Outlines step by step how to replace a toilet, including changing from a floor-mounted to a wall-mounted toilet.
If you want to change the style of the bathroom or switch from floor to wall models of toilet, there is no getting around it — you have to replace it. It is not absolutely necessary to order an expensive craftsman. If you can work carefully, you can follow the steps for how to replace a toilet. It is only in a hurry that you should not carry out such work — if you mess it up, you risk expensive and annoying water damage. We have put together the most important steps and tips for how to replace a toilet, which you can follow.
- Good planning is (almost) everything
- How to replace a toilet: checklist for repair vs replace
- How to replace a toilet: Wall or floor style?
- How to replace a toilet: Preparation and lining up
- How to replace a toilet: Water off!
- How to replace a toilet: Holes in the tiles
- Finally the silicone
- How to replace toilet styles: Replace floor-standing toilet with a wall-mounted toilet
- Dismantle the floor-standing toilet
- Mount the wall-hung toilet
- Mount the toilet seat
- How to replace a toilet: Replace wall-mounted toilet
- Work steps: Dismantle the wall-hung model
- Mount the wall-hung toilet
- Mount the toilet seat
Good planning is (almost) everything
Some preparations are best made a while in advance. If you live in a rented apartment, you should contact the landlord. If the existing toilet is broken, he even has to pay for it to be replaced. Especially if new holes are to be drilled in tiles , he has to agree. In older apartment buildings there is occasionally no stopcock on the toilet, sometimes not even for every apartment. If you turn off the water for the whole house, this must be discussed with the other residents. How to fix a weak flushing toilet
How to replace a toilet: checklist for repair vs replace
- Are cracks visible in the toilet? – The toilet needs to be replaced.
- Is it broken in the area of the floor or wall mounting? – The toilet needs to be replaced.
- Are there any cracks in the wall where a wall-hung toilet has been installed? – New installation on a reinforced wall is necessary.
- Does water run from the cistern into the toilet? – The seals in the cistern must be replaced. How to fix a running toilet: 7 steps
- Water leaking from the toilet? – Replacement of seals required. How to fix leaking toilet problems and save your money
- Is the toilet seat defective? – The seat needs to be replaced.
- What to watch out for when changing the toilet
- Toilets are not standardized, so it is important to take a close look at the existing toilet in order to find a suitable replacement. The outflows are particularly important because they limit the choice. There are wall and floor exits. Switching between the systems is not possible.
- Should a wall-hung toilet be installed instead of a floor-standing toilet?
- Is there a wall outlet? (Requirement for wall mounting).
- Is the wall stable?
- Is there a pre-wall element to which a toilet bowl can be attached?
- What are the distances between the threaded rods? In the case of the standing model, distance between the screws in the floor?
- Does the cistern also have to be replaced?
- Where does the water supply come from? (right, left, center)
- Can a standard cistern be used?
- Has the distance between the exit of the toilet and the wall or floor finish been measured?
How to replace a toilet: Wall or floor style?
The more similar the new toilet is to the existing one, the easier it is to change the toilet. The change from a floor-standing toilet to a wall-mounted toilet requires the installation of a mounting element and changes to the wall. Accordingly, wall elements have to be dismantled if you want to change to a free-standing model. However, it is usually not a problem to switch between the wall and floor-mounted models.
- Decide whether you want a wall-mounted or floor-standing toilet.
- Choose a model that fits the existing fasteners.
- If necessary, select a new mounting element for wall months.
- If necessary, find a new cistern that matches the water connections in the bathroom.
- Buy sewer pipes of sufficient length.
- Get seals and sealing hemp.
- Cut pipes to the right size.
How to replace a toilet: Preparation and lining up
If you position the new one in place, you can often see straight away whether the existing pipes are sufficient or whether something has changed due to different proportions. If you have to install other pipes, you should also get them in good time.
It may be necessary to loosen rusted nuts with rust remover. It is best to use this remedy the day before. And if you are tampering with the cistern anyway, for example to close the corner valve, then you should also decalcify it right away. This is particularly useful for cisterns built into the wall.
Can it finally start then? Nearly! It is best to cover the bathroom or at least the area around the toilet with cardboard or an old blanket. Then you can put down the new and the old toilet, or damage the tiles or the ceramics. You should also have a bucket ready to catch any water that may run out of the pipes.
How to replace a toilet: Water off!
First the water has to be turned off. If the angle valve is open, it is closed tightly. If the inlet is hidden in a front-wall installation, the push plate is pushed up a little and it is removed. The valve is also located behind it. After turning it off, you flush the toilet so that the cistern is empty. Then loosen the silicone between the toilet and the wall or floor; depending on where the toilet is attached. You can use a sharp kitchen knife or a carpet knife for this.
To loosen the covers of the fastening nuts, you use a screwdriver, then you loosen the nuts yourself. Then you can remove the toilet – the wall-hung toilet is carefully pulled from the threaded rods, the floor-standing toilet has to be lifted a little. Since there may still be water in the toilet, care should be taken and this water can be emptied into the bucket provided.
This also applies to the water in the pipes, which may have to be dismantled. That depends on the situation in detail. If the old pipes stay in place and can be reused, they should be checked for scale and debris. If they are found, they can be removed with a cleaning spiral, a screwdriver or a strong jet of water.
If you are bothered by the smells that often come from the drain pipe, you can plug it with a rag for the rest of the work. The sound insulation may still have to be removed – these are plastic elements that sit on the threaded rods or on the drill holes in the floor. Any dowels that may still be present are taken out of these. In addition, any remaining silicone residue on the tiles is now removed. If there is no other way, you can use silicone remover.
How to replace a toilet: Holes in the tiles
Then it must be checked whether the new toilet fits into the old attachment. In the case of a wall-mounted toilet, it is important that the threaded rods are at the correct distance from one another. Some can be adjusted – if not, the toilet has to be exchanged. With the floor-standing toilet, it is easiest if you can use the existing drill holes again.
Otherwise you have to drill new holes . There are a few things to consider in order to avoid damage to the tiles. In any case, a special tile drill is necessary. The place to be drilled should be glued crosswise with two adhesive tapes – this prevents the edges from peeling off and the drill does not slip. The drill should be set to a low speed and, if available, be used without impact function. When the holes are ready, the dust is sucked out and the dowels are inserted.
Then it is checked whether the existing pipes can be reused. If pipes have to be shortened, a fine-toothed hand saw is used. It is important that the pipes fit straight into each other and far enough. If necessary, this assembly can be made easier with lubricant. Don’t forget the soundproofing elements and the sleeve that covers the transition between the sewer pipe and the wall. When placing the toilet, whether on the wall or on the floor, care should be taken to ensure that the pipes are properly routed. The washers supplied are also absolutely necessary. It goes without saying that the nuts must be properly tightened.
Finally the silicone
Before you can hide the nuts and the ends of the screws under the covers again, you should check whether the whole system is working properly and is tight.
So the water supply is restored, and finally the flush is activated. If everything is correct, you put the covers on the nuts and close the joints again with silicone .
How to replace toilet styles: Replace floor-standing toilet with a wall-mounted toilet
Dismantle the floor-standing toilet
First close the corner valve on your cistern and then empty the cistern (press the control button). You can now loosen the screw connections of the toilet on the floor. If there is still a silicone joint on the edge, cut it open with the utility knife.
You can now pull the flush pipe out of the toilet and put it aside. Now remove the toilet and pull the connecting piece out of the toilet. You can empty the remaining water in the toilet into a bucket.
Silicone residues should be removed as far as possible. If there is still sound insulation, it can also be removed.
- 1 Gather everything you need for the job.
- 2 You can set up the assembly element at the required location.
- 3 Now you have to determine the desired height. A meter mark is printed on the element for orientation. You can put on the folding rule and then adjust the height of the element. The height is calculated with the finished floor.
- 4 You can adjust the height at the bottom of the two screw connections.
- 5 The mounting element has a 90 degree elbow for the drain. This cannot be connected directly to the wall connection. The best thing is if you set up the assembly element a little to the side of your existing wall connection.
- 6 Then you can use a second 90 ° pipe bend to connect to the wall connection by plugging the two bends into each other. Shorten the pipe bend of the mounting element accordingly so that it fits.
- 7 Shortening is best done with a metal hacksaw. Deburr the cut edge with a file or with sandpaper.
- 8 Apply lubricant to the pipe ends to connect the plastic pipes. Make sure that the corresponding sealing rings are installed in the pipe connections.
- 9 The water supply for the built-in cistern in the assembly element must be carried out very carefully. A leaky connection cannot be repaired so easily later after the element has been clad. The original angle valve of the old cistern is replaced by a 90° elbow and a flexible connection hose. When connecting, be sure to also use the manufacturer’s information that is available for each assembly element. There it is specified exactly how the connection is made in the mounting element. A final connection of the connection hose can only be made after the assembly of the metal profiles or the final installation of the assembly element.
- 10 You can clad your assembly element directly with plasterboard or build a wider installation wall. How you do this depends on the spatial possibilities. Metal profiles are required for the installation wall. Your mounting element for the wall-mounted toilet has a certain width and height. The distance to the wall is also specified by the pipe connection. Now you just have to determine how far the installation wall should go. If this meets the side of a wall surface, you can immediately mark the course of the first profile on the wall. Then also mark the other profiles. Make sure that all profiles are exactly vertical and horizontal. You can put the assembly element aside again after you have marked it. All fixings on the walls and on the floor must be coordinated with the subsurface.
- 11 The metal profiles can be cut with tin snips. CW profiles, so-called stand profiles, are used as vertical profiles. UW profiles, so-called edge profiles, are used as horizontal profiles.
- 12 The installation wall is constructed in such a way that the assembly element is placed in a UW profile on the floor surface, if possible. You then have better options for cladding with plasterboard. The profiles that you attach to a wall or floor surface are previously pasted on the back with a soundproofing tape.
- 13 You can then pre-drill the profiles with a metal drill for fastening, place the profile in the intended location and drill through with a masonry drill. Fastening is particularly easy with nail dowels. Insert the dowel with screw and drive it into the hole with a screwdriver. The screw can be turned back to remove or loosen it.
- 14 When the profiles are mounted on the wall surfaces and on the floor, the mounting element can be used. The pipe bends at the drain can now be finally connected.
- 15 Align the element again with the spirit level and screw it into the floor surface within the floor profile.
- 16 Now the two wall brackets are attached to the mounting element and the mounting holes are marked on the wall. Then you can drill the holes and screw the brackets together.
- 17 The exact setting is made with the spirit level. If the mounting element is correctly positioned, you can lock the wall brackets.
- 18 The water supply can now be completed. Pay attention to a tight connection.
- 19 The installation wall is ready for the plasterboard to be attached. Clad in front of the wall installation
- 20 The plasterboard panels are mounted in two layers on the front. This increases the stability and strength that are necessary for attaching a wall-mounted toilet. First cut the plasterboard for the front. You can score the panels on the cut edge from the front with the utility knife, then bend backwards and cut through the cardboard from the back to get straight edges. The cut-out for the cistern operation is best sawn out with a jigsaw. Drill a hole in each of the 4 corners to insert the jigsaw and then cut out the rectangle. There are special saw blades for plasterboard.
- 21 You can drill the holes for the threaded rods and the drain with appropriately large circular cutters or drill attachments.
- 22 Position the first plate and check whether the holes are correct. If necessary, you can make corrections by enlarging the holes in one direction with a suitable tool. Drywall screws with self-tapping threads are used to screw the panels to the metal profiles.
- 23 Board joints are planned so that they always lie on a metal profile. Fill all joints of the first layer of plasterboard with filler.
- 24 Then mount a second layer of panels. Arrange the second layer of panels so that the joints of the panels are offset from those of the first layer. That increases the stability. Then the side surface comes as a single-layer cladding and the top surface also only comes in one layer. Now fill in all the board joints and sand over when dry.
- After the tiling work, the wall-mounted toilet can be installed.
Mount the wall-hung toilet
- 25 First you have to check the existing threaded rods to see whether they fit the new toilet. Measure the insertion depth on the toilet. This is the length that is required to be able to screw on the toilet with the fastening nuts.
- 26 You can now adjust the threaded rods to the determined dimension. The distance between the two threaded rods must also match the new toilet.
- 27 You first attach the seal to the connecting piece (thick pipe). Then apply lubricant to the rubber and attach it to the toilet connection. The best thing to do now is to place a spirit level across the back of the toilet and mark the pipe so that the marking is flush with the back of the toilet.
- 28 Then you can insert the connection piece into the wall connection and mark it flush with the tile surface.
- 29 The difference between the two marks is the amount by which the pipe must now be shortened from the end. The required length of the flush pipe is determined in the same way as for the connection piece. Then shorten both pipes with a metal hacksaw and deburr the cut edges with a file or sandpaper.
- 30 You can then finally attach both pipes to the toilet.
- 31 Before the toilet is screwed to the wall, sound insulation must be installed. Either you use a soundproofing plate (soundproofing set) or a serrated quick-assembly tape. That serves the same purpose. The sound insulation prevents sound transmission and small unevenness on the wall surface is evened out. Without the soundproofing, the wall or toilet could be damaged when screwing on.
- 32 Then place the toilet on the two threaded rods, insert the plastic and metal washers and tighten the nuts by hand. Use the spirit level to check whether the toilet is level, then screw it tight with the open-end wrench. Finally, put the cover caps on the nuts.
Mount the toilet seat
- 33 The assembly of the toilet seat can differ slightly depending on the article. You insert the two fastening dowels into the holes provided on the toilet. Then insert the fixings into the dowels.
- 34 You can now attach the toilet seat to the two mountings. These can be rotated so that their width can be precisely adjusted to the toilet seat. When the toilet seat is properly seated, you can press in the lock and remove the seat again. Then finally tighten the fastenings with the screwdriver and attach the cover rosettes. Now finally insert the toilet seat and let it click into place on the fastenings.
- 35 Finally, the floor of the toilet can be grouted with sanitary silicone and the silicone can be smoothed off with a putty knife.
- stand toilet against wall exchange toilet instructions as 36
Tips & Tricks: Do you want to convert a vertical toilet outlet into a horizontal outlet? No problem! To do this, simply install a 90 degree toilet drain bend and slide it onto the horizontal toilet outlet at the rear. If you now have a greater distance from the wall to the toilet, you can use a flush pipe extension.
How to replace a toilet: Replace wall-mounted toilet
Work steps: Dismantle the wall-hung model
- 1 Before dismantling the toilet, cover the floor with a blanket or cardboard. Then remove the pusher plate on the cistern. This can be pushed up a little and then removed to the front. Behind it you will find the corner valve. Now turn this off. You can also replace your toilet without closing the corner valve. Here you just have to be careful not to accidentally press the flush plate while no toilet is connected. In any case, you should have a water bucket ready.
- Cut open the silicone at the joint between the wall and toilet with a utility knife and then loosen the cover caps and the fastening nuts on the toilet. Now you can pull the toilet forward from the threaded rods. The two pipes (connecting piece and flushing pipe) are also removed. Pour the remaining water into the bucket.
- If there is still sound insulation on the threaded rods, it will also be removed and replaced with the toilet. Finally, you can remove the silicone residue from the wall with a scraper or utility knife. You can remove stubborn residues with a silicone remover.
Mount the wall-hung toilet
- 2 First you have to check the existing threaded rods to see whether they fit the new toilet. Measure the insertion depth on the toilet. This is the length that is required to be able to screw on the toilet with the fastening nuts.
- 3 You can now adjust the threaded rods to the determined dimension. The distance between the two threaded rods must also match the new toilet.
- 4 You first attach the seal to the connecting piece (thick pipe). Then apply lubricant to the rubber and attach it to the toilet connection. The best thing to do now is to place a spirit level across the back of the toilet and mark the pipe so that the marking is flush with the back of the toilet.
- 5 Then you can insert the connection piece into the wall connection and mark it flush with the tile surface.
- 6 The difference between the two marks is the amount by which the pipe must now be shortened from the end.
- 7 The required length of the flush pipe is determined in the same way as for the connection piece.
- 8 Then shorten both pipes with a metal hacksaw and deburr the cut edges with a file or sandpaper.
- 9 You can then finally attach both pipes to the toilet.
- 10 Before the toilet is screwed to the wall, sound insulation must be installed. Either you use a soundproofing plate (soundproofing set) or a serrated quick-assembly tape. That serves the same purpose. The sound insulation prevents sound transmission and small unevenness on the wall surface is evened out. Without the soundproofing, the wall or toilet could be damaged when screwing on.
- 11 Then place the toilet on the two threaded rods, insert the plastic and metal washers and tighten the nuts by hand.
- 12 Use the spirit level to check whether the toilet is level, then screw it tight with the open-end wrench. Finally, put the cover caps on the nuts.
Mount the toilet seat
- 13 The assembly of the toilet seat can differ slightly depending on the article. You insert the two fastening dowels into the holes provided on the toilet. Then insert the fixings into the dowels.
- 14 You can now attach the toilet seat to the two mountings. These can be rotated so that their width can be precisely adjusted to the toilet seat. When the toilet seat is properly seated, you can press in the lock and remove the seat again. Then finally tighten the fastenings with the screwdriver and attach the cover rosettes. Now finally insert the toilet seat and let it click into place on the fastenings.
- 15 Finally, the floor of the toilet can be grouted with sanitary silicone and the silicone can be smoothed off with a putty knife.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.