Since moving in we’ve made a few changes in the bathroom, and one thing in particular was pretty crappy: putting in a new toilet! See what I did there? If you follow me on Instagram @cathyatdeardiy, this will be old news to you, but I still wanted to share how we did it for those who might be intimidated by replacing a toilet.
Getting this done wasn’t really at the top of our priority list but I am coming to realize that our priorities need to be flexible. These days I find myself repeating “Well, we weren’t planning on doing that yet, but…” since there have been some unexpected things that crop up that we need to deal with before we were intending to. Like replacing the toilet.
Isn’t it lovely, in all its Avocado and wooden seat glory? The look wasn’t bothering us too much, because there is so much ugly in the bathroom it all just kind of blends together: white and gold glazed tile, green fixtures, floral wallpaper, starburst chrome towel holders, and pendant globe light fixtures on thick brass chains that were collectively the height of home decor fashion in 1960. But the constant running of the water in the toilet tank and its tendency to spontaneously clog was definitely a pain, seeing as it is our only toilet!
So we picked up a Flushometer 4000 (actually an American Standard dual flush something or other) and set to work. My husband was the one doing the real dirty work but I had the important jobs of wrapping and taping garbage bags around the old toilet so we didn’t leak poo water all over the house, and scrubbing the grime off the floor once the toilet was removed. I’m telling myself that it was grime at least, it was very cringeworthy. And now we have this to look at instead:
I won’t go into detail on how to replace a toilet, there are excellent videos on YouTube that my husband watched to prepare (sorry, plumbers of the world). It looked pretty straightforward to me. I will tell you about some of the snags we hit along the way that may save you some trouble:
- The original toilet rough-in was not the standard 12″ from the wall but it was close enough to make it work. If yours is off by too much, you may need to install an offset flange or, worst-case scenario, an entirely new rough-in.
- We didn’t realize that we needed to exchange the original bolts for the bolts included with the toilet. The old ones were not high enough to secure the toilet, so we ended up ruining the first wax gasket and having to run to Home Hardware for another one. This meant we had to scrape all the wax from the first gasket off so we could start over and put the new bolts in. Not the end of the world, just annoying… but it might be a good idea to tackle this kind of project during normal working hours of your local home improvement store, just in case you need to pick up something that you weren’t expecting and don’t have a second bathroom!
- The length of the piping that runs water up into the toilet’s tank did not fit on the new toilet, so that was another trip to Home Hardware. The original one was 8″ but the tank of the new toilet was higher and needed a 12″ one, so it’s a good idea to measure the old and the new toilet for this!
If you plan on replacing a toilet, just make sure you have a couple of buckets handy that you don’t mind disposing of afterwards or can bleach the hell out of. Rubber gloves and a few sponges are also necessary, as well as a putty knife or something to scrape off wax/brown-stuff-you-hope-is-wax off the floor.