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How to reseat a toilet.
Tools / Materials (See Below for
Appropriate wax ring (with a sleeve) replacement
Appropriate toilet floor flange
Appropriate flush valve replacement
Power drill with the appropriate drill bit
(to drill through any stubborn screws)
Locking pliers / Channellock®
pliers by Channellock, Inc.
White caulking tube
(that is waterproof)
knife / joint knife
Teflon tape / plumber's tape
Penetrating oil (for loosening)
cardboard (to lay toilet upside down)
(to lay toilet upside down)
Over the course of the use of your toilet, you
may encounter a leak coming from the base of it, which will require
you to reseat it with a new wax ring.
Reseating a toilet can be done in a few steps,
and here's how:
Empty out the
water from and discontinue the water supply to the toilet that
is about to be serviced: Shut off the water that leads to
your toilet by turning the shutoff valve completely clockwise,
the valve of which is usually found on the wall below the toilet
Then flush the toilet once more time to get rid of most of the water
that remains in the toilet.
After this, lift up and remove the lid of the toilet tank and then
use a cloth/rag to soak up the water that remains in the tank.
Using locking pliers, Channellock pliers, or an adjustable wrench,
as may be applicable, unloosen the nut that secures the water supply
line to the toilet in order to disengage this line from the toilet,
Next, remove the
tank from the rest of the toilet: Using locking pliers, Channellock
pliers, or an adjustable wrench, as may be applicable, unloosen
the bolts that secure the tank to the toilet, and then lift the
tank from the top of the toilet and set it down gently to the
Remove the toilet
seat by removing the screws that secure it to the toilet:
Take off the seat screw caps, as applicable, that reveal the
screws that you can unscrew with locking pliers, Channellock
pliers, or an adjustable wrench. If you have a hard
time removing the toilet seat screws, you may try to loosen the screws by
applying a few drops of penetrating oil on them, per the penetrating
oil manufacturer's instructions. If that does not work, you'll
need to use your power drill, with the appropriately-sized drill
bit, to drill through such stubborn screws.
it and removed it from the toilet, set the seat gently to the
side, and now focus on moving the toilet body (bowl and all that
remain) from its place: Take off the floor bolt caps, as
applicable, that reveal the screw nuts that you now must unscrew with
locking pliers, Channellock pliers, or an adjustable
Having unscrewed the screw nuts, now carefully rock the toilet left
to right , back and forth, in order to break the seal between the
base of the toilet and the floor, and then actually lift the toilet
off of the bolts. Set the removed toilet upside onto a tarp,
scrap cardboard or rags/cloths to protect the toilet from being
Use a rag/cloth
to temporarily stick in the toilet drain opening exposed by the
removal of the toilet in order to keep the sewer smell down to a
minimum while working.
Check to see if
the toilet floor flange is cracked or otherwise damaged; if so,
replace the flange now; follow the flange manufacturer's
With the toilet
turned upside, allowing the toilet wax ring to be seen, remove
this wax ring with a joint knife or putty knife.
In place of the
old, removed wax ring, install the wax ring replacement (make
sure the wax ring is not cold, but at least at warm room
temperature for good adherence): Press into place the wax
ring replacement over the toilet base horn/waste outlet, where
the old wax ring used to be, per the wax ring manufacturer's
instructions; as may applicable and per the wax ring
manufacturer's instructions, apply plumber's putty around the
Then, with a
caulking gun, cocked with a caulking tube of waterproof white
caulking, apply a bead of such caulking around the whole
perimeter base of the toilet while it remains upside down.
Upon applying the
caulking and removing any rag/cloth you previously placed in the
toilet drain to suppress the sewer smell, you are ready to set
the toilet back into place: Turn the toilet back to its
upright position and place it over the toilet floor flange so
that the toilet floor flange bolts line into place with the bolt
holes of the toilet as it is lowered to the floor, over the
flange. In properly reseating this toilet, you should feel
that the toilet seems to be pushing into the newly installed wax
ring, positively indicating you are creating a tight seal
between the toilet wax ring and the toilet floor flange.
Next, with a
carpenter's level, check to make sure that the reseating of the
toilet is relatively level. If the toilet is a bit off,
add some wood shims wherever necessary underneath the base of
the toilet until the reseating of the toilet becomes level.
Screw the floor
bolt nuts into place; tighten them with locking pliers, Channellock pliers, or an adjustable
wrench. Then put the floor bolt caps over these nuts, as
may be appplicable.
tank: Lift the tank up and place it over the toilet to
where it previously was located, and then use locking pliers, Channellock
pliers, or an adjustable wrench, as may be applicable, to
tighten the bolts that secure the tank to the toilet.
Once you re-install
the tank, prepare to reconnect the water supply line to the
toilet: Apply about 5 clockwise rounds/revolutions of Teflon
tape/plumber's tape on the threads of the water supply line that
is to be reconnected with the toilet.
Upon applying the
Teflon tape/plumber's tape, go ahead and use locking pliers, Channellock pliers, or an adjustable wrench,
as may be applicable, to actually reconnect the water supply line to
the toilet by clockwise screwing on and tightening the nut that
secures the water supply line to the toilet.
With the water
supply line tightly secured to the toilet, turn on the water
that leads to your toilet by turning the shutoff valve
Then easily check
to see if the toilet is leaking upon your having just completed
about 99% of the toilet's reseating process: Pour an
adequate amount of food dye into the toilet tank and then flush
the toilet a few times. If you notice that the food dye
leaks into the toilet bowl, the toilet's flush valve may be
leaking and, thus, is in need of replacement; follow the flush
valve manufacturer's instructions in installing a flush valve
replacement. If, however, the food dye is leaking outside
the toilet, the toilet tank probably has not been re-installed
correctly that needs to be remedied.
If there is no
leak, you can go ahead and re-install the seat onto the toilet: Use locking
pliers, Channellock pliers, or an adjustable wrench to screw
back the screws that secure the seat to the toilet, and then
place the seat screw caps over these screws, as may be
With the caulking
gun, again cocked with a caulking tube of waterproof white
caulking, apply such caulking neatly around the whole perimeter
base of the toilet that sits securely on the floor.
That's what it takes to reseat a toilet.
Handyman Zone Team
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