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DIY Guide To Replacing Your Toilet


Getting rid of an old toilet is easier than you’d think. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you replace your toilet on your own.

Toilets tend to fault when we least expect it. And as a homeowner, you should always take extra precautions to maintain your health and hygiene, and an old cistern or broken-down toilet is a huge inconvenience.

You can hire professional plumbers who can replace or upgrade your old toilet suite within an hour. However, it’s fairly simple if you are a DIY enthusiast or want to save money and apply inexpensive techniques to replace the toilet.

Diy Toilet Replacement

Replacing a toilet isn’t that difficult; all you need to do is gather the right tools and equipment and follow a step-by-step process. To simplify the process, we’ll discuss replacing a toilet and installing a new cistern in your existing space.

Required Tools

Toilet Repair Tool Kit

Before you replace an old toilet, ensure you have all the necessary tools and supplies for the project. If some tools are missing, you need to buy them before undertaking this plumbing project.

You’ll need to keep the following tools and supplies at hand:

  • New toilet
  • Wax ring (buying an extra one never hurts!)
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Bucket
  • Large sponge
  • Water solidifier
  • Putty knife
  • Hacksaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Old rag
  • Garbage bag
  • Plumber’s tape
  • Silicone caulk
  • Gloves

How To Replace A Toilet?

Lifting Toilet Place

1. Select The Toilet

Any toilet suite has two installation parts - a toilet cistern or toilet tank and a toilet bowl. These parts also come with different components, which you must remember while replacing the toilet. Toilets are usually long (oval) or round and have different flushing systems. So, your measurements must be precise when upgrading your existing toilet.

First, measure the space between your finished wall and the closet bolts holding the toilet to your bathroom floor. Also, measure the distance between the wall and the waste pipe to choose the correct dimensions of the toilet cistern and toilet tanks.

It’s crucial to purchase a system, a toilet tank, and a replacement cistern that can fit into the existing space. You also need to leave enough bathroom space for other bathroom fittings, like the shower, bathtub, and vanity closet. Choosing a toilet bowl the same shape and size as your current toilet is best.

2. Remove the Water

Sponge Removing Water Toilet

Turn off the water supply before replacing the toilet cistern or the toilet tank. You can locate the main water supply valve on the bathroom wall or finished floor near the toilet. Then, flush the toilet and hold down the handle to empty all the water. Next, remove any remaining water from the toilet bowl and the toilet tank using a bucket and a large sponge.

3. Remove Old Cistern And Toilet

Use pliers (channel type) to remove the coupling nut connecting the toilet to the water supply line. Next, unscrew the water inlet pipe located at the cistern’s bottom. Carefully remove the toilet bolts and replace the toilet cistern. Some older toilets have regular nuts or recessed ones, which are more difficult to remove than regular toilet bolts.

Removing Toilet Cistern

You can use a box wrench or pliers to grab each tank bolt while removing the old cistern tightly. Stabilising the tank bolts using a slotted screwdriver is best to make this step much more manageable.

You’ll need to pry off the bolt covers using a screwdriver to remove the toilet pan and bowl. You can use a channel, locking pliers, or a standard socket wrench. If the toilet nuts are rusted and stuck, apply some oil to loosen them up, or you can cut them with a hacksaw.

Once you remove the toilet bowl and replace the toilet cistern units, you can see the closet flange or the drain opening leading to the main sewer pipe.

4. Prepare the Bathroom Floor

Next, you must remove the wax ring, which can be pretty messy. Use a putty knife to scrape the wax off the closet flange ring and get rid of it immediately because it can be dirty and sticky from gathering toilet waste.

Preparing Bathroom Tiles Toilet

After removing the wax and cleaning the area, stuff an old rag to close the drain opening and prevent the spread of foul sewer odours. Be careful not to stop anything inside the open drain pipe. Remove the rag from the sewer opening to have the new wax seal in place. Install new floor bolts in the toilet flange holes at three and nine o’clock positions.

Give each bolt a quarter turn to ensure their heads won’t get withdrawn, and secure them with plastic keepers or washers. Then, place the nuts on the new bolts to safely reposition the floor flange and put the new wax ring on the flange.

5. Install New Bowl

Carefully place the new toilet bowl on the floor ring and ensure that the new toilet bolts are placed inside the bolt holes of the toilet seat position. Then, secure the new toilet seat in the ring by pressing it. You can use a lever to lay it down straight. Also, be careful while handling the wax ring because it’s fragile, and you will get a leak if it’s crushed or cracked.

Thread the new nuts and washers on the newly installed floor bolts and screw the nuts tightly. Next, cap these bolts and use a saw to remove any exposed parts. You’ll get brass or plastic bolts with the new toilet seat, so thread them through the rim holes. Attach the nuts and bolts and tighten them firmly to keep them secure.

6. Attach Water Tank

You might need to install the fill and flush valves in your new cistern through the toilet cistern opening if they are not pre-installed. There are two parts here - the spud washer and the spud nut. After you attach the spud on the flush valve side, place the washer over this nut and adjust the toilet fill valve accordingly.

Next, install the toilet valve inside your toilet tank, pushing the valve shank down from underneath and securing the locknut. Now, lay down the tank on its back to place a rubber washer on each bolt inside the water tank. Then, install a brass washer below and place a hex nut on the tank bolt.

Photo Toilet Cistern

For attaching the water tank, position the rubber gasket between the bowl and the tank. Attach the bowl using two bolts and tighten them securely. You can also use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nuts further, but don’t over-tighten them because it can crack the porcelain.

7. Reconnect Water Supply

Once you’ve installed all the units and they fit perfectly, connect the water inlet pipe and main water supply to your new tank. Use the coupling nut to attach the new tubing to the toilet’s fill valve. Now, turn on the water supply to check for leaks or puddles. Also, flush the newly installed toilet several times to ensure everything works properly.

8. Seal The Toilet Base

Sealing Toilet Seat Lid

Lastly, you have to seal the toilet base to avoid leakage, so apply tile caulk around the base while leaving space behind the toilet to let the water escape.

Use the toilet for some days before applying the caulk, and ensure the base has no leaks. After you’re entirely certain everything is in place, apply a bead of silicone caulk around the base and let it dry to set the base.

You Can Install A New Toilet On Your Own!

After going through our detailed guide, you must’ve realised that this DIY plumbing project on how to replace a toilet requires a lot of intricate and heavy-duty plumbing work. So despite being pretty straightforward, one small mistake can lead to severe injuries or long-lasting plumbing damage.

Even if you’re a DIY expert, hiring experienced professionals can help you get a top-notch toilet replacement that’ll last for a long time. You can sit back and relax and let the professionals do their job. Hiring professionals can also save time and offer you peace of mind.

So, if you’re looking to install new toilets, contact the licensed plumbers at Big Blue Plumbing Currimundi, who’ll take care of the entire toilet replacement. Whether the job is a bathroom or kitchen renovation, unblocking clogged toilets, or installing a new suite, there is no better team to work with!

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to replace a toilet!

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