Repairing or Replacing a Toilet

When the toliet breaks, the first thing you think of, is “Oh God, I will have to call the darn plumber”.
How much will that cost? Can I do it myself? If you are a homeowner, yet your budget is tight, I can help.

Don’t call the plumber just yet. As scary as the toliet situation appears, it is actually just ceramic and water.
Replacing the toliet all together or just replacing the wax ring, due to a leaking situation, is basically simple.

The first step to getting the job done in a timely and accurate manner, is to do some research. There are numerous sites online, that offer instructions and pictures. Here are two: and

The basics of this job are as easy as they can be.

First, you have to flush the toliet a few times, after you get the water off.

The tank and the base of the toliet are two separate pieces. The lid is a separate piece. There is not any reason to disconnect the tank from the base. Work your way down and remove the lid first. Keep in mind, toliets are ceramic. They break if you drop them, or apply too much pressure.

Next, you want to disconnect your water line. Modern lines just unscrew. Make sure your water is REALLY off. That could get messy.

You have two bolts, one on either side of the base. The silly bolts coming out of the floor that have the little white cap on them. Both of these have wing nut or round nuts on them. If it was installed properly before, you should have some sort of washer below the nut. Keep your hardware in one place. If this is a total remodel for the bathroom, put them in a baggie and note what they are.

When you get the base loose, be prepared for whatever water did not go down. Pull straight up on the base and remove it from the frightening hole in the floor. If you intend to replace everything in the bathroom, now might be the perfect time to be sure the floor around the toliet is solid and in good shape.

Remove the old yucky wax ring and discard. At this point everything should be wiped down and old dirt and grunge cleaned up. The wax ring is a strange piece of material. Wax of course, but very unstable wax. When you get the new ring, be sure to have everything ready to go BEFORE you put the new one on.

Set the new ring right on top of the flange sticking out of the floor. Put the new or old toliet exactly on top of the new wax ring. Take care in placing the toliet, exactly on top of the ring.

Because of its structure, the wax ring will not go on properly, if you have to move the toliet around or it takes more than one try to get it on straight. You can destroy the wax ring without a lot of effort.

When the toliet is sitting properly on it wax ring, go in reverse order and put the washer, then the nut. The base bolts are in position in the floor.
Once the base is in place over the ring and bolts, it is just reassembly. Base nuts, should be tightened snugly, Keep in mind, again, that the toliet is a glass object. If you tighten the nuts too much, you can crack the base of the toliet. “Snugly” is pretty much the correct term for how tight they should be.

Replace the water lines. Again, those just screw together. Put your lid on, turn your water back on and you are done. Check for leaks to be on the safe side. Your toliet is ready to go. That was easier than you thought wasn’t it? And you probably saved yourself 100.00.

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