**We spent last week in Georgia getting our rental house ready for new tenants– I’ll show you some pictures from our trip Thursday, but in the meantime, a post on toilets. (We had to replace three in GA, so this is timely.) You’re welcome.**
This post could get a bit tricky (read: gross), but it can save you up to around $250, so I’m going for it. Let’s just go ahead and agree that this can be filed under the “good to know, but I hope I never have to do it” category. But here’s a hint: you will. At one point or another, you’ll have to get up close and personal with your toilet.
I’m going to talk you through un- and re-installing a toilet. Take some deep breaths before reading… it’s merely a toilet. There are a few tips and tricks along the way so as to not get covered in toilet-water, so pay attention.
First: There’s a water supply line connected to your toilet tank. It has a screw-knob. Turn that off. As long as your toilet isn’t overflowing into oblivion, you’re going to want to get the rest of the remaining water down the drain, so flush until you can’t flush anymore. And then grab a bunch of rags, because there will inevitably be water coming out of this thing once you detach it.
Second: Unscrew the water supply line. There will most likely be some drippage with that, but no biggie. It shouldn’t spew water throughout your entire bathroom. You’re also going to want to pop off the bolt-covers that attach your toilet to the floor. Then slowly loosen those nuts. This will start to detach the toilet from the floor, so once the nuts are off, your toilet is officially free from its shackles.
Third: This is where a big strong man comes in handy. Otherwise, you’ll have to do this weird hunched-turtle-walk-thing that is [mostly] effective, but not pretty. Lift the toilet straight up (you may get some water runoff here as well), and place it wherever you want to keep it for the time being. Make sure you place it on top of either a rag or a newspaper or something- there’s wax on the bottom of that thing that you don’t want to get on your floor.
Fourth: This is the only truly gross part. But that’s because of the wax. You shouldn’t necessarily come in contact with any… “unsavory things”. You’ll want to take some kind of scraper (we used a large putty/ spackling knife for this step), and scrape up the excess wax on the flange. (The flange is the round connecty-thing that the toilet sits on.) Put that junk in a plastic bag and toss it. Then, stuff a rag down in to that hole… especially if other areas in the bathroom are getting fixed in the meantime. If you don’t do this step, everything will smell terrible. Trust me.
Fifth: You can do this step one of two ways. You can put your new wax ring (sold at any hardware store for $5 or less) directly on the flange, or directly on the toilet. We put it on the flange because gravity makes it tricky to put the ring on the toilet, flip it over, and maneuver it in place. So, literally, put the wax ring on the flange and give it a tiny smoosh. Not a large smoosh. Just enough to let it know who’s boss (you are).
Sixth: Get your toilet, and slowly, carefully, put it back in place. Carefully, because you’ll need to align the toilet with the flange and the two bolts sticking up out of the ground. Once you get everything aligned, apply a bit of pressure on top of the toilet to get the wax ring adhered to both the flange and the toilet.
Seventh: Gently screw the nuts back on to the bolts. Don’t over-screw—you could potentially end up cracking the toilet and/or creating a whole host of other messes.
Eighth: Screw the water supply line back on to the toilet, and turn it on. Flush the toilet and check for leaks!