Flush your old can ‘down the toilet’

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Toilet in bathroom with towels and tissue

Thirty-five years ago, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) deemed October Kitchen and Bath Month. This was based on the popularity of homeowners choosing it as the time to remodel their kitchens and baths. According to the NKBA, October is best because the kids are back in school and the holiday rush has not yet begun.

A good place to start: replacing your toilet. Switching out your old one may seem like a daunting project, but it is more affordable and easier than you might think. Once you have all of your materials gathered, the project can take less than a couple of hours.

Like most projects, you want to start by taking some measurements. You can do this with your current toilet in place. Measure from the wall to the center of the bolts at the base of the toilet. If you have a toilet with four bolts, you’ll need a rough-in measurement, which is from the wall to the center of the back bolts. Put this measurement in your phone and take it with you when you go shopping.

While shopping for your new toilet, you’ll notice that one-piece models are more expensive than the two-piece ones. In either case, you will want to make sure to buy other components that might not be included with the toilet, such as a wax gasket and closet bolts. You may also need a new toilet seat.

When it comes time to remove your toilet, make sure to turn off the water supply first. Then, give the toilet a flush to remove remaining water. You may also need to scoop some out manually. When taking your toilet apart, place fragile items out of reach, preferably outside, and on flat surfaces so that they do not break. Start with the tank cover, then the tank, and then the bowl. Removing the bowl may take an extra person.

After you have removed the toilet, place a rag or other cover over the drain hole. This will help to keep sewer gases from emitting into your home. Remove the wax ring using a putty knife. Inspect the mounting flange to ensure it is not deteriorated or overly rusty. If it is, you may need to replace or repair it. Consult a plumber if needed. Make sure to clean up the area before installing your new toilet according to manufacturer instructions.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Send an email to thefixisin@gmail.com.