New Toilet Installation Tips
Installing a new water-saving toilet is a great way to spruce up your bathroom and save on your water bills. You don't need special tools; just an adjustable wrench, 7/8" combination wrench, level, screwdriver and a hacksaw. I'll give you some buying and professional installation tips that'll make the job easier.
How to Buy a toilet
Lots of companies make inexpensive "water-saving" toilets. However, it takes quite a bit of engineering and attention to detail to design a water-saving toilet that removes all the waste with a single flush and doesn't clog. I like the STERLING® Stinson elongated water-saving toilet for several reasons. First, the Stinson toilet incorporates Sterling's Pro Force® flushing technology to ensure full waste removal with a single 1.28-gallon flush. Second, the Stinson toilet is designed for a DIY installation. It has a flared base that covers most old toilet footprints, so you don't have to replace the flooring just because you're replacing the toilet. Plus, the tank-to-bowl gasket and tank retaining bolts are preinstalled at the factory, so you don't have to fiddle around with nuts, bolts and steel and rubber washers. Once the base is secured, just lower the tank onto the bowl and secure it. The Stinson toilet has a 12" rough in, an elongated bowl and is available in either 28" or 29 7/8" height.
Family Handyman's Best Toilet Installation Tips
- Remove all the water before yanking the old toilet – if you don't you'll spill on your flooring. Turn off the supply valve and flush the toilet. Then, use your wet/dry shop vacuum to suck the remaining water from the tank and bowl. If you don't have a wet/dry vacuum, use a large grout sponge and a bucket.
- Lighten the lift – remove the old tank to save your back when lifting off the old bowl.
- Cut the old closet bolts; – many old closet bolts spin as you loosen the nut. Use a hacksaw to cut a slot in the top of the brass bolts. Then, insert a flat blade screwdriver in the slot to hold the bolt while you loosen the nut. If that doesn't work, remove the hacksaw blade from its frame and use it to cut the bolt flush with the toilet.
- Clean the toilet flange before installing the new wax ring – a wax ring seals best when it's installed onto a clean flange. Remove as much old wax as possible with a putty knife, then use a hair dryer to melt the remaining wax while sopping it up with a rag.
- Place the wax ring – on the flange, not the toilet. Lower the bowl onto the closet bolts, align square to the wall and apply firm downward pressure to seat the bowl and wax ring. Then spin on the closet bolt nuts and tighten.
Avoid these Common DIY Mistakes
- Don't try to realign the bowl once you've set it in place and squashed the wax ring, that can break the wax ring seal. If it's really out of alignment, bite the bullet and reinstall it with a new wax ring.
- Don't over-tighten the flange-to-bowl or tank-to-bowl nuts; that can crack the porcelain.
- Don't over-tighten the plastic nut connecting the supply tube and fill valve. Excessive torque can cause the plastic nut to crack weeks after you've completed the installation, causing substantial flood damage.
Contributing Editor, The Family Handyman