How to Change a Toilet | Ask This Old House

How to Change a Toilet | Ask This Old House



I thought we were talking about doing a pretty basic plumbing job which is to replace a toilet which is I think something most people would want to avoid they don't want to work around the toilet so we thought maybe it'll do a little toilet 101 generally you might be able to get away with only one tool an adjustable open wrench or some sort of pliers to break the connection okay so first step is to get the water out of the toilet so on the left hand side either out of the floor of the wall there's a cold water supply you got to turn the shutoff valve clockwise sometimes it's just a quarter of a turn other times you have to turn it multiple times till it's off mm-hmm good now we got to get the water out of the tank and ball just take the cover off with me okay this is the tank that's the bowl yeah sometimes people get that confused so now we flush it and the tank is actually draining into the bowl right pull out and you notice I'm holding this up I want to get every bit of the water out of it that I can by gravity but it's not gonna let all of it out of the tank it's always gonna be some in the bottom so for that we got to work another way we can use a small copper sponge and this is perfectly clean water people should not be afraid of this if you do a lot of it you actually use something like this a turkey baster which gets you right down to the bottom it simplifies it make sure it's not the same turkey baster used for Thanksgiving all right so tank is done we got to do the same thing at the bowl here okay here you go I'll give you that if you want the gloves is kinda clean water okay so now we've got the water out of the tank in the bowl now we have to break a few more connections one of them is the water connection you can break the cold water supply right here sometimes it's pretty hand tight not too much all right so now we have two more connections the closet bolts which hold the toilet down to the flange this is a brass connection hopefully it will come another one over here yeah once you get that one thank you okay off great so now step right up here and I'm gonna show you the proper way to lift hook your hands right here be straight back and straight up so it comes off the bolts and then just step it back onto plywood a newspaper because it goes wax old wax on the bottom all right lovely isn't this nice that's just wax oh don't don't be freaked out so now oh here oh okay just clean it up you could wear gloves if you're doing this at home this one's a clean one yeah just cuz we're demoing it I'd normally would be alright so this is our closet flange and it's really important that this flange is is whole like it is right here and also it that it's attached down into the building itself so you see the stainless screws here here here and here down into the meat of the subfloor below the tile okay so that'll hold the flange to the building and then the other part of the connection is to make sure the toilet is held to the flange so the flange a building toilet – flange right so they make a special bolt right here called a closet bolt and you'll see that a keys right in right here and you bring it to the center point right here and these these little plastic holders will hold it at the right position put that one in okay get in okay so those bolts are in place right there so now we've got the flange attached to the building the bolts ready to go let's get this out of the way and now we need to make a water and air tight seal to the bottom of the toilet so this is now replacing the rat the wax that's right this has been the time-honored wax seal that sits right down here this is one that I I tend to favor which is a little thicker but also has a horn to direct the water down away from where that top connection is all right so now let's put this back in position this can be the hardest part of the show sometimes I push it down on the ring just push your weight down push your weight down and it'll make that nice tie see you can actually feel it so we want to cover these bolts when we're done so the manufacturer makes a bolt cap and this is the base so that goes on first then there's a bronze washer that's plated that goes right over the top and once you put that nut on right there we're gonna tighten a little bit from each side and bring it down uniformly down out of that wax it we don't want to over tighten on one side and then crack the toilet potentially okay yeah all right so now they make these stand proud because they don't know how deep below it the flange will be so look what happens it's just too tall so these bolts are made that you could snap them off you see there's a little Ridge right there but this is the best way to get it off and see just what you want to do is be careful not to let the blade the hacksaw blade or this little jab saw scratch the vitreous china so this is a soft brass material so I can actually just okay so now pop the cap on push it down straight down from the top and it should snap there you go yep all right toilets secure it now we can remake the water connection let's snug it up okay let's turn it back on okay there she is fill up once you grab the tank cover okay all right so this was important to know if you're ever we're changing out a new toilet for the old one or if you had a symptom of a leak from below the term that means and the wax seal was gone beautiful you

30 Comments

  • Jashim Uddin says:

    Thank you very much very helpful

  • Alex Ramos says:

    Are you suppose to add silicone caulk to edges?

  • Moonpie Spotlight says:

    Never understood why they use a bucket for the water when they have a wide open hole they just put 1.6 gallons of water down. Just put the water from the turkey baster into the bowl through the open drain hole. People have to make it so complicated.

  • Derek Vore says:

    This video was a YUGE help! After a wild night of hot sauce chugging, one of the boys had to hurl, and ended up diving for the toilet so hard he broke the bowl with his face. I kicked him out of my house, but I had no idea what to do about the toilet. Thanks for posting.

  • flatearth crypto says:

    guess no one thought to use shop vac to empty water hahahaha. a sponge 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Bukhosi Khumalo says:

    This guy is good

  • Habilio1 says:

    best and easy one so far

  • Julia Kendrick says:

    This made me feel a lot better about changing my toilet. All I need is someone to help me get it up the stairs.

  • Shane Castleberry says:

    What about the Fleeb and the Grunbo

  • revenge69ful says:

    What is a terlet? Lol

  • pietrosammarco says:

    three you go, you now have a toilet in the middle of your work shed

  • Brandon Hultgren says:

    Hi Team, I just changed my first toilet without any issue thanks to this video. Much appreciated! Love your show.

  • Al says:

    whats the pro's thoughts on sealiing around base of toilet? I have seen plumbers suggest silicon caulk around the bottom of new toilet, others have suggested plumbers putty , others like this video don't put anything around bottom. I have replaced one toilet years ago, I used a bead of plumbers putty and that worked fine for me! thoughts anybody?

  • NASACrooks says:

    A toilet? What is it?

  • latham area says:

    A turkey blaster…be serious..if there’s a lot of water in bowl, fill a bucket half full and quickly pour it down toilet..a lot of water will empty…NOT all toilet bolts unscrew so easily…CAREFULLY push a thin flat head screwdriver under nut, putting pressure against and holding bolt..If that don’t work and your putting in a new toilet, cover base with a towel and break china by bolt with a hammer..broken CHINA CLAY IS VERY SHARP..

  • Natureheaded says:

    Great video !

  • 351cleavland says:

    Hey, all. FYI-you CAN"T change a toilet!!!!!
    A toilet….

    Must want to change itself!

  • Cold North says:

    Excellent video and thanks two brothers

  • Joe says:

    Great video!

  • DannyWinnVideo says:

    Now try doing this exact same thing with a toilet that hasn't been removed in 30 years, and the bolts are rusted and welded to the toilet.

    These demos are very easy with all new equipment of course. Haha

  • Trista Ferencik says:

    AWESOME video! Thanks so much for this! Clear, concise, simple, just what I needed.

  • CauseAndEffect says:

    Don't use the 'funnel' type wax ring. Those fail far more frequently than the pain wax rings. Failure is mostly caused by a toilet that can move for some reason and by pouring hot water in the bowl and not flushing right away – causes the wax to melt.
    Make sure the wax ring is soft (with warm water) in cold weather before installing it. If it is too cold it can form a crack when placing the toilet on top of it.
    Dishonest plumbers install the funnel type wax rings for future business.

  • Kevin says:

    Organic Nuetella?

  • Jayc says:

    I’m 17 and my dad Mexican I’m about to do install toilets and change them and install sinks these videos really help so simple and easy !

  • Ken T says:

    How come you guys didn’t use silicone version of the seal?

  • DIY john says:

    That toilet will be leaking very soon as you can see the closet bolt moving when you snap off the top.

  • Alex Llg says:

    What happens if that flange is underneath the floor

  • muss.mal.nachdenken mensch says:

    I liked it up to the point were he was janking on the bolt to break it off.
    Does anyone put caulk under the bowl before setting it down?

  • William Clements says:

    Where do you get that type of wax ring? Is that something Lowes or Home Depo would have?

  • Robert McCabe says:

    Why not use that new Rubber seal heard that is awesome from alot of peaple just wondering??

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