If your toilet’s ready for an upgrade, you can install a new one on your own. All you need is an afternoon, some basic tools and supplies and some muscle. Whether you’d like a new look for your bathroom or to save water with a low-flow model, replacing a toilet is a surprisingly simple task. Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Small Adj. Wrench
- Tongue & Groove Pliers
- Mini Hacksaw
- Utility Knife
- Putty Knife
- Flathead Screwdriver
- New Toilet
- Wax Ring
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
Drain toilet. Start by turning off the water at your toilet’s stop valve. You’ll find this valve either coming out of the wall or the floor adjacent to your toilet. If your stop valve is stuck, loosen the nut under the handle. After closing the valve, be sure to tighten the nut to prevent leaking. After you’ve turned off the water, flush the toilet, holding the handle down a few extra seconds to drain as much water as possible from the tank. Use a sponge to soak up any water remaining in the tank and the bowl.
Remove tank. To remove your toilet’s tank, start by disconnecting the water supply. To do this, first locate the water supply tube which will be connected to your toilet with plastic coupling on the bottom of the tank. Using tongue and groove pliers, or a small pipe wrench, remove the nuts from the two or three bolts attaching the tank to the bowl. Turn the nuts with an adjustable wrench, placing a flathead screwdriver on the bolt heads to prevent them from turning, then remove the tank.
Remove bowl. The toilet bowl is secured to the floor by two bolts that come up from the flange at the base of the bowl. Remove the caps, then use an adjustable wrench to remove the nuts. With a wax ring under the base, rock the bowl to break the seal, then lift it off the bolts. If there’s a bead of caulk around the base of your toilet bowl, you’ll need to cut through it before you remove the bowl.
Clean flange. Take a rag and stuff it into the hole to contain sewer gases and prevent hardware from falling in. Use a putty knife to scrape the old wax ring off the flange. If you cut off the old bolts or they’re in poor shape, replace them with the flange bolts included with your new toilet. If your stop valve water line seems warn in any way, now’s a good time to replace it as well.
Set bowl on wax ring. Place the new bowl on its side on an old bath mat or piece of carpet. Position the new wax ring under the toilet with the tapered side of the ring facing the toilet. Remove the rag from the hole, then lift the new bowl and lower it down onto the wax ring. Be careful not to rock the bowl once it’s in contact with the ring, as this can prevent it from sealing. Press down on the bowl to set it in place.
Attach bowl. Fasten your washers over the flange bolts, then thread and hand tighten the nuts. To tighten the bowl evenly, alternate a quarter turn at a time on each side. To prevent the bowl from cracking, be sure not to overtighten it. Do it just enough to keep the toilet from rocking. Snap the nut caps into place.
Prepare tank. Some toilets come with a tank to bowl gasket attached to the flush valve on the bottom of the tank. On others, you’ll slide the gasket onto the outlet before securing the tank.
Secure tank. Depending on the model of your toilet, the tank will be secured to the bowl with two or three bolts. Position the tank in place, fastening the supplied rubber washers over the bolts, then put the bolts through the holes. Place a washer and nut on each bolt, then use a flathead screwdriver inside the tank to keep the bolts steady as you tighten the nuts. Tighten them just enough to keep the tank from wobbling. On some toilets, the nuts are recessed, and the manufacturer will supply a deep socket tool to reach them.
Reconnect water supply. Attach the plastic coupling on the water supply tube to the threaded refill pipe at the bottom of the tank. Tighten securely with tongue and groove pliers, or small pipe wrench. Turn the water on at the stop valve. When the tank is full, check the bottom of the tank for leaks. Give your new toilet a flush to make sure everything works properly.
Congratulations. You installed a new toilet, and you did it on your own.
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