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DIY Plumbing: How to Replace a Toilet

Is it time to replace your toilet?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be due to an unfortunate incident. You might be choosing to renovate your bathroom, or maybe you’re after a water-efficient toilet to help you save on your water bills.

Whatever the reason may be, the old commode has got to go. But how do you replace a toilet? Is this a job you can do yourself, or are you best to get the experts in?

If you’re familiar with the parts in and around the toilet, and you’ve got the tools handy, then it’s possible you might be able to replace one. Just make sure that you follow these steps so that you don’t make a mess after your first flush.

What Parts Do You Need?

In addition to the toilet itself, there are a few extra parts you should ensure you have or are familiar with. Understanding what these are will make replacing the toilet much easier.

Closet Flange

You’ll find this piece around the toilet drain. It’s either a plastic or metal ring that’s bolted to the toilet itself.

Closet Elbow

Connected to the closet flange is the elbow. It’s often made of plastic and resembles the body part, so it’s hard to miss.

Closet Bolts

These are often two bolts. You’ll find them attaching the toilet to the closet flange.

Wax Ring

This item forms a seal when placed between the closet flange and the base of the toilet. It is actually made of wax and is not a trick name.

What Tools Do You Need to Replace a Toilet?

You might not need all of these tools to replace a toilet. However, it’s best that you have them handy in the instance you need to make any alterations to the parts so that your new lavatory fits into place perfectly. The items you’ll need include:

  • A sponge
  • A bucket
  • Old towels
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Teflon tape
  • A hacksaw
  • Leveller

How to Replace a Toilet

Before you start replacing a toilet, make sure that you’ve taken all the necessary measurements so that you’re confident it will fit in the new space. Once you’re comfortable, grab your tools and parts, then follow this guide to replace the toilet.

Step 1: Disconnect the Existing Toilet

Before you touch one single screw, make sure that the toilet’s water supply is turned off. Empty the toilet completely by flushing it multiple times. You can use the sponge to clean up any remaining water.

When everything is dry, unthread the toilet coupling nut with your pliers. This is what connects the toilet tank to the water supply.

Step 2: Removing the Tank

With your pliers and a screwdriver, remove the toilet tank bolt. You may need to use some oil on the nut if your toilet is particularly old. If that doesn’t work, you might need to use the hacksaw to cut them off. Once you’ve removed the bolts, take off the toilet tank.

Step 3: Remove the Bowl

Use your screwdriver or pliers to remove the bolts connecting the toilet bowl to the floor. If you’re having trouble detaching them, use some oil or cut them off with the saw. When you’ve got it loose, tilt the toilet towards you and disconnect it.

Step 4: Get Rid of the Wax Ring

Brace yourself for this step. Grab your putty knife and place it below the wax ring flange. Then scrape it off. It’s likely going to come off in chunks, and you’ll need to put these pieces on to something you plan to throw away as it’s incredibly sticky. 

Step 5: Install the Closet Flange

Place the new closet flange over the drain and insert the bolts. You only need to rotate them a quarter just so the heads aren’t loose. Put some washers over the top and secure the flange with nuts. You can now unwrap the new wax ring and place it over the flange.

Step 6: Connect the New Toilet

Slowly lower the new toilet so that the bolts slide into the holes of the base. Once it feels right, press down on the seat so that it’s secure. Then make sure it is level. If it’s not, place some coins under the base to straighten it out. 

Tighten up the nuts on the base one by one. You don’t want to overtighten them too much. If you have any bolts still exposed, then you can cut them off with a hacksaw. Use tile caulk to seal the base, but leave the back area open so water can escape.

Step 7: Attach the Water Tank

Attach the water tank but tightening the nut near the flush valve. Then insert a washer over the top of the nut. 

Step 8: Add the New Valve

Some water tanks come with the valves preinstalled. In this instance, you can skip ahead. But if your tank is completely empty, you’ll need to install it yourself. Place the valve through the slot at the base of the tank and tighten the locknut by hand.  

Step 9: Thread the Washers

It’s easier to thread the washers with the tank sitting on its side. Insert a rubber washer on each bolt within the tank. Then place a brass one on the tank from the bottom. Then screw the hex nuts on the bolts. You should only need to turn them a quarter. Don’t attempt to overtighten them.

Step 10: Slot in the Water Tank

Place the tank over the toilet bowl and slot it into the opening. Place the bolts in the holes and put washers on all of them. You’re best to place a rubber one first and then a brass one. Attach the nuts and tighten them up as best as you can.

Step 11: Stabilising the Toilet

Now you want to make sure nothing feels loose. Tighten the bolts on the interior of the tank and at the base of the bowl. Don’t overtighten anything. You just want to make sure that everything feels stable and is level.

Step 12: Connecting the Water Supply

Reconnect the water supply to the water tank. Slowly turn it back on so that you can see if there are any leaks. If you spot any, turn off the supply immediately and retrace your steps.

Step 13: Attach the Seat

Finally, get your new toilet seat and attach it to the base. You should have some bolts that came with it. Tighten it firmly so that it’s secure and can move appropriately. 

Need Help Replacing Your Toilet?

Make no mistake, replacing a toilet is a big job. You not only need a lot of tools, but you also have to be familiar with the parts of the commode so that you know what gets removed and what remains untouched.
If you want to make sure that your new toilet gets installed correctly, then you should get in touch with All Day Plumbing. We provide upfront pricing before we touch a single bolt and guarantee 100% satisfaction on every job we complete. Book an appointment today to get peace of mind that your toilet is installed correctly.