You don’t need to be intimated if you want to switch out your toilet. While hiring a professional can surely save you the hassle, if you have the right tools and instructions, you can manage this yourself within an hour. It’s important to note you’ll likely need an assistant (aka, the closest family member in proximity) to help you out. After all, toilets can weigh 80 lbs or more. The process is fairly simple unless you’re dealing with a new build where you don’t even have any plumbing hooked up. As long as you have a toilet flange and water supply in place, you can figure the rest out.
Depending on your toilet type, there may be a few differences in how you go about the process. Read on to learn more about when you should think about installing a toilet, the tools you’ll need, and the steps to finish the job.
When Should You Replace Your Toilet?
Toilets have a long lifespan of 10 years or more. You may want to replace it for style or comfort, but there are some practical reasons for changing it out as well. If your toilet is frequently clogged, the porcelain is cracked, or water has been leaking, it’s time to get a new toilet.
Buying the right toilet.
Before you embark on this journey, you’re going to need your new toilet on hand. Our team always has one on the truck, ready to fit into its new home. You can also source your own toilet but it will always be better to get one from a reputable dealer like your plumber, to ensure the toilet comes with a comprehensive labour and installation warranty.
There are two typical toilet sizes – regular and long. In the case of toilets, the bigger one is usually better with more comfort. However, if you have a small bathroom, you may want to stick with regular, so you’re not crowding the space.
There are also comfort height options. The standard toilet is 15 inches high, but you can find some that are 17-19 inches. Once you have your toilet on hand, you’re ready for the challenge – installing a toilet.
How to Install a Toilet
Installing a toilet can feel rewarding if you like to do projects around the home. However, you can crack your new toilet or run up your water bills due to a leak if done wrong. Hiring a professional is always recommended but optional. Before diving headfirst, these are the tools you’ll need to get the job done.
- A bucket
- A rag
- Your new toilet (and the instructions that came with it)
- Putty knife
- A screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench
- New flange if your old one isn’t looking so great.
- Tape measure
- Wax ring
- Closet bolts
- Potentially someone to help you lift the heavy toilet.
Now you’re ready for the good stuff.
Step 1: Remove your old toilet
Seems simple enough, right? You’ll want to ensure you’ve turned off the water and drained the toilet before taking it out of its place. In order to train it, you’ll turn off the water supply valve by turning the handle clockwise until it stops. Flushing the toilet will then empty the tank. You can also mop out any remaining water into the bucket listed in the recommended tools above.
You’ll need to pry off the plastic cap covering two closet bolts and nuts that attach your toilet to the floor. You may need a pry bar to separate it. Once they’re removed, get your friend to help you lift the toilet and dispose of it.
Step 2: Inspect and clean your flange
Have your rag or old towel handy when you’re removing the toilet, and quickly stuff it into the floor flange. Not sure what a flange is? It’s the hole in the floor at the bottom of the toilet. This is an important step. Otherwise, gases and odours from the sewer pipe will make their way into your home.
In order to have your new toilet fit snuggly to prevent leaking, you’ll need to replace the wax ring by removing it from the flange. To do this, you can remove the old floor bolts and scrape off the wax ring with a putty knife. Try to make it as even and level as possible, so the new toilet sits evenly. If you’ve noticed your flange is damaged, you’ll have to replace this during the process. You can get a new flange from a local hardware store.
Step 3: Install the new bolts and wax ring.
If you’ve had to replace your flange, you’ll want to install new bolts around the base. Otherwise, you can re-install the bolts you took out to clean the flange. Be sure to tighten them with your wrench, as they are the anchor that holds your toilet down.
From there, you need to install the new wax ring directly onto the flange. You could also tip the new toilet upside down and attach it to the bottom of the bowl so it’s in the perfect position before you put it into place.
Step 4: Attach your new toilet
When your new toilet is ready to be installed, you’ll need to remove the rag that was blocking the odours and slowly lower the new toilet onto the flange and closet bolts. You’ll want to do this slowly to ensure everything lines up. If your tank isn’t attached, you can attach it with bolts in the same way you tightened the closet bolts. Be sure to go tight to prevent leaks, but not so tight that it cracks.
Step 5: Finishing touches
You’re almost there! Now you just have to put the seat over the bowl, insert the plastic bolts at the back, and tighten the nuts that hold it all together. Then, turn your water supply back on, open the valve, and allow the tank to fill. You’ll want to flush 5-6 times to have it ready to go. If you notice any leaks, you’ll want to call a professional or retrace your steps to stop the leak from recurring.
Once all of this is done, the final step is sealing the base with silicone caulk a few days after your installation. That way, you can take care of any leaks you may have yet to notice immediately.
Installing a toilet can be overwhelming if you don’t have experience or anyone to help you. When it’s a plumbing emergency, you may not have time for a toilet switch out before your next gathering. Our fast and responsive technicians always have a toilet on the truck to get you out of a sticky situation. Contact us if you’d like some help with your toilet installation so you can focus on your next home project.
Have you ever installed a toilet by yourself? What surprised you about the process? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.
Call us at (403) 452-2911 or Book Now an appointment.
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