Sunday, 28 November 2010

How to Replace Your Toilet

One thing is for sure, the level of difficulty in replacing your home's toilet does not correspond with its importance! Removing your current commode and installing a new one is a rather simple task that shouldn't take more than a few hours. Many people don't think about their toilet when they are redesigning a bathroom, au contraire! The toilet, as the centerpiece of any bathroom, should be where your design starts. Pick out one that will do its duty as the star player in your new bathroom, and follow these simple steps for its installation.

1. Most toilets have a separate tank that mounts on top of the bowl, so these instructions are really geared towards that kind of toilet's installation. Whatever toilet you choose, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions first and foremost.

2. Before you buy, be sure to measure the distance between the back bolts that hold down your toilet and the wall behind it. Most toilets should have about a 12, distance.

3. Turn off your old toilet's water supply, flushing afterward to let all the water out of its tank. Hold the trip-lever down as you flush to be sure that you get all the water out. Use a sponge to completely dry the tank and bowl.

4. Using a large, adjustable open-end wrench, loosen the nut between the toilet tank and the base. Watch the fill valve, you might need to hold it still with some pliers so it doesn't turn.

5. Loosen the bolts that hold the tank to the ground and to the toilet, the nuts for these are located at the rear of the toilet bowl. With these bolts out,they are long, you can lift the tank off the bowl.

6. If you have a tank that mounts to the wall and feeds the tank with a curved pipe, remove the pipe first with a trap wrench or water pump pliers. You can even saw it with a hacksaw to remove it. Then, carefully remove the tank from the wall after unscrewing the bolts that hold in place. Have someone support it as you unscrew so it doesn't fall.

7. To remove the toilet bowl, you will need to unscrew it from the floor. Typically, toilets are fastened to the floor with two hold-down bolts and nuts, hidden beneath trim caps. Pry off the trim caps to expose the bolts and nuts and unscrew them. If unscrewing the nuts is difficult, you can saw them off with a mini-hacksaw,just be sure to protect the bowl's finish with masking tape.

8. Now you can rock the bowl back and forth to break its seal with the floor. Once it is free of the seal, you can lift it and take it out of the house. Don't forget to hold it level so you don't spill any water left in trap-seal.

9. Fill the hole left in your bathroom with rags or paper towels in plastic bags so you can keep sewer gas out of the house and protect the soil pipe.

10. Now, you need to clean everything up before you install your new toilet. Remove any old putty or wax that created the toilet seal. Clean the floor completely just in case the new toilet doesn't sit in the same place. Remove the old hold-down bolts and throw them away. If you want to paint the wall behind the toilet or replace the tile in the bathroom, now is the time!

11. Install any new water supply plumbing you want. It is a good idea to install a new fixture supply valve and a flexible riser tube, as they are helpful when shutting off your toilet's water supply. The valve will attach to the water supply pipe.

12. Check out the toilet flange, ensuring that it sticks up about 1/2" from the floor.

13. Set the new toilet in position on the flange to check for levelness. Check it on all sides, putting in some shims if necessary with non-rusting metal washers.

14. Install some new toilet hold-down bolts. If there are already holes for them, insert there. If you are using a cast iron piping system, the hold-downs will screw into the floor. Be sure to use the correct bolts, ask your retailer for them.

15. Now it is time to install your new toilet, handle it with care so you don't crack or chip it! Invert it onto a thick padding of newspapers on the floor.

16. Next, seal the toilet to its soil pipe by placing a wax toilet ring gasket over the bowl's outlet hole. Make sure the gasket is at room temperature before you install it. The flat face should go against the bowl and its sleeve (if it has one) should face away from it. Be sure to use a new gasket for this!

17. You'll need to seal the bowl-to-floor joint at the edge of the bowl's base. Lay a bead of plumber's putty where the toilet will be set or use two pounds of plaster. You can also caulk the joint with bathtub caulk.

18. Before setting the bowl, remove the rags from the opening. Hold the bowl upright a few inches over the floor. Lower it slowly, ensuring that the hold-down bolts pass through their openings in the base and the wax gasket meets with the toilet flange.

19. Rock the bowl carefully from front to back and side to side while pushing down hard, this will seal the bowl onto the floor and on its gasket. Make sure it is level and square with the rear wall, but do not raise the bowl from the floor! You will have to start the setting process over.

20. Put washers over the hold-down bolts and thread on the brass nuts. Tighten the nuts with your hands, as using a wrench could break the bowl. If the bowl has some front-mounting holes, install toilet studs with washers and nuts into them.

21. Install the toilet tank hardware if it comes separately. Take the rubber spud washer and set it into the flush valve opening in the bottom of the tank. The washer will go beveled side out. If there is a rubber tank cushion, set it in place on the bowl. Pick up the tank and lower it into place on the back of the bowl.

22. Install the brass tank-mounting bolts from inside the tank, sliding them down through their holes. Place two rubber washers against the tank and bowl, drawing them up gently until they are snug.

23. Connect the tank's water supply to the inlet valve on the bottom of the tank. Use a coupling nut for this, as it will work perfectly with a flat-ended riser tube. Turn on the water and watch the tank as it fills, checking for leaks. See that the tank fills to about 1/2" below the top of the overflow tube.

24. Tighten the bowl hold-down bolts one turn beyond hand-tight. Cut the ends and install the trim caps, filling their recesses with plumber's putty and pressing them down over the bolts.

25. Smooth and clean up the excess sealant around the base of the toilet and test-flush it. Install the toilet seat and tank cover and you are done!

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