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Time to replace that old toilet

DIY Remove and Replace an Existing Toilet

There could be any number of reasons as to why you need to, or want to, replace an existing toilet. Everything from wanting to completely remodel your bathroom to installing a low flow toilet. Regardless of the reasons, the job is not that big and anybody should be able to by following these simple steps.

Before you actually begin you should gather up all of the tools and supplies that you will require to complete this job. The first is the replacement toilet. Just because all toilets perform the same functions doesn’t mean that all toilets are the same. Modern toilets might be longer than older ones and may not fit the existing in the same space as the old toilet.

Next you are going to want to layout plenty of newspaper on the floor where you are going to place the old toilet after you remove it. Depending upon the type of flooring you have in the bathroom, you are going to want to protect it and the newspaper will soak up some of the water and help deal with any remnants of the old wax ring.

As for tools you will need a flathead screwdriver, preferably a larger one. You will likely need some kind of utility knife and at a minimum, a medium sized pair of pliers. You will also find it helpful to have a small bowl or cup handy and either some dry rags or towels. Lastly, make sure you have a new appropriately sized wax gasket.

Begin by shutting off the water, there will be a valve at the base of the toilet either from the floor or the wall. Turn that off to prevent more water filling up the tank. Flush the toilet to empty the tank. With the water valve turned off you can now disconnect the water supply from the valve to the toilet tank. Place your cup or bowl under the water supply to catch any water that may still be in the line. Also, there will be some water left in the toilet bowl, use your bowl or cup to scoop as much of that water out as you can.

It is now time to detach the toilet by unscrewing the water supply line from the toilet tank. Next, using the flathead screw driver remove the bolt covers at the base of the toilet by prying up on them. Then, you will need to unscrew the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor.

More often than not the toilet will have a bead of silicone around the base of the toilet that seals it to the flooring. Take the utility knife and score the seal and then gently rock the toilet from side to side to completely break the seal. Lift the toilet and place it on the newspaper you had laid out earlier. Remove the wax gasket using whatever is handy, utility knife, screwdriver or what have you. Lastly stuff an old rag down the drainpipe to prevent sewer gases from wafting into the room.

Laying the new toilet on its side, insert the new wax gasket on to the outlet on eh bottom of the new toilet. Make sure that the tapered side of the gasket is facing away from the toilet. You will also want to ensure that the flange is intact and not corroded. If there are any noticeable problems with the flange you are going to want to replace it. If you do not then you will likely have a nasty leak on your hands.

Now it is time to apply a bead of caulk to the bottom of the toilet and position the it over the drainpipe, line up the bolts on the flange to the holes at the base and lower the bowl. Once the toilet is on the floor you are going to want to apply some pressure to the toilet to get a good seal. Next you will be tightening the bolts to secure the toilet to the floor. Make sure that you do not tighten the bolts too much or you risk cracking the porcelain.

You may need to level the toilet with a shim or two. Once that is done you can fill the caps with some plumber’s putty and replace the bolt caps.

Next you will be seating the tank by inserting the tank bolts in the to holes at the back of the bowl. Make sure that the gasket that goes between the tank and the toilet is in place before you tighten the bolts. Once again you will want to make sure that the tank is level and that you do not over tighten the bolts. You can also put the lid on the top of the tank but remember, this does not need to be sealed as you may have occasion to remove it in the future.

With the new toilet installed it is time to reattach the water supply to the bottom of the tank. Once this is completed you can now turn the water back on.

Lastly, you are going to apply a bead of bathroom caulk around the base of the toilet to seal the toilet to the floor. After you have applied the caulk you are then going to run a wet finger along the bead of caulk to finish the job of installing a toilet to complete your bathroom remodelling.

Image By No machine-readable author provided. Drguttorm assumed (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons