I moved into a condo 4 months ago and would like to replace the old toilet
which I fear might have a crack at the tank. Besides most of the bolts and
washers are corroded.
I bought a toilet kit (includes toilet seat,tank,wax seal etc) and flange
from home depot.
I meanth to install it myself but friends have cautioned me against doing
roto rooter is charging $400+ for the work of installing the toilet
some others are charging $80+ for 30 min of work.
I know a handy man who could probably help me do it for a lot less (hes
well on in years so Ill be doing most of the lifting)
my questions are:
1) how difficult isnt it to replace a toilet
2) are there any horror stories anyone wants to share
3) what should i watch out for?
Please share personal experiences if you have.
There were half a dozen different types of pipe/flange
styles/materials used in the past. You won't know
till you rip it out which. And the flange (in the floor)
may be broken or otherwise unusable.
That's the horror story.
Oh....and make SURE the water will shut off!
It really isn't difficult, but having done a few of them, here's what I
would be wary of:
1. After you remove the old toilet and remove the old wax ring, is the
flange beneath the toilet still intact? One of mine had completely fallen
apart, so the wax ring was about as big as the hole in the floor. I went to
a plumbing supply house and got a flange adapter, which looks a little like
plugged it in, screwed it down to the floor, and all went in quite smoothly
2. If there is water damage on the floor around it, make sure the floor is
still sound enough to handle the unit. I had a bathroom in which I had to
replace the entire floor right down to the subfloor due to the rot.
Those are just two of the things that I experienced. I'm sure there are
more horror stories. But if your condo is reasonably new, I would not
expect you to find either of those things. There are boatloads of web sites
that describe in detail installing a toilet.
Thats what I am afraid of.
The building is was built ~ 1970ish and pretty sturdy. The toilet issue
for me is pretty important.
The toilet is old and shows it. And I am thinking I better replace it
rather than come home and find that the tank broke and water flooded
my floor and the one beheath
its rotting underneath and the longer I take to know the worse the
Thinking I should take long term preventive measures
I don't remember what you said in your OP, but what makes you think
this toilet is about to fail on you? I have a toilet that dates from
the 1930s in my house, works like a champ, but does use 5 gallons to
flush. I'm not worried about this thing. I also had two Eljer
toilets that dated from 1963, and I only got rid of them because one
no longer would flush right (I even broke it apart, but never found
any blockage, very strange), and the other I just got sick of
constantly replacing the gasket between the tank and the bowl (it kept
leaking, and my plumber who was there for a different job advised me
to replace it, which I did myself (I pay plumbers for jobs requiring
Toilets really don't suddenly fail, and typically what fails are the
auxiliary parts, not the porcelain parts.
My suspicion is that your toilet is perfectly fine, but it looks old,
and that makes you anxious. I would bet you that you can replace it
just fine by yourself. Go here: http://www.toiletology.com /
I have a sneaking suspicion it's just dirty**. What could make a
toilet look old? Other than corroded metal parts or a design that is
no longer common.
The only metal part that shows is the handle, and that's replaceable.
(Toilet seats are replaceable too, but I don't consider the seat to be
part of the toilet.)
**And some spray cleaner might really fresh up the porcelain (tanks
sometimes get pretty cold because of the cold water they use, and then
water condenses on the outside, and dust gets caught in that water.
When the water evaporates, the dust can make a toilet tank look very
My advice only applies if you have more than one bathroom!
If the lifting isn't a problem for you, go ahead and give it a try.
It's not rocket science, so read a book, watch a video, check out a few
If you run into problems that you can't resolve on your own, you can call
The bathroom will be out of commission while you wait for the plumber, but
you've got the other bathroom to use, right?
Find the plumber that you are going to use, if needed, ahead of time.
Try it, you'll have a good feeling of accomplishment if it goes well. I'm
speaking to you as someone who isn't always sure what end of a screwdriver
to use. This was one of the easier tasks for me.
That sounds like good advice. Changing a toilet isn't that hard,
unless you run into problems, as already pointed out. BTW, what makes
you think you need a new flange? Usually the one there will be OK and
Of course most of this depends on your skill set, have available the
right tools, and most importantly a second toilet!
Turns out I didnt. I spoke to one of the condo handymen ... he said that
the current flange was put in when the place was remodeled prior to my
buying the place ... so Ill probably put this $7 flange I bought up on
ebay or keep it for the future who knows
I am pretty handy with things ... and I dont think Ill have to deal with
things like a damaged base (again I have been assured by people who setup
this condo apt that the bathroom was redone ... floor and all ... just
that no one bothered to replace the toilet)
I was on an airplane one time, a scheduled flight with a pretty big
plane, and I saw a techician on the wing. He was doing something and
then replacing a metal cover plate on the wing. I guess he couldn't
get it in because when I looked again, he had the screwdriver upside
down and was hammering the screw with it.
I think if others had seen this, they might have been worried, but I
know how I do things, and they work out, so how could I worry?
better to keep the old toilet if at all possible, sure it probably
wastes some water in comparison to the newer low no flush toilets:(
Just something to think about before you start this project!
Oh and DONT OVERTIGHTEN the bolts! You can crack the toilet.
Work carefully around the old bolts, like remove covers and apply oil a
week before you remove the toliet you will one day miss:(
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