How to Install a Toilet – A Beginner’s Guide

Installing a toilet from scratch is not a DIY project that many undertake just for the heck of it. The reasons for it may vary, you may be running short on money, and it seems a better idea than paying a plumber. You might also be experienced in overall heavy lifting work around the home, and this seems just the next step. Whatever the reason maybe, if you are adventurous (and courageous, if I might add) enough to try it, then we are here to help. This short guide will instruct you in installing a toilet.   

Following are the things you would need – wax seal, closet bolts, adjustable wrench, pennies (to shimmy the toilet), screwdriver, sponge, an old rag or newspapers (to plug the hole while you work), rubber gloves, and of course; the Toilet.

Step 1 – Out with the Old

Cut off the water supply to the toilet. Drain the remaining water, plunge the rest of it. And sponge away the residue if it remains even after that. Make sure all the water has been eliminated.

Then, remove the trim caps from the base. The toilet is secured to the floor with closet bolts; loosen the nuts and washer on it to remove it easily. In case of deterioration due to rusting, the nuts may need to be hacked off.

Disconnect the tank from the bowl. Loosen the toilet from the ground with a gentle to and fro movement and lift it up when it pries apart. Stuff an old rag or newspapers in the hole so that no sewer gases can back up in your bathroom while you work.

Step 2 – Wax Sealing the Joint

First remove the old wax seal and check out the flange. If it is, cracked or damaged in any other way, you will need to replace it. Replacing the flange is a whole other tutorial and you can look it up. If it is alright then congratulations, you just have to remove the old closet bolts, install the wax seal and position the new ones in their proper slots in the flange. You will have to remove the rag to do the same.

Step 3 – Assembling the Toilet

Join together the tank and the bowl to start assembling your toilet. There is an opening at the bottom of the tank where you have to install the tank bolts. Once you have done that, you need to line up these bolts with the corresponding holes in the bowl. When everything is lined up thus, you can firmly place the tank on top of the bowl. Screw a nut over each tank bolt to secure this arrangement. Make sure that the tank is resting firmly on the bowl and is not loose from any part.

Step 4 – The Final Haul

Now that you have assembled your toilet, you will have to place it carefully over the flange. While doing so, you’ll have to be careful so as the closet bolts on the floor, line up symmetrically with the holes at the base of the toilet. Don’t put much force while placing it thus.

Secure the bolts with nuts and washers. If the toilet is not firm and there is unevenness on the base, you can shove old pennies in the base to make it even. Shimming the toilet base with pennies is quite a handy trick. Once the base is stable, push the pennies out of sight and tighten the bolts.

Cover the ends of the bolts by using trim caps. Attach the seat and lid to the toilet with mounting bolts and reconnect the supply.

  • Updated November 17, 2018
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