So I totally had no desire for a new toilet. Really I didn’t. While not particularly attractive, the old one wasn’t so bad. It was old but it still worked. And to be honest, the last thing on my to do list was learn all about toilet installation.
Until one day when it didn’t. My family was in town and I get woken up with a hard truth… the toilet isn’t working. And that’s really something you don’t want to hear when you’ve got 4 extra people in the house, 2 of them children.
The first possible solution was having the septic system pumped. I’ve lived here for 8-9 years and have never had it pumped… whoops! They were here forever (EW!) and my dad ran and excitedly flushed the toilet only to figure out that didn’t fix it either. Oh, well, it needed to be pumped anyway. The second possible solution was that something was stuck in the line. After all, we had kids here who have been known to flush unflushables. We ran to the hardware store, bought a snake and tried to fish out any number of odd things from the outside (where the access was conveniently hidden in a gigantic rose bush, ouch) and then from inside. Oh, and did I mention it was dark outside. Fun times. Unfortunately, we found nothing.
So I was pretty surprised when I woke up the next day, stumbled into my bathroom and stopped because my morning wasn’t going to begin my day with a wake up pee, but instead by saying “where the hell is my toilet!”. Yes, there was only a hole in the ground. My dad promptly informed me, “get dressed, we need to go buy a new toilet.” No freakin’ joke.
My father has installed a bajillion toilets and with his expertise, the whole process went really, really smoothly. And since I’m a tutorial addict at heart, I ran and got my camera and decided to share with you how to install a toilet as done by my father (who made me take notes all along the way!)
To install a new toilet you need:
- toilet kit (we bought this one from Home Depot)
- paper towels
- junk towel, tarp or similar thing
- plastic toilet shims
So this is the hole in the ground I basically woke up to. I didn’t witness removing the old toilet but my dad insisted that it’s much easier than putting the new one up and “they’ll figure it out.”
Be sure to shut off the water at the valve. We turned off my well pump, also to turn off all running water.
Since we were already getting into it, my dad suggested that it was a good time to replace the water valve since it appeared to be original and therefore well over 30 years old. I believe it was around $7 and my dad said that it was easy enough to install. Sorry I don’t have directions for this bit, either…
We start off the tutorial with a tip from my dad: “Keep a towel over the hole to keep small parts and tools from falling in. If something does fall in you’re looking at calling in a professional and big bucks.” You can also use a tarp, old sheet or whatever you have handy.
First clean up that nasty hole in the floor.
Carefully remove the toilet from the box and measure the distance between the two oval shaped holes on the bottom of the stool, the base.
Put your hold down bolts into the holes on either side of your floor opening. Measure to be safe that the holes in your toilet will easily fit over.
This is your wax seal. Hold it with the beveled edge up…
And push that beveled edge into the hole in the bottom of the toilet. Gently twist it around so that the seal sits well and ensures a good seal.
Place the toilet onto the hold down bolts taking care to center as well as you can.
The hold down bolts will fit inside of the holes in the base. Move the toilet around as necessary so that it is square to the wall.
Use the washer and then the wing nut included with your toilet to attach. Tighten slowly, alternating sides and taking care that over-tightening can cause the porcelain to crack.
Next you’ll attach your water supply to the wall and the back of the toilet. These come in several sizes including 9, 12 and 15 inch. We purchased the 9 and the 12 just to be safe. We were sure that the 9 would fit, but as it happened it was just the slightest bit too short.
Use a wrench or similar tool to tighten onto the valve.
This is your rubber seal that will sit in between the toilet’s base and the tank.
Place the flat side down onto the hole on the tank.
Carefully set the tank onto the base. Me: “where?” Daddy: “it’s pretty obvious.” Me: “but where?” Daddy: “if you can’t tell you shouldn’t be installing a toilet.”
There will be a gap but don’t worry.
Grab your nut and washer…
Underneath, attach the tank to the base using your washer and nut. The tank will come closer to the base and the rubber seal with compress.
Now my toilet had the two flush button option rather than a traditional handle. The buttons are on the top of the tank’s lid. The buttons can be twisted and moved as needed and can be lengthened by moving the black bit my dad is pointing at.
When the lid is in place, the #1 button will push in on the left side and the #2 will push on the right. The first is a tiny flush and meant for liquids only. The second is meant for solids and is more like the flush on a traditional toilet.
And here are the buttons on top of the tank. Place the lid and make sure that the buttons make contact with the device inside of the tank. Lengthen if necessary.
Now my dad did everything but I did this (go me!!!) If your toilet rocks when it is sat on it needs to be leveled. They sell plastic toilet shims in the plumbing section for a few bucks. Shove under the base as needed to even out. I used a flat screwdriver and light taps from a hammer to get them firmly into place.
After this step you’ll need to caulk the base of the toilet, which I haven’t done yet but will soon.
Attach the toilet lid and the little caps to cover the ugliness holding the base to the floor, turn the water back on and this sucker is ready to use.
And there’s my brand new fancy toilet. The push buttons are way neat. I fumble for the handle while I’m drowsy but I figure I’ll get used to them soon enough.
The design is really pretty neat and the two flush options are both adequate. From a survey taken most found the two flushes to be perfectly adequate with no second flush necessary.
The buttons are a bit difficult to push and the children had a hard time. I think they were a bit more gentle than they should have been being afraid of breaking the buttons and knowing you have to be easy with a traditional handle.
Overall, we installed the toilet in about 30 minutes. And by “we” I mean my dad. But now that I’ve seen him do this I’m pretty confident that, lifting the toilet kit which is heavy, I could definitely do this by myself.
And here is a pic of my dad who really wanted his picture to be included in this post. Thanks for installing my new toilet, Daddy!