How to reset or install a toilet bowl

Installing toilets can be very simple, but sometimes it turns out to be a big challenge. There are a couple of things that can affect how easy or difficult it will be for you to install a toilet, like:

Do you have model in your toilet? This will be the most challenging due to the extra flange that you have to mount over the existing closet ring, which is the ring you see level with the floor that the toilet fastens too .

How much space do you have? If you’re dealing with a tight bathroom, this does make it difficult to maneuver your body around to tighten and fit the toilet in.

The Flooring Type: If you’re mounting your toilet on carpet, be prepared to shim and secure the toilet down to the wood surface. You may have to cut the carpet to fit the new circumference of the new toilet.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to install a toilet:

Tools / items you will need:

  • Flashlight
  • Small shop wet vacuum
    • This is used to extract the water from inside the tank and bowl
  • Small pair of channel locks
  • Putty knife
  • Razor knife
  • Rags
  • Large bag

Now you’re ready to remove the toilet.

How to install a toilet with the Twin Home Experts

First step: Shut water off

There are 2 ways to do this.

Shut water off at the angle shut off valve that typically is located at the bottom left side of the toilet, turn the handle clockwise until the handle stops. Once this is completed, then remove the lid from the toilet tank and flush the toilet.

If water is not filling the tank back up, then you’re ready for the next step. If the water keeps filling up the tank, then the valve needs replacing. So in this case you would need to shut the main water supply off at the house to continue the work.

Step 2: Disconnect supply line

The supply water line that runs off the shut off valve is connected to the fill valve at the bottom left of the toilet. Take your small channel locks, place them on the plastic/brass nut and turn counter clockwise to loosen the nut. Once you loosen it, you can unscrew it the rest of the way using your hand .

Plumbing Pro-Tip: Take a rag and place it under the line before you disconnect.  This will help absorb residual water that falls to the floor.

Step 3: Extract water from tank/bowl

Using your wet vacuum, extract the water from the tank and the bowl. While you’re at it, this is a good time to clean the inside of your tank.

Step 4: Remove caulking and grout around the bottom of the toilet

Using your putty knife or razor knife, cut through the grout or caulking around the bottom base of the toilet, once the seal is broken, then wobble the toilet to the left and right slowly.

Step 5: Remove the toilet

Take your large bag and open it up leaving it on the floor next to the toilet. Now, raise the toilet and place it into the large bag. This keeps your floor clean from the old wax. Raise the toilet once in the bag and inspect under the toilet outlet to remove and clean any left over debris.

Step 6: Remove the old wax seal

Using a small bag, place your hand into the bag and reach down to grab the wax seal and remove it completely. Next, turn the bag inside out removing your hand from the bag. And now you have a clean hand!

Step 7: Install new bolts

You can avoid this step if your bolts are still in good shape and more importantly securely fastened onto the toilet Flange.

If you need new bolts, then the best practice to install a toilet is to take your long bolt and drop a metal washer over the bolt. Next, take your nut and screw it onto the bolt. Do the same step on the second bolt that comes with the wax seal. Once you pre-fab the 2 bolts then place it into the groove of the toilet flange and the metal washer should be on the surface of the metal flange. Go ahead and hand tighten it by screwing the nut down onto the washer.  Do the same on the other side of the flange and then line them up evenly so the toilet will slide directly over them.

Once you line them up, tighten them down using your small channel locks clockwise until you can’t move the bolts.

Step 8: Wax seal

Place the wax seal into the flange. When we install a toilet, we like using a 4 inch wax seal, this provides a bigger opening so waste and paper can flow a bit more freely.

Step 9: Set toilet

Install the toilet by walking it in sumo wrestler style. Keep an eye on the bolt and toilet base hole and slowly drop it down. Then look to the other side and line the hole up with the bolt, once they are lined up then you should feel the toilet bowl compressing to the wax. Now, take a step back and line the toilet up straight.

Step 10: Fasten toilet down

Take your plastic bolt cover washer and see turn it to the side that reads “this side up.” This is the side that needs to be facing towards the ceiling. Slide that over each of the bolts and then take your metal washer and place that over the plastic washer. Take your bolts and fasten them down by hand,  tightening both side evenly. Then using your small channel locks, turn each side clockwise evenly 2 to 3 turns until tight and the toilet doesn’t move.

Plumbing Pro-Tip: You may need toilet shims to stop rocking.

Snap the plastic bolt caps over each of the bolt assembly to cover.

Step 11: Connect water supply line

Using your hand, take the supply line and place it back onto the fill valve thread pipe by turning it counter clockwise. Once you hand tighten, use your channel locks and gently give it a 1/2 turn.

Step 12: Turn water on

Turn water on slowly, filling up the bowl and flushing several times to test for leaks.  Also check the water supply connection to verify that you don’t have any drips.

Step 13 : Caulk around the toilet

Clean the floor around the base of the toilet and add a bead of caulking around the toilet base. This keeps dirt from building up under the toilet and helps with odor and it looks cleaner.

We are passionate here at the Twin Home Experts to help you with your plumbing needs. For more help or information, give us a call at (818) 927-6309.

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