Toilet|0 Comments

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