DIY plumbing: How to install a toilet
If you're ready to put your handyman skills and toolbox to use, a toilet installation is a relatively simple job to start stretching your DIY muscles. Here are some tips you need to know about installing a toilet on your own.
Reasons to take on the project:
- Replace or upgrade an old toilet
- Remove and replace during remodeling
- Save water and energy
If your toilet troubles are persistent, such as excessive clogging or cracking porcelain, the best option is to replace it. You can save money on your water bills by upgrading your unit to a low-flushing, energy-efficient model. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, toilets are responsible for 30 percent of a home's average indoor water consumption. Look for the EPA's WaterSense label for high-performing, water-efficient models. Be sure to measure your bathroom before purchasing so the new toilet will fit in your space.
How to remove the old toilet:
Keep your safety in mind, and try to avoid breaking the toilet as a way to remove it. Plus, if it isn't in terrible condition, you can sell or donate the unit.
Here's how to dismantle the toilet without breaking it:
- Turn off the water supply. The valve is on wall or floor behind the toilet.
- Drain all the water from the bowl. Start by flushing the toilet, then use a plunger, small cup or sponge to remove any excess water.
- Disconnect the supply line. Use a wrench to carefully release it.
- Remove the tank. Start with the lid, and then use a wrench to loosen the bolts at the bottom of the tank. Lift it straight up, but gently twist it side to side if you feel resistance.
- Remove the bowl.Take off the bolt caps at the base of the toilet, then use pliers or a wrench to remove the bolts. Gently rock the bowl back and forth until you can pick it up entirely.
- Clean the floor. Use a putty knife to remove any gunk from the floor and around the mounting flange. Wipe down the surface before installing the new toilet.
How to install a new toilet:
Just like removing the old one, you'll install the new one in pieces. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions for any specific guidelines.
- Place the wax ring on the flange. Pro tip: Lowe's recommended making sure the ring is warm before placing it, as it will be softer and easier to work with.
- Set and secure the bowl. Place the toilet bowl onto the flange, aligning it with the bolt holes. Place a washer and nut on each bolt, and tighten into place. Alternate from side to side to make sure you tighten them evenly. Be cautious of over-tightening, as this can crack the porcelain. Place the bolt caps, and use a sealant around the base of the toilet to secure its position.
- Install the tank. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for placing the rubber gasket (if it's not already installed.) Insert the mounting bolts through the inside of the tank, and then place it into position. Alternate tightening the bolts, like you did on the base.
- Secure the toilet seat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Reconnect the water supply line. Turn the water back on, and then flush the toilet to test your work.
Not everyone is a DIY type, but if you are, it's definitely worth a shot. If during the task you find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated, don't hesitate to call in a professional. Serious plumbing issues can become a huge inconvenience, so it's never a bad idea to have a certified plumber check out the problem.Being prepared for pipe issues that may arise is also a good line of defense. Plans from HomeServe can help with covered repair costs in the event of a pipe breakdown. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.