HOW TO PICK OUT AND INSTALL A TOILET.

I know I’ve been talking about toilets and toilet paper a lot lately, but if you think I’m talking about them too much I’m about to blurt out a shocking statement right now. It’s not that I’m talking about toilets too much, it’s that other people aren’t talking about them enough. 

Not a single week goes by that I don’t look out my window and see some sort of plumbing company truck pulling into a nearby driveway. They often arrive in a 24 karat gold plumbing van wearing suits made out of money and vacation homes. This entire city is experiencing some kind of crumbling sewer line infrastructure and the only people happy about it are the plumbers. And maybe the people who make 24 karat gold plumbing trucks.

So let’s talk toilets.

I had a crappy toilet.  Now I have a great one.  And here’s why.

Last month I got rid of the horrible, low flow toilet I owned because it couldn’t even flush a single piece of toilet paper at times. I headed to a plumbing supply store and begged for help.  I may have cried. I’m not sure, it’s all a bit of a blur.

The manager of the store steered me away from the toilet I was looking at and said to go with either the American Standard Cadet or the American Standard Studio.  And then every plumber that was in the store at the time agreed with him.  It was a chorus of plumbers saying “Oh yeah, I just put that one in my basement, I just put that one in my mother’s house, I’m here picking that one up for my customer” … and so on.  I got both.  I got the bowl of the Studio line, and the tank of the Cadet, because I wanted a regular flush handle, not a push button, and the Studio line doesn’t come with a regular flush handle.

TIPS FOR BUYING A NEW TOILET

1. Check the MaP (Maximum Performance) rating of your toilet. Anything over 800 is good. Over 1000 is GREAT. Avoid anything that has a MaP rating under that if you want a powerful flush and little chance of clogging.

2. Pay attention to the bowl shape. Round bowls are shorter and elongated ones are longer. If you are really cramped for space you’ll save a couple of inches by getting a round bowl.

3. One piece toilets are usually heavier and harder to install yourself. If you’re doing this on your own, a two piece toilet make not look as sleek, but it’ll be easier for you to maneuver into place and drag up the stairs by yourself.

4. Bowl height? Yes, toilets come in different heights with the majority of toilets now being “comfort height”. Which are only comfortable if you’re relatively tall. If you’re short you may find your legs dangling.

5. If you hate looking at the side of a toilet that looks like its intestines are showing, get a skirted bowl. The “guts” of the toilet are concealed, so the toilet has nice smooth sides that are nicer to look at and easier to clean.

6. The toilet seat is where you’ll actually set yourself down so get a good one. Options are heated seats, bidet seats and slow close (slamless) seats.

 

The American Standard Studio that I went with has a MaP rating of over 1000. I had NO idea there was such a big difference in toilets and how well they flush.  Like I said, I just figured low flow toilets didn’t work well.  As it turns out, only certain low flow toilets don’t work well.

This one works great.

How great?  As soon as I installed it I contacted American Standard and told them.  They of course were pleased, and agreed to sponsor my video on How to Install a Toilet.  (Like always I only do sponsored content when I’ve actually already bought the product and love it.  I then contact the company and ask if they’d like to work together) Yes YOU CAN install your own toilet.  In fact, it’s one of the easiest home improvement jobs you can do.  It’ll take 1-2 hours depending on how confident you are.

 

How-to-list4

 

Those are your steps.  Here is the video of me removing my old toilet and installing my new one.  It shows me actually doing all the steps above.  When you watch it you’ll see that because I used a two piece toilet instead of a one piece, I was able to easily lift it myself.  It would have been much harder if this had been a one piece toilet which is why … I bought a 2 piece.

Now that I have a good looking toilet that actually works, maybe I’ll actually look into redoing this bathroom.  It’s really the only room left in the house that’s still a disaster.

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That’s really all there is to installing a toilet.  Sure something’s gonna go wrong.  The water line is going to get knocked and spray water everywhere, or you’re going to get part of the wax seal in your hair or you’ll find out your water supply line is too short for your new toilet and you have to go buy a new one.

But all in all, installing a toilet is really one of the easiest jobs you can do in your home. Way easier than installing a new dishwasher or teaching whoever you live with to put the dishes in the dishwasher, not the sink.

And definitely easier than using your neighbour’s bathroom every time you have to go because you’re too afraid to use your own crappy toilet.

85 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    I work in a big box store in the kitchen and bath dept. One hundred percent right on Cadet toilets. We see the Cadet and American Standard Champion being the toilets preferred by plumbers. And women in particular light up at the sight of an enclosed trap- especially great in tight areas. Another trick is using a product to turn the water in the trap to gel so you don’t wear the water during removal.
    I’m bookmarking your post for customers and definitely using the to in the hole trick- genius!

    • Alex says:

      Also don’t forget to measure your rough-in which is the distance from wall to bolts. Getting the toilet up two flights of stairs, unpacking, and finding its the wrong size sucks!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Alex! Glad you liked the post. 🙂 ~ karen!

  2. Becky says:

    Grams per flush was the catch phrase used when we bought toilets for our cottage. American Standard Cadets were what we bought. They flush like a dream!

  3. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I have been looking into toilets for my hallway bathroom, as I will be replacing it once I’m done with the tile and grout around my tub. That project started about 7 months ago, until I was interrupted with finding out I had cancer n going through chemo, and radiation, and now waiting for my body to get back to some kind of normal where I’m not out of breath from tasks that used to be so simple. We had an elongated toilet ? put in our bedroom bathrm a few yrs ago, and Alto it is a great flusher, I’m barely 5’3″ and I’m not comfy on my tippy toes. So your recommendations were fantastic to see.
    I’m a diyer, you name it, I’ve probably done it. I enjoy doing things myself for one, I know I’m not getting ripped off, and two, I know its done correctly. Thanks for great post and great video!

    • Karen says:

      Oh, you’re welcome Jane! It’s really a fun job but oh so impressive, lol. So sorry about your fight. Cancer is a real asshead and I’m glad you’re showing it whose boss. ~ karen!

  4. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Another curiosity, ok nosey, question . . . what brand o’ toilet did they talk you out of at the store? And thanks a lot for all the helpful info. There’s soooo much stuff out there, my head may explode.

  5. Tim says:

    Love your concise post. It sure helps me a lot. Especially your writing skill. It amazes me.

  6. Jake says:

    Having a video really helps with getting a visual in things, absolutely love it. That is a proper way of DIY toilet replacement/installation with flying colors. Thanks for sharing Karen

  7. billy sharpstick says:

    After 18 some years of owning one and/or two houses and being too cheap to hire a plumber, I now know far more than I ever wanted to about plumbing. (sh1t runs downhill and payday is on Friday is my previous understanding of that field).
    I have now replaced at least 8 toilets. (Don’t ask)
    I am always doing it by myself because I am too manly too ask for help, especially of my wife. So I have lugged several 80 lb toilets up the stairs and down the hall. (fortunately lugging the old one DOWN the stairs is easier, except for the unpleasant brown sludge that runs down my legs.)
    The first half dozen or so, I dutifully replaced the nasty gooey wax ring with a brand new nasty gooey wax ring. I inevitably replaced it with at least three new nasty gooey wax rings, because trying to lower an 80 lb toilet precisely over the closet flange(why do they call it that?) in a cramped bathroom,. up against a wall three inches away makes it impossible to see where the toilet is. So I destroy the ;new nasty gooey wax ring the first two or three times before I get it right. I then discovered that they make indestructible foam rubber rings that really work. They work (almost) all the time, unless the location of the closet flange is too high and the foam ring is too thick.
    I have now invented a better way of installing a toilet.
    1.
    Remove toilet.
    2.
    Clean old nasty gooey wax ring off of bottom of old toilet, or take shinny new toilet out of box.
    3.
    Clean closet flange/drain to remove all of the old nasty gooey wax ring remains.
    4.
    Place mounting bolts in keyhole slots. It helps to wedge them in place with old wax, paper towels or anything that keeps them from moving around. (If they shift and don’t lock in place, you will have to pull the toilet back out and redo)
    5.
    Put a stack of wooden planks 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick on either sides of the bolts.
    6.
    Place the wax ring on the closet/drain.
    7.
    Pick up the toilet and move over the drain, place it on the stacks of planks.
    8.
    Nudge the toilet around until the bolt holes are directly over the bolts.
    9.
    One by one, remove the shim boards alternately, allowing the toilet to drop down over the bolts.
    10.
    When all the planks are removed, the toilet should have dropped over the bolts and squished the wax ring.
    11.
    Install the nuts on the bolts.
    12.
    Squeeze a bead of caulking around the edge of the toilet at floor level. Do not use too much. If the toilet is glued to well to the floor, the next removal(it WILL happen someday!) will damage the floor. Plain old cheap caulking will suffice.
    13.
    Open an ice cold beer and celebrate.

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