Installing a new toilet or replacing an old one is relatively easy. The only real challenge to DIY installation perhaps is with the lifting of a toilet. Toilets are typically heavy, and so this job is not for the physically weak. Yet if you can manage the weight or have someone who can assist you with the heavy lifting, then you can save on plumbing costs by installing the toilet yourself. Installing a toilet is one of those “looks hard but in reality is not” kind of DIY task.
Toilet installation is a simple plumbing procedure that can be successfully carried out in a few steps. The first thing to do is to ensure all materials and tools needed for toilet installation are ready. Some of the things you need are putty knife, caulking gun, level, wood shims, and wax bowl ring. Before installing, carefully inspect the toilet you bought for cracks or other blemishes that may have been acquired during shipping.
Removing the Old Tank
Consider this step only when you are replacing an old toilet; otherwise, you can proceed to the toilet installation step.
First, disconnect the water supply to the tank either by closing the shut-off valve located beside the toilet or by turning off the main water supply to the house. Next, flush the toilet, and then sponge out any leftover water in the tank and bowl. When done, use a pair of wrenches or pliers, disconnect the water supply line from the valve.
Next, unbolt the nuts attaching the tank to the toilet. Remove the tank from the work area. Unscrew the nuts holding the bowl to the floor flange. Remove the old bowl from the work area.
Installing a Toilet
First, put two new bolts in the holes on the sides of the flange (floor opening). The bolt heads should be inside the flange. Position a wax ring or toilet gasket on the flange.
Carefully lower down the new toilet bowl. Make sure it is centered on the wax ring and that it lines up to the bolts on the flange. Apply pressure on the bowl by pushing it over the ring and flange. This is to ensure solid adherence of wax seal and plumbing sealant, but make sure not to over-push to avoid damaging the bowl. Secure the bolts with washers and nuts; tighten until snug. Careful not to over tighten or you might crack the base.
Next, turn the tank upside down and mount bolts through the holes on the tank bottom. Cap the bolts with rubber washers to create watertight seals.
Put a sponge-rubber gasket over the discharge tube where the tank meets the bowl. Carefully lower the tank to the bowl. Make sure to line up the bolts on the tank with the holes on the bowl. Lock the bolts with nuts. Install the flush handle and the bolt in the toilet lid to the bowl.
Next, attach one end of the water supply line to the shut-off valve and the other end to the ball-cock supply valve connector found under the tank. Tighten the connecting nuts.
Finally, test your newly installed toilet. Give it some trial flushes and check for leaks. If there are spacing problems that cause instability between tank and bowl or bowl and floor, use hard rubber shims. These are readily available in hardware stores.
Once everything is set and adjusted, now you’re ready to enjoy your new toilet.