How Long Does it Take to Replace a Toilet?

The list of reasons you need to replace your toilet is endless. You may want to upgrade the look and feel of the bathroom or replace a cracked toilet. Whatever the reason, you can either replace it yourself or have a plumber do it. This article will walk you through the entire process of replacing a toilet successfully. 

It takes two to four hours to replace a toilet. Depending on your DIY skills, the actual time frame can vary by an hour or two. Typically, you should be able to buy a new toilet seat and replace the old one within a day. A plumber may be able to replace the toilet even faster. 

Replacing a toilet can range from being simple to a complicated process. The time you spend doing this will depend on the task at hand. If you’re replacing the old toilet with a new one but of the same type, you’ll need less time and effort. However, if you’re going with a completely different type than the existing one, you will probably need a plumber. Let’s look at how to replace a toilet. 

man using tools in replacing toilet

What Do You Need to Replace A Toilet? 

Preparation is vital when you are replacing a toilet. You don’t want to be right in the middle of the process and realize you’re missing an essential tool or component. You will need all the proper material on hand before you begin. Here’s a checklist for you to go through:  

Essential Materials Essential Equipment
New toilet Drill
New toilet seat Hammer
Teflon tapeAdjustable and Pipe wrench
Caulk (silicone) Caulk gun 
New toilet shimsCloth/towels/rags
Wax ring without flangeMeasuring tape 
Wax ring with flange Utility knife 
BoltsPipe cutter
Penetrating oil4-in-1 screwdriver
Cordless drill
Rubber gloves
Box spanner
Locking or adjustable pliers
Putty knife 
Wet pliers
Spirit level

How to Remove an Old Toilet

Before installing a new toilet, you need to remove the old one properly. This process can take you anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Here are the steps you will need to follow: 

empty cistern

1. Drain the toilet 

The first step is to empty the cistern. You will need to flush the toilet to drain your cistern. Even after this, there might still be some water left. After lifting the lid, you can use the sponge or cloth to soak up the remains. 

     2.  Halt water supply 

You don’t need any water when replacing the toilet unit, so it’s best to disconnect the water supply at the very source for the time being. 

      3. Remove the cistern 

The cistern is the part that holds the water for flushing. It’s usually mounted on the wall behind the toilet bowl or hidden inside a wall behind it. You don’t need to worry about this step if your toilet system comes in one piece. 

Remove the lid of the cistern. It should come off unless it is a push-down flush system instead of a lever one. Then you need to remove the screws and bolts at the bottom of the cistern. If you have trouble removing the bolts due to rusty or worn-out, you can use a wrench or pliers.

toilet bolt and nut

    4. Unscrew the mounting nuts

The mounting nuts are what hold your toilet in place on the floor. These need to be removed. Use a screwdriver or a wrench to remove these nuts. You may need to add a bit of muscle here since these may be rusty due to being in place for a while. 

      5. Lift the toilet and remove the caulk 

Most toilets are attached to the floor using caulk or silicone. You can scrape this material off using a utility or a putty knife. Once done, use a cloth to clean up the toilet floor. 

Carefully lift your toilet without getting injured, as the unit can be pretty heavy. 

       6. Remove wax ring 

Your toilet is attached to the sewer line, so before you can completely lift it and put it aside, you will need to disconnect it from the sewer line. Use a utility or putty knife to cut through the old wax ring that connects the toilet to the sewer line. 

blue toilet flange it the bathroom

        7. Remove flange and bowl bolts 

The flange is what keeps your toilet unit stable on the floor. Once you can locate it, it’s time to unscrew it. This is the last step in removing your toilet. 

How to Fit a Toilet

Now that you’ve successfully removed the old toilet, it’s time to install your brand new toilet. Follow these steps: 

1. Install new wax ring and mounting bolts 

Keep your water supply turned off to avoid any mess. Take your new mounting bolts and screw them in the old holes on the floor. Now, install the new wax ring. Wear gloves because the wax ring substance is quite sticky. 

     2. Fit the unit 

Fix the unit by tightening the bolts with the nuts. Ensure that your bolts are fitted right and align with the new unit by hovering your toilet over the bolts. Your new toilet is now connected to the floor.  

fitting the toilet, tightening bolts with the nuts

    3. Install cistern 

Take the new cistern and attach it to the toilet using screwdrivers. This step doesn’t apply if you’re installing a one-piece system. 

   4. Turn on the water supply

You should now be ready to turn on the water supply but understand that there might be some leakage. 

     5. Check for leaks 

Ensure there are no leaks and drips by repeatedly flushing the toilet. You don’t want all that hard work to go to waste, so make sure that there isn’t water leaking onto the floor. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What is the standard time required to remove a toilet? 

It takes 15 – 30 minutes to remove an existing toilet. This time will also depend on the condition of the toilet and your DIY skills. You can follow the easy steps we’ve enlisted above to remove your old toilet and replace it with a new one. 

      2. When should you replace a toilet? 

You will need to replace a toilet after every 50 years. However, this time frame will depend on the condition of the toilet and how well it is taken care of. If the toilet wasn’t installed properly or wasn’t used the right way, it might need to be replaced sooner. 

one piece toilet

       3. Are one-piece toilets better?

Your choice will depend on your needs. One-piece toilets are easier to install and have less chance of accumulating bacteria. If you need more customization in size and height, then two-piece toilets are a better option for you. 

Final Thoughts 

Removing an old toilet and replacing it is a methodological and easy process if you are good at DIYs. We hope that our step-by-step guide helps you replace your toilet! All you need to do is follow the steps and have the equipment ready at hand. 

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