How to Replace a Toilet without a Plumber

Although at first glance it seems impossible, replacing a toilet in your own home is not a complicated thing.

Moreover, with careful planning and work, the toilet replacement is practically within the capabilities and skills of any average homeowner.

Of course, the time required for such work done by yourself will be significantly longer (several hours) than the time needed by a professional plumber, but you will be able to save a lot of money, not to mention the satisfaction of a good job made by yourself.

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Materials & Tools:
  • wet vacuum (turkey baster), screwdriver, pliers.
  • wrenches (ratchets), sponge, bucket.

In fact the whole job is composed of two phases.

  1. The removal of the old toilet;
  2. The installation of the new one.
The Removal of the Old Toilet

The old toilet removal should be simple and easy to do, but may occur problems if bolts and nuts are too tight and rusty.

  • First you should turn off the toilet basin water supplies. Check the wall behind your toilet and you will see a shutoff valve which is connected to the toilet basin by a short metallic or plastic hose.
  • Secondly flush your toilet. The toilet tank should be empty. However, some amount of water still remains in the basin and bowl.
  • Use a wet vacuum to absorb all the remaining water. Actually, you can use as well a turkey baster if you don’t have available a wet vacuum.
  • Take a sponge and dry up completely the both toilet tank and bowl.

Now, you can start to dismantle your old toilet.

  • The toilet seat is hold by two screws (plastic screws). These screws are under two plastic covers (plastic tabs). Use a putty knife, a spatula or a flat screwdriver to lift up these plastic tabs.
  • Hold firmly with your left hand the plastic nut that is situated under the bowl seat and using a flat screwdriver turn counterclockwise until one of the plastic screws is completely disconnected from the bolt.
  • Proceed similar with the other one. Now you can remove the seat.
  • Go to the toilet basin (tank). Disconnect the short metallic or plastic hose that attaches to the bottom of the toilet tank by turning its wing nut counterclockwise until is loose. Then you can pull the hose. Be careful not to make a mess. The hose may contain some remaining water. So, hold the hose ends up and empty the water into a bucket.
  • On each side of the tank bottom, you will see a nut that holds the toilet basin onto the bowl.  Use a wrench to loose and then to disconnect these nuts.
  • Lift gently the tank off the bowl.
  •  Now you can remove the bowl. On each side of the toilet bowl you will see two bolts that rise from the bathroom floor and hold the bowl covered by two plastic cups. Lift the cups and using a screwdriver loosen and disconnect the nuts.  At this stage it might arise some problems. Often these old nuts are stripped or frozen and it will be almost impossible to turn them. The best way is to get a hacksaw and cut them.
  • Shake gently the bowl to lose and lift it carefully, not to hurt your back. The bowl is quite heavy and you are anyway in awkward position.
  • Clean the floor flange that is on the waste pipe scrapping off all the remains of wax ring. The flange should be perfectly clean.

Now the removal of old toilet is complete.

The Installation of the New Toilet

Somehow installation of new toilets work follows the same steps as removing the old toilet, only in reverse.

  • First you need to insert the new bolts that hold the bowl. Insert them into the floor flange opening, sliding and pushing them into the open end as much as possible. The bolts need to be upright.
  • Turn carefully the new bowl upside down and place gently a new wax ring over the bowl part that will be connected to the waste pipe. Press gently until you feel that your wax ring will stay attached.
  • Lift and turn back the bowl and place its base holes over the flange bolts. Now you can let the bowl down but make sure before that it is perfectly placed over the flange.
  • To flatten the wax ring and secure the bowl you need to sit on the bowl and rock forth and back slightly. Your bowl will be tight to the floor and level.
  • Place the nuts and the washer over the floor bolts. Be careful when you tighten your bolts because the bowl is made from porcelain and over-tightening the floor bolts could lead to cracking it.
  • Now you can install the water basin over the bowl.  Place carefully the tank so that its hole to be aligned with the bowl holes. Place the tank bolts facing down through the both holes to connect the bowl to the toilet tank.  Attach the nuts and washers tightening the basin to the bowl.
  • Connect the metal or plastic water hose to the tank bottom.  You need to pay attention to this stage to prevent any water leaking. First you should tighten the bolt by hand and then tighten it with pliers making it snug.
  • After these steps to install a toilet seat looks like a child’s play. However, you should tighten firmly the screws until the seat doesn’t move and is secure. Snaps the covers (tabs) down and hide the plastic bolts.
  • Now you should go back to the floor bolts.  You need to tighten them carefully but firmly with a socket wrench.  Tighten alternatively each bolt. Remember the toilet bowl is made from porcelain and any careless or hasty move can crack the bowl.
  • Similar tighten the toilet basin nuts but not too tight.
  • It’s time to turn on the water filling the bowl and the toilet basin. Make sure that you don’t have any leaks at the connections. However, if you observe a leak, turn off the water and tighten the connection. When the tank is full and you don’t see any leak, your job is done. Cover the floor bolts with the plastic bolts and you can use the toilet.

Now your job is done. You can be proud of a job well done in your own home.

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