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How to install a toilet. While this is not the most pleasant DIY task, it’s not quite as nasty as I expected, especially since one of the reasons I was replacing the toilet was lingering odors.

The second reason was hard water had essentially ruined the old one, as explained in the water softener post. The other, most significant reason is that the wax ring was clearly shot even when we bought the house and the previous owner put tile around the toilet instead of under it – a big no-no. So, replacing the floor AND toilet were both required.

I went with a cheap but decent looking vinyl floor because I don’t know how permanent it will be. We would like to start from scratch on that bathroom in a few years’ time.

So, how to install a toilet.

  1. Turn off the water and flush your toilet. This will empty the tank, but not the bowl. With one more flush and a plunger I was able to force a little more water through the trap, but some still remained. To get it dry, you can sponge it out.
  2. Remove the tank if it comes off. Toilets are heavy and two pieces are better than one.
  3. Next, remove the closest bolts (that hold the toilet to the floor). Your new toilet will likely come with bolts and you can replace them in step 6 if they’re rusted or broken.
  4. Pull the toilet up and out (towards you should keep any water left in the bowl above the trap). I just carried it straight to the driveway which is only about 15 steps away. Later in the day we got a snow storm and I covered it with the snow blower… In spring, the toilets will bloom!
  5. Now things get a little nasty. You have to remove what’s left of the old wax ring before you install the new one.
  6. If your toilet was properly seated, you’re nearly done. Not the case for me. I added two closest flange risers. They could also be called spacers, kits, etc. Bottom line, they fill the gap between the flange and the toilet when you add a new floor over top an old one. They should’ve have been used during the last remodel.
  7. (Optional) Put down new floor. Nothing exciting here… it was a floating (no mastic) vinyl floor in a pretty small space. Didn’t take much time and I laid it right over the hodgepodge of flooring that was there with a special matt below the new floor. Next remodel we’ll pull the floor up and lay ceramic.
  8. Next I placed the new wax ring on the toilet and then placed it over the flange with the bolts through the pedestal of the toilet.
  9. Push down hard and evenly on the toilet until its level on the floor with no gaps. This crushes the wax ring, which makes a tight seal. The wax is also an unfriendly place for bacteria, another reason why it’s used.
  10. Fasten bolts, attach the tank and complete any other steps in your toilet’s installation instructions. Now you know how to install a toilet.
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