Just like any other piece of plumbing, your toilet needs replacing from time to time. With a new toilet, you will probably reduce the amount of water you use per flush, which means you save money every single time you flush the toilet. Some toilets also come with luxury features, ranging from a heated seat and self-cleaning features to adjusting the amount of water used per flush. Whatever toilet you go with, installing a toilet is a desirable upgrade to your home you can do on your own. You need to know the basics on what to look for and how to go about installing a toilet.
What You'll Need
When it comes to installing a toilet, you won't need many special tools. Some of these tools you may already have at home. Even if you don't, you can pick most up at the local home improvement store for just a few bucks each. Low-end toilets can be purchased for around $100 with additional luxury and water saving features increasing the price.
As the installation process is straightforward, you will save more money by installing the toilet on your own instead of relying on a plumber. This way, it is possible to complete the entire job for a little more than $100 total. With the money you'll save on water alone, this upgrade more than pays for itself.
Tools For Installing A Toilet
The exact tools you'll need may vary slightly based on the toilet you purchase. However, the following are the tools you will most likely need:
Parts For The Toilet Itself
You'll need parts that may or may not come with the toilet. So before you go out and buy all the items on the following list, make sure you know what comes with your toilet. Before you can begin installing a toilet, you may need:
Again, many of these items will come with the toilet purchase (and if you buy the seat on its own, the seat assembly and all required parts will come with it). It is important to check your toilet and find out what parts come with it so you don't end up double-buying anything before the installation.
It is also recommended that you always keep the receipt for your home improvement purchases. There's a good chance you might pick up items you don't need or you might buy the wrong size. By keeping the receipt you'll be able to easily return and exchange anything you do not need.
How To Begin Installing A Toilet
First, you must remove the current toilet. To do this, turn off the water running to it. With the water shut off, flush the toilet. This will drain the tank without replenishing it. You may need to flush it a second time to clear it out completely.
Once the toilet has been cleared, unscrew the connecting washers and bolts on the sides of the toilet. Disconnect the plumbing running into the rear of the toilet. With everything disconnected, pry up the base of the toilet with a flat-head screwdriver. It should pull up easily, even with the caulk line running around the bottom. The toilet is heavy, but you must move it out of the bathroom to make room for the new toilet.
Have rags on hand when you lift the toilet as some water will probably drain out. Let the water drain and then take the toilet out of the room. Now that the toilet is gone you can begin with installing a toilet into the bathroom.
Steps For Installing A Toilet
Prepping The Area
Begin by inserting a rag into the open pipe running up into the bathroom. Sewer gas will flow up if you don't cover it, so it's just easier (and more pleasant) to have this covered up. It will also prevent tools from falling down into the plumbing.
Now, take out your utility knife and pull up the old wax ring that was left from the old toilet. With it gone you must then look over the flange. If it is cracked or damaged, you'll want a new one. If you find any rust you'll want to swap it out. You can pick up a replacement flange to have on hand before installing a toilet. However, you may not need it, so it's alright if you return the replacement flange you bought.
Measure the distance from the bolts back to the wall. You must know this measurement before you buy the toilet. You can make a near accurate measurement while the current toilet is in place. Run a tape measure from where the bolts come up into the toilet along the side of the seat and measure back to the wall. You want to buy a toilet that meets these measurements.
Installing The Toilet
Before placing the toilet, you want to flip the seat upside down and place the wax ring onto the base. With the wax ring in its place, flip the toilet back over and place it on the drain. When you do so, remove the rag you inserted into the drain. If you forget this step, you'll have major flow problems once everything is installed and you'll be forced to run a snake down the drain to pull it out (or remove the toilet altogether).
Now that you're ready to go, installing the toilet should be relatively straightforward. First, you'll want to insert the new closet bolts onto the flange. You want to make sure the bolts are lined up with the holes on the sides of the toilet.
With the toilet down and the closet screws running through the holes along the side of your toilet, you can now place the washer and nuts over the holes and secure it into position. You don't want to over-tighten the screws as doing so may crack the toilet. Once the screws are tight, place caps over them. If the screws are too long, you can use a hacksaw to cut it down to length.
Position the top tank of the toilet onto the seat (if it is a two-piece toilet). Most tank toilets now come all set up so you don't need to install the individual parts. This is something to look for when picking out a toilet. You might save a few dollars by picking up a toilet where you put everything together piece by piece, but you'll save yourself an hour (or more) of putting the toilet together, not to mention the headache of searching around for the right pieces (you also won't need to go out to the home improvement store and pick up additional pieces).
If there is a tank, there likely are screws on the base of the tank that will fit through holes on the top of the bowl. It will also have a drain connection in the center. Slip this into position and use the provided bolts and washer on the underside of the toilet to connect the two pieces together. Again, make sure not to over-tighten to avoid cracking the tank.
Finishing Installing A Toilet
Now that the toilet bowl and tank have been installed, you can complete the toilet installation. First, run the water lines to the toilet. The metal tube connector running from the wall will screw onto the water intake valve on the back of the toilet.
With the toilet down and the water line connected, use the wax seal around the edge of the toilet to secure it. This helps prevent moisture from moving in under the tank (which is most likely caused by the steam of a shower over anything else). With the wax seal down, give it time to dry and you'll be ready to go. Turn the water on and let the tank fill to complete the installation.
Installing a toilet doesn't need to be a complex process. The exact tools and parts you need will vary depending on the toilet you want to install. You may need to perform some additional maintenance to the floor, depending on what state it is in when you remove the old toilet, but generally, this is a plumbing project you shouldn't have any problem doing on your own.
Installing your own toilet is a great way to save money. Not only do you save on the cost of installation, but you are also given the opportunity to choose from one of the many water-saving toilets on the market today. This means you will save money each time you flush. Do research to determine which toilet model suits your preferences. Once you have the toilet you want, you can go ahead and install it yourself, because now you know how.