When setting up a new toilet or replacing an old one, homeowners often aren’t aware of a few key factors that will ensure a good seal and prevent future leaks. A new toilet should be levelled and properly attached to the floor. Below, you’ll find some crucial tips for a smooth toilet installation process that will help you prevent future problems.
Get the right toilet for your bathroom
Many homeowners decide to replace their old toilets for a variety of reasons. However, they often do that without taking measurements.
To prevent getting a toilet that doesn’t fit your bathroom, opt for a model that matches your bathroom exactly. If the model of your choice doesn’t fit the current toilet configuration, further complications may arise, which can be a time-consuming matter to deal with.
Measure the rough-in
Before purchasing a new toilet, measure the distance between the flange bolts and the wall behind your toilet, also known as a “rough-in”. The best option is for the toilet rough-in dimension to be anything between 28 to 33 centimetres because these are the most commonly supplied models.
However, if you need a model that’s unusual in size, it may be challenging to fit a different size. Opting for a toilet with a smaller rough-in than your current model can lead to clogs, flush fails, and an additional need to change your plumbing layout.
Measure the toilet tank
Most of today’s toilet tanks are designed with smaller dimensions than their predecessors to save space. However, toilets with smaller tanks can lead to additional costs for wall renovations if the new tank opens up a view of stained or faded tiles. To prevent that, know the old toilet footprint condition. To avoid the appearance of faded tiles or outlines after removing the old toilet, invest in a fixture with a larger or the same footprint.
Besides that, beware of the current waste outlet to stay protected from sanitation issues. To help with that, any plumbing system, including your toilet, has a built-in P or S trap. To avoid changing the current plumbing, make sure that your new toilet meets your home-specific trapway. Keep in mind that dealing with different trapways will require help from a plumbing expert and a building permit.
Measure the bathroom space
Last but not least, consider how spacious your bathroom is. A toilet should allow free movement after installation. Measure the space you have available to decide on the size and form of your new toilet.
As a general rule of thumb, the smaller a bathroom is, the more compact a toilet should be. The best choice for a tiny bathroom is usually a round-front bowl. Unlike the elongated models, round-front bowls are shorter and fit well in almost any bathroom.
Plan ahead with high-quality brass bolts
Fixings are an essential part of the toilet fitting process. Corroded connections don’t hold the toilet securely, and water will seep out sooner or later. Solid brass bolts not only prevent the unsightly look of rust around your toilet, but also avoid preventable complications because of stuck or seized bolts during plumbing emergencies.
A significant mistake when installing a new toilet is skimping on the quality of the fasteners. To prevent complications, licensed plumbers recommend opting for brass, stainless steel, and other non-ferrous materials, as they create a protective layer that wears slower over time. If you prefer the golden fixings, check the label to see if it’s a brass fastener.
Prepare for the toilet installation process
To save time and space for the supplies and tools, make arrangements to dispose of the old toilet in advance.
When removing an old toilet, it’s not enough to drain the water. The first step is cutting the water supply and disconnecting the pipe. To ensure that the system is completely drained, flush the toilet 3 to 5 times.
When unloosing the fasteners on the base, cut them with a hacksaw blade. Using a wrench is worthless and may be challenging if they’ve become rusty throughout their service life.
When dismantling your old toilet, the wax ring may prevent a straightforward removal of the unit from the floor, and it may feel “stuck” to it. A utility knife can help you easily cut through the layer.
Besides that, with the removal of the toilet, you open up the flow of sewer gases to your home. To prevent foul odours, which can also affect your health, remove the wax from the seal, clean the sealing surface with a wire brush or scraping tool, and cover the soil pipe with a cloth.
Last but not least, it should be noted that scraping too much with a putty knife or a scraper can damage your bathroom flooring. Mineral spirit can help you erase the residual and speed up the cleaning process.
Be prepared for installation pitfalls
Measurements and adding the wax ring
Whether you’re installing a toilet in a new home or replacing an existing one, measure and mark the areas where the holes should be drilled. Neglecting poses the danger of hitting electrical cables or water pipes, which can cause flooding or electrocution.
If the toilet has an outlet underneath, insert the brass bolts on each side of the toilet base first. Afterwards, remove the cloth in the soil pipe and add a slightly warmed-up wax ring.
Besides, it should be noted that spending less effort cleaning the residue left behind from the old toilet can cause an extra tall wax ring and a wobbly toilet. Before setting the new toilet, measure the flange’s top and ensure it’s no more than 2 centimetres. Otherwise, the toilet may not lie evenly on the floor.
Securing the toilet to the floor
In most cases, toilet bases are heavy and bulky. Because of that, aligning them on the new bolts can be a challenging task. You may need help from a plumbing expert to lift the heavy toilet, properly secure the fixtures, and avoid damaging the wax ring.
Besides that, incorrectly aligned flanges and seals will make your toilet prone to leaks. To prevent any chances of future malfunctions, apply the waterproof caulk. If the floor is uneven, apply plastic shims to level the appliance.
Over-tightening the bolts
To reduce the chance of bolts loosening over time, add rubber or plastic keeper washers and nuts over them. Over-tightening will only result in shortening of their lifespan or a broken toilet. Hand-tighten the parts, then use a wrench.
To check if the nuts are properly fixed, fill the tank with water and inspect for drips or leaks. If you notice a puddle on the floor, it’s an indication that you can tighten the bolt a bit more.
Fitting the toilet tank and seat
Levelling the tank with a spirit level is essential before you fix it to the wall. If you neglect that, the unlevelled cistern can cause excessive pressure on one of the sides and make it less secure and prone to damage.
Connecting to the water supply
To do that, connect a water pipe to the cistern and tighten them with a wrench. A frequent mistake when doing this is buying a water line without taking adequate measurements in
advance. Even if you think the current one is in good condition, in reality, it may be too short or too long for the new toilet.
Installing a separate shut off valve
To prevent your toilet from shutting off the entire water supply of the property, plan enough space for fitting an individual toilet shut-off valve.
The toilet is one of the fixtures in a home that’s used the most frequently. That’s why proper installation is extremely important to avoid leaking, smelly messes, and wobbly handles. If you’re not confident performing the process independently, consider hiring a plumber.
The pros have the necessary training, knowledge and equipment to complete the job efficiently and safely, saving you money and trouble in the future.