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This extensive instruction set will guide beginners through the process of installing a new toilet without having to call in a plumber. Replacing a toilet is one of the easier home improvements an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can tackle. This job requires a few basic tools that can be purchase at low cost. Everything you will need to know about the tools, materials and procedure will be explained. The following instructions will allow you to swap out our old, two-piece, toilet with a new one using the plumbing already in place. This task can be done in less than two hours. While you can replace a toilet by yourself, it is recommended to have someone help.
Figure 1 - Two-Piece Toilet
Precautions There are a few safety precautions to take while installing a toilet. In order to prevent flooding, you will need to turn off the water supply going to the toilet. If there is no shut-off valve in the bathroom, you will need to find you where the main water shut-off is in your house. Handling the tank and bowl of the toilet may not be a one person job. It is advisable to have someone help if either part is too heavy. Remember to always lift with your legs and not your back in order to prevent injury. Should you be required to use a hacksaw or utility knife, make sure your tools has a sharp (or new) blade in order to reduce the risk of injuries. Preparations Remove the new toilet from its packaging to make sure you have all the pieces and check for any cracks, chips or defects in the bowl, tank or lid. Set aside pieces on floor nearby but out of the way. A piece of cardboard from the packaging should be underneath them so that they do not get scratched. You should plan for a place to put the old toilet once you remove it. You can choose to take it outside or place it in the tub temporarily. Protect tubs finish with some old towels. Make sure you have all the tools and materials you need before getting started and gather them together in the space where you will be working. A bead of caulking may have been used at the bottom of the toilet bowl; you will want to remove that before starting. This can be done with a utility knife. Gently score through the caulking, vertically, several times until you are able to lift one end up a bit. Grab that end and pull to remove the caulking.
Figure 2 - Tools and Items Needed For Installation
The following tools and materials are required: Adjustable wrench/spanner (A) Screwdrivers (flat head and Philips head) (B) Small Putty Knife (or plastic scrapper) (C) Wax Ring with Funnel (available at any home renovation store) (D) Level (E) Plumbers Putty Sponge Bucket and Small Plastic Container Old Towel or Newspaper The following tools and materials that may be needed: Hacksaw (F) Utility Knife (G) Pliers (H) Replacement Bolts (found in the plumbing section) Bolt Caps Penetrating Oil
Figure 3 - Toilet Diagram
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Toilet Seat Hinge Mounting Bolts Shut-off Valve Water Supply Line Wing Nut Tank Bolts Tank Toilet Bowl
9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.
Bolt Caps Toilet Bowl /Flange Bolts Wax Ring with Funnel Closet Flange Tank Lid Washer Nut Handle
Removing a Toilet
Step 1 – Removing the Toilet Seat If you have plastic or metal mounting bolts: At the back of your toilet seat, on either side of the toilet seat hinge (1) you will see two mounting bolts. You may need to lift the caps up to expose these bolts (2). Secure adjustable wrench (A) around the nut on the underside of the bowl. Use screwdriver (B) to turn counter-clockwise to loosen the bolt. If you have integrated bolts: (bolt and cap are one piece) Tighten wrench around nuts found on underside of bowl and turn counter-clockwise to loosen.
Figure 4 - Toilet Seat
Step 2 – Turning Off and Removing Water from Toilet Turn the handle of the water shut-off valve (3) clockwise (in some homes this may be counter-clockwise). The valve may appear to not turn off completely due to corrosion, turn the water on and off a few times without forcing the handle. If you do not have a shut-off for your toilet, you will need to turn off the main water supply for your house. Flush the toilet a few times to get rid of most of the water. Use a sponge to remove any water still left in the tank and bowl.
Figure 5 - Shut-Off Valve
Step 3 – Disconnecting Water Supply Line Put a small bucket under the water supply line (4). Disconnect the line by loosening the wing nut (5) using a wrench.
Figure 6 - Location of Wing Nut
Step 4 – Removing the Tank The top of the bolts (6) that secure the tank to the bowl can be found inside the tank, while the bottom part with the nut, is found on the underside of the bowl. Use the screwdriver (B) in the slot at the top of the bolt to prevent the bolts from spinning while you undo the nuts. Secure the wrench around the nut and turn it counterclockwise. Repeat with other bolt. Once the nuts are removed from the bolts, lift the tank (7) up and off the bowl (8).
Figure 7 - Tank with cutout view to inside
Step 5 – Removing the Bowl Remove the bolt caps (9) found near the back of the toilet bowl (8). Simply pull the caps up to reveal the bolts (10) that hold your toilet to the floor. Use the wrench to remove the bolts. Take off any washers that are on the bolts. You should be able to lift the bowl off the bolts at this point. Plumber’s putty or silicone caulking will have been used to secure the bowl to the floor. Rock the bowl side to side (or back and forth) gently to dislodge it.
Figure 8 - Toilet Bowl
Step 5.1 Dealing with Corroded Nuts and Bolts Due to corrosion, you may find the nut is impossible to remove. This will require a few extra steps in the toilet removal and installation process. These steps will be detailed in italics. If you cannot remove the nut because of corrosion, use a hacksaw to cut the bolt between the nut and the washers. Carefully slide the saw blade between the two and work it back and forth slowly until you have cut through the bolt. Remove bolt from flange by slipping it out.
Figure 9 - Cutting Bolt with Hacksaw
Step 6 – Dealing with Wax Ring Once the bowl is removed you will notice a waxy substance on the floor around the drainpipe. This comes from the wax ring (11) that is used to provide a water-tight seal between the bowl and the closet flange (12). Use a small putty knife (C), to scrape up any residue the wax ring left behind.
Installing the New Toilet
Step 1 – Preparing the Bowl for Installation Turn the new bowl upside down and place it on a piece of cardboard or newspaper in order to avoid it being scratched. Place a new wax ring on the horn. The waxy side is the one which gets placed around the horn. The plastic funnel should be facing out. A wax ring must to be at room temperature before it can be applied. At this time you may choose to apply plumber’s putty around the bottom edge of the bowl in order to secure the toilet down, once it is placed on the floor. Take some putty and roll it between your hands so that it forms a long strip that is about the same width as a crayon. Then place around edge.
Figure 10 - Horn Location
Step 1.1 – Installing a Set of Toilet Bowl Bolts If you had to cut the bolts with a hacksaw in order to remove the bowl, you will need to replace these bolts before you can install the new toilet bowl. This will require the purchase of new bolts (found at most home renovation stores). Most closet flanges will allow you to thread the bolt head (indicated by arrow in Figure 11) underneath the flange by using the slightly larger opening. Slide the bold to the end of this opening to secure it.
Figure 11 - Closet Flange
Step 2- Installing the Bowl Turn the toilet bowl right-side up and slide it onto the bolts, this part may be tricky of you are working alone. Only once the bolts have been threaded through, can you set the toilet down. Straddle the toilet facing the wall and rock back and forth a few times in order to compress the wax to the bowl. The base of the bowl must be touching the floor before proceeding any further. Put the washer for the bolt caps on first, add a metal washer and then thread a nut onto each bolt.
Tighten using a wrench and alternate between the two bolts as you tighten. One the nuts are snug against the bowl, use the level (E) to make sure that bowl is level. Be careful to not tighten the nuts to much as this will cause the bowl to crack. Put bolt caps (9) back on over the bolts. If there is an excess of the plumber’s putty visible after completing this step, remove it using a putty knife. Step 2.1 – Trimming New Bolts New bolts will likely be too long. Cut the excess length off with a hacksaw. Then put caps back on.
Figure 12 - Toilet Bowl
Step 3 – Installing the New Tank Place new tank on the bowl and make sure the rubber gasket fits into the hole at the back of the bowl. Line up the holes where the bolts go and thread a metal washer than a rubber washer onto each bolt. Insert them in the holes on the inside of the tank. On the underside, thread a rubber washer and then a metal one onto the bolt before you put the nut on. Tighten nut alternately with a wrench until it is snug. By tightening this way it ensures that the pressure on the gasket is even. Use a screwdriver to secure the top of the bolt to keep it from turning. Do not over-tighten bolts.
Figure 13 - Toilet Tank
Step 4 – Connecting the Water Supply Line Connect the supply line to the tank and tighten wing nuts with wrench. Open shut-off valve by turning it counter-clockwise. Turn valve slowly at first in case the connection leaks. Allow tank to fill up before flushing several times. Once you are sure they are no leaks and the toilet is functioning properly, put lid (13) on tank.
Figure 14 - Connecting Water Supply
Step 5- Installing Toilet Seat Line up the holes from the toilet set with those in the bowl. Slide bolts through the holes and tighten, alternating between left and right, until snug. Tips If you are replacing a toilet because it is leaking or if you suspect that the subfloor may be rotted underneath, call in a professional to replace the subfloor before installing a new toilet. When installing the toilet bowl or tank, make sure that you do not over-tighten the bolts as this will cause the bowl (or tank) to crack. If that happens you will need to go out and buy a new one. Resist the urge to take a sledgehammer to your toilet in order to remove it. It may look like fun on television but in reality you may end up damaging your plumbing. Also, pieces may fall down the trap (the pipe under the toilet where waste gets flushed out) and you will have to remove them from there before proceeding any further. Toilet seats generally have to be bought separately from the toilet, so make sure you remember to buy when purchasing your toilet. You may be able to re-use the one you have though but only if it fits the new toilet. If any nut or bolt is corroded, making it difficult to loosen, simply apply a few drops of penetrating oil, and wait a minute. This may loosen it up enough so you can remove it without cutting it off. You will want to stuff the drainpipe with a rag or some paper towels as soon as the bowl in removed. This prevents any sewer gases from entering your workspace. It will also prevent anything from falling into the drainpipe. Just remember to remove the rag before you install the new toilet bowl.
As you can see removing and installing a new toilet is a rather simple and easy home renovation that you can accomplish. Just think of the money you will save on labour by tackling this project yourself.
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