Installing a Toilet

Whether its time to just change the toilet in your bathroom because its cracked, or if you’re remodeling your bathroom and desire a new look, or you just want to go greener and conserve water per flush, installing a new toilet isn’t quite as hard as you think. 

Before you begin installing a new toilet, turn off the water supply to the toilet you plan to replace. Remove the old toilet. Stuff a rag into the soil pipe to block sewer gas and prevent hardware from falling in. Scrape up the remains of the old wax gasket from the floor flange. The wax is usually yellow or off-white and should clean up easily. Check for water damage and make necessary repairs to the floor. Do not skimp on this step before installing a new toilet. Any water damage not fixed at this point will translate to a whole lot of head later. If any parts are damaged, replace the parts.

1. Prep the Floor and Soil Pipe

Check that the hole in the floor is large enough to accommodate the new toilets’ closet flange up to its collar. Mark the flange’s base with a pencil and cut away flooring with a jigsaw if the hole needs to be enlarged. Be careful not to cut any joists. Dry-fit the soil pipe into the closet bend and place the flange over it, measure any gaps between bottom of the flange\’s collar and the finish floor. Trim it to measurement and remove burrs by scraping the cut edge with a utility knife.

2. Install the Soil Pipe and Closet Flange

Apply PVC primer (first) and cement on the inside of the closet bend and on the outside of one end of the soil pipe and immediately twist the soil pipe into the closet bend. Apply prime and cement to the free end of the soil pipe and the inside of the closet flange. Fit the flange onto the soil pipe until the collar is seated on the floor, ensuring that the slots are positioned to the right and left of the hole. (The closet bolts, which will be inserted into the slots, must line up parallel to the wall behind the tank.)

Secure the collar to the floor with stainless steel screws long enough to bite into the subfloor.

3. Set the toilet bowl

Insert the long brass closet bolts, threaded-end up, into the flange collar\’s slots. Slip a brass washer over each to help them remain upright while the toilet is being installed. Gently press the wax ring, flat-side down, over the flange. Lower the toilet on top of the flange, using the bolts on the floor flange as guides. 

Without twisting or rocking, press the bowl down onto the wax ring until the bowl\’s base rests on the floor. If the floor is uneven, shim the bowl with stainless steel washers. Using a level, adjust the toilet so that it is straight.

Slip a nylon washer over each bolt, then hand-thread the nuts. Tighten the nuts with a wrench one quarter turn at a time, alternating between the two. Stop when the wrench meets firm resistance; over-tightening will crack the bowl.

Attach the flexible supply tube to the water supply (the pipe coming out of the floor or wall that brings water to the toilet) and tighten the coupling nut on the end. If the nut is loose, the connection will leak.

If the toilet is a one-piece model, attach the other end of the flexible supply tube to the tank. 

If you are installing a two-piece toilet, the tank has to be attached to the bowl. Make sure the large-diameter rubber tank-to-bowl (or spud) washer on the outside of the tank\’s bottom is firmly seated. Fit the small-diameter rubber tank washers into the small tank holes from the inside of the tank, and then insert the tank bolts. Gently lower the tank onto the back of the bowl, guiding the ends of the tank bolts into the holes. Slip a nylon washer onto each bolt, then hand-thread the nuts. Holding each bolt head in place with a screwdriver, hand-tighten the nuts, alternating from nut to nut and checking repeatedly to make sure the tank is level. Over-tightening will crack the porcelain. 

Attach the flexible supply tube to the tank and connect the tank\’s handle to the flapper chain inside the tank. Now slowly turn on the water so that the tank begins to fill. Check for any leaks and tighten nuts that appear to be leaking.

4. Finishing Touches

Run a bead of caulk around the edge of the toilet to seal the space between the bowl and the floor. Choose a colour that complements the toilet for a professional look, as the caulk will be visible.

Position the seat assembly over the bowl, then insert the plastic bolts through the seat back and the bowl\’s seat holes; tighten the nuts by hand.

Turn on the main supply line, open the stop valve, and allow the tank to fill. Flush six times. Check for leaks.