Disposing of human waste has been a smelly issue man has faced for generations. If you know how to install a new toilet, life sure is a whole lot better. The invention of the modern flushing toilet was a godsend, eliminating the need for chamber pots and simply digging a hole to take care of business. Scottish inventor Alexander Cumming patented the first flushing toilet in 1775. He devised the S-shaped water pipe below the bowl that seals in sewer gas and keeps that funky smell from creeping into the house.
By the late 19th century, London plumber Thomas Crapper (yes, that was a real person) produced one of the first successful flush toilets, much to the delight of homeowners across England. His new line of crappers included the ballcock, used to refill the tank with water and still an essential part of a modern toilet.
Modern devices now feature high-end parts and unique amenities like warming seats and built-in bidets. The good news is that when it comes to adding a new “crapper” to your bathroom, installing a new toilet is easy. Here are a few tips to secure that porcelain throne in place perfectly.
Even a non-handyman can install a new toilet. A plumber isn’t necessary for this job, and a little do-it-yourself gusto offers the chance to save a few bucks by just taking a hands-on approach.
To start the process, purchase a toilet that fits your bathroom and personal space needs. When beginning the job, you’ll also need the following:
A new wax ring used to seal the toilet drain.
Two flange bolts are used to secure the toilet to the floor.
A wrench and screwdriver for connecting various parts.
A tube of bathroom caulk to seal the bottom of the toilet.
A supply line connecting the water line to the tank (spend a few bucks on a new one).
The good news is that the bolts and wax seal often comes with a new toilet, which can be had for around a hundred bucks depending on your preferences and budget.
First, completely remove the old toilet, turning off the water at the wall before getting started. You can use a cup to pour out any remaining water in the tank after flushing to clear the tank of as much water as possible.
Use a utility knife to cut any caulk at the base of the toilet, then remove the nuts attached to the flange bolts holding the toilet in place to the floor. Then lift the toilet out of the location and remove it. It’s a good idea to clean the area and remove any remnants of the old wax seal.
The great thing about installing a modern toilet is that most manufacturers make the process easy. When purchased, the tank will be detached from the bowl. However, connecting these two pieces is simple.
The tank has two bolts at the bottom that easily connect to corresponding holes at the back of the bowl. Put the tank in place, make sure the gasket lines up in the larger center hole, and then use the nuts provided to secure it in place. Many manufacturers now use wing nuts, which makes this an even easier job. Just make sure your nuts are tight enough to keep the tank secure and in place.
Next, place the new bolts into the flange on the floor. There should be slots to work these into, and it can help measure from the wall to ensure both bolts are the same distance from the wall. You can also use some extra washers and nuts at the bottom of these bolts to lock them in place with the flange.
Then place the wax seal on the flange, lift the toilet (a partner makes this much easier), and ensure that the two bolts come through the holes at the base of the toilet. Give the toilet a gentle downward push so that the wax ring also secures within the toilet. The toilet should then be secure against the floor.
Tighten the nuts on both bolts, ensuring that the toilet doesn’t move but that the nuts aren’t so tight that they’d crack the porcelain – certainly a handyman party foul. Next, snap on the plastic caps to cover the bolts and nuts. If your bolt is too long to do this, you may need to grab a hacksaw and cut off some of the exposed bolt.
Now that the toilet is in place, you’re almost ready to wrap up the job. Connect the supply line to the water line from the wall. Then screw and hand tighten the supply line into place in the tank.
Get that supply line pretty snug and follow up with a pair of pliers, but don’t overdo it. Too much force might break these plastic parts or even crack the porcelain.
Turn on the water now and check for any leaks. Once the tank is full, give your new toilet a flush and make sure everything is working well. There should be no leaks at either end of the water supply line or any seepage at the toilet’s base.
If everything is okay, run a bead of caulk around the toilet’s base. This secures it to the floor and keeps any water on the floor from getting under the bowl. Put the top on the tank, and you’re ready to go.
The entire process shouldn’t take more than an hour, and you’ll have an excellent sense of accomplishment for your handyman efforts. Give yourself a pat on the back; you now know how to install a toilet Thomas Crapper would certainly be proud of.