In a relative sense, installing a toilet is not as hard a DIY home improvement task as one would think, and doing so without springing any leaks, and on your very first attempt, is very much a possibility. With the right tools and help, putting in a new toilet is a project that takes only a few hours. To keep the process pain-free, here are the steps you will need to follow in order to install a toilet, leak-free.
- Box cutter
- Adjustable wrench
- Flathead screwdriver
- Wax Ring
- Hose, Accessories, and Hardware
- (Optional) Dremel PVC cutting bits
- (Optional) Drill
Disconnect the water supply and remove the old toilet.
If there is an existing toilet, turn off the water supply to the tank from the wall, then flush the toilet. Pour about 3-4 gallons of water down the bowl to release trapped water. Remove the tank by loosening the two mounting bolts with a wrench, and then loosen the mounting hardware underneath the bolt caps on the base of the toilet. Score any sealing caulk around the perimeter of the base, then gently rock while lifting to remove the bowl. Wrap the old toilet in a durable plastic bag to keep water from leaking out. Plug the hole in the flange with a towel to contain sewer gas.
Inspect/Replace the Flange
The flange is the collared circular plastic piece that secures both the mounting screws and wax ring to the sewer, creating a water-tight seal. If the existing flange is damaged, it will need to be replaced with a new one. Be sure to put the mounting screws facing up in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.
Wax Ring or Rubber Ring? Installing Toilet on Flange
To prevent future leaks, it is important to know a few things about your home beforehand, i.e. how old it is, what building materials were used, etc. The reason being is that older homes that have rooms that shrink and grow throughout the year with the seasons would not work with a wax ring because wax does not spring back into place like rubber does. So if your home is prone to settling, consider a rubber ring to prevent future leaks.
Also, if a recent tile job has altered the floor height in the bathroom, this could also have an impact on the effectiveness of a standard wax seal. Therefore, a jumbo wax ring seal would be a better choice. When using a wax ring, always be sure to drop the bowl straight down onto it. If the bowl slides at any point, that means that the ring has likely shifted and will need to be replaced and reinstalled.
Once the bowl is set centered square on top of the ring, tighten down securing nuts with a wrench, cut off any excess bolt length and put on the bolt caps.
Install the tank and connect the water supply.
If your toilet came in two pieces, place the tank-to-bowl gasket onto the base of the flush valve on the tank, drop in the two mounting bolts, and then secure the mounting nuts from the bottom using a wrench while holding the mounting bolts steady with a screwdriver. Remove any excess bolt length with a hacksaw. Connect the included hardware and water lines. Fill up the tank with water and check for leaks.