When it comes to home repairs, not all of them are ones that you can do yourself. However, if you are looking to replace your old toilet with a new one, you can usually do it yourself in an afternoon. However, if you are looking to move the location of your toilet, you will need to have a professional come in and help, as the task may be a lot more complex.
Get Rid of the Water
The first step is fairly simple. In order to get rid of the water going in to the toilet, as well as the water that is already in the bowl and tank, you should start by turning the water supply line off. This will make sure that you won’t have any water flowing in causing you problems while you work. Flush the toilet a few times so that the tank and the bowl empty all of the water the toilet is holding. With the water supply line shut off, no more water should be coming in to replace what leaves.
Remove the Bolts
If your tank has a hanger bolt connecting it to the wall, remove that along with the bolts at the bottom so that you can remove the tank. Set those out of the way and begin removing the bolts at the base of the toilet. Some of these might actually be covered up with plastic or ceramic caps that you will need to remove first.
Remove the Toilet
If you are worried at all about the flooring, you should first lay down towels, newspapers or something to protect it. Lift the toilet off of its position. If you are having troubles because of the putty underneath the toilet, use a utility knife to scrape around the area freeing it from the ground. You can also rock the toilet back and forth to help loosen it, but lift straight up when you are ready to remove it.
Remove Wax and Get the Site Ready
There is a wax gasket there that you should unplug with some sort of knife. Just a note of advice: the drain pipe may have sewer gas come back up so you may want to stick some sort of rag in there to eliminate any odors. Also, if you have any clogs in the pipe, now is the time to clear them. If the floor is rotten under the toilet, you should also replace the flooring before you install the new toilet.
Prepare and Place the New Toilet
To do this step, you will need to turn the new toilet onto its side and add a new wax ring. These come in two varieties: one with a plastic ring or one without. You will only need the plastic ring type inside if you are working with a flange that is recessed on the toilet. The wax ring is important as it helps to protect against sewer gas or waste leaking into your home. Caulk the bottom of the toilet and remove the rag that you have placed in the sewer pipe. Lift the new toilet up and over into place and secure it firmly into the area.
Bolt It In
Now it is time to bolt the toilet down into place. Take the nuts and put them over the bolts that are sticking up through from the ground. Tighten the nuts with your hand until they feel like they are secure, but be mindful to not twist them too hard, as you can crack the porcelain. If you have a tank that attaches separately, attach it now. If the model you purchased is a wall-mounted tank, you should mount it or put the bolts and washers on first to connect the bowl-supported tank.
Give It a Go
Make sure everything is hooked up as it should be and reconnect the water supply line. Turn the water back on and flush your new toilet a few times to make sure there are no leaks and that everything works properly. Should you need further help, don’t wait to call a trusted plumber.
Amanda Peters is a plumbing and home maintenance expert who writes for Ben Franklin Plumbing. She covers topics ranging from water quality and treatment to DIY disasters. Check back here at the Ben Franklin blog for more plumbing tips and information on common maintenance and remodeling questions.